Published on January 22, 2008
Hebrew Religion and Ethics: Hebrew Religion and Ethics 1. Historic Language: 1. Historic Language Hebrew Hebrew Bible, Babylonian Talmud (parts in Aramaic) Language of Jewish religious instruction in medieval period Revived in 19th by immigrants to Palestine Official language of modern state of Israel (1948-) 2. Sense of History: 2. Sense of History Hebrew Bible composed of Torah (5 books of Moses), historical works such as Judges and Chronicles; Prophets; and Psalms. Some biblical books discussing specific events in parenthesis below Other historical works: Books of Maccabees, book of Esther, Josephus Hebrew arrival in Canaan, ca. 1200 BCE (Book of Joshua) King Saul (Judges, 1 Samuel) Kin David subdued Philistines ca 1000 BCE, ruled to 962 BCE (2 Samuel, I Kings, I Chronicles) King Solomon 962-922 BCE, built Temple to contain Ark of Covenant Northern kingdom of Israel, Southern kingdom of Judah (I Kings) &27-722 BCE Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and Temple, deported Jewish people of Judea to Babylon (II Chronicles) Late 7th, early 6th c. BCE Prophets Nahum, Zephaniah, Habbakuk, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Sage Daniel 538 BCE When Babylon under Persian Cyrus, some Jews return to Judah (Second Isaiah) Persian, then Greek, then Roman domination of Judah 515 BCE Completion of Second Temple 458 BCE Scribe Ezra compiles parts of Torah 333 BCE Alexander conquers Judaea Sense of History, cont.: Sense of History, cont. Diaspora: Spread of Jews to Egypt, North Afirica, Arbanian peninsula, Asia Minor, and some to Europe 2nd c. BCE Translation of Hebrew Bible into Greek: the Septuagint Maccabees (Celebration of cleaning the Temple in holiday of Hanukkah) (Books of the Maccabees) Jewish High Priests in Judah come under political dominion of Romans 63 BCE Roman control of Judaea, called by Romans province of “Palestine” Diaspora: Spread of Jews to European cities: Athens, Corinth, Rome, Milan, Cordoba, Marseilles, Lyons, Cologne Roman Converts to Judaism (Philo of Alexandria’s philosophy known in Greek-speaking areas of Roman Empire) 70 C C.E. Destruction of Second temple. 73 CE Masada 3. Beliefs: 3. Beliefs God: One despite different peoples’ different names for God Creator of world, plants, animals, humans Not bodily Providential history Divine Covenant with Hebrew people First Century CE Sadducees-value rituals in Temple & written Torah Pharisees, value oral tradition, develop worship in synagogues, talked of afterlife as resurrection of body, talk of future leader to bring divine justice on earth (a messiah). Sadducees and high priests disappeared rabbis, read and commented on Torah, continued work f Pharisees. Rabbis discuss list of 36 books of canonic Hebrew Bible (Torah, Prophets and other works, wisdom Literature) Essenes, ascetic sects of Jews living in isolate communities. Left Records in Dead Sea Scrolls (sections of Hebrew Bible found in 1947) 4. Mitzvahs: 4. Mitzvahs Ethical Life—Ten Commandments primary Laws as commandments of God Religious Observance - Sabbath as oldest most sacred holiday (7th day of creation, 7 day week with 1 day of rest) Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement in Leviticus XV), Rosh Hashanah (Start calendar year) 3 Agricultural Harvest Festivals: Passover (Exodus from Egypt) Shavuot (Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai), Succot (Leviticus, Lived in huts during wandering after exodus) ca. 500 C.E. Babylonian Talmud gave rabbinical discussion on ethics and religious observance. Law (halachah) and Folklore (agadah) In the medieval period, the Babylonian Talmud was authoritative for individual rabbi’s interpretation of law and custom in scattered Jewish communities. It gave guidance for living as Jews in states dominated by other religions. Both the Hellenistic philosophers and the rabbis of the Talmud tried to provide answers to the question of how to live well within a world ruled by others. The Babylonian Talmud, trans. in English with Index, in Occidental College Library.