Flashcards in Old Testament Deck (22):
Judaism History/Origins/Traditional view
• An account of the Israelites' relationship with God from their earliest history until the building of the Second Temple (c. 350 BCE).
• Israelites struggle with their faith in God and attraction to other gods.
• Originally henotheists, each nation had its own god, but that their god was superior
Tanak: Law, Prophets, Writings
• Written in Hebrew and Aramaic.
• In the centuries before Christ, Hellenistic-Jewish scholars produced a translation in Greek, the common language since the conquests of Alexander the Great.
• Written Torah, given to Moses. (Book of Moses, Pentateuch)
• Oral Torah, to help understand the Oral Torah; Talmud, Kabbalah
• Rabbinic tradition: Psalms; Song of Songs, Proverbs – Solomon
Authors of the Torah
The J Source (ca. 950-920 BCE), during the heady days of the Davidic-Solomonic kingdom.
1. Vivid concrete style
2. Anthropomorphic view of Deity (God walks and talks)
3. Uses "Yahweh" as name for God
The E Source (ca. 870-840 BCE)
1. View of God less anthropomorphic, more transcendent
2. Uses "Elohim" as word for God
The D Source (ca. 620 BCE)
1. Second law
2. Reflects style and religious attitudes of King Josiah's reform
The P Source (ca. 550-520 BCE), who struggles to offer a picture of hope during the debacle of the Exile in the sixth century B.C.
1. Emphasis on priestly concerns: legal & cultic aspects
Abraham – Hagar/Ishmael, Sarah/Isaac – Rebekah/Esau, Jacob - Joseph
• Abraham, first Hebrew and the father of the Jewish people, rejected the idolatry he saw around him and embraced monotheism. As a reward for this act of faith in one God, he was promised many offspring, ca 2,000 BCE.
• God makes a covenant with Abram, promising that Abram's descendants shall be as numerous as the stars in the heavens, and that they shall inherit the land "from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates."
• Circumcision of all males is instituted as an external sign of the covenant.
• God appears again to Abraham. Three strangers appear, and Abraham receives them hospitably. God tells Abraham that he will punish Sodom, "because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave."
• The men of Sodom surround the house of Lot (nephew of Abraham) and call to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them." Lot offers his two virgin daughters in place of the divine messengers, but the men refuse. Lot and his family are led out of Sodom, and Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by fire-and-brimstone; but Lot's wife, looking back, is turned to a pillar of salt. Lot's daughters, fearing that they will not find husbands and that Lot's line will die out, make their father drunk and lie with him
• Sarah gives birth to Isaac, and God tests Abraham by commanding that he sacrifice his only son. Abraham obeys; but, as he is about to lay the knife upon his son, God restrains him, promising him numberless descendants.
• Isaac's wife Rebekah is barren, but Isaac prays to God, and she gives birth to the twins Esau and Jacob.
• Jacob deceives his father Isaac and obtains the blessing of prosperity which should have been Esau's.
• Jacob makes a coat of many colors for his favorite son, Joseph.
• Joseph next interprets the dream of Pharaoh, of seven fat cattle and seven lean cattle, as meaning seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
• Joseph reveals his identity, forgives his brothers the wrong they did him, and he promises to settle in Egypt both them and his father Jacob brings his whole family to Egypt, where Pharaoh assigns to them the land of Goshen.
• 12 sons of Jacob, 12 tribes of Israel.
• Moses - redeem the Israelites from slavery, leading to the Exodus from Egypt; Mount Sinai in 1313 BCE.
• Aaron, Moses' brother, to be a priestly class, Cohen family within Levi tribe, inherited, within the Israelite community. They first officiated in the tabernacle (a portable house of worship), and later their descendants were in charge of worship in the Temple in Jerusalem.
• 12 tribes of Israel, more or less autonomous, ruled by judges and priests (tribe of Levi)
Philistines expanding in their territory, so need for centralized government.
o Samuel appoints a permanent king, Saul.
o Saul offers and animal sacrifice, which only priests could do, so he was removed.
o David, who moves the capital to Jerusalem, administrative and religious center.
o Solomon, who constructed the first temple, married 700 princesses, forced citizens to work as slaves.
• With Solomon’s death there remain 2 kingdoms, North and South.
o North – Israel
o South – Judah.
Israel conquered by Assyria (present-day Iraq).
• In 587 BCE, the South/Judah captured by Babylon (present-day Iraq, 55 miles south of Baghdad); people deported, the “Babylonian Exile” means loss and disorientation.
o Temple destroyed
o Loss of independence
o Loss of King
o Loss of land
o Yahweh, the God of Israel, is not the mot powerful
conquest of Babylonia by Persians/Cyrus allows Judeans return to Jerusalem and reconstruct the temple, old religious practices resumed.
Alexander the Great conquers Palestine.
o Hellenism changes Jewish culture and religion.
o Now Greek, not Aramaic.
Romans take control.
o Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, Pharisees.
o After Jewish revolt against Romans, Romans destroy Jerusalem.