Subject: Judaism

Did God Have a Wife?

The focus of this paper is to attempt an answer to the question of whether the mythical Israelite god, Yahweh, had a wife. Before assaying into the evidence for such a claim, which this study endorses, it is necessary to delve into the origin of the ancient people of Israel.  There are myriad theories about the origin set forth by many excellent scholars.  The most convincing has been framed by the Jewish scholar and archaeologist, Israel Finkelstein.   Finkelstein relies on archaeological evidence combined with study of Old Testament sources.  Archaeology, if undertaken properly, does not lie.  Sometimes the interpretation of it is biased and/or incorrect. Therefore painstaking scholarship is necessary to extrapolate hard fact from reliable evidence and interpret it accurately. Finkelstein has been one of the researchers able to sift through the falsehoods and mythology of the ancient literary sources of the Old Testament and to compare them to

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Fundamental Judaism versus Judaic Hellenism

This lecture is gratefully indebted to Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt, and to such scholars as Martin Hengel, and Elias J. Bickerman. Hanukkah, Hellenism, and Judaism Before this lecture turns to the victorious Maccabean Revolt against the Greek Seleucid Empire in Palestine, I would like to glance at the history and background of Hellenistic Greece.  It is necessary to know something about the spirit of those times in order to understand why secular and conservative Jews clashed with violent quarrels about their religion and traditions from 167-160 BCE. The Hellenistic Era is usually designated as the period from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the death of the Ptolemy Empress, Cleopatra, and the subsequent incorporation of Egypt into the Roman Empire, in 30 BCE.  In a broader sense, Hellenism was the spread of Greek cultural traditions that had begun with Alexander the Great’s conquests. The Greek cultural tradition

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Christian Anti-Semitism, Part 1

During the lecture, I will be using the term, Christian, to denote the early Church.  The word, Christian, was first used around 40 CE or a little later.  The other word for the Christian sect was Nazarene.  I shall also be using anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism interchangeably, although the term, anti-Semitism, was first used in the 19th century. The first use of the term, Catholic, was around 110 CE. But the Church did not call itself Catholic until around the end of the 3rd century CE and into the 4th century. The word, Catholic, meant “universal.” This lecture, the first of a two-part discussion of Christian anti-Semitism, will discuss the early years of Christianity vis-à-vis its relationship to Judaism. It is important to keep in mind that Christianity began as a Jewish sect rather than an independent religion.  The four Gospels of the New Testament will be examined, as well as the motives for

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Christian Anti-Semitism, Part 2

The following lecture is gratefully dependent on David I. Kertzer’s The Popes Against the Jews (2001) and follows the format of his excellent volume. In this lecture I will be taking up the role of the Catholic Church, its Popes and their relation to the negative image of Jews, from the period of 1814 to 1943.  Church statements and denials of its anti-Semitism during that time period, including the conclusions from an important 1998 Church investigation, have been egregiously vague. The investigation’s report contained a key passage which did cite a rise in anti-Semitism in the 19th Century. However, the responsibility for prejudice against Jews was alleged to have been from sociological and political forces rather than religious ones.  Such a statement was disingenuous, as was quickly discovered.  In the same year as the investigation’s report, 1998, the Vatican Archives were opened, and in a few years, more documents from them became available

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