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Unformatted text preview: Joel Avery Religion Study Guide – Midterm #1 Part I. The Four Major Religions 1. Judaism • Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, based on principles and ethics embodied in the Bible ( Tanakh ) and the Talmud . According to Jewish tradition, the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham (ca. 2000 BCE), the patriarch and progenitor of the Jewish people. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still in practice today. • While Judaism has seldom, if ever, been monolithic in practice, it has always been monotheistic in theology. It differs from many religions in that central authority is not vested in a person or group, but in sacred texts and traditions. Throughout the ages, Judaism has clung to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. • According to traditional Jewish belief, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Israelites, and revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of the Torah , and the Jewish people are the descendants of the Israelites. The traditional practice of Judaism revolves around study and the observance of God's laws and commandments as written in the Torah and expounded in the Talmud . • The Tanak is the Old Testament , consisting of three parts of the Jewish Bible: The Torah (teachings/revelations), Neviim (prophets), and Ketuviim (writings/wisdom literature). The Talmud is the oral tradition, written down by different Rabbis throughout history, it is an ethical guide for Jews. • Judaism is both a religion and an ethnicity. I t’s a religion because you can convert to it, and it consists of scriptures that guide the lives of Jews. It is also an ethnicity because Jews are considered to be descendants of Abraham. Genetic testing has proven that Jewish communities around the world share similar genetic codes. In other words, they are genetically related. One can be religiously and ethnically Jewish. • The Bible cites no reason for the laws of kashrut , but the rabbis have offered various explanations, including ritual purity, teaching people to control their urges, and health benefits. Kashrut involves the abstention from consuming birds and beasts that prey on other animals, and creatures that roam the sea floor eating the excretions of other animals. Major prohibitions exist on eating pork, which is considered an unclean animal, and seafood. Meat is ritually slaughtered, and meat and milk are not eaten together, based on the biblical injunction against cooking a kid in its mother's milk. Although hygiene may have been a factor, the deeper purpose of kashrut is to lend a spiritual dimension to the physical act of eating. The idea is that Jews should not put anything into their mouths that involves spiritual "negatives" such as pain, sickness, uncleanliness, or cruelty to animals.pain, sickness, uncleanliness, or cruelty to animals....
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