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Religion

종교 탐방

II. THE HISTORY OF JUDAISM

유대교의 역사

 

It is history that provides the clue to an understanding of Judaism, for its primal affirmations appear in early historical narratives. Many contemporary scholars agree that although the biblical (Old Testament) tales report contemporary events and activities, they do so for essentially theological reasons. Such a distinction, however, would have been unacceptable to the authors, for their understanding of events was not superadded to but was contemporaneous with their experience or report of them. For them, it was primarily within history that the divine presence was encountered. God's presence was also experienced within the natural realm, but the more immediate or intimate disclosure occurred in human actions. Although other ancient communities saw a divine presence in history, this was taken up in its most consequent fashion within the ancient Israelite community and has remained, through many developments, the focus of its descendants' religious affirmations. It is this particular claim--to have experienced God's presence in human events--and its subsequent development that is the differentiating factor in Jewish thought. As ancient Israel believed itself through its history to be standing in a unique relationship to the divine, this basic belief affected and fashioned its life-style and mode of existence in a way markedly different from groups starting with a somewhat similar insight. The response of the people Israel to the divine presence in history was seen as crucial not only for itself but for all mankind. Further, God had--as person--in a particular encounter revealed the pattern and structure of communal and individual life to this people. Claiming sovereignty over the people because of his continuing action in history on its behalf, he had established a berit ("covenant") with it and had required from it obedience to his Torah (teaching). This obedience was a further means by which the divine presence was made manifest--expressed in concrete human existence. The corporate life of the chosen community was thus a summons to the rest of mankind to recognize God's presence, sovereignty, and purpose--the establishment of peace and well-being in the universe and in mankind. (see also history, philosophy of, chosen people)

   

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