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Death and the afterlife of western religions lecture 8

by: Rachel

Death and the afterlife of western religions lecture 8 01:840:112

Marketplace > Rutgers University > Religious Studies > 01:840:112 > Death and the afterlife of western religions lecture 8
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These notes are on the start of the second part of the course. Lecture *
Death and the Afterlife
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rachel on Sunday February 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 01:840:112 at Rutgers University taught by Myladil in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Death and the Afterlife in Religious Studies at Rutgers University.

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Date Created: 02/21/16
Part II Death and afterlife in western religions Judism, Christianity, and islam Death and after life in the Old Testament  Bible- means book.  Basis of two religions o Judism and Christianity  Common scriptures for jews and Christians  For Christians o Old and new testament (two parts)  For jews o Accepts only the old testament (called the Tanekh or the Hebrew Bible.  Old testament is roughly same as the tanekh  Testament means covenant, old covenant, new convent  Covenant is relationship btw god and the isreal nation  New covenant which Christians, god and people have relationship through Jesus Death and afterlife in old testament  Old testament composed of very long period of time, several centuries with many authors. Mostly written before 3rd century b.c  Has 4 parts o First part. -Pentateuch, first 5 books of the bible, 5 books of moses  Genesis.  Exodus.  Leviticus.  Numbers.  Deuteronomy. o Second part - historical books  Narrate the Israelite nation to the exile in babylonian o Third part - wisdom books or poetic books o Fourth part - the books of the prophets  Number of books varies o Jews  24 books o Protestant Christian  39 books o Catholic  46 books  History of Israelite nation huge part is the Babylonian exile o Jews were taken to exile in Babylonian 586 b.c o Jewish nation conquered by Babylonians o Remained there till 539 b.c o Some returned to Palestine, Israel o This completely changed the structure of Judaism  Death and afterlife in pre exile period  Death and afterlife in post exile period Death and afterlife in pre exile period  Before 6th-7th century b.c  Jews known as Israelites, Hebrew  Israel o Known as promise land, where jews lived  Religion centered on worship on god called yahweh  Did not have human king for long time bc yahweh was not only their god but also their king  Yahweh established a covenant with the israel people, a contract btw yahweh and the israelites  This contract established what is called a system of blessings and curses o Blessings and punishments o If israelite people observe that relationship, if they obey the covenant  Yahweh would bless them o If they disobey the covenant  Yahweh would curse them, punish them  In bible they frequently disobeyed yahweh and always punished them  Yahweh expected the people to live a life of morality and purity  Yahweh asked the israelites to follow the 10 commandments- all about morality  Religion of yahweh gave people their identity o People heavily influenced in their beliefs and practices by neighboring nations  Meso, Egypt o Even though their religion was yahweh  Ex. Religion of yahweh opposed and banned practices such as witch craft, consultation with the dead, ancestor cults. o People of israel and the kings practiced these things Summary  No concept of immortality or life after death, in MOST of the old testament in pre exile period  Bible says "human body shaped by god from the earth and then god animated it with the breathe of life."  When person dies, different expressions o The breathe dies o The body returns to the earth from which it came o The breathe might return to god from who it came, body turns to dust.  One idea about afterlife that is found in most of the pre exile period o When people die they descend into sheol  Underworld, nothing is there, dead become really dead  Ex. Book psalms- in sheol who will praise u yahweh  Those in sheol cannot praise him, only the living on earth can o Another expression in bible is that the dead are gathered to his ancestors  When person dies that person is died in family tomb where bones of previous family are o Ancient meso there is also nothing in the underworld. Just like sheol  Human beings live in this world and then they die. That’s it, nothing in the human person that outlives death  Yahweh "yahweh is the god of the living" not the dead Ancient Cosmology  The universe is divided into three realms o The upper realm  Bible - Firmament, sky, heavens  Dwelling place of god, yahweh and of angels- other spiritual beings, sun, moon etc.  No human beings, excluded from this realm  Immortality- no one dies o The realm of Earth  Bible - dry land  Proper place of humans beings and shared with animals and plants  The realm of mortality and everyone here dies  Dry land is surrounded by waters and god keeps the waters away from the earth  Its seen as flat o The place of the dead - under the earth, shoel, huge pit, land of forgetfulness, cutoff  All who die go down here  Underworld in meso, bible calls it sheol, greek calls it hades  Psalm 115:16-18 o The heavens are yahwehs heavens but the earth he has given to the sons of man, the dead do not praise yahweh they are in silence. But we the living will praise yahweh now and forever more.  Sometimes those who are in the heavens they come down to the earth and make brief visitations but return to heavens  Story yahweh talking to moses, behind the bush on fire  When people die and go to sheol they sleep there forever, enteral sleep and sleep together. o Cutoff from god and humans o Some instances where god might help people who are sheol but general idea is that yahweh doesn’t care for or not interested in those in shoel o They are abandoned forever  No judgement after death, no reward or punishment  Exceptioons, to where people who are living speak with someone who died, or someone who is in sheol comes back to speak with the living o Best story is the witch of endor READ  King called saul, who had a teacher by name of prophet samuel. King samuel died and went down to sheol. Saul faced so many problems and badly needed to speak to teacher, samuel but he was already dead. According to costumes outisde of isreal someone said a witch can bring samuel back from sheol to speak with hiim. Saul goes to her and pays her to bring samuel back to help king saul. Saul does this and the witch of endor brings up samuel and saul speaks with him. Read it in the book. o Practicing witch craft and someone from sheol came back up. These are exceptions. Death and afterlife in post exile period  Catastrophic period for israel, many things were destroyed and many people taken to exile  Those in exile came into contact with many other religious beliefs  We find that the israelite people begin to think of idea of resurrection o Judgement after death o Reward or punishment after death o Isralites begin to accept these ideas  Terms o Eschatology- means end  Doctrine or study of things that happen at the end basically what happens after death.  what will happen at the end. End of the world. Final resurrection, final judgement.  Becomes biblical team, and thinks about what will happen at end of the world o Apocalypticism- comes from word apocalypse- revelation  Revelation about the end times  God reveals signs of the end times, what will mark the beginning of the end times  God only gives these revelations to a few people and then they write about them  During period of exile, the people of israel suffered o Started to question religious belief which was the system of blessings and curses o Started to realize that it does not always work because God does not always reward who obey him and do not always punish those who disobey.  Innocent people are suffering o Started to ask why are the good people suffering? o These Babylonians and some Israelites who committed crimes God did not punish then, why is God allowing wicked people to thrive in this world. o Came to conclusion that system of blessing and curses isnt working  Maybe the system of blessing and curses has another realm and continues after death and that is where God will punish the wicked and reward the good. o God will resurrect everybody at the end, reward or punish  This is found only clearly in the book of Daniel  Why isnt God punishing the good etc found in o Job and Jeremiah o Job was a good man who always obeyed god, but suffered incredibly, underwent incredible sufferings, mental physical, spiritual  Asked God why and he said I know but keep going  


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