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Judaism. An Introduction to Key Ideas. God. Belief in a personal “Other” anthropomorphisms are symbolic, but . . . more like a person than a thing more like a mind than mere force This personalism focused in a single, supreme, transcendent being (as opposed to polytheism)

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Judaism l.jpg

Judaism

An Introduction to Key Ideas


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God

  • Belief in a personal “Other”

    • anthropomorphisms are symbolic, but . . .

    • more like a person than a thing

    • more like a mind than mere force

  • This personalism focused in a single, supreme, transcendent being (as opposed to polytheism)

  • Yahweh and Henotheism

  • “Shema”: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One.” --Deuteronomy 6:4

  • A God of righteousness and love


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Creation (The Material World)

  • The Material World is Created by God

  • Creation is Good (so are possessions, sex, food, etc.)

  • Humans, as the apex/end of creation, have dominion over it (Genesis 1:26)

  • Judeo-Christian Perspective:

    • Material aspects of life are important

    • Matter can participate in the condition of salvation

    • Nature “can host the divine” (H. Smith)


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The Human Condition

  • “A little lower than god (“the angels”/Elohim)--Psalm 8:5

  • People are “dust,” frail, like the grass

    (Made “in God’s image,” mud infused with God’s breath)

  • Morally Free

  • Sinful


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History is Real; History Matters

  • Revelation: first in deeds, then in words

  • History is not cyclical, but linear (and teleological)

  • Nature is the site of purposeful divine activity

  • Social/historical context is important: shapes outcomes and possibilities

  • Community/collective action is important  “God’s Chosen People”/Covenant

  • History is a place of opportunity

  • Tensions between divine possibilities and human frustrations; i.e., religion should not buttress the status quo “Messianism”


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Ethics

  • Honor God (and God’s nature)

  • Honor Parents

  • Don’t Murder

  • Don’t Commit Adultery

  • Don’t Steal

  • Don’t Give False Testimony

  • Don’t Covet


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Prophetic Tradition: Let Justice Flow

  • The future of a people depends on the justice of their society

  • Thus, individuals are responsible for their own dealings with others and for the general justice of society

  • Prophets

    • Prophetic Guilds (1 Samuel 9-10)

    • Individual Oral-Only Prophets (e.g., Nathan and Elijah)

    • Written prophets (e.g., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)


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Suffering

  • May be punishment, corrective

  • May be redemptive

  • May be necessary for the righteous to suffer in order to change things in the world

  • We learn, and find meaning and beauty, in the midst of suffering


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Hallowing All of Life

  • All of life, when considered from the proper vantage point, and approached in the proper way, can be sacred

  • Meals

  • Sex, marriage, family

  • Birth, Death


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