2.1. The basic elements: the Scriptures and Yahweh

2. JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY

2.1. THE BASIC ELEMENTS: THE SCRIPTURES AND YAHWEH

Judaism, the religion of the Jews, is the oldest of the Abrahamic religions. The origins of Judaism begin with Abraham. Through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob (Israel), the Jews arise in an almost continuous history (Genesis 11-29), having their genealogy registered in the Torah (the books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

Jewish theology is based on the Jewish scripture (the Tanakh or the Masoretic Text), which is formed of the writings of Moses, the writings of the prophets, the psalmists and other ancient canonized scriptures. “Tanakh” is a Jewish acronym consisting of the Hebrew initials of the three main subdivisions of the Masoretic Text: Torah (“T,” which means “Teachings”), Nevi’im (“N,” which means “Prophets”), and Ketuvim (“K,” which means “Writings”) – TaNaKh. The Tanakh is complemented by various prophetic traditions such as the works of the Mishnah and the Gemara, which together form the Talmud. The Hebrew text of the Tanakh (especially the Torah) is considered to be holy to the letter. The elements of the Tanakh are incorporated in various forms in the Christian Old Testament.7

Judaism is strictly monotheistic; God is completely different from man, unique and invisible, non-physical, non-corporal and eternal. Worshipping a multitude of deities (polytheism) or the concept of a single god consisting of many persons (such as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity) are equidistant heretical aspects. The Jewish scriptures refer to the Supreme Being in many ways: Yahweh (Yahve, Iahve), Elohim, Adonai, El, Elyon, Roi, Shaddai, Shekhinah or Zebaot. The first name is the most frequently used.8 “Yahweh” is the personal name of the one and only real God, who spoke with Moses, freed the people of Israel from Egypt, gave the Ten Commandments and revealed himself countless times. In order to speak about God, rabbinic literature frequently resorts to linguistic techniques such as metaphors or anthropomorphism (giving human attributes and qualities to non-human beings, objects of phenomena). The most common and simplest description of God enumerates his features of omnipotence (absolute power), omniscience (absolute knowledge) and omnibenevolence (absolute goodness).9 The three features have been partially adopted by Christianity, the feature of omnibenevolence being replaced with the one of omnipresence (God is present everywhere and is part of all that exists).



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