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THE HEBREWS Were originally a nomadic people who wandered out of Arabia around 2000 BC – Settled in Sumer, near city- state of Ur Remained basically unaffected.

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Presentation on theme: "THE HEBREWS Were originally a nomadic people who wandered out of Arabia around 2000 BC – Settled in Sumer, near city- state of Ur Remained basically unaffected."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE HEBREWS Were originally a nomadic people who wandered out of Arabia around 2000 BC – Settled in Sumer, near city- state of Ur Remained basically unaffected by Sumerian civilization But they did adopt a number of Sumerian myths – The Garden of Eden – The Great Flood

2 ABRAHAM AND JACOB Group of them left Mesopotamia and migrated to Palestine – Around 1500 BC – Led by tribal chieftain named Abraham Most left Palestine after Abraham’s death – Led by his grandson, Jacob – Forced to move because of drought or famine – Went to New Kingdom Egypt

3 SLAVES Enslaved upon entering Egypt – Victims of New Kingdom policy to enslave all nomadic groups who entered the country – Joined other enslaved groups – Mainly performed agricultural work Did not build pyramids Remained slaves there for several hundred years

4 THE EXODUS Group of Hebrews and other slaves left Egypt to return to Palestine around 1300 BC – Led by Moses Egyptianized Hebrew No Egyptian record mentions any of the events of the Exodus – Probably all Hebrew legends added to the story later

5 THE WILDERNESS Became lost and wandered around the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years – Years in the Wilderness Transformed during this period from a bunch of lost slaves into a unified people – And the foundation for their unique monotheistic religion was created – All under the leadership of Moses

6 FOUNDATIONS OF JUDAISM “God of Abraham” transformed into YAHWEH – Hebrews prohibited from worshipping any other gods – Not yet monotheistic but heading in the right direction YAHWEH was petty, vindictive, and nasty – But he did promise to put the Hebrews under his protection as long as they worshipped him and obeyed his rules In the form of the Ten Commandments – Allegedly given to Moses by YAHWEH

7 UNIQUE FEATURE Egyptians and Mesopotamians believed that their gods generally preferred good over evil – But their theologies did not demand ethical conduct Hebrews could only please YAHWEH by living up to the high moral standards embodied in the Ten Commandments, in addition to worshipping Him

8 HEBREWS BECOME CIVILIZED When Hebrews made it to Palestine, they found it already inhabited by civilized peoples – Canaanites (Phoenicians) – Philistines Even though contact with these groups was mostly violent, it had the long-term effect of civilizing the barbaric Hebrews – They adopted Phoenician alphabet – Settled into cities – Even eventually established the Kingdom of Israel

9 MELLOWING OF YAHWEH As the Hebrews became civilized, the harshness of their religion began to soften – The process would continue until, under the influence of Greek culture during the Hellenistic Age, the vindictive, easily-angered, arbitrary YAHWEH became the gentle, forgiving God of the New Testament

10 THE BIBLE First books of the Old Testament were first written down during the reigns of David and Solomon – To replace confusing and contradictory oral tradition – Part of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Judges, and Samuel – Leviticus and Deuteronomy were essentially just long lists of laws and seem to have been already written down – Later, other books would be added – Provided a written foundation for Judaism

11 PROPHETIC REVOLUTION Prophets transformed YAHWEH from one god of many that Moses chose to worship into the sole god of the universe – Creator of all things who governed all the forces of nature – Became a true monotheistic religion

12 THE MESSIAH Kingdom of Israel only lasted a little over 80 years – Hebrews then controlled by one foreign invader after another Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Alexander the Great, Selecus and his descendants, and the Romans – Prophets began to emphasize the eventual liberation of the Hebrews Predicted that YAHWEH would send a liberator who would free Hebrews from foreign domination once and for all – He would send a Messiah

13 ZEALOTS Predictions of a Messiah were particularly rampant during period of Roman rule – Rome ruled province of Judea harshly because Jews often broke Roman law Prompted formation of underground terrorist groups called Zealots – Used terrorism to try to force Romans to leave but only made them crack down harder – Many Jews became convinced that all signs were pointing to the imminent arrival of the Messiah Fortress of Masada: site of a Zealot rebellion against Roman rule in Judea

14 THE TRADITIONAL STORY Jesus of Nazareth born into the tense environment around 3 BC Raised in Galilee, a notorious Zealot stronghold But he was not a Zealot – Was a man of peace, who urged people to love God as their father and each other as His children – Did not advocate war against the Romans – Urged people to concentrate on the eternal happiness that awaited them in heaven

15 HILLEL AND JESUS Teachings of Jesus were similar to those of Hillel – Rabbi who died when Jesus was 12 years old Hillel also taught that Jews should love each other the same way they loved God and that they should treat others the same way they would like to be treated

16 OUTLANDISH CLAIMS Jesus also claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God – Most rejected the Messiah claim because he did not fit the popular image of a military leader – Almost no one believed the Son of God claim No one had thought that the Messiah would be the son of God Few people therefore accepted Jesus as what he claimed to be – Just his mother, a few others, and the 12 disciples – Most dismissed him as an entertaining but crazy prophet

17 DEATH OF JESUS Romans could care less about Jesus’ religious message – But Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, saw Jesus’ appearance in Jerusalem on Passover 29 AD as a threat to law and order. Might make him look bad to his superiors in Rome Arrested Jesus to get him off the street When that did not quiet down agitation in the streets, he invented a charge of treason against Jesus and had him executed

18 PETER Pontius Pilate probably never gave decision another thought – Rumors that Jesus had risen from the dead but few believed them Jesus’ followers lived quietly – Because they were afraid – And because Peter believed that Jesus’ teachings had been intended only for Jews and made no attempt to convert others

19 PAUL OF TARSUS If Paul of Tarsus had not intervened, Christianity might not have ever gotten off the ground Paul became follower of Jesus shortly after his death – Argued that Jesus had, through his death and resurrection, fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets and that he was what he claimed to be The true Son of God – And therefore his message was universal – It applied to Jews and non- Jews alike

20 THE BEGINNING Paul’s stress on the universal application of Jesus’ teachings went against Peter’s view of a message only for Jews – The two men struggled with each other over the future direction of this new religion – Paul ultimately won Peter over and Christians, led by Peter and Paul, began to spread the word of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire

21 GROWTH Attractions of Christianity were powerful – It was non-exclusive – Promised forgiveness and salvation – Provided strong sense of community First converts came the poor urban classes but Christianity soon drew people from other walks of life as well Number of Christians grew rapidly – Despite periodic persecutions – 25% of Empire was Christian by the time of Constantine

22 ONLY GAME IN TOWN Constantine legalized religion and, in fact, converted to it shortly before his death in 337 AD Christianity grew even more rapidly until the emperor Theodosius made it the only officially recognized religion in the Empire in 380 AD Theodosius

23 Church borrowed from Roman administrative practice and divided the empire into districts, called dioceses Each diocese was headed by a bishop Elected by all Christians within the diocese Headquartered in largest city of the diocese Bishops were originally equal and ran Church on a cooperative basis

24 THE POPE Over the years, the bishop of Rome (“pope”) gradually asserted his superiority over the other bishops – By 450 AD, he had become the recognized spiritual and administrative leader of the Church He settled disputes and appointed bishops – Also became political ruler of Rome and central Italy Due to deterioration of centralized political authority in the Western Empire

25 MISSIONARY EFFORTS Early Christian Church devoted much time and energy to spreading the word of Jesus – Christianity spread rapidly through the Mediterranean Basin as a result – But northern Europe was not as receptive Because of deeply ingrained pagan traditions and stubborn German tribes It would take 600 years of hard and persistent missionary effort to convert all of Europe to Christianity

26 ORIGINS OF MONASTICISM Always those who believed cities were immoral and that a real Christian could not live in them – At first, they simply left the cities and went to live alone in deserts, mountains, or forests as hermits This was the beginning of monasticism – The desire to cut oneself off from the evil world and devote one’s entire life to God

27 AN ALTERNATIVE Hermit form of monasticism never became widespread – Because it was dangerous – Because Church leaders disapproved of it No way the Church could control what hermit monks said or did in the name of God Church developed an alternative – Where monks lived together under the supervision of Church- appointed officials called abbots Monks were still isolated from outside world but under the control of the Church

28 MONKS Various types of monastic orders would develop – Benedictines (529) and Cistercians (1098) – Had several aspects in common Monastery itself was a rural, self- sufficient estate Directed by an abbot who answered to the local bishop Monks divided day between prayer and work/study – Work assigned on the basis of the monk’s abilities – Attracted young men of diverse backgrounds and interests

29 CONTRIBUTIONS Monasteries usually successful in a material and religious sense – Led the way in clearing forests, draining swamps, and experimenting with crop rotation Made important contribution to agricultural development of Europe – Copied and preserved books Maintained contact with achievements of the ancient world – Often ran local schools – Served as local doctors

30 LEGACY Monasteries were strongholds of civilization in a world that was otherwise drifting away from literacy, education, and culture in general – Played a major role in preserving the heritage of the ancient world during the difficult times of the Middle Ages

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