Jewish 1 - World Religions Judaism Why put Judaism first...

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Unformatted text preview: World Religions: Judaism Why put Judaism first? Because…of the top three, this is where it all began…4000 years ago! We’ll start with the study of Jewish history . . . This one’s a bit long, but that’s because they’re the first and have the longest history • You can figure out a lot about a people/nation/religion by knowing a bit about its history . . . Just like knowing a person’s background goes a long to understanding that person • It’s also very important to our other religions, so we need to set the stage History of Judaism ◆ In remote ancient times– 4000 years ago and beyond – a majority of people believed there were a lot of different gods or goddesses that controlled things—”polytheism” (though there is some debate about this) ◆ This would change, though, after the influence of a man named “Abraham” (originally Abram) • A word on ”Polytheism” and other “theisms” • ”Theos” in Greek means “God” . . . ”Poly” means “many” . . . So ”many gods” • Other ”theisms” • Pantheism—Everything is God and God is everything (God=everything) • Panentheism—Everything in the world is God . . . But God is more than the sum total of the world (Everything=God but God > everything) • Monolatry—Belief in many gods, but worship of one above the others • Monotheism—The belief that there is only one “true” god . . . Pay attention to this one History of Judaism ◆ Let’s turn to the Bible for the story of Judaism’s beginning ◆ The start of Judaism is actually found in the first five books of the Bible. ◆ These books are called the Torah ◆ Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (more on this later) The founder of Judaism ◆ A man named Abram (later changed to Abraham) . . . A descendent of Noah (of Noah’s Ark fame) ◆ Has a divine experience in which he is chosen, given a commission, and receives promises ◆ He convinced his immediate family to stop worshipping idols and begin following One God (monotheism) Genesis quote about Abraham’s covenant with God: Gensis 12: 1-3 • 12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. • 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.[a] 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Original covenant promises • Land (the “promised land” . . . Canaan . . . Would become Israel) • Descendants • Abraham’s descendants will be the “chosen people” . . . The Jewish people Jews led to the “Promised Land” ◆ Because their beliefs – in ONE God – were so out-of-step with everybody else, Abram’s family was persecuted (harassed). ◆ In addition to the persecution, a famine struck the area. Jews led to the “Promised Land” ◆ God told Abram to leave, that He would guide them to a place where they could practice their faith openly. ◆ This place was called “the Promised Land” Along the way… ◆ The Jews (as they were now called) traveled for many years. ◆ Along the way, they settled in Egypt where they were made to become slaves to the Egyptian pharaoh. ◆ They didn’t start off as slaves though Egyptian Slavery ◆ While they were slaves, they were made to work very hard, were persecuted and mistreated to the point that many died. Moses ◆ At the time, a new Pharaoh had come into power. ◆ This new Pharaoh decided to kill all the Jewish newborn boys to keep the Jewish people from coming into power. ◆ Moses was born a Hebrew (Jew) but was given up as a baby by his mother to protect him from harm. ◆ Moses was placed in a basket made of reeds and floated across the Nile River towards the Pharaoh’s palace. ◆ Later that day, the Princess (the Pharaoh's daughter) came down to the water. ◆ When she saw the baby in the basket, she knew that he was a Jewish baby and was supposed to be killed. ◆ She took him home anyway, called him Moses, and raised him in the palace “Essential Story” ◆ Moses grew up as royalty . . . an adopted son of the Pharaoh . . . A brother to the future Pharaoh ◆ One day, Moses saw an Egyptian hitting a Jew. Moses became angry and hit the Egyptian back, killing him. ◆ Moses ran away into the desert where he became a shepherd. ◆ Then one day, while tending the sheep, he saw a bush that was burning. He went to have a closer look, the fire went out, and then… “Essential Story” (cont’d) ◆ …strangely enough, he looked at the bush and it wasn’t burnt at all. ◆ Suddenly, he heard a voice saying “Stop! And take your shoes off, for this is sacred ground." “Essential Story” (cont’d) ◆ God then spoke to Moses and told him to go back to Egypt, back to the Pharaoh, and ask him to let the Jews go free. ◆ Moses did so, but you can imagine what the Pharaoh’s reply was “Essential Story” (cont’d) ◆ Moses told him if he didn’t comply, God would punish him severely. ◆ The Pharaoh didn’t care. ◆ The response? ◆ God sent Ten Plagues (bad things) to happen to Pharaoh and his armies. “Essential Story” (cont’d) The Ten Plagues of Egypt were as follows: 1st plague: God changed water into blood. 2nd plague: God made frogs appear everywhere. 3rd plague: God put lice everywhere. 4th plague: God sent flies everywhere. 5th plague: All livestock were mysteriously killed. “Essential Story” (cont’d) The Ten Plagues of Egypt were as follows: 6th plague: The Egyptian people developed weeping sores. 7th plague: Hailstones and fire destroyed crops. 8th plague: God sent locusts to eat the crops 9th plague: Darkness everywhere EXCEPT where the Jews were. 10th plague: The oldest son in every Egyptian family died. • All the Jewish children were spared . . . They had been given instructions to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts • Those with this sign on their doorposts were spared in the final plague • Remember this detail—this will be important for later rituals in both Judaism and Christianity Finally… ◆ Pharaoh gave up and allowed the Jews to leave. ◆ The Jews were so excited to leave that they didn’t even wait for their bread to rise…` ◆ which is why unleavened “flat bread” is so important to the Jewish story . . . Remember this detail—it will be important for understanding “Passover” • The Jews flee Egypt with Moses as their leader • The Pharaoh has a change of heart and ends up following them • God/Yahweh parts the “Red Sea” and lets the Hebrews pass through unscathed • The Egyptians try to follow . . . But are consumed by the sea as the parted waters fall in on them Review of Jewish History so far • Abram is chosen by God/Yahweh (YHWH) • Abram’s name is changed to Abraham (a sign of having received a commission from God) • A covenant is established between God and Abram’s descendants • Monotheism—worship only one God . . . In exchange for . . . • Land (promised land) • Descendants • Abraham takes his band and sets out for the promised land • The Hebrews end up stuck in Egypt as slaves • Moses leads the Hebrews out of Egypt (the “Exodus”) ...
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