Lecture3 hebrewsedited


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Lecture3 hebrewsedited

  1. 1. Lecture 3: The Hebrews and the Emergence of Monotheism
  2. 2. Hebrew Origins <ul><li>First appeared in Mesopotamia </li></ul><ul><li>Patriarch Abraham, Isaac, Jacob </li></ul><ul><li>1900 - 1500 BCE: migrate to Canaan + Egypt </li></ul><ul><li>Descendants of Abraham: Israelites </li></ul><ul><li>Hyksos expelled - Hebrews enslaved by Egyptian Kings until 1250 BCE </li></ul><ul><li>Moses: exodus to Sinai peninsula </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Settlement in Canaan </li></ul><ul><li>11 th century BCE: confederation of 12 tribes conquer Canaan </li></ul><ul><li>Threats from Philistines </li></ul><ul><li>Tribes united under Saul, first King of Israelites (1020-1000 BCE) </li></ul><ul><li>Succeeded by King David, popular warrior in court of Saul </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reign of King David (1000 – 962 BCE) <ul><li>United Israel + Judah into 1 kingdom: Israel </li></ul><ul><li>Royal court, centralized political bureaucracy of priestly leaders, professional soldiers, administrators, scribes </li></ul><ul><li>Standing army + military strength </li></ul><ul><li>Economic progress: trade </li></ul><ul><li>Semi-nomadic herders into land of villages, farmers, artisans </li></ul><ul><li>Ended federation of tribes </li></ul><ul><li>Capital city of Jerusalem, center of cult of Yahweh </li></ul>
  5. 5. Reign of King Solomon (962 – 922 BCE) <ul><li>Royal power grew, more elaborate bureaucracy </li></ul><ul><li>Worship of Yahweh continues </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic + international trade </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced role of military: diplomacy </li></ul><ul><li>Wives + concubines </li></ul><ul><li>Taxes + forced labor: massive building projects </li></ul>
  6. 6. Temple of Jerusalem <ul><li>Success of King Solomon’s reign </li></ul><ul><li>Religious center of Hebrew worship </li></ul><ul><li>Ark of the Covenant </li></ul><ul><li>Not place of public worship </li></ul>
  7. 7. Destruction of Israelite Kingdom <ul><li>922 BCE: Israel split in 2 kingdoms: Israel + Judah. </li></ul><ul><li>721 BCE : Assyrians destroy Israel; 30,000 Israelites deported to Mesopotamia. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Kingdom of Judah, 721 – 587 BCE <ul><li>Reign of Ahaz (743-727 BCE) </li></ul><ul><li>Judah’s vassaldom to Assyria </li></ul><ul><li>Abandoned worship of Yahweh for Ba’al </li></ul><ul><li>Reign of Hezekiah (727-698 BCE): </li></ul><ul><li>Submission to Assyria </li></ul><ul><li>Demographic growth </li></ul><ul><li>Abolished “local sanctuaries” </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of Hebrew unity and identity </li></ul>
  9. 9. Reign of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) <ul><li>Religious reform + renewal of covenant </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal Davidic King ( Kings ) </li></ul><ul><li>“Book of law” (Deuteronomy): religious reform. </li></ul><ul><li>Result: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Purged non-Israelite forms of worship </li></ul><ul><li>2.Outlawed worship of local shrines </li></ul>
  10. 10. Developments in Hebrew Religion: Prophetic Revolution (800-600 BCE) <ul><li>Social injustice + moral decay of landowners and kings: call for justice to avert divine punishment </li></ul><ul><li>Prophets of 8th + 7 th C BCE: reinvented/reoriented Yahweh religion - Isaiah, Elijah, Samuel, Amos, Hosea, Micah. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Innovations of the Prophets <ul><li>Monotheism </li></ul><ul><li>Yahweh as one + only god of universe. Monotheistic religion dated no earlier than prophetic revolution. Before this, Monolatrous </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Re-centered religion around ethics, away from cultic rules + ritual. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Problems of Israelite Kingship <ul><li>Kingship: arises with external pressures </li></ul><ul><li>Hebrew Monarchy: conflict between Yahweh and Kings. Act of disobedience </li></ul><ul><li>Saul is disobedient: sets pattern for the rest </li></ul><ul><li>Major channel for foreign influence to seep into Israelite life. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>What was criticized? </li></ul><ul><li>Brutality of war </li></ul><ul><li>Economic oppression of poor </li></ul><ul><li>Syncretism of cult of Yahweh with Baalism </li></ul><ul><li>Involvement in international politics </li></ul>
  14. 14. Quotes from Isaiah <ul><li>Example 1: Isaiah 5.8, 20, 23, 25 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, </li></ul><ul><li>Until there is room for no one but you…. </li></ul><ul><li>Ah, you who call evil good and good evil…. </li></ul><ul><li>Who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!.... </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people” </li></ul><ul><li>Example 2: Isaiah 1.12-17 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile…. </li></ul><ul><li>When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; </li></ul><ul><li>Even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; </li></ul><ul><li>Cease to do evil, learn to do good; </li></ul><ul><li>Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Image: Northern French miniature of 1278 shows King Solomon reading his copy of the Torah, as laid down by Deuteronomy </li></ul><ul><li>“ One from among the brethren shalt thou set king over thee….and it shall be when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book…and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, and to do them; that his heart not be lifted up above his brethren” (Deut 17.15) </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>The Babylonian Exile of 586-538 BCE : </li></ul><ul><li>586 BCE : Babylonians (under King Nebuchadnezzar) destroy Judah, then conquer Jerusalem. 20,000 Israelites deported to Babylonia </li></ul><ul><li>Primary challenge of exile: lack of organized public worship </li></ul><ul><li>Psalm 137.1-4 </li></ul><ul><li>“ By the rivers of Babylon- there we sat down </li></ul><ul><li>and there we wept when we remembered Zion. </li></ul><ul><li>On the willows there we hung our harps. </li></ul><ul><li>For there our captors asked us for songs, </li></ul><ul><li>and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” </li></ul><ul><li>How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Developments in Hebrew Religion: Post-Exilic Revolution <ul><li>Period of exile: despair + reform </li></ul><ul><li>Theology of Salvation: Babylonian captivity as God's punishment for violation of divine laws </li></ul><ul><li>Ezekiel + Isaiah: Israelites will reunite again + unified Davidic kingdom will be re-established. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Second Temple Period <ul><li>538 BCE: Cyrus, King of Persia - Hebrews return to Jerusalem. </li></ul><ul><li>515 BCE: Second Temple built in Jerusalem. </li></ul><ul><li>Religious practices organized + regulated under Ezra the Scribe. </li></ul><ul><li>Restored temple = center of religious life for 500 years </li></ul><ul><li>The Hebrew Bible (“Old Testament” to Christians) began to take shape </li></ul>
  19. 19. Jewish Law <ul><li>10 Commandments - code of moral imperatives. Violation = broken covenant + destruction of Hebrew nation </li></ul><ul><li>Law of the Torah: directly from God </li></ul><ul><li>Law as science of behavior </li></ul><ul><li>New value of the individual, i.e. highest value not to property, but life </li></ul><ul><li>Morality over ritual </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Covenant <ul><li>Abraham's covenant: descendants will be given the promised land of Canaan &quot;for an everlasting possession,&quot; in which to dwell (Gen. 15:17-21 and 17:7-8). </li></ul><ul><li>Exodus 19:5: “Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.&quot; </li></ul>
  21. 21. Innovations in Hebrew Religion (after exile, 538 BCE) <ul><li>Before </li></ul><ul><li>Evil: human actions </li></ul><ul><li>No Eschatology/ Apocalypticism </li></ul><ul><li>No extensive mention of “messiah” </li></ul><ul><li>Afterlife: House of Dust (Sheol). </li></ul><ul><li>After </li></ul><ul><li>Dualism </li></ul><ul><li>Eschatology + Apocalypticism </li></ul><ul><li>Messianism: Deliverer &quot;messiah,&quot; or &quot;anointed one.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Afterlife. Good rewarded, evil punished in next life </li></ul>
  22. 22. Hebrew vs. Egyptian and Mesopotamian Religions <ul><li>Monotheism </li></ul><ul><li>God as fully sovereign </li></ul><ul><li>God not created – eternal </li></ul><ul><li>Transcendent – above nature, not part of nature. </li></ul><ul><li>No worship of idols: God unrepresentable </li></ul><ul><li>No ultimate loyalty to kings </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of individual </li></ul>
  23. 23. Lecture 3: What do you need to know? <ul><li>General Characteristics of Hebrew Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of reign of King Solomon, King David, King Hezekiah, and King Josiah </li></ul><ul><li>Prophetic Revolution: What caused it? What were the central innovations? </li></ul><ul><li>Israelite Kingship: Why did some resist and criticize? </li></ul><ul><li>Post-exile: Developments of Hebrew Religion </li></ul>