Matching Items (6)

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Strangers in the Fold: The Jewish Minority During the Creation of Visigothic Spain

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Judaism had always been treated as a religio licita in the Roman Empire. With the rise of Christianity, the law curtailed the proselytism of Judaism, but Jews retained their citizenshi

Judaism had always been treated as a religio licita in the Roman Empire. With the rise of Christianity, the law curtailed the proselytism of Judaism, but Jews retained their citizenship and were permitted to practice their religion with certain restrictions. The Visigothic Kingdom in Spain and Gaul inherited this legal framework, but following the conversion of the Goths to Catholicism in 589, Jews faced the first state-sanctioned forced conversion around 615. Resistance to conversion led to a series of different policies that addressed the problem of apostacy, insincere conversion, and secret adherence to Judaism. The two main drivers behind this shift in policy were, on the one hand, an attempt by the crown to compensate its lack of sufficient forces to enforce its will throughout the country, which led to attempts to use other "softer" kinds of power, including an attempt to unite the kingdom around a Catholic-Gothic identity that necessarily excluded Jews. On the other hand, a focus by the Spanish Church at creating a Christian unity in anticipation of the Second Coming, organized around the thought of Isidore of Seville, which included the conversion of Jews as part of its program. The forced conversion policy was not successful, with only limited enforcement available. Jews engaged in several strategies to evade conversion, including voluntary exile and deception of the authorities. They sometimes enlisted the help of their Christian neighbors successfully. Following a relaxation of the conversion policy in the 620s, a significant class of Jewish apostates and outwardly Christian "prevaricators" (so-called by the Church) emerged. In a series of Church councils in the 620s and 630s, this problem was addressed head-on, with a variety of strategies taken, including legal and social pressure on converts, taking away the children of Jews to be raised as Christians, the use of an oath or placitum, and a second forced conversion in 637-638 which offered practicing Jews the option of baptism or exile. Conversion of the Jews and the problem of how to handle prevaricators continued to vex the Visigothic rulers down to the end of the kingdom in 711. Evidence does suggest that despite the pressure, Jews continued to live in Spain as Jews throughout the period. However, the laws created in this time, both secular and canonical, exerted a great deal of influence throughout the medieval period. Moreover, these events laid the foundations of later anti-Jewish rioting and expulsions from Spain in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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The Perils of Periodization: Memory and Intertextuality between the Achaemenid and Hasmonean Dynasties

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Historians periodize the ancient past in order to better facilitate its study. From period to period, the ideas, figures and discussions that define as distinct become trapped within the walls

Historians periodize the ancient past in order to better facilitate its study. From period to period, the ideas, figures and discussions that define as distinct become trapped within the walls that historians have artificially imposed. However, history is not nearly so clean, and that which we have selected to define each period may be carried forward beyond their period or retrojected into a past period. This thesis will explore how ideas and concepts travel backward and forward in time, through construction of memory and through cultural hybridity and intertextuality, by casting the royal ideology of the Hasmoneans as seen in I and II Maccabees in light of the legacy and memory of the Achaemenid Persian Dynasty. The first two chapters discuss the development of Achaemenid Royal Ideology, beginning with the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus II and his adoption of the ancient Near Eastern “Restorer of Order” literary paradigm to restructure the past for political legitimacy, and continues to the rise to power of Darius I, who in many ways built off of the Restorer of Order paradigm but innovated in establishing a new, more equal relationship between the divine and the royal receiver of the divine mandate to rule. The second two chapters begin with a discussion of II Maccabees and its use of the Restorer of Order paradigm, but goes more into detail on how it constructs an “idyllic past” that not only connects the Maccabees to mythic biblical figures but also reconstructs the Persian past of the Jewish people that mirrors and legitimizes Hasmonean royal ideology in sacred time, and ends with a discussion of how the innovations of Darius might have shaped the eventual conflict between the Hasmonean dynasty and their opponents over the correct responsibilities of the High Priest in Jerusalem.

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  • 2020-05

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An Exploration of Organ Donation Through Jewish Law

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In this paper I will be addressing whether Judaism accepts organ donation. A problem that faces society today is the lack of people who are registered as organ donors. This

In this paper I will be addressing whether Judaism accepts organ donation. A problem that faces society today is the lack of people who are registered as organ donors. This is not only a problem in the religious world, but also the secular world. A common issue for individuals is the belief that their religion is against organ donation and does not support it. Even people who don’t practice their religion strictly bring up this issue. While this might be the case for some religions and certain parts of a religion, the majority of religions are in favor of and support organ donation to save another life. This paper explores what the religion of Judaism has to say on the matter of organ donation. There are different types of ways that one can donate their organs and this paper seeks to understand what Judaism has to say about each type of organ donation. Each type of donation brings up issues of their own because of the importance that Judaism puts on life. Judaism believes that humans are put on Earth by God and will be taken off Earth by God. This brings up the issue of what defines death, especially in regard to people who have been pronounced brain dead. As a result, each situation should be dealt with on a case by case basis and one should consult with their local rabbi on whether it would be permissible to donate their organs.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Judaism and Charity: A Qualitative Analysis

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The connection between Judaism and Charitable giving was evaluated by researching what Judaism teaches about giving to charity and also how Jews practice these teachings. Primary research was gathered

The connection between Judaism and Charitable giving was evaluated by researching what Judaism teaches about giving to charity and also how Jews practice these teachings. Primary research was gathered by referring to Jewish texts like the Torah and the Mishneh Torah. Three Jewish people were interviewed about their perspective and practices towards giving and the connection to Judaism. All answers were referenced against the research to determine the most likely causes that Jews give to charity.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Hybrid Judaism: Irving Greenberg and the encounter with American Jewish identity

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Over the course of more than half a century, Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg has developed a distinctive theology of intra- and inter-group relations. Deeply influenced by his experiences in the

Over the course of more than half a century, Rabbi Dr. Irving Greenberg has developed a distinctive theology of intra- and inter-group relations. Deeply influenced by his experiences in the Christian-Jewish dialogue movement, Greenberg's covenantal theology and image of God idea coalesce into what I refer to as Hybrid Judaism, a conceptualization that anticipated key aspects David Hollinger's notion of Postethnicity. As such, Greenberg's system of thought is mistakenly categorized (by himself, as well as others) as an expression of pluralism. The twentieth century arc of social theories of group life in America, from Melting Pot to Postethnicity by way of Cultural Pluralism, serves to highlight the fact that Greenberg is better located at the latter end of this arc (Postethnicity), rather than in the middle (Pluralism). Central to Greenberg's proto-postethnic theology is the recognition of the transformative power of encounter in an open society. Greenberg's ideas are themselves the product of such encounters. Understood fully, Hybrid Judaism has great relevance for American Jewish identity in the twenty-first century.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Converts and controversies -- becoming an American Jew

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Conversion to Judaism has a long history, and changes in Jewish law for converts over the centuries have reflected changes in the relationship between the Jewish community and the larger

Conversion to Judaism has a long history, and changes in Jewish law for converts over the centuries have reflected changes in the relationship between the Jewish community and the larger societies within which Jews have lived. As American Jews now live in the most open society they have encountered, a split is developing between Orthodox and liberal Jewish rabbinic authorities in how they deal with potential converts. This split is evident in books written to advice potential converts and in conversion narratives by people who have converted to Judaism. For this project over 30 people who were in the process of converting to Judaism were interviewed. Their stories reflect the ways in which liberal Judaism has been affected by American ideals and values, including feminism and an emphasis on spiritual individuality.

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Date Created
  • 2013