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Test #4 (Ch 8-10)--World Religions (Benjamin)

Terms in this set (47)

Ahura Mazda was revered by the kings of the Persian Empire.
1. King Cyrus seemed to have been a follower of Ahura Mazda, but neither he nor succeeding kings made mention of the prophet Zarathustra.
-Cyrus's reign was noted for its religious tolerance, power, and wealth.
-The Jews within this territory were allowed to practice their own religion, but may have adopted certain Zoroastrian beliefs, (such as the belief of an evil aspect in life, an immortal soul, reward and punishment in the afterlife, and final resurrection of the body at the apocalyptic end of the present age), for these beliefs were absent from earlier Judaic religion.
-From Judaism, they would have passed to Christianity and Islam.
2. Alexander the Great ransacked the capital of Persepolis, destroying fire temples, burning the library containing the holy scriptures of Zarathustra, and killing so many Zoroastrian priests that oral transmission of many scriptures was lost.
-It is thought that the Gathas of Zarathustra survived because many people knew them by heart, as they did the most commonly used ritual prayers.
3. Zoroastrianism was re-established in the Iranian Empire by the rulers.
-The surviving teachings of Zoroastrianism were reassembled as the *Avesta, or holy texts.
4. Another major threat came to Zoroastrianism from the spread of Islam after the death of Muhammad.
-The few remaining Zoroastrians who did not convert to Islam migrated west to India where they were called *Parsis (Persians).
-Today, India is the major center of Zoroastrian population.
Jacob/Israel is said to have had 12 sons and 1 daughter by his two wives and their two maidservants.
-The 12 sons became the progenitors of the 12 tribes of Israel.
-Jacob's favorite wife = Rachel, who bore him two sons named Joseph and Benjamin.
-When the 10 northern tribes (the Kingdom of Israel) were conquered by the Assyrians, the 2 southern tribes (the Kingdom of Judah) remained with Jerusalem as their capital.
-The whole group left Canaan for Egypt during a time of famine and were made slaves for massive construction projects.
-After many years, Moses saw God as a burning bush and was told to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and back to Canaan.
-Moses met with God on Mount Sinai and returned with the *10 commandments, which brought a new dimension to the covenant between God and Israel.
-God had freed the Jews from slavery and extinction at the hands of the Egyptians, and the Jews freely accepted the Torah.
-Saul (Benjamin) was the first king of Israel and David (Judah) was the second king of Israel.
-David is remembered as Israel's greatest king.
-Under the reign of *King Solomon (David's son), a great temple was built in Jerusalem which housed the arc of the covenant and was used for animal sacrifices.
-Solomon accumulated great wealth at the expense of the people, and he built alters to the Gods of his wives, who came from other nations.
-This angered God, so he divided the kingdom after Solomon's death.
-An internal revolt of the 10 northern tribes established a new kingdom of Israel, which was independent of Jerusalem and the kingdom of David.
-The southern kingdom, continuing its allegiance to the house of David and retaining Jerusalem as its capital, renamed itself Judah after David's tribe.
-Due to worshipping idols, God is said to have had the northern kingdom conquered by the Assyrians and dispersed among the non-Jewish peoples, and are referred to as the *10 lost tribes of Israel.
-Judeans became known as the Jews, which referred to *Judeans: those of the 2 southern tribes from the kingdom of Judah.
-As the Jews lived under foreign rule, Judaism became somewhat open to the cross-cultural religious borrowing.
1. The majority are descendants of the *Ashkenazim: originally migrated to Italy from West Asia during the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, and then spread through central and eastern Europe to America.
2. The second largest grouping is the *Sephardim: descendants of those who migrated to Spain from West Asia in the 8th and 9th centuries, to north Africa, the Americas, and back to west Asia.
3. Orthodox: stand by the Torah as the revealed word of God and the Talmud as the legitimate oral law.
-Orthodoxy includes mystics and rationalists, Zionists and anti-Zionists.
4. Modern Orthodoxy: values secular knowledge and integration with non-Jewish society so its members may be enriched by interaction with the modern world and help to uplift it (like the Amish).
5. Religious Zionism: places central emphasis on resettlement of the Jewish people to Israel as the working out of a divine plan for the salvation of both the Jews and the whole world.
-Involvement with secular society is permissible only if beneficial to the state of Israel.
6. Haredi (Ultra Orthodox): generally in favor of detachment from non Jewish culture so the community can focus on study of the Torah.
7. Lubavich Hasidim: devoted to extending their message to as many Jews as possible, using all the tools of modern technology for their sacred purpose.
8. Reform (liberal) Movement: began as a way for Jews to appreciate their religion, rather than regard it as antiquated, meaningless, or repugnant.
-Judaism became understood as an evolving, open ended religion, rather than one fixed forever by the Torah.
-Rather than exclusivism, Reform rabbis cultivate a sense of the universalism of Jewish values.
-Reform Judaism is not fully accepted in Israel, where the Israeli Rabbinate does not recognize the authority of non-Orthodox rabbis (if not Orthodox, then not really Jewish).
9. Conservative Judaism: sought to maintain (conserve) traditional Jewish laws and practices while also using modern means of historical scholarship, sponsoring critical studies of Jewish texts from all periods.
-Believe that Jews have always searched and added to their laws, liturgy, Midrash, and beliefs to keep them relevant and meaningful in changing times.
10. Reconstructivism: holds that strong measures were needed to preserve Judaism in the face of rationalism.
-As long as Jews adhered to the traditional conception of the Torah as supernaturally revealed, they would not be amenable to any constructive adjustment of Judaism that was needed to render it viable in a non-Jewish environment.
-Judaism is an evolving religious cultural and spiritual civilization in which the Jewish people are the heart of Judaism.
11.Secular Jews: affirming their Jewish origins and maintaining Jewish cultural traditions while eschewing religious practice.
-The possibilities for total assimilation into western culture are evident in statistics indicating that over 50% of Western Jews marry non-Jews.
Judaism differed from the other religions and religious cults of this period in its strongly ethical bias, its commitment to monotheism, and its exclusivity (its emphasis on a special relationship, or covenant, between God and the chosen people, the Jews themselves).
-With the eastern expansion of Alexander the Great, the Jews were Hellenized and repeated contact with Greek and Persian peoples influenced Hebraic thought.
-*The book of Daniel makes the first clear reference to resurrection and the afterlife in the Hebrew bible.
-The homeland of the Jews became the Roman province of Judea when the Roman general ,Pompey, captured Jerusalem and the neighboring territories.
-Judaism, a monotheistic faith, forbade the worship of Rome's rulers and Rome's gods. Hence, the Roman presence in Jerusalem caused mutual animosity and discord which resulted in the destruction of the second temple by the Romans.
-The Romans renamed Judea 'provincial Syria Palestine,' after the philistines who had settled there.
-Unrest in Judea was complicated by disunity of opinion and biblical interpretation. Even as a special group of rabbis met to draw up the authoritative list of thirty six books that would constitute the canonic Hebrew bible, there was no agreement concerning the meaning of many scriptural references.
1. The Sadducees: a learned sect of Jewish aristocrats who advocated cultural and religious solidarity among the Jews; envisioned the Messiah (Anointed One) as a temporal leader who would consolidate Jewish ideals and lead the Jews to political freedom.
-Defending the literal interpretation of the Torah, they denied that the soul survived the death of the body.
2. The *Pharisees: the more influential group of Jewish teachers and the principle interpreters of Hebrew law; believed in the advent of a messianic redeemer who, like a shepherd looking after his flock, would lead the righteous to salvation.
-In their view, the human soul was imperishable and the wicked would suffer eternal punishment.
3. The Essenes: lived in monastic communities near the dead sea. Renouncing worldly possessions, they practiced Asceticism: strict self denial and self discipline.
-Believed in the immortality of the soul and its ultimate release and liberation from the body.
-They may have been responsible for the *Dead Sea Scrolls, which forecast the apocalyptic age marked by the coming of the teacher of righteousness.
Testing their faith, persecution became the lot of Jesus' followers.
-Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
-There was a major difference between Jews and Christians over the central importance given to Jesus.
-It is possible that Jesus himself may not have claimed that he was the messiah, but that it was Paul who developed this claim.
-To this day, Jews tend to feel that to put heavy emphasis on the person of Jesus takes attention away from his message and from God.
-The Jews who emphasized that Jews had been especially chosen by God, were offended by interpretations of Jesus' life and teachings that saw Christianity as a universal mission of salvation for all peoples.
-Their interpretations made the new sect, Christianity, seem irreconcilable with exclusive versions of Judaism, and the gap between the two became deep and bitter.
-Opposition in Jerusalem led to Christians spreading out to carry the gospel elsewhere, thus helping expand their mission.
-Christianity spread rapidly and soon became largely non-Jewish in membership.
-The rise of Constantine to imperial rule lead to the official embracing of Christianity.
-Constantine said that God showed him a vision of a cross to be used as a standard in battle. After he used it, and won a major victory, he instituted tolerance of Christianity alongside the state cult, of which he was the chief priest.
-Just before his death, Constantine was baptized as a Christian.
-People of other religions were stripped of their rights and ordered into Christian churches to be baptized.
-Some paid outward service to Christianity but remained faithful to their old traditions.
-Christianity became the faith claimed by the majority of people in the Roman Empire, spreading from Ireland in the west to India in the east.
-It soon had a bureaucracy that carried on the rights of the church and attempted to define mainstream Christianity, denigrating trends that it judged heretical.
-One form that was judged to be outside of the mainstream was *Gnostic Christianity, which appeared as a movement in the second century.
-*Gnosticism means mystical perception of knowledge. The Nag Hammadi library, found in Egypt, presents Jesus as a great Gnostic teacher. His words are interpreted as the secret teachings given only to initiates.
-The Gnostics held that only spiritually mature individuals could apprehend Jesus' real teaching, that the kingdom of heaven is a present reality experienced through personal realization through the light.
-When the New Testament texts were translated into Latin, the Gnostic gospels were not included. Instead, the church treated possession of Gnostic texts as a crime against church law because of conflicted teachings of the Christian community.
Orphaned at the age of 6, Muhammad received little formal education.
-He travelled with his uncle on caravan journeys, which brought him in contact with Jews, Christians, and Pagans.
-At the age of 24 he married *Khadijah, a wealthy widow fifteen years his senior, and assisted in running her caravan trade.
-According to Muslim teachings, the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and commanded him to receive the revelation of the one and only *Allah (Arabic for God).
-Now forty one years old, Muhammad declared himself the final messenger in a history of religious revelation that had begun with Abraham and continued through Moses and Jesus.
-While Muhammad preached no new doctrines, he emphasized the bond between Allah and his followers, and the importance of the community of faithful, whose unswerving love of God would govern every aspect of their lives and conduct.
-His message reinforced many of the basic precepts of Christianity and Judaism. Ex: Some of Allah's revelations to Muhammad (such as the immortality of the soul, the anticipation of the final judgment, and the certainty of Heaven and Hell) were staples of Early Christianity. Ex: Others (such as an uncompromising monotheism, a strict set of ethical and social injunctions, and special dietary laws) were fundamental to Hebraic teaching.
-At first, those from Mecca resisted the teachings of Muhammad due to his attack on idolatry and Mecca becoming a prominent pilgrimage site.
-After 12 years of fighting with the Meccans, Muhammad travelled to Medina with 70 Muslim families, and later returned with 10,000 men to capture Mecca and destroy its idols, except for the Black Stone, and established political and spiritual authority.
-By the time Muhammad died in 632, the entire Arabian Peninsula was united in its commitment to Islam.
Written in Arabic; literally recitations; the holy book of Islam.
-Muhammad himself wrote nothing, but his followers memorized his teachings and wrote them down some 10 years after his death.
-The Muslim guide to spiritual and secular life, the Quran, consists of 114 chapters (sutras), each of which opens with the *bismillah (invocation): "In the name of God, the Lord of mercy, the giver of mercy."
-As the supreme authority and fundamental source of Muslim ritual, ethics, and laws, the Quran provides guidelines for worship and specific moral and social injunctions for everyday conduct.
-Condemns drinking wine, eating pork, and all forms of gambling.
-Limits *polygamy (marriage to several women) to no more than 4 wives, provided that the man can support and protect all of them.
-Although the Quran supports equality of men and women before God, it describes men as being a degree higher than women (in that they are providers) and endorses the pre-Islamic tradition requiring women to veil their bodies from public view.
-A husband has unrestricted rights of divorce and can end a marriage by renouncing his wife publicly.
-Nevertheless, Muhammad's teachings raised the status of women by condemning female infanticide, according to women property rights, and ensuring their financial support in an age when such protections were not commonly guaranteed.
-Muslim scripture reveals the nature of God and the inevitability of judgment and resurrection.
-Teaches that beings are born in the purity of God's design, free from Original Sin.
-To the righteous, those who practice submission, humility, and reverence for God, it promises a hereafter resembling a garden of paradise, filled with cool rivers and luscious fruit trees.
-The wicked and to infidels (nonbelievers), it promises the terrifying punishments of *Hell, as hot and dusty, as the desert itself.
-Consider the Quran the eternal and absolute word of God.
-It's chanted, or cited, rather than read silently, and is often committed to memory by the devout.
-The Quran is the primary text for the study of the Arabic language. It is considered untranslatable, not only because its contents are deemed holy, but because it is impossible to capture in other languages the musical nuances of the original Arabic.