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05/04/2019

Hecho Religioso 
y Fe Cristiana
Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca
Facultad de Informática
Año Académico 2018‐2019
2º Semestre

Thomas A. Kilbride

Judaism: Origins
God in Judaism
Before concepts…

Before “attributes”…

God acts.

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Judaism: Origins
God in Judaism

It is less important “what God is”


as “what God does”.

To Jewish faith, God is known by what God does.


Faith – belief - is above all MEMORY

Judaism: A Dynamic “Faith”


“Haggadah”
– literally: “telling”
– from verb “nagad” – “to tell a story”
– Instruction about God, life and faith
– based on the stories of the Bible
• What God has done for us

“Halakah”
– literally: “walking”
– from verb “halak” – “to walk”, “to go”
– instruction about life and faith – based on Torah Covenant
• What God wants of us

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Judaism: Origins
The first point…
The basic question…
“Who are we?”
“Where do we come from?”

Deuteronomy 26: 5-10 “The Little Credo”


“Tell us the story…”

“My Father was a wandering Aramean…”

Judaism: Origins
Deuteronomy 26: 5-10 “The Little Credo”
“My Father was a wandering Aramean.
He went down into Egypt to find refuge there, few in numbers.
He became a nation, great, mighty and strong.
But the Egyptians maltreated us.
They gave us no peace but inflicted harsh labour on us.
But we called on the Lord, the God of our Fathers.
The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and oppression.
And the Lord brought us up out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched 
arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.
He brought us here and gave us this land, a land where milk and honey flow.”

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Abraham
The Original “Wandering Aramean”
Scripture
Genesis 11: 31

Late 3rd Millennium BC


(probably some time around 2000BC)

• Nomadic tribal leader


• Ur “of the Chaldeans” (Genesis 11: 31)
• Haran
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Ur
- “biggest city in the world”
- Dedicated to Moon Goddess, Nanna Sin
- A highly developed culture

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The Patriarchs: The “Avot”


Who were they?
– Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel)
– The Twelve “Sons of Israel”
What were they like?
– Semi-nomads; herders – cattle, sheep
– Competing for land (in a warrior world)
– Forming tribal loyalties (and rivalries)
How did they live?
– Life dependent on climate (water & pasture)
– Competition with others for scarce resources
– Empires and Influences (trade, conflict, ‘taxes’)

God of the Avot


Influenced by God-images of Canaan and the Near East
area: “El” the chief God…
El Shaddai
El Elyon
El Elohim

The God of the Family


“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”
Aware of the many gods worshipped around them
(eg El, Ba’al, Asherah, Ea, Mat, Tiamat, Marduk, )

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Judaism: Origins
The Egypt Experience and Exodus

“He went down into Egypt to find refuge there


and there he became a nation
great mighty and strong…”
(Deuteronomy 26:5)

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Egypt, Exodus and Settlement


“Hyksos” Pharoahs in Egypt? 
(1700‐1600BC)
Rule by ‘foreigners’

1350 BC
Pharaoh Amen‐hotep III
“Akhen‐aten”
Imposed a monotheism: “Aten”
(too ‘new’ for the Egyptians!)

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“But the Egyptians ill-treated us;


they gave us no peace
and inflicted harsh slavery on us”
Rameses II
• 1303 – 1213 BC 
(Pharaoh from 1279 BC)
• Builds a new capital city: Ramses
• Goes to war with the Hittites 
(and wins control of Canaan)
• Contends with “People of the Sea”
(Egypt’s colonies and allies under pressure)

A Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph”…?

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“Trouble in Paradise”!
• The ‘People of the Sea’ (“Serden”, “Lwqqa”, “P’lustin”)
(Sardinian? Lycian? Philistine?)
• Aramean city‐states destroyed (eg Ebla, Ugarit, Mari)
• Hittite Empire collapses (rulers of Asia Minor for centuries)
• Trouble for Egyptian outposts from “Habiru” and “Shasu”
1200s BC
A breakdown in central, economic and political structures of power
Displacement of peoples and territorial pressure
The emergence of new, smaller, centres of power

This coincides with period traditionally associated with the


Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan.

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Judaism & God in Exodus


• Key Theological Narrative
“Our God is like this”
Ex 15:11
Deut 4:32-34
Deut 6:20-25
•Foundation Epic of the Nation
Deut 30:1-5, 11-14
“This is who we are”
Ex 12:13-14; 26-27; 43-45
Ex 13:8,9; 14-15
Deut 6:24-25

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Judaism & God: Exodus


Moses and the Exodus
God of the Covenant (berît)
Elohim
YHWH
“I Am…” The Divine Name Revealed

The God Who Hears


The “Name” = The Person: God is Present

“A God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger and


rich in mercy and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6)

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Judaism & God: Exodus


God of the Covenant (berît)

• Worship of YHWH alone
• Guidance and protection of Nation
• Promise of Land
• Lives ordered according to “mishpat” and “sedeqah”
Justice Rightness
Justice: right relations in community and with God
Rightness: right actions and moral outlook (later: alms)
• Ritual gestures and gifts to be dedicated in thanksgiving

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Judaism & God: Exodus


God of the Covenant (berît)

Ten Commandments (“Decalogue”)


1. I am the LORD your God: 
you shall not have strange gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
3. Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
4. Honour your father and your mother
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
9. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife. See Exodus 20:1‐21
10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods. Deuteronomy 5: 6‐21

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Judiasm & God in Exodus


Exodus…
…defines God’s relationship with the People (covenant)
e.g. Joshua 24
1 Samuel 12: 6-25
2 Kings 23: 21-23
…is a warning to the people
“You will have to go back to Egypt!”
e.g. Hosea 8: 13, 9: 3, 11: 1-5
… is a promise of hope
Its power and meaning are rediscovered in the days of Exile
e.g. Isaiah 40:3, 43:16-19; 51:9-11; 51:14-16
Jeremiah 31:2, 7-9; 31:31-33.
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Judaism: Feasts

The Ritual of Passover


(Pesach – Pascha)
A Story Re-told – as present
An Event Remembered – re-enacted
A Personal, Family, Tribal, National Celebration
Exodus 12-13…
14th / 15th Nisan
Spring festival

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The Meaning & Power of Passover

• Memorial
• Identity
• Theology
• Belonging
• Story & Image
• Ritual

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Origins of Judaism: Emergence of the Nation


A Monarchy is Established
An ambiguous advance…
Judges 8: 22-23
1 Samuel 8: 5-8 (11-19)
Saul & David (10th century BC)
– Victory over the Philistines
– Consolidation of government (“The House of David” – beyt dawid )
– A religious and political power base
Solomon
– Israel as an international power (1 Kings 10:26-29)
An Israelite Empire – “from Dan to Beer-Sheba”

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Judaism & God: The Kingdom Period


The God of the Nation / Our God
(but other nations’ have their gods – “henotheism”)
God as King
The King as representative of God (“son”)
The Monarch God on his Royal Throne
The God of Armies (YHWH ‘Sabaoth’)

God as Father of the Nation


and Father of the King (See Psalm 2; Ps 110)
Time of national confidence: the “blessings” are tangible!

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A Kingdom Divided
1 Kings 12
Political Schism
• Jeroboam, son of Nebat v Rehoboam, son of Solomon
• 10 tribes (“Ephraim” or Israel – North)
• 2 tribes (Judah & Benjamin)
Religious Schism
• Shechem, the shrine of the Northern Tribes
• Jerusalem, the capital and Temple of Judah

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The tribute of Jehu, House of Omri: I received from him silver, gold,
a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers,
golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears

Jehu, king of Israel, bows down before


the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III
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Judaism & God: The Divided Kingdom


The Northern Kingdom

• Ministry of Elijah, Amos & the early Prophets


God is the ONLY god – radical call to abandon “ancient” gods

A God of Justice
A God who Makes Demands on his covenant partners
God on the side of the poor, the widow and the orphan

(North as wealthy, decadent and influenced by neighbours)

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Judaism & God: The Divided Kingdom


Judah: The Southern Kingdom
Isaiah (no.1!)
God is Holy – God provides and protects
(See Isaiah 1:4-20; 6:1-3; 12)
Jeremiah & Deuteronomy
God is One and Only – all others are idols
God is Monarch – serve him alone
God is personal – Love him; in the heart
(See Jeremiah 2:1-13; 20:7-18; 31:31-34)

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Judaism & God: The Divided Kingdom


Judah: The Southern Kingdom
The “Shema Yisra’el”
“Listen, Israel: the LORD your God, the LORD is One.
and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,
with all your soul and with all your strength…”
(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Tefillin Mezuzzah

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Israel & Judah: Decline & Oppression


722 BC
The kingdom of Israel is destroyed by Assyria
(2 Kings 17:5-6; 18:9-12)

Judah escapes! See 2 Kings 19: 35-37)

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Assyria
• Cultured but brutal
• Ephraim wiped off the map – dispersed & replaced by
incomers (origins of the Samaritans?)
(See 2 Kings 17:6, 24)
Judah limps on…
• A poor remainder (Israel was the rich part!)
• Oppressed & impoverished (2 Kings 18:14-16)
• As Assyria declines, it grows (2 Kings 23:15-20)
• An attempt at reform: Josiah and the “copy of the law”
(see 2 Kings 22: 8-10; 23: 4-27)

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But it couldn’t continue…


Too small, too poor…
A new Superpower emerges:
Babylon

Nabupolasar defeats Assyria (after revolts across empire) in 612BC

His son, NEBUCHADNEZZAR, besieges Judah


Jerusalem Destroyed 587 BC
The Exile to Babylon (597 and 587 BC)
(“The Babylonian Deportation”)

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50 years of exile in Babylon


Psalm 137 – “By the waters of Babylon, we sat and wept…”
Lamentations – “Ah, how lonely she sits, the city once thronged with
people, as if suddenly widowed”

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To an exiled, homesick people, longing to return to


their homeland, the memory of the Exodus
becomes a hope for the future

Isaiah 40: 1ff. 43: 16-19

YHWH did it once before…


He can do it again!
“Thus says the Lord, who made a way through
the sea,
A path in the great waters…
No need to recall the past,
No need to think about what was done before:
See I am doing a new deed…”
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But those 50 years were also a time of renewal for


the Hebrews:

•Contact with a major culture


•Influences on their poetry, architecture,
science, language, worldview…
•Trade and opportunities to prosper…

Not everyone wanted to return… and not everyone did.


(Babylon would remain a major centre of the Jewish Diaspora until
the 20th century…)
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Judaism & God: The Babylon Experience

The Exile Years


Isaiah (no 2!) (Ezekiel and ‘Priestly’ texts too)
God is All-Powerful Creator (Genesis 1)
and Lord of History
Therefore: God of All Nations
A Universal God
“I am YHWH Unrivalled:
there is none beside me”

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The Return
Persia conquers Babylon – 539 BC
Cyrus calls the Judahites back home
2 Chronicles 36: 22-23 // Ezra 1: 1-4
“The Edict of Cyrus”

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The Return
Consolidation & Conflict !
(See Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, ‘3rd-Isaiah’)
Samaritans & residents resent the ‘invasion’! (cf Ezra 4)
Rebuilding authorised by King Darius (cf Ezra 6)

Consolidation:
Temple rebuilt
Passover restored
Torah renewed
Reflection on place of foreigners…

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The Greek Period


Persian Empire conquered by Alexander the Great
(Battle of Gaugamela 331 BC)

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The Greek Period


After Alexander’s death (323BC), the Empire was divided…
Palestine eventually fell to the Seleucid kings in Asia

Process of “Hellenisation”
Greek language introduced
Greek culture: theatre, gymnasia, etc
Greek religious practices…

Some accepted and became “Hellenised”


Many resisted Greek culture as “alien” and “pagan”

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The Greek Period


Crisis under Antiochus IV “Epiphanes”

Placing of a statue of Zeus in the Temple (168-169 BC)


- a pagan “god”
- a statue
- obligation to offer sacrifice to God as Jupiter
Jewish cultic practices forbidden

Rebellion led by Judas Maccabeus – struggle but victorious


Renewal of the Temple (“Purification” – “Hannukah”)
High Priests Rule – but emerging educated, pious laity: Pharisees, Rabbis

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Judaism & God: The Babylon Experience

The Wisdom Tradition


Influenced by Greek thinking & Babylonian ‘scientific’ reflection

God of Beauty: God the Craftsman


God of Nature and Creation: God the Artist
God of History: God the Watcher & Guide
Wisdom, Torah, Word, Reason

(See Proverbs 8:22-31; Ecclesiasticus 43; Wisdom 7)

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The “Second Temple” Period


The period between about 500BC and 70AD

High Priestly rule (Maccabees – Hasmoneans)


Roman occupation from 64 BC (Herod the Great & “Herodians”)
Roman direct rule from 6AD (Pontius Pilate & governors)

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The “Second Temple” Period


66 AD: Revolt in Syria & Judea
Roman Legion sweeps through area
(Vespasian & Titus)

70 AD
Destruction of Jerusalem – Temple burned
Leaders taken to Rome as slaves
Qumran community destroyed (Dead Sea Scrolls)

End of Sadducees, priesthood, Temple structure & liturgy


Survival only of Pharisees (educated,lay leaders) - Rabbis

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Early “Judaism”

Post‐70 AD
With no Temple, priesthood, sacrifices…

Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism


• Rabbis/Pharisees emerge as leaders
• Need to “redifine” traditional practice & belief
• “Spiritualisation” of Temple, Kingdom, Land & Sacrifice
• Greater focus on Synagogue, Torah observance (Sabbath & circumcision), 
Messianic hope, Almsgiving (in place of “sacrifice”)
• At Jamnia/Javneh (90 AD) Rabbis establish the official “canon” of Scripture

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A reminder…
God in Judaism
Before concepts…
Before “attributes”…

God acts.

To Jewish faith, God is known by what God does.


Faith – belief - is above all MEMORY

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Judaism & God: Revealed… Yet Hidden


• The mysterious “Name” (“ha-Shem”)
• Present, yet hidden
– Isaiah 45:15-19
– Psalm 88
• Job (especially ch 29, 30:20-31, 31:35-37)
• Lamentations (see 5:19 and then 5:20-22)
• Psalm 13
“Philosophical-Doctrinal” Dimension…
“Experiential” or “Mystic” Character…
Lucas: “Inmanente-Trascendente” – Intercation with the “Absolute”
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Judaism: Sacred Texts


• TaNaK
• Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim (Law, Prophets, Writings)
• “Hebrew Bible”
• Talmud
• Interpretations of biblical verses and passages
• “Midrash” – “search” / “enquiry” – method of interpreting
• Babylonian Talmud (“Bavli”)
& Palestinian Talmud (“Yerushalmi”)
• Biblical interpretation, narratives about and teachings of Rabbis.
• Interpretation of Laws
• Application of Torah principles

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The Shape of Hebrew


the Old Testament
Scriptures
Pentateuch Torah

History Books
Prophets - Earlier
Nevi’im
- Later
Wisdom Books
Writings Ketuvim
Prophets

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The “Canon” of Scripture


Christian O.T. Tanak
Pentateuch Torah
“5 Tubes” = The Five Scrolls “Teaching” = The Law
Genesis Breshit
Exodus Shmot
Leviticus Wayyiqra
Numbers Bmidbar
Deuteronomy Haddevarim

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The “Canon” of Scripture


Christian O.T. Tanak
History Books Early Prophets
Joshua Joshua
Judges Judges
1 & 2 Samuel 1 & 2 Samuel
Ruth
1 & 2 Kings 1 & 2 Kings
Esther
(Tobit)
(Judith)
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
(1 & 2 Maccabees)

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The “Canon” of Scripture


Christian O.T. Tanak
Prophets Later Prophets
Isaiah Isaiah
Jeremiah Jeremiah
Baruch
Lamentations
Ezekiel Ezekiel
Daniel
The Minor Prophets The Scroll of the XII
(OT ends with Malachi)

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The “Canon” of Scripture


Christian O.T. Tanak
Wisdom Books The Writings
(Ketuvim)
Job Psalms (Tehillim)
Psalms Job
Proverbs Proverbs
Ruth
Song of Songs Song of Songs
Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes (Qohelet)
Lamentations (Echah)
Esther
Daniel
Ezra
Nehemiah
1 & 2 Chronicles
(Ecclesiasticus – “Sirach”
Wisdom)

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Judaism: Sacred Texts


• TaNaK
• Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim (Law, Prophets, Writings)
• “Hebrew Bible”: order based on “quality” of mediation of revelation…
• Talmud
• Interpretations of biblical verses and passages
• “Midrash” – “search” / “enquiry” – method of interpreting
• Babylonian Talmud (“Bavli”)
& Palestinian Talmud (“Yerushalmi”)
• Biblical interpretation, narratives about and teachings of Rabbis.
• Mishnah (200 AD) & Gemara (200-500AD: Palestine & Babylon)
• Mishnah as written version of “Oral Torah” passed on by Pharisees
• Interpretation of Laws & Application of Torah principles

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Judaism: Sacred Texts


Talmud Bavli

By Reuvenk - Own work, CC BY 3.0,


https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3559428

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Mishnah

Talmud Bavli Gemara

“Rashi”

Other midrashim
and commentary

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Judaism: Feasts

The Ritual of Passover


(Pesach – Pascha)
A Story Re-told – as present
An Event Remembered – re-enacted
A Personal, Family, Tribal, National Celebration
Exodus 12-13…
14th / 15th Nisan
Spring festival

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Judaism: Feasts

Shavuot
(“Weeks” – 7 weeks after Passover)
50th Day (“Pentecostês”)
Wheat harvest
Passover celebrates escape from Egypt…
Shavuot celebrates
revelation of Torahon Mount Sinai
Exodus 19-20 / 34… Leviticus 23:15-22

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Judaism: Feasts

Yom Kippur
(“Day of Atonement” )
10th of Tishri – 8 days after Rosh Hashanah (New Year)
Celebration of appeal to God and forgiveness
Fasting, no work, attend synagogue
“Shofar” (ram’s horn) is blown to call to repent
Often worshippers wear white robes
Often suggested that this is the one day most (even non-observant)
Jews attend synagogue and fast
Leviticus 23:26-32
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Judaism: Feasts

Sukkoth
(“Feast of Tabernacles” )
15th of Tishri – 5 days after Yom Kippur
Memorial of Desert journey / entry into Promised Land
Often a “sukkah” (tent / temporary shelter) is built
using tree branches, foliage & flowers
Meals are eaten there to symbolise living in tents
7 day festival of rejoicing – synogogue & home
“Our Time of Rejoicing” – last harvest of the year
Leviticus 23:33-36 and Nehemiah 8:9-18
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Judaism: Feasts
Sukkoth

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Judaism & God:The Bible Reflects


The Conclusion:
What the story of the Hebrew People demonstrates…
Wisdom 19:22

“you stood by them always and everywhere”

Faith as remembrance, “owned” memory, celebration


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