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An Overview of the World’s Major Religions. By R.D. Baker & Ryan Cartwright.

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an overview of the world s major religions

An Overview of the World’s Major Religions

By R.D. Baker & Ryan Cartwright

slide2
Acts 17:16 - While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the Synagogue with the Jews & God-fearing Greeks as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
slide3
v.22 – Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Aeropagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that in every way, you are very religious. For as I walked around & looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god’. Now what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you.
slide4
v.24 – The God who made the world & everything in it is the Lord of heaven & earth, & does not live in temples built by hands. And he’s not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life & breath & everything else. From one man, he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; & he determined the times set for them & the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him & perhaps reach out for him & find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
major religions of the world ranked by number of adherents
Major Religions of the WorldRanked by Number of Adherents
  • 1) Christianity: 2.1 billion
  • 2) Islam: 1.3 billion
  • 3) Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
  • 4) Hinduism: 900 million
  • 5) Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
  • 6) Buddhism: 376 million
  • Total of the top 6 categories: 6.1 billion
major religions of the world ranked by number of adherents6
Major Religions of the WorldRanked by Number of Adherents
  • 9) Sikhism: 23 million
  • 12) Judaism: 15 million
  • 13) Baha'i: 7 million
  • 17) Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
  • 20) Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
  • 21) Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
  • 22) Scientology: 500 thousand
america the great melting pot
America – “The Great Melting Pot”
  • It has been said that the U.S. is “the great melting pot” for the people of the world
  • The contents of that “pot” would not be complete unless it also included the religions of those masses that now make up our country’s population
  • As we are increasingly surrounded by other religious teachings, it becomes vitally important as to what we choose to believe & put our faith into…& then pass down to our children
many religions many truth s
Many Religions…Many Truth’s?
  • There are many religions & philosophies…but which ones are true?
  • Are all religions valid?
  • Will they all get you to heaven?
  • Do all roads lead to heaven?
  • We will see as we explore some of the major world religions.
division among religions
Every major religion has divisions

Not all the beliefs discussed will apply to all adherents to a particular religion – just as in Christianity there are a many divisions with different beliefs

Division Among Religions
slide10

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, & the truth will set you free." – John 8:31

Truth has become quite subjective – but truth can be discerned by considering the evidence.

slide11

"I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true & reasonable. The king is familiar with these things, & I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.”– Acts 26:25-27

We can’t do an exhaustive study but we’ll do our best to present a basic understanding of the major & some minor world religions

general introduction
General Introduction
  • In this series we’ll examine different religions & philosophies, consider their respective founding fathers, history, scriptures & beliefs.
  • While we will make some comments on the various religions, the goal is not to prove or discredit the various beliefs – but simply to present the facts.
  • It is each individual’s task to determine whether what they believe is true
  • Always remember: Belief does not equal truth.
focus
Focus
  • In addition to this series – a study of ancient pagan religions is recommended to understand the background & context for both testaments. Unfortunately we don’t have the time to look at these religions in this series.
  • Our focus is to present religions that exist in our neighborhoods today – that we may come across.
  • It is important to understand the people around us and to know what they believe.
warning
Warning!

“We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” – 1 Corinthians 8:1-2

slide15

“In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness & respect…”

- 1 Peter 3:15

Our goal is not to win the argument or to just possess knowledge, but to in love – guide people to the Truth

definitions
Definitions
  • Monotheism – Belief in one god
  • Polytheism – System of many gods
  • Pantheism – God synonymous with the universe or nature. “May the Force be with you.”
  • Animism – Animals, plants & objects all contain individual spirits
  • Asceticism – Enlightenment obtained through extreme self denial (monasteries)
  • Mysticism – Enlightenment & spiritual powers through meditation/contemplation
judaism 15 million devotees
Judaism15 Million Devotees

The Star of David & The Menorah

(Represents the 7-day week & the Sabbath)

judaism
Judaism
  • Religious culture of the Jewish People
  • One of the world's oldest religions (Year 5,766)
  • 12th largest religion in the world today
  • Cultural system of Jewish law, custom & practice of the whole individual & community
  • Believes that everyone is under God's rule
  • Oldest of the 3 main monotheistic (‘one god’) religions
  • Shares many beliefs with other 2, Islam & Christianity
  • Believes the world was created by a single, all-knowing divinity, & that all things within the world were designed to have meaning & purpose as part of a divine order
famous jews for 200 alex
“Famous Jews for $200, Alex”
  • Abraham
  • Moses
  • King David & his son King Solomon
  • Mary (mother of Jesus)
  • John the Baptist
  • Jesus
  • The Twelve
  • The Apostle Paul
  • The entire early Christian Church
famous jews for 400 alex
“Famous Jews for $400, Alex”
  • Show Biz – Harrison Ford, Cary Grant, Ben Stiller, Alicia Silverstone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Newman, Michael Douglas, Billy Crystal, George Burns, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Dreyfuss, Tony Clark, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Jerry Springer, Geraldo Rivera, Joan Rivers, Howard Stern
  • Musicians – Slash, Joey Ramone, Gene Simmons, Kenny G, Paul Shaffer, Benny Goodman, Herb Alpert,
  • Athletes – Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Marc Spitz, Sasha Cohen, Sandy Koufax, David Beckham, Shawn Green, Hank Greenberg
famous jews for 600 alex
“Famous Jews for $600, Alex”
  • Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein
  • Anne Frank, Arthur Miller, Danielle Steele, J.D. Salinger, Neil Simon, Norman Mailer
  • Milton Hershey, Vidal Sassoon, Michael Dell, Steve Balmer, Mark Cuban
  • Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Ali G, Marx Brothers
  • Harry Houdini, David Blaine, David Copperfield
  • Mel Blanc, Stan Lee, Matt Parker
  • Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, & yes, Elvis Presley
slide22

Where are they?

  • 15 million Jews throughout the world (Mostly in the U.S., Israel & former USSR)
  • Jews makes up 83% of Israel’s population
  • More Jews live in the U.S. than in Israel!
  • A higher proportion of American Jews are religious (i.e., practice Judaism or profess some form of belief in Judaism) than in Israel!
major branches of judaism
Major Branches of Judaism
  • Conservative – 4.5 million
  • Unaffiliated & Secular – 4.5 million
  • Reform – 3.75 million
  • Orthodox – 2 million
  • Most Jews today do not strictly hold to the Law
  • Many of Israel's Jews are secular - nonobservant and
  • either nonreligious or even agnostic / atheist
  • Religious Jews are in the minority in Israel
a brief history of time jewish style
A Brief History of Time – Jewish Style
  • Judaism dates back to the creation event, but essentially starts to advance with Adam and the other Patriarchs:
  • 2100BC – God Promises Canaan to Abraham
  • 1876-1446BC – Patriarchs arrive in Egypt and are enslaved for 430 years
  • 1446-1406BC – Desert Wanderings
slide25
1406-1050BC – Conquest/Period of Judges
  • 1050-930BC – United Monarchy (King David)
  • 930-722BC – Divided Kingdom to Assyrian Conquest; Beginning of Diaspora
  • 722-587BC – Babylonian conquest, Destruction of Solomon’s Temple
  • 587-539BC – Babylonian Exile
  • 539-333BC – Persian Period, Cyrus allows Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem & Temple
slide26
333-63BC – Greek Period – Hellenization of Holy Land; Maccabean Revolt; rise of Synagogue & religious parties (Sadducees, Essenes, Pharisees)
  • 63BC-200AD – Roman period
  • 70AD – Jewish War results in the destruction of Herod’s Temple, Sanhedrin & sacrificial system
  • 132AD – Judean revolt sparked by Roman Emperor Hadrian’s building city Aelia Capitolina on top of ruins of Jerusalem. Jews banned from Jerusalem; circumcision of converts forbidden
slide27
200-640AD – Period of intense persecution mainly from the Christians, especially after Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire
  • 634-1096AD – Age of the Gaons – Muslim conquests bring many Jews under Islamic domain, improving quality of life considerably
  • 1096AD – Crusades specifically target Jews; they are looted & murdered en masse
  • 1096-1348AD – Jews expelled from England, not returning until 1650
slide28
1348 – Jews accused of poisoning wells and causing the Black Death. (This resulted in many gruesome massacres across Europe.)
  • 1348-1517 – Jewish Influence – After the massacres, Jews allowed to return to their cities, many becoming moneylenders.
  • 1492 – Jews in Spain offered choice of converting to Christianity or leaving the country.
  • Wherever they went the exiles had a powerful impact.
slide29
1517-1700 – Europe in Ferment – Period started with a era of tolerance as authorities viewed Jews as useful. Massacres in 1648 & 1649 devastated the Jews in Poland & the Ukraine.
  • Numerous men rose up claiming to be the Messiah. Most important was Shabbetai Zevi (1628-1716). He was imprisoned in Gallipolo; then later converted to Islam.
  • “The Paradox of the traitorous Messiah is far greater then an executed Messiah.” – Gershom Scholem
  • Meaning a Jew claiming to be the Messiah then converting to Islam is more insulting than a messiah being crucified.
slide30
1700’s-Present – Large numbers migrated to the Americas (period of Jewish tolerance)
  • 1880’s – Strong Aryan, anti-semitic movements began in France
  • WWII – Extermination of 1/3 of world’s Jewish population – 6 million murdered
  • 1948 – Zionists pushed for & received the State of Israel for the Jews to have a country once more. Battle for this territory still rages today
divisions sects
Divisions & Sects
  • Shortly after the original temple was built the first major rift in Jewish history occurred.
  • Under the poor leadership of King Rehoboam, Israel divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel & the Southern Kingdom of Judea.

“But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.” – 1 Kings 12:8

The two kingdoms remained divided, & fell separately

slide32
After returning from exile, the Jews formed at least 4 parties during the Intertestamental period: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes & Zealots
  • Each party had it’s own distinct traditions in regards to culture, religious beliefs, ceremonies, calendar, lifestyle, etc.
  • The differences concern activities more than theology
pharisees
Pharisees
  • Represented more of the common people
  • Stressed holiness of life; created a body of laws to prevent people from breaking laws (‘hedging’)
  • Not as strict as the Essenes
  • Created the oral law; eventually became the Talmud
  • Unlike the Sadducees, they strongly resisted the Hellenistic culture
  • Emerged as the dominant group after 70AD

"Woe to you…Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” – Jesus: Matthew 23:13

sadducees
Sadducees
  • Composed of wealthy aristocrats & priests
  • Held to a very strict interpretation of the Scriptures
  • Rejected the doctrine of the Resurrection
  • Most members of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees
  • Disappeared with Jerusalem destruction in 70AD

When Jesus saw many of the Pharisees & Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” – Matthew 3:7

essenes
Essenes
  • Ascetic, monastic sect; removed themselves from daily life to prevent being polluted by the corrupt world
  • No personal possessions, very strict observation of community & Sabbath rules, incl. no bowel movements
  • Devoted themselves to study, with a focus on moral & ethical learning
  • Qumran sect is best known of this group; the Dead Sea Scrolls were widely believed to be their work
  • Their website claims almost all main founders of what would later be called ‘Christianity’ were Essenes, incl. Joseph & Mary, John the Baptist, Jesus & John
zealots
Zealots
  • Term used to describe Jewish anti-Roman groups using both political & military tactics
  • Covered many different factions; was not a party name
  • Began in 6AD by Judas Maccabees based on inspiration of Phinehas (Numbers 25:11)
  • “Sicarii” (‘Dagger-men’) most extreme branch; carried short daggers, stabbing their enemies in broad daylight in large crowds, then joined the outraged crowd, adding their own cries of indignation
  • Largely responsible for the beginning of the Jewish War, which led to the destruction of the Temple
zealots37
Zealots
  • One of the 12 apostles was ‘Simon the Zealot’
  • Barabbas; possibly Paul (Acts 22:3; Galatians 1:14)
  • Acts 21:38 – ‘4,000 Assassins’ – ‘4,000 Terrorists’
  • Mark 15:7 – ‘The Insurrectionists’
  • Last Zealot Stronghold, Masada, fell in May 74AD
orthodox vs reformed
Orthodox vs. Reformed
  • Most obvious division today is between Orthodox & Progressive Jews
  • Orthodox Jews adhere to a very strict biblical & oral law (Talmud).
  • Diligently follow Sabbatical laws & Kosher regulations. (In their own eyes no other Jews are really Jews.)
reformed judaism
Reformed Judaism
  • Began in Germany in the 18th Century
  • Followed philosophies of enlightenment, enjoying the benefits of the lessening persecution
  • Soon many Jews adapted to their culture rather than holding to their traditions
  • Using scientific inquiry and critical evaluation some even taught that man no longer needed to accept the revelation of the Torah as factual & binding
  • Changes in ritual law & worship were encouraged; dietary laws were abandoned and a more “people friendly” version of Judaism was born
kabbalah mysticism
Kabbalah (Mysticism)
  • Branch of Judaism; meaning ‘Received Tradition’
  • Claims to be the oldest religion; with origins dating back to Adam & Abraham
  • Possesses secret & mystic “truths”
  • Claims to hold the long-hidden keys to the secrets of the universe & mysteries of the human heart & soul
  • Many similarities to Gnostic movements
  • Essenes protected their writings, allegedly authored by Cain, Noah & Jared
  • Isaac Newton, Madonna, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Mick Jagger, Anthony Kiedis
basic teachings of kabbalah
Basic Teachings of Kabbalah
  • In order to claim the gifts you were created to receive, you must 1st earn those gifts. You do this undertaking spiritual work — the process of transforming yourself. By recognizing the sources of negativity in your mind & heart, you’ll receive the tools for positive change.
  • Every human being is a work in progress. Pain, disappointment & chaos exists not because this is how life is meant to be, but because of unfinished work that brought the strife. That work is the process of freeing yourself from the domination of the human ego and creating an attraction with God.
  • In everyday life, this transformation means letting go of anger, jealousy & other reactive behaviors – in favor of patience, empathy & compassion. It does not mean giving up all desires, & going to live on a mountaintop. On the contrary, it means desiring more of the fulfillment that humanity was meant to have.
jewish culture beliefs
Jewish Culture & Beliefs
  • To understand any religion we must look at what their followers believe & how they live. In this section we’ll look at a few major Jewish beliefs
  • The Jewish culture has existed for thousands of years – so many beliefs changed with time
  • Much of what we know of ancient Jewish history is found in the writing of Josephus & Philo (Essenes)
  • Let’s look at some key terms of Judaism:
monotheism
Monotheism
  • There is only one God, YHWH
  • Originally Judaism was much different than the majority of ancient polytheistic religions. (An important statement of Jewish Theology.)
  • Parented the other two main monotheistic religions: Islam & Christianity
land of canaan promised land
Land of Canaan/Promised Land
  • God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit this land forever
  • When it was lost it was a devastating blow to people’s faith
  • Many believe that God was behind giving the land back to the Jews in this century (1948)

The Lord had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people & your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation & I will bless you; I will make your name great, & you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, & whoever curses you I will curse; & all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." – Genesis 12:1-3

slide45
Israel – God’s Chosen People – The Jewish nation Abraham fathered has always believed themselves to be God’s only chosen people. (Jewish vs. Gentile perspective.)
  • The Law – Found predominately in the Pentateuch (books of the Law). 613 total commandments the Jews were to obey. Today only Orthodox Jews attempt to obey them all. (The rest pick & choose which portions of the law are applicable to them.)
the shema
The Shema
  • Judaism has no formal creed but the essence of their faith is summed up in the Shema
  • Shema means “Hear,” as in “Hear O Lord”
  • Read every morning by pious Jews to remind them of the Law
  • Consists mainly of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and affirms their monotheistic belief, as well as praises God for his creation, revelation & redemption
the sabbath
The Sabbath
  • Begins at sunset each Friday, ends the same time the next day
  • Considered the most important Jewish festival
  • Originally ordained by God to be a holy day of rest where work was forbidden
  • Few things are specifically forbidden in the Bible (Numbers 15:32-36 - Gathering kindling is forbidden under pain of death.)
  • Most of the rules are found in the Mishnah of 200AD, and are quite detailed & restrictive.
the sabbath48
The Sabbath

Some rules obeyed by various sects include:

  • No fires can be lit on the Sabbath, although if it is already burning it can remain lit
  • No long journeys may be undertaken
  • No vehicles may be driven
  • Historically some sects even went as far as to forbid bowel movements on the Sabbath although that was not the common practice
kosher dietary regulations
Kosher/Dietary Regulations
  • Kosher – Fit or clean according to Jewish dietary laws
  • Regulations found in the Torah (Lev 11, Deut 14), but many more added through traditions
  • Meat & dairy products can’t be eaten together. (Many households have 2 sets of dishes to prevent any contact
  • Jewish hotels have 2 kitchens to prevent contamination
  • Animals must be slaughtered & prepared by a ‘shochet’, trained & ordained in the kosher regulations
  • Orthodox Jews follow these regulations meticulously; average Jews do not
the synagogue
The Synagogue
  • Place of Jewish communal worship
  • Most Jews are members of a Synagogue although that does not mean that they regularly attend
  • Mainly a place for reading scripture & prayer
  • Since 70AD (Destruction of the Temple), this has been the center of both religious & cultural life
  • May have originated after 586BC to replace temple worship while in exile, but it developed rapidly during the Intertestamental period
festivals jewish religious year has many annual festivals
FestivalsJewish religious year has many annual festivals
  • Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year’s Day, occurring in September or October
  • Celebrates both the creation of the world and God’s judgment of the world
  • Tradition says this was the day God called the Universe into existence
  • People are called to return to God and set aside next 10 days for self examination & repentance
yom kippur day of atonement
Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement
  • Holiest day of the Jewish Year
  • Concludes 10-day period begun on New Year’s
  • Day of fasting, prayer & public confession of sin
  • Commemorates the day when the High Priest made sacrifices for people of Israel and entered the Holy of Holies
  • No sacrifices today, so worshippers fast for 24 hours and spend the whole day at the synagogue
  • At the end of the day they consider themselves to be reborn
slide53

Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles

  • 5 days after Day of Atonement
  • Lasts for one week
  • One of 3 harvest festivals in the Jewish year (Passover & Pentecost)
  • Model for Christian harvest celebrations
  • Purpose: To remember how God provided for His people during the 40 years in the dessert
  • Shelters or Tabernacles of branches are built and lived in for the week
slide54

Simchat Torah – Rejoicing of the Law

  • During the course of every year the entire Pentateuch is read in the synagogue
  • On this day the reading is completed with the last few verses of Deuteronomy & the 1st few of Genesis
  • The scrolls of the law are carried around the synagogue in a procession, with much joy, singing & dancing
slide55

Hanukkah - Festival of Lights

  • Celebrated around Christmas time
  • Celebrates the Maccabean victory over Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 164BC, when the temple was rededicated to God. (Antiochus had set up a idol in the temple to Zeus, & sacrificed a pig on it.)
  • The festival lasts eight days
  • On each day a candle on a menorah (9-branched candle stick) is lit
slide56

Purim – Lot

  • Celebrated in Feb/Mar; recalls the story of Esther
  • Named in reference to the lot (‘pur’) Haman cast to decide the day to destroy the Jews in the Persian Empire (Esther 3:7)
  • The entire book of Esther read in the synagogues. Whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, the boys make noise & stomp their feet
  • The festival is a time of parties and a special pastry served called Hamantaschen
slide57

Pesach – Passover

  • Recalls the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt, especially the last plague of the 1st Born
  • A special meal is served in the home called Sedar (“order”)
  • The youngest child asks, “What does this mean?” & the father relates the Exodus story
  • Traditionally an extra seat is left for Elijah, who’s expected to herald in the Messianic age
  • On the eve of Passover a thorough search is made for leaven in the home
pentecost feast of the first fruits weeks
PentecostFeast of the First Fruits (Weeks)
  • Originally an agricultural celebration occurring 7-weeks or 50 days after the beginning of Passover
  • Commemorates the Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai
  • Also associated with failed revolt against the Romans in 2nd Century AD
  • The Ten Commandments are read
  • Some Jews stay up all night mediating on the Law
  • The day the Christian Church started!
tishah b av
Tishah B’Av
  • Observed on 9th day of Av – around July/August
  • Memorializes the Temple destruction of 70 AD
  • Some also link it with the 586BC destruction
  • All ornaments are removed from the synagogue
  • Day of mourning & fasting
the three rites
The Three Rites
  • In addition to the festivals, modern male Jews celebrate 3 rites in the course of their lives: Circumcision, Bar Mitzvah & Marriage
  • According to Orthodox Jewish law a Jew is one born to a Jewish mother
  • Boys are circumcised 8 days after birth and receive their Jewish name
  • Circumcisions can be done by a doctor or by a Mohel, a trained & registered professional
circumcision
Circumcision
  • According to Orthodox Jewish law, a Jew is one born to a Jewish mother
  • Boys are circumcised 8 days after birth and then receive their Jewish name
  • Circumcisions can be done by a doctor or by a ‘Mohel’, a trained & registered professional
slide62

Bar-Mitzvah

  • At age 13, Jewish boys becomes Bar-Mitzvah (son of the Commandment)
  • On the Sabbath after this birthday, he reads from the Torah during the synagogue service for the 1st time
  • From this time on he is expected to fulfill all the duties of a Jew
  • A girl becomes Bat-Mitzvah (daughter of the Commandment) automatically at the age of 12. Some synagogues will have a ceremony to celebrate
slide63

Marriage

  • Marriage is considered to be a holy covenant
  • Bridegroom signs the marriage document (‘ketubbah’) & pledges himself to his bride
  • During the service the couple stands under an embroidered canopy supported by 4 poles, which represents their future home
  • The ceremony ends with the bridegroom breaking a glass. Some think this is symbolic of the destruction of the temple, others believe it’s to take moments to reflect – even during times of great joy
the temple
The Temple
  • Originally built by Solomon approx. 950 BC
  • Rebuilt last by King Herod – an 83-year project completed in 63AD – on 35 acres of land
  • Two most significant events in Jewish history are the destruction of the temples: 586BC by the Babylonians & 70AD by the Romans
  • While the temple has not existed for 1900 years it is still a very relevant topic
  • Many Jews believe that God will allow for the temple to be rebuilt again, now that they have returned to the Holy land
slide66
However, it is very unlikely that Muslims will allow this – as they’ve built the “Dome of the Rock” on the location of the original Temple
  • All that remains of the original Temple is the Western Wall also knows as the Wailing Wall
  • The wall is a place of prayer & lamentation – as well as a popular pilgrimage site
scriptures
Scriptures
  • We’re very familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures as the Old Testament contains them in their entirety, although the format is different
  • A prominent feature of the OT is the three-fold division of The Torah (Law), Nevi’im (Prophets) & the Ketuvim (Writings)
slide70
In addition to the Torah a large body of laws have developed over time:
  • 100BC-70 AD – Pharisees’ oral interpretations of the Torah
  • 200AD – Mishnah – Interpretations of the Torah by Rabbinic writers
  • 200-500AD – Midrash – Rabbinic sermons on the Torah
  • 400AD – Palestinian Gemera records debates of Rabbis in Palestine
  • 400AD – Jerusalem Talmud – Consists of the Mishnah & Palestinian Gemara
  • 500AD – Following an independent development of thought in Babylon, a separate Talmud developed consisting of Babylonian Gemara & the Mishnah.