The Gifts of the Jews

The Gifts of the Jews - The Gifts of the Jews Stages of the...

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The Gifts of the Jews
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Stages of the evolution of religion 1) A ritualistic religion run by priests who mediate between the heavens and the people, in alliance with despotic rulers. 2) A revolutionary thinker, such Buddha, attacks the "external religion" and teaches people to find divinity within themselves. “You are the Buddha.” “Here’s how you can become enlightened. It’s simple.”
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3) The recouping of this revolution by organized religious institutions in collaboration with the State recreates the external religion and the alienation of the earlier ritualistic religions. 4) However, because they are keepers of the revolutionary messages of their founders, these new religions are contradictory and unstable, subject to evolution or reform in the name of the true meaning of their founder.
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The Gifts of the Jews Subtitle: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels By Thomas Cahill; Doubleday, 1998. Significance of being “desert nomads”? What gifts? What change in how people think and feel? How did people think and feel before the Jews?
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Nomadic Patriarchalism Hunter-Gatherers: Men: animals, Women: plants Transformation from dependence on nature to control over nature Herders focus on animals Men predominate Agriculturalists focus on plants Women predominate Until invention of the animal-drawn plow
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Features of Nomadic Herders 1) They live nomadically from grazing animals 2) they live in kinship groups; 3) they are generally warrior societies; 4) there is male superiority, patriarchy; Recall: men deal with the animals Men are generally the warriors 5) there is a strong sense of equality and freedom (within patriarchal inequality)
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Kinship of Hebrews 12 tribes or clans of the sons of Jacob (Israel) Descended from Abraham who left Ur in Mesopotamia about 1900 BCE Become slaves in Egypt Freed under the leadership of Moses about 1200 BCE First kings: David and Solomon about 1000 BCE
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and Unity of the Clans Nomadic clans fight each other, strangers Hebrews maintain unity among clans through worship of One God Danger of absorption into surrounding
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The Gifts of the Jews - The Gifts of the Jews Stages of the...

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