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Introduction to Judaism
Transcript of Introduction to Judaism
Describe basic Judaism
The religion of the Jewish people is known as Judaism. Judaism has more than 14 million followers throughout the world. Many Jews live in Israel, an independent state at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel was established in 1948 as a homeland for the Jewish people.
Like Christianity and Islam, Judaism says that there is only one God and that God created the world. God expressed what He expects of people in the Ten Commandments and other laws meant to regulate the daily life of the individual and the community. To purposely disobey these laws is to sin, and people have the ability to choose whether or not they will sin.
Jews believe that they have been chosen to have a special relationship with God. They must devote themselves to God and love one another because God selected them to bring knowledge of Him to the rest of the world. They believe that in return, God has promised to make the Jews (Israel) a great nation that will eventually draw other nations together in a worldwide community of justice and peace.
The sacred book of Judaism is the Hebrew Bible. Christians often refer to it as the Old Testament. Particularly important to Judaism are the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). Together they are known as the Torah or the Books of Moses. These writings explain and interpret God's laws.
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
What do you know about Jewish people and the religion of Judaism?
Think, pair, share
Class feedback to whiteboard
What questions do you have about Judaism and Jewish people? Write your questions down on the piece of A3 that is being passed around the classroom. We will try and answer them over the next four weeks.
The story of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is a three thousand year long story which we are going to try and tell in 12 weeks.
Three Level Guide
Does the text say this? What words support your answer?
Does the text give you this idea? What words and phrases support your answer?
Do you agree with this? Why? Be prepared to share your reasons.
Many Jewish people live in one country
Not following God's rule is wrong
Jews do not think they are a special group of people
The most important book for Jews is in the Bible
Jewish people have some things in common with Christians and Muslims
Being Jewish, and Israel are linked
Jewish people believe that the world can be a better place
Some strict Jewish people might not be open-minded about other religions living in Israel
Analyse the importance of Abraham and Israel to Judaism
One of the major figures in the history of religion is Abraham. He is considered the father of faith for the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is also called a patriarch, a term derived from the Greek words for “father” and “beginning.” Applied to Abraham, the term patriarch means that he is considered to be a founding father of the nation of Israel. There were two other patriarchs in the tradition of Israel: Isaac and Jacob, the son and the grandson of Abraham.
For some reason the clan moved northward and settled near Haran. It was at Haran that a call from God came to Abraham, telling him to leave his homeland and go to a new location that God would show him.
Genesis 11: 27-32
Now that you have read and discussed this text, write a summary of it in plain English.
The story of Moses is well-known, and has some very famous parts. We will look at these images and videos and see if we can retell the story on the whiteboard as a comic strip (with speech bubbles). Later we'll hear the Biblical version and see how close we got.
Describe the life of Moses
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.
The first three commandments are to do with how the Jews should act towards God. Remember, this is a time when most people believed in multiple Gods. The first three commandments say: you can't follow other Gods, make images of these Gods (or of God too), and you have to treat my name with respect.
The rest of the commandments tell the Jewish people how to have a good community, and be good people.
This commandment is also about respecting God, and putting aside time to do that
We learn something about the nature of God here: "[I] am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation." Basically, don't mess with me.
17 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
What does it mean to be Jewish? We see the beginning of the idea in the covenant between Abraham and then Moses with God. Part of the covenant between Abraham and God was that Abraham should move to the land of Canaan and have it forever. But twenty years after that move God returned and gave more detail about the covenant.
This section from Genesis has three parts:
What God will do for Abraham
What Abraham will do for God
What God will do for Sarah
Use these titles and make note of what happens in each part.
In addition to the ten commandments Moses in other books of the Torah lays down a whole lot of other rules. Some of these are to do with food (kosher), but the list to is pretty long: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutoronomy
Key dates and figures in the history of Judaism after Moses
Solomon, known as Israel's wisest and most magnificent king. Solomon was little more than a youth when he succeeded his father, David. His kingdom was wealthy and powerful for its day.
Having defeated his enemies, Solomon could carry out the plan that his father, David, had cherished—the building of a great temple. After seven years this temple, built of stone and cedar of Lebanon, carved within and overlaid with pure gold, was completed and dedicated to Jehovah. Adjoining the temple Solomon built a splendid palace.
But Solomon, for all his wisdom, had some very grave faults. To maintain his luxurious court, he taxed his subjects heavily. As the king's character weakened, so did his hold over the people. Under his son Rehoboam, who succeeded him, his empire was lost and his kingdom divided.
Video from 27'05"
Video from 7'05" to 19'20"
"Exile and the dream of return"
Babylon conquered Jerusalem in 586BC. The city was destroyed and 40,000 Jews taken away to Babylon to live in exile. The exile formally ended in 538 BC, when the Persia conquered Babylon, and gave the Jews permission to return home.
Although the Jews suffered greatly and faced powerful cultural pressures in a foreign land, they maintained their national spirit and religious identity. Elders supervised the Jewish communities, and Ezekiel was one of several prophets who kept alive the hope of one day returning home. This was possibly also the period when synagogues were first established, for the Jews observed the Sabbath and religious holidays, practiced circumcision, and substituted prayers for former ritual sacrifices in the Temple.
A set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a "sign" and "remembrance" that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Often worn by Orthodox Jewish men to fulfill the customary requirement held by some authorities that their head be covered at all times
Although this is a famous Jewish "look" is worn only by a particular type of Jew called Hassidic. The hair style and beard comes from a biblical instruction not to shave or cut the hair at the side of the face.
"...a small band of brothers can heroically resist a superpower and win..."
For a time the Greeks ruled the Jews. In the Temple in Jerusalem an altar to Zeus was erected, and sacrifices were to be made at the feet of an idol in the image of the King. Against that desecration Judas Maccabeus (aka Judas "the Hammer"), leader of the anti-Greek Jews, led a guerrilla war and several times defeated the generals Antiochus sent to deal with the uprising. Judas conquered Judaea, and in December 164 was able to tear down the altar of Zeus and reconsecrate the Temple. When they tried to light the menorah at the Temple however, they discovered a problem...
Video from 31'00"
Rome and Herod
Birth of Jesus
Death of Jesus
Hanukkah (the festival of lights) is a minor holiday. The main tradition is the lighting of candles which goes back to the time of the Maccabees.
After the forces of Antiochus IV had been driven from the Temple, the Maccabees discovered that almost all of the ritual olive oil had been profaned. They found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest, with enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. They used this, yet it burned for eight days (the time it took to have new oil pressed and made ready.
Over the eight days of Hanukkah, one candle is added each day to the Menorah until all eight are lit. The central ninth branch is higher and is used to light the other candles.
"an ideal, a sacred talisman"
The Great Revolt
Describe how historical events have significance to modern Judaism
David was a shepherd who entered the service of Saul, the first king of Israel and Judah. The young shepherd won this position through his courage and skill in fighting a giant named Goliath.
David became a warrior and fought so bravely in ongoing battles against the Philistines that King Saul feared that the people would make David king. Saul tried to kill him, but David was a good friend of the king's son Jonathan, who helped him escape.
In a later battle both Saul and Jonathan were killed. With Saul gone, David took over the rule of Judah, and soon after Israel. David successfully ruled Judah and Israel as a united nation until he died some 40 years later. His armies captured Jerusalem and several small neighboring kingdoms and routed the Philistines. David died in Jerusalem in about 962 BC.
The Philistines lived here
David made Jerusalem the capital of a united country
Key point about Judaism: David and Solomon made Jerusalem the centre point of Jewish-ness.
A Jewish prayer shawl with tassels (tzitzit).
Some of these items became even more important to the Jews when they were in exile because they reminded them of who they were.
Key Message: When in exile the Jewish people dream of returning home.
Key message: The Jewish people can resist cultural attacks
The Roman Empire expanded and took over Jerusalem and all the lands of the Jewish people. The first major person put in charge was called Herod.
Who, of course, was a Jew
Video from 40'00"
Jesus was a Jew living in an Israel ruled by Rome. He was one of many rebels, and he was executed. Crucifixion was a common way of executing criminals at the time.
In AD 66 the Jews revolted against Roman rule. In AD 70 the Roman emperor Titus crushed the rebellion and destroyed the city and the Temple. Jews were forbidden to live there or to visit the Temple site. The Roman emperor Hadrian built a new city, known as Aelia Capitolina, on the ruins and put up temples to Roman gods. The general layout of Hadrian's city can still be seen today. Constantine, Rome's first Christian emperor, put up the first Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
This is on it. What does it show?
Hadrian crushes another Jewish revolt
Key Message: Jerusalem becomes a symbol to the Jewish people of what they have lost, and where they want to return to,
This destruction leads to diaspora - the spreading of Jews around Middle East, Eastern Europe and Europe
We're going to take a break from History for a bit, and look at what it means to be Jewish.
There are about 14 million Jews in the world
Most Jews live in the USA, but they are still only 2.5% of the population there
The only country in the world where the majority of people are Jewish is Israel, about 3.7million Jews live in Israel
To be Jewish is to belong to a group - that of the Jewish people. According to Jewish law, any person whose mother is Jewish is Jewish, whether or not he or she is religious. Some people consider themselves to be Jewish if only their father is Jewish. Jews who actively follow Judaism as a religion are called practising or observant Jews. Jews who do not are called secular Jews. Orthodox and Conservative Jews do things by the book. Reform and Progressive Jews think that Jewish beliefs and practices can be developed and changed.
The Torah contains rules and teachings which cover every aspect of daily life. There are 613 of these commandments. People who follow them are called observant Jews. The mitzvot (commandments) were written a long time ago and some no longer apply, but Jews believe that the basic messages still hold true. Observant Jews also believe that by following these rules, they are serving God.
The Duties of a Jew
Jews believe they should try to bring out the best in themselves and others, by striving for justice, showing respect and compassion, and helping those who are sick, poor or in need. It is not considered worthy for people to seek wealth for its own sake, but to have enough to care for themselves, their families and the less fortunate. Judaism teaches that a tenth of a person's income rightfully belongs to the poor. Keeping the body healthy and clean is the duty of a Jew. Drinking too much, smoking and taking drugs not only harms a person but also harms others around him or her.
Jews are commanded to keep kosher, which means "fit and correct". Jewish law contains some rules about what Jews should eat, and how those foods should be prepared, but nowadays few Jews keep all of them.
Some of the rules that are commonly held:
All plants are kosher
No animal is kosher unless it has been killed in a painless way and the blood drained out
Beef, lamb and venison are kosher meats
Pork and shellfish are not kosher
Of course, an ultra orthodox Jew would follow stricter rules...
I want to eat the following things... can I?
Some vegetables grown down the road
Some porridge on Passover
Some delicious snake meat
Some beef from New World
The stages in life of an orthodox Jewish family
The year of an observant Jew
You will be working in groups to complete this task
You are going to present a Jewish family to the class. You will need to name and draw your family, and explain experiences they have had in their lives. You should pick THREE items from the list below. You must not write about festivals or special holidays because this will be the next task.
Choose THREE items from this list:
Some of the items are not relevant. Choose ones that relate to daily/weekly life, or to a time in a person's life. For each of the three items you are going to explain who was involved in your family, what they did, and why it was done. You might need to pictures to help explain to the class what something looks like.
You have one lesson to research, and one lesson to present. You will take notes from each other's presentations at the end.
For this task each group will get a set of Jewish holidays, or special days to research, and then present to the class.
A good site to use is Judaism 101.
You will need to explain to the class:
When your event takes place
Why people do it, and
What they do
Everyone will fill in a calendar as they listen to each other's presentations so you get a picture of a Jewish year overall.
What does it mean to be Jewish in your daily life?
Summarise the core of Judaism
At the start of this course we looked at a concept wheel. It might not have made much sense then, but now that we have looked at Judaism, we can use the wheel again. We are going to look at each segment of the wheel and see what we have learned about Judaism. We are going to do this so that you can do a written summary, so let's take notes using this structure:
Hillel the Elder
= How to behave
Hillel lived in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod and the Roman Emperor Augustus. He was born in Babylon but went to Jerusalem at the age of 40 and became a great teacher. Some of his sayings are very famous in Judaism. This picture shows his tomb in Israel.
Hillel considered "love of man" the kernel of Jewish teaching.
A gentile (a person who is not Jewish) once asked that the Torah be explained to him while he stood on one foot. Other Rabbis told the man to go away, but Hillel said:
"What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn"
Hillel recognized brotherly love as the fundamental principle of Jewish moral law.
It can be easy to focus on the "strange" parts of Judaism: the unusual clothing, the kosher food, and the ceremonies, but if you read the commandments you will see a list of rules that encourage peacefulness
What is the meaning of life?
There is no better illustration of the meaning of it all in Judaism than the story in the Book of Job (sounds like "robe" with a j).
Job has everything. He is blameless and upright, and he has kids, a wife, land, and a bunch of sheep. Up in the heavens, God talks about how great Job is. This makes Satan challenge God on Job's goodness.
Satan tells God that, sure, Job loves God now, but take away his earthly possessions and his children, and he will dump God. God agrees to the challenge, and Satan unleashes a force that kills all of Job's family except his wife, kills his servants, and reduces his homes to dust.
Job remains loyal. He refuses to denounce God. Satan sets up another challenge. This time, God lets Satan give Job a nasty rash, boils, and blisters all over his body.
Now Job becomes much less happy. After all, he was loyal to God, and look what happened. He doesn't renounce God, but he does insist that he deserves some kind of explanation—wouldn't you want one? His buddies Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have an answer: Job must have done something wrong - it must be his fault.
Job isn't quite satisfied with that explanation. Soon a friend called Elihu comes in to tell Job that he may not have sinned, but he still has no right to question his fate. After all, God's universe is still endowed with immortal power. Bottom line: suck it up.
After much fretting and many speeches, God finally appears as a voice from a whirlwind. Where, God demands, was Job on the day the universe was created? Where was Job when God was designing the architecture of the seas and the continents?
Needless to say, Job feels a little humbled and acknowledges that, as a mere mortal, he can't possibly understand everything in an immortally ruled universe. Taking Elihu's advice, Job goes back to his day job, and eventually God gives him double what he had at the outset. Job lives to a ripe old age, and both God and Satan fade into the shadows.
Answer thou me
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone
Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days?
Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in search of the depth?
Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Declare if thou knowest it all.
Where is the way which light dwelleth? And as for darkness, where is the place thereof?
Who hath divided a water course for the overflowing of waters, or a way for lightening and thunder;
To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
To satisfy the desolate waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
Hath the rain a father? Or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou send lightenings?
Who provideth for the ravens his food when his young ones cry unto God?
Over Easter you are going to write three paragraphs. If you wanted to you could call this an essay. This is the structure of your essay which will answer this question: What does Judaism teach us about ethics, virtue and the nature of life?
Paragraph One: Ethics
the ten commandments
Paragraph Two: Virtue
Paragraph Three: Reality
better (if you follow the rules)
Modern history and the Jews
The Biblical prophets exhort all people to lead a righteous life. Kindness to the needy, benevolence, faith, compassion for the suffering, a peace-loving disposition, and a truly humble and contrite spirit, are the virtues which the Prophets hold up to be the goal. "Learn to do good" is main point; thus the end-time will be one of peace and righteousness; war will be no more.
Here are some of the key messages that Judaism wants to teach its followers:
"The world stands on three things: On Torah, on prayer, and on kindness to others"
"Your house should be open wide, and you should make the poor members of your household."
"The more charity, the more peace"
"Love work, and despise official positions, and do not become too acquainted with the governing power."
"Let all your deeds be for the sake of Heaven."
"Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his place."
Who should we be?
This is the rule book of Judaism. What have you learned about the covenants and commandments?
This is your homework over Easter. Please hand it in on the first lesson back. It will help you a lot with your first assessment. Which we will start in Week 8.
History is very important in the Jewish story. We have seen how many Jewish holidays and ceremonies recall important historical events, and we know how important the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel are to the Jewish people from the time of Abraham. Exile and suffering are woven into the story of the Jews, and nothing exemplifies this more than the horror of the Holocaust.
World War Two and the Holocaust ended in 1945 with the defeat of Hitler. The horror of this event strengthened the hand of those people who wanted a homeland for the Jewish people. These people said that the Jews would only be safe again if they had their own state. In 1947 the United Nations agreed, and in 1948 the land of Palestine was divided, and half of it became Israel. The essential problem with this has always been that the Arabic population who were the majority and had been living there for over a thousand years never agreed to have their country divided.
Explain the connection between the Holocaust and Israel
We left our time line with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and the diaspora of the Jews. From that point, for almost 2000 years, Jews lived in small communities throughout Europe. Although this allowed the Jewish people to survive it was not an easy time and these small communities suffered a lot of persecution and restrictions.
Analysis of the first books of Genesis
We are going to read the first few books of the first part of the Bible which is called Genesis. The Bible is divided into two main parts. The first and largest part is called the Old Testament. The second part is called the New Testament. The New Testament is about the life of Jesus, and the actions of Paul who spread the message of Jesus' life. We will look at this later. The Old Testament is the book that Judaism focuses on. At its most basic level the Old Testament is a moral rule book, and a history book rolled into one.
A page in the Bible looks like this:
What are all the little numbers for?
Why are there versions?
Who wrote this?
Religious follower around the world
Christianity = 2.2b
Islam = 1.6b
Hinduism = 1.1b
Buddhism = 488m
6m = Israel (75% pop)
5.5m = USA (1.7% pop)
1m = Europe
*NZ = 7,500.
He is the main character in the Old Testament. You can think of him two ways:
a) He is the supreme reality who existed before the universe existed, which he created, and sustains.
b) He is a character people created in order to explain our own existence.
In either case he is important and the Bible is worth reading because:
a) If he is the supreme reality then his commandments are how we need to live to have a harmonious life.
b) If he is an invention then the commandments are the reflected wisdom of humanity on the best way to live in harmonious communities.
Both groups of people can read the Bible and gain a lot from it for this reason.
Reading Genesis 1:1-31
Read the first book and discuss any words and phrases that you have questions about
"In its own time it was a 'Theory of Everything'... in fact, there had never before been a theory known to equal it for simplicity and comprehensiveness, and that remained so for two millennia." (L. Geering) Write a list of the seven days and next to each day state in one sentence what happened.
This list is creating a hierarchy. What do you think of this hierarchy?
Read the handout based on the book by Karen Armstrong and answer the questions on the sheet.
You might notice:
Genesis 1 is a teeming with life - look at all the things that are made in this short chapter, and
God is happy with everything; all creation is "good".
Genesis 2: 21
Genesis 2: 22
Read Genesis 2: 1-25
Add Day Seven to your list of days from Genesis 1. What is this seventh day sometimes called? What does it have to do with old Sunday shopping laws?
Compare Genesis 1 and 2 in this T-chart:
Man and woman, Day 6
All of earth covered with vegetation and swarms of animals
Man has dominion over everything
Man and woman created at the same time, instantly
What day is Man created? Can we tell?
What is the state of the Earth at the creation of man?
What very specific place is mentioned? Why in the east?
What should man eat?
Why does Man name the animals?
Why is Woman created?
Possible reasons for these contradictions:
As a class think of three reasons these contradictions or differences could have happened
Do these contradictions matter?
The first books of Genesis are mythic. This does NOT mean they are untrue, it means that they are before time and have important messages in them. It's ok if parts of the Bible are contradictory: people are contradictory. Contradictions allow the Bible to be flexible, and to endure, and to be a living text.
Divide a full page into eight parts for picture dictation. Listen to each section of Genesis 3 and then draw a picture to show what happens. In case you're wondering, Genesis 3 never says it's an apple... it just says it's a fruit.
Read the text of Genesis 3 as a class
Look for evidence in the text that proves of disproves these statements:
"God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze"
God told Adam and Eve not to eat anything in the Garden of Eden
The snake told Eve to eat the fruit because it would be delicious
Being naked is maybe a metaphor for something else
Eve gets the blame for Adam and Eve eating the fruit
Women should obey men
Adam's punishment is worse that Eve's
God is worried that now that Adam and Eve know good and evil they will next want to live forever and be like God
If God created everything, didn't he create the snake? Why?
God, who seemed so powerful in Chapter 1, now seems not to know things, and be frightened of Adam becoming like a God. Is he right to be frightened? Probably. Here is how Robert Oppenheimer described witnessing the first test blast for the world's first nuclear bomb.
The Fall of Man
The idea that man was innocent and good before he ate the fruit of knowledge, and that after that he was cursed forever is a very powerful idea in Christianity, but it's not really in Genesis - it comes much later. In Christianity there is the idea that Jesus came in order to sacrifice himself so that we could be saved from this curse. It is an idea that asks you to decide: are people essentially good but can become bad, or are people essentially bad but can be redeemed?
What is God's name?
In the original Hebrew (a language with no written vowels) the name of God is written YHWH, but because this name shares the holiness of God it was said by no one except the high priest on the Day of Atonement. Jewish people tend to say
(the name), or
, but YHWH has been translated into English as God, the Lord, and Jehovah (which is supposed to be a translation of YHWH but isn't technically correct).
Reading about Noah
We're going to read the story of Noah now as it is in Genesis, but we're going to read it a bit differently. Most Bible scholars think that there were two authors of this story, and that the editor spliced the stories together - we're going to read the two stories separately. Reading the two stories separately is actually easier. One of the clues that there might be two authors is that God keeps getting called by two different names depending on who wrote the story.
For us, the most important feature of the story of Noah and the Flood is what happens at the end: a covenant.
What is a covenant?
Describe the covenant with Noah.
Who does it apply to?
Noah and the Flood often gets shown from Noah's point of view, but in the 17th century Poussin painted the Flood from the victims' point of view. He has a point. Is this how God should behave?
Watch these two clips and answer the questions:
What is significant about the date 1208BC for Jewish history?
What is the Jewish legacy to the world according to this documentary?
What is the covenant between Abram and God?
Is Genesis a history book?
What is the "documentary hypothesis"?
This is a 19th century painting called
Abraham's Journey from Ur to Canaan
. What does it tell us about that trip? (Saying obvious things is ok.)
27 Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. 28 Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31 Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
Genesis 12: 1-8
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[b]
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak[c] of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northwards and southwards and eastwards and westwards, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring for ever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Genesis 13: 14-18
This is very important for later in the story
AS90824 v.2 - Analyse a Significant Theme in a Sacred Text
Due: 11.30am Monday 23 March
Social Sciences Assessment Rules
All work is due by 11.30am in the assessment box in the library on the due date
Email submissions are not accepted in this course
questions must be answered
for the assessment to be eligible for a resubmission
There will be one resubmission opportunity done in class in one hour under NCEA conditions
We fully appreciate the stressful nature of assessment times - please make maximum use of class time. If you do this you will need to do very little outside of class.
Abraham and Sarah: The Soap Opera
16 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children[a] by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. 4 And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.[b] 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
7 The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,[c]
because the Lord has listened to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
his hand against everyone
and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”
13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing”,[d] for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”[e] 14 Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi;[f] it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
15 And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.
21 The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2 And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.[a] 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
8 And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.[b] 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy[a] will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;[b] as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”[c]
15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his[d] enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
Draw the starred figures on a family tree. Next to each figure you are going to add three notes.
We're now going to read a shortened version of Exodus which essentially tells the life story of Moses. As we do this you should be taking notes to help you answer the questions in your assessment.
What's the Talmud?
A huge collection of all the interpretations that rabbi and Jewish scholars have made on the Torah over the last 3000 years.
This is what one page in the Talmud looks like:
Original Torah text
References to other commentaries
You don't need to read it, but there is a short selection from it for students who are interested in looking at an Excellence
Bitter herbs - the bitterness of slavery
Lamb/Goat - Sacrifice offered in Jerusalem to God
Paste of nuts and fruits - Represents the mortar paste used by the slaves in Egypt to make buildings
Herb dipped in salt water to represent the tears of the Jews
More bitter herbs
Egg - another part of the sacrifice at Jerusalem
Before Exodus there was no Jewish religion, just a Jewish people. Discuss.
What do you need for a religion? Look at the definitions you wrote in lesson one, and at the definition in the assignment. Did the Jews have all of these? Some? None?
You can't get the answer wrong - it's up to you - but you have to prove it.
A mass departure of people
The departure of the Israelites from Egypt
A great album by Bob Marley
"Send us another brother Moses!
(Movement of Jah people!) From across the Red Sea!
(Movement of Jah people!) Send us another brother Moses!
(Movement of Jah people!) From across the Red Sea!
Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied with the life you're living?
We know where we're going;
We know where we're from.
We're leaving Babylon, y'all!
We're going to our Father's land."
Metaphor for a bad place
"The whole first part of Exodus - from Egypt to Mount Sinai - is as important a part of the covenant with the Jews as the commandments that come later."
Take notes and highlight whenever God promises to do something or does something to help the Jews. These notes will help to answer this question.
What are the positives and negatives in the message of the covenants between God and the Jews from a Jewish perspective regarding the:
1. “special relationship” between God and the Jewish people
2. contradiction of not killing and all of the killing
3. difficulty of a promised land already under occupation
Which question are you going to do? As we read you should make a note to show information that might be useful.
It's a land that it is in the news quite a lot, usually not for positive reasons