History of Judaism: From Biblical Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1274 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Then, after he had destroyed them in a flood, he was sorry that he had been so impulsive. And he promised never to do it again. And in order to be sure that he wouldn't forget, Yahweh put a sign up in the sky, a rainbow, as a sort of divine mnemonic device.

Finally, in the Tower of Babel story, humans try to establish themselves and make a name for themselves. Yahweh is disturbed by this activity and seeks to confound their efforts so that they will not threaten him. In this heist successful.

The "piety of early Israelite families projected on to the patriarchs is not yet the real beginning of the history of Israelite religion." In the turmoil of the exodus a unique bond was formed between Yahweh and a large group. Other religions knew of such a bond only between the god and an individual or a small group. When the group under Joshua entered Canaan, the land was already seething with social change and liberation: "The religious traditions of liberation which they brought with them made an essential contribution toward stimulating and channeling it and creating a social order which for more than a century secured a life for the population of the hill- country in the greatest possible freedom." (Clifford, Richard, A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy.(book reviews). Vol. 56, Theological Studies, 09-01-1995, pp 566(2).)Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Under the monarchy, the national consensus over the form and values of society, which had developed in the wake of the exodus, collapsed. The religion of the larger groups went into different and sometimes conflicting positions that could no longer be held by society as a whole but only by groups within it, e.g. The official theology of king and temple, the theology of resistance groups, and in between various accommodations to traditional Yahwism and court/temple religion. With the downfall of the kingdom in 587, the official theology ended and the resistance theology was adopted as a new "official" theology. The religion of the Deuteronomy reform is interpreted by summarizing the whole religious tradition under a single concept, which ensured the survival of Israel when there was no longer a unified state to hold things together. In place of king and cult there now was the Torah accompanied by a pervasive legal stamp. (Nahum Sarna, "Understanding Creation in Genesis" in Frye, Is God a Creationist?, pp 155-173.)

According to Genesis, all humanity is descended not just from Adam and Eve, but more specifically, from Noah and his sons. Therefore, all humanity, Jews and non-Jews, are of common descent, biologically (and hence spiritually) distinguished from any other creation by their creation in the divine image. The rabbis understood that God had communicated a specific set of expectations to this pre-Israelite humanity, expectations that hold for all its descendents. The nations (goyim) fulfill God's will and are considered righteous when they accept what the rabbis term the seven Noahide laws. Israel's distinctiveness within this humanity consists in the fact that first under Abraham and then under Moses, she received further promises and covenants from God, making her responsible for a more complex and demanding set of responsibilities, conceptualized as 613 commandments. Israel's chosenness is thus not a chosenness for reward or special salvation, but a chosenness for special, loving, service to God.(Nahum Sarna, "Understanding Creation in Genesis" in Frye, Is God a Creationist?, pp 155-173.)


Langer, Ruth, Jewish understandings of the religious other., Theological Studies, 06-01-2003, pp 255.

Clifford, Richard, A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, vol. 1: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy.(book reviews). Vol. 56, Theological Studies, 09-01-1995, pp 566(2).

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