Judaism i
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Judaism I. Ancient Traditions to the Roman Period. The Modern Dilemma.

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Judaism I

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Judaism i

Judaism I

Ancient Traditions to the Roman Period


The modern dilemma

The Modern Dilemma

  • “The liberal wing of Judaism accepts modern canons of history and reserves the right to question aspects of the accuracy and historicity of the biblical text . . . They distinguish among myth, legend, and history in the biblical text.” (Alan Segal, in Oxtoby, p. 37)

  • “. . . the traditional wing of Judaism believes every word in the text to be literally true, often in a historical sense. They take it to have been dictated to Moses and the various prophets by divine inspiration.” (ibid)


Early historical references

Early Historical References

  • Mer-ne-Ptah (Israel) stela, 1230 BCE:

    “Plundered is Canaan with every evil . . . Israel is laid waste, his seed is not . . .All lands together, they are pacified.”

  • “Hapiru” or “Habiru”, 18th-12th cent. BCE

  • “. . . you shall make this response before the Lord your God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous.’” --Deuteronomy 26:5 (NRSV)

  • The decline in Mycenean civilization (ca. 1200 BCE).


Early narratives myth legend history

Early Narratives: Myth, Legend, & History


Myth in the bible

“Myth” in the Bible

  • Myth is a genre; these are tales that express a cultural order

  • Not “what happened” but “what always happens”

  • Israel’s myths seem to be both derivative of and contradictory to other ANE myths:

    • creation

    • flood

    • plagues


Adam and eve

“Adam” and “Eve”

  • “Adam” -- “human”

  • “Eve” -- “living”

  • nakedness (arom) vs. shrewdness (arum)

  • “knowledge of good and evil”

  • “curse”-- work, sexual attraction, pain in childbirth, etc.

  • humans are “in God’s image” (Genesis 1:26)


Abraham

Abraham

  • Resembles the life and context of (semi-) nomadic contemporaries

  • Covenant with God

  • Founder/patriarch of both Israel (via Isaac) and Islam (via Ishmael)

  • Promised a land

  • “Sacrifice” of Isaac (Gen. 22)

  • Abraham (Sarah), Isaac (Rebecca), Jacob (Leah & Rachel et al), Joseph (et al)


Moses the exodus

Moses & the Exodus

  • “Foundational” narrative (Passover)

  • Historically probably only represents a portion of Israel

  • The Divine Name

  • Sinai/Horeb

  • Ten Commandments

  • “Conquest” occurs unevenly, over time, and probably includes a lot of assimilation; also, other Bronze Age civilizations collapse during this period


The monarchy

The Monarchy

  • “Judges” or “shofetim” (charismatic leadership)

  • Saul, David, and Solomon

  • Philistines, iron, and bronze

  • Jerusalem (ca. 1000 BCE)

  • The Divided Kingdom (Rehoboam [Judah], Jeroboam [Israel])


Judaism i

Northern Kingdom fall to Assyria in 722 BCE

Southern Kingdom (Judah) falls to Babylonia in 587/86 BCE


The documentary hypothesis

The Documentary Hypothesis


Prophetic tradition let justice flow

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)


The exile

The Exile

  • 586-538 BCE

  • Also a “foundational” event

  • “National cult” to “religious heritage” of a dispersed people

  • more urban than agricultural

  • Aramaic replaces Hebrew

  • King (melekh) to prince (nasi) to ????-- Messiah (Cyrus of Persia)

  • Temple rebuilt in 515 BCE


Hellenism

Hellenism

  • Alexander conquers Persians (331 BCE)

  • Septuagint (3rd cent.)

  • Alexandrian Community

  • Maccabean Revolt (166 BCE)

    • Antiochus Epiphanes

    • Gymnasia

    • Social Tensions

    • Hanukkah

  • Greek Diaspora


Sects revolts innovations

Sects, Revolts, Innovations

  • Essenes/Qumran

  • Sadducees

  • Pharisees

  • Zealots

    • Jewish War 66-70 C.E.

    • Destruction of Temple 70 C.E.

  • Christians


Second temple theology

Second-Temple Theology

  • Diversity

  • “Shema” theology unites Judaism(s) & appeals to many Greeks

  • Allegorical Interpretation

  • Chosen-ness involves responsibility

  • Apocalyptic theologies emerge

  • Messianic expectations emerge

  • Dualism emerges

  • Belief in after-life emerges


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