Friday, August 21, 2009

Topics in Jewish "Backgrounds": What am I missing?

This is a list of topics in early Judaism (in no particular order) that seem immediately relevant to the study of early Christianity. What else am I missing?

  • Purity
  • Women
  • Sacrifice
  • Prayer
  • Law
  • Interaction between Jews and Gentiles
  • Temple and Synagogue; Sanhedrin
  • Political context - Relations with Romans; who rules what in the Land?
  • Hellenization
  • Groups: Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Common people/ 'people of the land'
  • Social-economic situation(s)
Belief / Theology
  • Afterlife/Resurrection
  • Eschatology
  • Messiah
  • Theodicy - Where is God? What time is it? (exile?)
  • Salvation (see Law)
  • Sin/atonement
  • Angels/demons
  • Election (light/dark)
  • Scripture, canon
  • Ethics
Scripture / Genre
  • Apocalypse
  • (Re)interpreted Scripture: Pesher, Rewritten Bible
  • Wisdom
History ... A general knowledge of events is certainly important, but how much detail is required if, again, one is primarily concerned with the 'so what?' question from a Christian perspective?


pgmccullough said...

Scribes and scribalism would be good when discussing wisdom. Ben Sira would be a good text to tackle with that.

John Ottens said...

For the history bit . . . I wonder if it might be most helpful to paint the picture using the broadest strokes possible, mentioning only the most important events and leaders. That would make it easier to grasp the larger historical picture, and you'd be able then to fill in bits of detail and helpful anecdotes onto that basic outline whenever it turns out to be necessary.


d. miller said...

Very helpful. Thanks!