Gsu2 presentation early jewish history


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Gsu2 presentation early jewish history

  1. 1. Mythos and LogosWe tend to assume that the people of the pastwere (more or less) like us, but in fact theirspiritual lives were rather different. Inparticular, they evolved two ways of thinking,speaking, and acquiring knowledge, whichscholars have called mythos and logos. Bothwere essential; they were regarded ascomplementary ways of arriving at truth, andeach had its special area of competence. Karen Armstrong, The Battle of God Huston Smith: “The Revolution in Western Thought” in The Saturday Evening Post, August 26, 1961 Focus Pre-Modern Pre- Modern Post-modern Post-Philosophy:Philosophy: …is deeply …is not necessarily …is clearly Reality… Reality… personal personal impersonal …exceeds Science: Science: … has inner logic, … may just as human Nature… Nature… comprehensible well be chaos comprehension Religion: Religion: …is following … is understanding … if exists, may fulfillment God’s will God’ & using natural laws not be intelligible 1
  2. 2. Christian-centered Neutral Terminology Terminology Old Testament Hebrew Bible New Testament Christian Scriptures BCE (Before the BC (Before Christ) Common Era)AD (anno domini, year CE (Common Era, of the Lord) starting in year 1) Christ (the Messiah) Jesus (personal name) Time Scope of Jewish Tradition• Biblical ???? ±200 BCE• Rabbinic ±200 BCE ±600 CE• Medieval ±600 1492• Pre-Modern 1492 1800• Modern 1800 1948• Contemporary 1948 Now 2
  3. 3. Was Abraham Jewish?• No. Abraham was a Hebrew• “Hebrew” ‫ עברי‬means “the migrant”• Abraham’s children were also Hebrews, migrants• Abraham’s grandson, Jacob was also called Israel• Jacob’s sons were B’nei Israel “Israel’s children”• As a people, B’nei Israel came to mean “Israelites” Was the Exodus about the Jews? • No. Those who left Egypt were b’nei Israel, the Israelites, Jacob’s descendents • One of the twelve tribes of the Israelites was Judah, but its members were also Israelites • After the Exodus, each tribe settled in a part of Canaan. The tribe of Judah settled south of nowadays’ Jerusalem, known as the Land of Judea 3
  4. 4. Was King David Jewish? • No. Although King David came from the tribe of Judah, and could be called a Judean, • only after King David’s son, King Solomon, the kingdom was split into Israel and Judea • The Northern Kingdom was Israel • The Southern Kingdom was Judah • The southerners were known as Judean So, Who Were the First Jews?• 721 BCE: Assyria hit the Northern Kingdom, exiled its people and settled others in their place• All trace of the ten northern tribes were lost• 568 BCE: Babylon hit Judah and exiled its leaders• The exiled Judeans were known as yehudim, Jews• Jews exist from the Babylonian exile in 568 BCE• This name remained even after their return to their land 70 years later under Persian King Cyrus 4
  5. 5. Biblical Eras Mythical/Para- Patriarchs, Egypt, Exodus, Historical Conquest, confederation, early monarchy First Temple united kingdom? ca 1000 – ca 500 BCE Divided Kingdom Babylonian Exile Second Temple ca 500 BCE – ca 200 BCE ca 200 BCE – 70 CE Rabbinic People of the Book• Biblical Tradition – Patriarchs Communicate directly with the Divine – From Moses, communication through prophets – Hagai, Zechariah and Malachi: the last prophets• “End of Prophecy” – Priests continue sacrifices until temple destroyed – Then only written records left from God’s word – Authority passes to Literati (scribes, rabbis) 5
  6. 6. Rabbinical Eras Mishnah Oral written Tannaim -200 - +200 (Hebrew) Talmud Amoraim Oral/Written +200 - +600 (Aramaic) SvoraimCommentaries Written Rabbis From +600 Codes Written Rabbis From +1000 Responsa Written Rabbis From +1000 6
  7. 7. Political & Spiritual Crises• Until 135 CE, Jews enjoyed a certain autonomy under the dominant power: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia• Surviving the Babylonian exile and consequent series of conquest was phenomenal• 70 CE: 1st revolt against Rome destruction of 2nd Temple & end of sacrificial cult as form of worship• 135 CE: 2nd revolt against Rome extermination and dispersion of the remnants of Jews in the DIASPORA• Loss of political autonomy and territorial center 7
  8. 8. Early Diaspora Jewish Diaspora• Dispersion of by successive exiles and voluntary expatriation due to persecution• Result of massive Jewish expatriations in 722 BCE, 568 BCE, 70 CE, and 135 CE• 1st—20th century Jewish communities around the world with limited or no civil rights and subject to repeated persecutions and exterminations, culminating with the Holocaust• 20th-21st century Jews outside Israel 8
  9. 9. The Art of Being Different• Definition of “definition”: – TO DEFINE, from: de- (completely) + finire (to bound, limit)• Self definition = setting boundaries• Definitions show differences, not similarities• Jewish Identity = based on distinction• Jewish Identity ≠ monolithic Biblical Narrative & “truth”• Religious reading of the Bible – not dependent on scientific proof.• Even with critical reading, Bible can provide insight as to – The collective memory of a group – Its values, their evolement and power balance – Normative guidelines, whether followed or not 9
  10. 10. From Hebrews to JewsThe Patriarchs were HebrewsExodus transformed the descendents of Jacob to apeople: the IsraelitesThe divided monarchy distinguished between Israelitesand JudeansIsraelites disappeared with the Assyrian exileJudeans exiled to Babylon and returned Jews What are the Jews?• Hebrews = clan / tribal organization• Israelites – In Egypt: oppressed populace, no organization – In Sinai: developing religious identity & organization – In Canaan: increased ethnic identity & organization – United monarchy: centralized religious/national identity – Divided monarchy: conflicted identity• Judeans & Jews – Exile: Identity focused on religion and origin (Judea) – Return: Religion plays increased role in politics 10