Essay 2 Jewish Traditions

Essay 2 Jewish Traditions - Jason Christian Essays: Jewish...

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Jason Christian Essays: Jewish Tradition Marilyn Klaus 03/04/08 Scripture and Commentary Although there are many more religious and legal texts written pertaining to the Jewish tradition, the main texts are the TaNaKh, the Torah (a subdivision of the TaNaKh), the Midrash, the Mishnah, and the Talmud. Along with these texts are the many writings of the philosophers. The TaNaKh is the Hebrew Bible used in Judaism. It consists of the Law, the Prophets, and the sacred writings. In Hebrew, these are the Torah, the Nevi’im, and the Ketuvim, respectively (Oxtoby 77). The Hebrew subsections form the name of the Hebrew Bible, which is often simply an acronym T-N-K. The Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses, is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Torah is arguably the central writing of Judaism. Most Jews will say that the Torah was created 974 generations ago by God before the world was created. It tells the story of creation, how God created the world. After much persecution of the Jews, the idea arose that the only way to preserve the Oral traditions was to write them down. Some oral traditions, the commentaries, and interpretations of the Bible were written down in the Midrash in about 200 CE “generated by rabbinic sermons” (Oxtoby 78). The Midrash helps to answer questions posed by the people pertaining to interpretation of the Torah. According to Oxtoby, the Mishnah is the “oldest datable rabbinic document” (78), dating back to 220 CE and written by Rabbi Judah. The Mishnah has six subdivisions:
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Seeds, Festivals, Women, Damages, Holy things, and Purifications. If a Jew has a question interpreting religious law or any of the other religious texts, the Mishnah provides an organized means of finding the interpretations according to previous rabbis. Coming from the closed text of the Mishnah, the Talmud again reinterprets the interpretations of the Mishnah. While the Mishnah is about the size of a dictionary, the Talmud is the size of an encyclopedia. There are two Talmuds, the Palestinian (redacted in about 350 CE) and Babylonian Talmud (500 CE). Due to economic and political struggle in Jerusalem, the Babylonian Talmud became the prominent writing. The Talmud contains a short passage from the Mishnah and then the interpretations of the passage, the Gemorah, which can be much longer than the passage itself. Often, both the Gemorah and the Mishnah passages are written in the center of a page while other commentaries and references are listed along the outside of the pages in the Talmud.
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Theology and Law within the Jewish Tradition The daily life of Jews differs greatly from sect to sect. While many traditions, rituals, behaviors, and laws are held the same for many sects – while many are not - the reasons behind the traditions may be completely different for each sect. Firstly, the ritual of prayer is practiced very differently for many sects of the
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course REL 109 taught by Professor Klaus during the Spring '08 term at Kansas.

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Essay 2 Jewish Traditions - Jason Christian Essays: Jewish...

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