ChangMMW2OutlineLectureThree2011

ChangMMW2OutlineLectureThree2011 - Week Two Outline Lecture...

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Week Two Outline Lecture Three The Ancient Israelites and Ethical Monotheism Key Focus: 1) The Old Testament as a record of the collective memory and aspiration of the ancient Israelites 2) The birth of the tradition of ethical monotheism I) Why study the history of the Israelites? a) The foundation for three major religions b) Why not the polytheism of the much more powerful empires at the time? c) What is the lasting appeal of “ethical monotheism”? i) Thomas Cahill’s The Gift of the Jews (1) Distinction between cultural narratives: The Wheel (cyclical) vs. The Journey (teleological) (2) Emphasis on the moral demands and responsibilities the One God places on the individual ii) An interpersonal, conditional, and evolving relationship with their God (1) Centered on a moral covenant (2) The source of identity for the ancient Israelites II) The Question of Text a) The “Tanak” i) Three sections: “Torah” or “Laws”, “Prophets”, “Writings” b) The “Torah” or the “Five Books”—
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