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hon 171 paper

hon 171 paper - Mark Montesano HON 171 2 October 2007...

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Mark Montesano HON 171 2 October 2007 Essay #1, Topic #5 In the Tanakh God speaks almost directly to his chosen people, using only Aaron and Moses as middlemen. Many of the messages God sends are explicit, specific commands about how to live morally and safely. The purpose of these commands is twofold. First, God provides a set of guidelines for what it means to be a good person. Second, God wants to set his chosen people above, and apart from the corrupt nations of the world. In his letter to the Romans, Paul's intention is not to segregate the Jews and the Pagans, but to explain that God does not favor one people over another--he simply favors the faithful. After the death of Jesus the Judeo-Christian criteria for an ethical life moved from participation in an exclusive group--God's chosen people-- and a strict adherence to a black and white set of requirements, as outlined in the Tanakh, to a more abstract set of goals, as explained by Paul, with no cultural or ethnic group given preference. God marks his chosen people with circumcision in the Tanankh, whereas Paul does not believe a physical mark is important; the Tanakh includes several extensive sets of laws--Paul considers adherence to the law to be part of morality's foundation, but only faith to be absolutely essential; Paul defines a good person as one who does not want to sin, but there is no such definition in the Tanakh--if you follow the
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law you are good, if you break the law you are not. In the Tanakh God requires of his people a literal, physical circumcision. God, according to Paul, only requires that one be metaphorically, or "inwardly," circumcised. God promises Abraham in Genesis, "As for Me, this is My covenant with you: You shall be the father of a multitude of nations...I will make you exceedingly fertile, and make nations of you; and kings shall come from you" (16). With this covenant, God begins to define a group as his chosen people. This group is characterized by its exclusivity--only descendants and relatives of Abraham are included. Because God's chosen
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