judaism - Who are the Patriarchs, which are the covenants...

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Who are the Patriarchs, which are the covenants (include their signs and requirements); what did our discussions of the Patriarchs tell us about Judaism more generally? The Patriarchs and the Covenants A note on this before we continue: in the Torah, God is constantly involved in what is going on He speaks to Noah , to Abraham and to Moses – the three patriarchs we are discussing today As well as to the prophets who follow, including Elijah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel This is a God who is intimately involved with his people, and with human history As the Smith reading tells you, the early Israelites saw the will of their God in everything that happened to their community and nation Rather than thinking, for example, when disaster came upon them, that their God had failed against the gods of other peoples Or that their God had capriciously left them, no longer interested in their struggles They believed that their God was passionately and powerfully involved in their history: perhaps never more so than when He withdrew his favor and protection from the Israelites in response to outbreaks of injustice, cruelty, moral indifference and apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of one's religious faith or moral allegiance) Their God was an ethical God, to whom morality was exceptionally important Of course, morality is defined in very particular ways in the Hebrew Bible – there are 603 commandments in the Torah- and one virtue that is highly valued is that of obedience The importance of fulfilling the obligations of the covenant for the people of Israel, of being obedient to God and God’s laws, is paramount, as we will see especially in our discussion of the covenant with Moses The first covenant (which is not in the Smith), is thought to be with all peoples, and is reached with the patriarch Noah At some point in the far distant past, Yahweh becomes disgusted and angry with the disobedience and immorality of the human world, seeing no good anywhere, except in the character of Noah So God tells Noah that he must build an ark for his family and two of each animal, so that the world might be recreated after God destroys it in a flood Now, this seems like a ridiculous request: there seems to be no danger; certainly, there was not a boom in the ark-making industry of the time to guard against a flood But Noah is obedient to God’s command: a theme that will come up over and over again in the Hebrew Bible And Noah is rewarded for his obedience: another prominent theme The flood comes, but Noah and his ark survive, alone of all created life When the waters have gone down, God promises Noah that he will never again flood the earth in this way And designates the rainbow as a universal sign of this covenant In return, Noah and everyone else descended from him- in other words, EVERYONE- is expected to be fruitful and multiply ,
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Note: there is also a warning against murder and eating the blood of animals, but
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course RN RN100 taught by Professor Green during the Spring '08 term at BU.

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judaism - Who are the Patriarchs, which are the covenants...

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