Judaism: An Introduction (I.B.Tauris Introductions to by Oliver Leaman

By Oliver Leaman

The tale of Judaism is a narrative of paradox. it's the tale of ways a small cluster of desolate tract tribes gave delivery to a monotheistic doctrine that profoundly formed the historical past of human civilization. it's the tale of the way that at first vague wilderness doctrine got here to be codified into the Hebrew Bible, one of many world's maximum works of literature. it's the tale of ways a small minority got here to be considered through the bulk as disproportionately strong and, following pogrom and Holocaust, have been pushed to the sting of extinction. And it's the tale of ways a displaced humans, globally dispersed all through different countries for two-and-a-half millennia, got here to forge a latest, secular Israeli country which many Jews think to were granted an explicitly divine mandate. Oliver Leaman conscientiously and creatively explores the character of those obvious contradictions. He discusses the origins of the Jewish Bible; recounts the historical past of the Jewish humans from the period of Patriarchs and Prophets throughout the heart a long time as much as the modern period; outlines the Jewish liturgical calendar and its significant rites and modes of worship; and considers the good number of Jewish literatures (including sleek post-Holocaust writers like Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel), paintings, meals and tradition. extra chapters research such themes as mysticism and kabbalah; sleek Hebrew; interfaith family members; and the hugely contested query, "Who is a Jew?".

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The two Christian empires that emerged – the Roman Catholic based in Rome and the Orthodox in Constantinople – treated the Jews variably while the empires existed, but most were on the whole allowed at least to survive, and the role they should play in a Christian state was much debated. Should not the Christians destroy this community that had dealt so rudely with their leader and denied all their claims for his status? Some Christians certainly took this line, while others argued that the Jews serve as a symbol of continuity with the community out of which Jesus emerged, and while they should certainly not be favored, they could be allowed to live in a subservient state in order to display the consequences of not accepting the significance of Jesus and his role in human salvation.

And, of course, the frequent dabbling in other religions by the Jews meant that the Temples could be ignored at least temporarily and replaced with something more palatable to the mood of the times. 29) meant that he received a rough reception. This is very much a theme of the Bible, that the Jews are fickle and need to be kept on course by the right sort of ceremony. One of the institutions designed to change their thinking into a more positive direction was that of the Temple, and it came to take on a vast significance in Judaism.

There are 01c Judaism 001-032 26/7/10 13:15 Page 25 The Bible in Jewish History 25 various interesting remains on the mountain, including some stones that the Samaritans regard as sacred, together with parts of the church of the Virgin Mary and the wall built by Justinian. In the present day, the Samaritan community lives on the slopes and not the summit of the mountain, even though this was the site of their original temple. They use a lower slope, perhaps because of the presence on the summit of a Muslim cemetery, which defiled the original site.

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