Judaism and research

Judaism symbols

Judaism’s centerpiece is the oral law, not the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God.  It’s a long story, and many books and articles of research, but that’s what it takes to be a writer of Biblical fiction. Understanding the time and culture.is important, but then being selective about the books or articles is important. One of the books I bought turned out to be all about Judaism, not the way of life Jesus Christ said it should be. This makes research more of a challenge, which is why using the accounts in the Bible as a framework is important. So why write about Judaism? Because most sites giving information about early Christianity are, in fact, giving misinformation. Judaism was not what was practiced by the early Christians.

Judaism, the ‘traditions of men.’

That’s how Jesus described it, recorded in Mark 7: 7-9

They worship Me in vain; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men.’ You have disregarded the commandment of God to keep the tradition of men.” He went on to say, “You neatly set aside the command of God to maintain your own tradition…
Berean Study Bible.   https://biblehub.com/bsb/mark/7.htm

Judaism developed entirely from the teachings of the Pharisees; the ones to whom Jesus addressed His comment. Moreover, He warned His disciples about them, pointing out how the sect typically taught one thing, but practised another.

“But do not do according to their works, for they say and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and [those which are] hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of men; but they [themselves] will not move them with [even] one of their own fingers” (Matt. 23:3-4).

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=PHILLIPS

What does this have to do with research?

As mentioned in the last blog, https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/accuracy-in-biblical-fiction-important/ knowing the culture and the facts can be helpful. For example the Bible is a better source than some, even ‘important’ sites in the online world. Look at this for example… https://www.britannica.com/topic/Judaism

It’s a long article, but it is wrong. How could Abraham be the ‘founder’ of Judaism?

Judah, from whom the name comes, was the great-grandson of the patriarch.

Judaism from Judah

Judaism is where most research stops

A friend gifted me a copy of the Code of Jewish Law. I see what Jesus meant when He said,
“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
Matthew 23: 4 KJV

 

One of my bought for research books, ‘Jerusalem in the time of JESUS’ is one such example. It is the Pharisaic Jerusalem. I wanted what it was really like, not only one ‘party.’

 

 

A friend gifted me a copy of the Code of Jewish Law. I see what Jesus meant when He said,
“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
Matthew 23: 4 KJV

You will find more on this subject in a previous blog https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/is-judaism-the-law-of-moses/

Judaism is a part, but not the whole of Biblical history

It is important to know the difference in order to achieve accuracy in research, just as it is important to know other aspects of the culture. Our time and culture has changed since those days, and the meanings of words have changed. So has our understanding.

 

Betrothal or engagement

I heard a minister describe a betrothal as equivalent to an engagement. Not so. We can break an engagement, but a betrothal required a divorce. In those times a betrothal was equivalent to marriage, and marriage was binding.

There are many other words which no longer have the meaning the Bible writers intended.

Happy hunting

Susan

Is Judaism the Law of Moses?

Judaism ritual handwashing

For the most part, Judaism is seen as being the Law of Moses, but is it? For the last few months I have been doing an ‘in-depth’ study as background for the next series of Biblical fiction novels. Basically, my curiosity was triggered by Jesus’ various confrontations with the Pharisees (or Sadducees, scribes and priests.) Since Jesus said ‘not one jot or tittle of the law would pass away’ until or unless heaven and earth pass away – why did He accuse the religious officials the way He did?

Well, my ‘researcher’ mind went into gear and I have done a long study. 

In the Code of Jewish Law, Volume 1 are contained the rules for ‘conduct before rising in the morning.’ Chapter 2 of Volume 1 is about washing hands in the morning. One reason given is that ‘when a man is asleep, the holy soul departs from his body, and an unclean spirit descends upon him. When rising from, sleep the unclean spirit departs from his entire body, except for his fingers, and does not depart until one spills water upon them three times alternately.’

There is another ritual for washing hands correctly.

What is Judaism

Although an Internet search will tell you it was the religion given to Abraham, there is more to it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_Judaism

“During the Babylonian captivity of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE (Iron Age II), certain circles within the exiled Judahites in Babylon refined pre-existing ideas about their Yahweh-centric monolatrism, election, divine law and Covenant into a strict monotheistic theology which came to dominate the former Kingdom of Judah in the following centuries.

From the 5th century BCE until 70 CE, Israelite religion developed into the various theological schools of Second Temple Judaism, besides Hellenistic Judaism in the diaspora. Second Temple eschatology have similarities with Zoroastrianism. .The text of the Hebrew Bible was redacted into its extant form in this period and possibly also canonized as well.”

Judaism, Tanakh scroll

Rabbinic Judaism developed during Late Antiquity, during the 3rd to 6th centuries CE; the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud were compiled in this period. The oldest manuscripts of the Masoretic tradition come from the 10th and 11th centuries CE; in the form of the Aleppo Codex of the later portions of the 10th century CE and the Leningrad Codex dated to 1008–1009 CE. Due largely to censoring and the burning of manuscripts in medieval Europe the oldest existing manuscripts of various rabbinical works are quite late. The oldest surviving complete manuscript copy of the Babylonian Talmud is dated to 1342 CE.”

Note: ‘refined pre-existing ideas.’
            5th century BCE until 70 CE (covers the time of Christ)

            The rest of the text quoted came after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD

And there is more

“The history of Rabbinic Judaism is closely linked to the rabbinic tradition, which dates back to the time of Alexander the Great with the siege of Tyre (332 BC). The formation of the outlook of the Jews which led to the formation of their religion began in the second millennium BC in Canaan.

Rabbinic tradition holds that the details and interpretation of the Torah (Written Law), which are called the Oral Torah or oral law, were originally an unwritten tradition based upon what God told Moses on Mount Sinai. However, as the persecutions of the Jews increased and the details were in danger of being forgotten, these oral laws were recorded by rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (“Judah the Prince”) in the Mishnah, redacted circa 200 CE.”

Could this be why Jesus said “And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Matthew 15:3

He knew God’s law, they had the law fenced in by their traditions.

 

Concluding, for now

This is merely scratching the surface of what researching many sources has turned up, but it has given me a whole new understanding of not only the gospels, but also the seeming contradictions in the writing of the Apostle Paul.

As mentioned in a previous post, it is our choice what we believe. However, we need to find the facts. <smile> 
It Started Way Back in Eden.

God bless and encourage you

Susan

Kingdom Thinking

Kingdom thinking, salt and light of the world

It was a tease… an interaction with a good friend. This friend is a fiercely loyal citizen of his city and said that it was the centre of the world. (It is not the city I live in by the way.) But I teased my friend saying that God probably considered Jerusalem as the centre of the world at least at one time, and it would be again. While my friend considered a reply, I said, “You need Kingdom thinking, not personal thinking.”

It set me thinking.

How many of us need to develop Kingdom thinking? Most of us. Remember, even the disciples did not understand much of what Jesus was talking about at first. They believed he was unique, different from anyone they had ever known. When Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” he did not understand how different his own life would become.

It isn’t enough to believe that Jesus is extraordinary, or even to believe that he is the divine Son of God

So, what is Kingdom thinking?

Dietrich_Bonhoeffer - Kingdom thinker

It is a process, well, that is my opinion. It is a process where we learn to live like Christ. For some that has already meant death. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer comments that “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Although Bonhoeffer died in a Nazi concentration camp, not everyone is called to die physically. We have to learn to die to self. This is why I said it is a process.

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

Review comments from some of the people who read the books in the Apostle John Series …

“We are so lucky to be able to worship as we wish or choose not to without being persecuted.”

“It really makes you think deeply about the level of Christian commitment in the tense and troubling times of the first century church and wonder if it would be matched should we ever face similar circumstances.”

“Life in the early years of the Christian Church, when believers lived under Roman rule and faced tests on every side? Really made me think of how I would act in similar circumstances.”

To be honest, when I researched them, I wondered the same thing.

Jesus preached the ‘Kingdom of God.’

Judaism-v-kingdom-thinking.

Matt 5 – When Jesus said ‘You have heard it said – He was talking about the teaching of Judaism.

v 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment

v 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

v 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.

v 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

v 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’v

v 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

To successfully develop ‘Kingdom thinking’ we have to be committed to living as if fully  in the Kingdom of God now, not discouraged by our failures, ready to repent when we have done something wrong, and to encourage others.

Remember we are called to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ (Matthew 5: 13, 14) That is why I chose the top image.

Plodding,

Susan