Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2011 12:18 pm
That the only way to have an understanding of how Christianity and Islam evolved is to dive into Jewish history and beliefs from a scholarly perspective, going all the way back to when the Jews were still Polytheistic.

I'm currently reading The History Of God by Karen Armstrong. I'd like some recommendations from the Moses faction here. Thanks.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 3,597 • Replies: 22
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JPB
 
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Reply Mon 11 Jul, 2011 12:47 pm
@blueveinedthrobber,
Great book!
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thomas-b
 
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Reply Wed 13 Jul, 2011 10:21 am
@blueveinedthrobber,
I read that book. It was alright. I saw an interesting documentary that gave a good explanation. The Hebrew people were possibly polytheistic but during the Babylonian exile, they developed their cultural identity more. They wrote down and edited the Torah and other books of the Hebrew Bible. Different versions of some stories exist side by side. God is sometimes portrayed as being in a contest with other gods like Baal. But under Babylon, the Hebrews needed to emphasis their faith and identity and the strength of one great God. Or that was the gist of it.
...just to be clear. I'm not saying their beliefs are just all made up. They were trying to express belief in a higher power and I believe in a higher power myself. I think any religion that tries to describe a higher power concerned with humans turning from bad behavior has some truth to it.
blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 06:00 am
The message is pretty much the same from all religions if you get to the core of it. The usage of the message by we humans also is pretty much the same. Consolidate power to a few and keep the great unwashed in line by scaring the **** out of them and turning them against one another. The EXACT opposite of the intention of the message.

The only irrefutable thing one can learn concerning religion, God and the way He (She, It) wants us to conduct ourselves is that as a species we never learn a damn thing, and probably don't really want to.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 06:03 am
@thomas-b,
The Hebrew religion, like ALL religions, was based on a covenant made with the expectations of benefits best I can tell. A business deal. Period. You worship me and me alone, here's the perks. Naturally the Hebrews, like ALL religions and people, reneged. Best I can tell.
Sturgis
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 06:57 am
@blueveinedthrobber,
You seen one religion you seen them all and books aren't the answer because every book written on or about a particular religion or faith or whatever you choose to call it, is written by a human and therefore has their own take on it.

I don't believe that reading Maimonides or Rashi or any other would necessarily take you to that high plane of ecstasy or understanding. I've read through the Tanach (also spelled some by as Tanakh) and a few versions of the Holy Bible subscribed to and prescribed by the Christian faiths, they all have the same basics. (of course, I've seen only versions which have been translated from earlier texts by humans, and each translation has it's own shifts.)

And is Judaism and it's roots enough? There was a stretch of history prior that which involved beliefs, it seems that there's a great deal to be learned in that pre Abram time, why not start at the very beginning before there were all the separations? Find out why the divides came about and why some embraced the teachings and tenets connected to Judaism as they first appeared while otters did not.

Is it fair to select Judaism for a search and not bring in as well the belief systems which were being developed in other lands? It seems to me that would only be a partial examination. Then again., maybe that is part of your future plan to delve into those areas as well.

At any rate, I wish you the best in your endeavor.
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blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 07:05 am
I am reading pre Abram books. I speak specifically to Judaism in this thread because it would appear to be the first well organized Monotheistic religion, and the one which the other two major ones are predicated on.Believe me, I don't consider it the know all and end all by any means.
Sturgis
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 07:09 am
@blueveinedthrobber,
Okay, got it. I may have misread or misunderstood (maybe both).
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blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 07:12 am
I'm really looking for specific suggestions of source material going back as far as possible and not particularly tainted by an agenda, but historically factual as is possible based on the subject material.
Sturgis
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 07:42 am
@blueveinedthrobber,
In ancient times I could have helped.

Seriously, I had a brief time where I was pursuing that area in my studies, that ended somewhere in my second year of college and was only briefly revisited in about 1980 with a few courses at City College in New York when I was temporarily unemployed. Subsequent years I for whatever reason disposed of every one of the books related to that time, there were some which harked back to early times.

Have you considered contacting a Yeshiva or the like? They might well be able to set you on an accurate path or through archaeological and anthropological studies at local colleges/universities, which while may sounding far fetched, would place you in contact with books and texts of ancient cultures and how their belief systems came to be.

Keep in mind though that even texts such as Sepher Yetzirah (which many regard highly) in our current form has been translated many times over so while technically factual, there will be a touch of human involvement, thought process. History is kept and listed by man, and man does not always want to acknowledge all that has happened and will delete that which does not agree with them at the time. Perhaps that is why we find one set of facts in one part of the world and a moderately or significantly different set in another part.
Keep an open mind (which I sense you already do) as you travel and explore.


(If I am going too far off into incorrect direction, let me know and I will gladly stop)
blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 07:59 am
@Sturgis,
I appreciate the feedback and suggestions.
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thomas-b
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 08:26 pm
@blueveinedthrobber,
Well, I don't know what you hope to find then. You seem to think you know it all already.
Lustig Andrei
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 08:40 pm
@blueveinedthrobber,
In pre-Abrahamic times the Hebrews (Hibaru in some Babylonian inscriptions) were not one whit different from their neighbors in Mesopotamia (Ur of the Chaldees etc.). It's fairly obvious that their early religious practices included human sacrifice just like their neighbors, else why this elaborate myth about Abraham sparing Isaac's life? It's likely that they didn't come up with the One God idea on their own but picked it up from the Egyptians. Even by the time of Moses monotheism had not taken firm root in the collective connsciousness yet. Viz. the trangression of Aaron in worshipping the statue to Baal. He believed Baal was real, not some bogey.
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thomas-b
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 09:17 pm
@blueveinedthrobber,
Sorry for that last comment. I tried to delete it but able2know says it's too late. I think we're all in the same boat as far as seeking answers goes. I sincerely wish you luck in your quest. I'm hoping for a little luck in mine as well. Smile
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Thomas
 
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Reply Thu 14 Jul, 2011 10:24 pm
@blueveinedthrobber,
I recently read Isaac Asimov's Guide to the Bible. I recommend it for the historical and social context in which each book of the Bible was written.
blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2011 07:33 am
@thomas-b,
damn.... where did that come from?
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blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2011 08:03 am
@Thomas,
I just ordered it used from Amazon based on your recommendation . Very Happy
Thomas
 
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Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2011 08:49 am
@blueveinedthrobber,
Ah. Now that you've ordered it, I'm worrying it may be too dry. To ancient Israelites, the most important part of the social context is who is related to whom, and through which ancestors. Keeping track of these relations can be as boring as the Bible passages it explains: "And A begat B, and B begat C, and C begat D", and so on indefinitely. But it explains a good deal about why Old-Testament figures act the way they act. And it explains why two evangelists made up conflicting accounts of how Jesus descends from king David. Another thing I like about Asimov is that he translates some of the names. For example, I hadn't known that "Beelzebub" translates to "Lord of the Flies", so I never understood what the movie title meant. Thanks to Asimov, now I do.

***

But speaking of "making things up": Another book I like, and an effortless read, is Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The story behind who changed the Bible and Why. The title says it all: Ehrman explains how book publishing worked in the times before the printing press, how easy it was for the people who copied books to slip in changes, and how those changes follow distinct political patterns. Very useful to know when literalist evangelicals try to impose their opinions onto you as absolute truth "because the Bible says so."
blueveinedthrobber
 
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Reply Sun 17 Jul, 2011 06:15 am
Thomas I've decided to embark on this adventure. I'm going to read the Bible again cover to cover and do it with two study guides.. an historical one with no particular axe to grind... and with a study guide from a Fundamentalist Christian source and see what conclusions I draw. That ought to keep me busy for awhile among all the other researching and study projects I'm taking on now that I have so much more time on my hands and my energy level has returned.
Chights47
 
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Reply Mon 18 Jul, 2011 11:51 am
@blueveinedthrobber,
Here is a youtube video on that book (two parts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPfFx9JTQl8&feature=related

There's also a reply video that also has 2 parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_631734&v=YVN5VmuS5m8 & http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_15795&v=n5tmWv2Fy3k
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