Introduction to Judaism
History: Judaism in the World (from the Harvard Pluralism Site)
c. 2000‑1500 BCE
The Patriarchal Period According to the Biblical narrative of Genesis, the first Jew was Abraham, commanded by God to leave his native Mesopotamia for the land of Canaan. As the founding fathers of the nomadic Hebrew tribes, Abraham, his son Isaac and grandson Jacob became known to Jewish tradition as the Patriarchs. Their wives—Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel—are the Matriarchs. This formative period ended when Jacob, renamed Israel, followed his son Joseph to Egypt during a period of famine in Canaan.
c. 1260 BCE
Moses, the Exodus, and Sinai Exodus, the second book of the Bible, relates how the prophet and lawgiver Moses led the twelve Israelite tribes—descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob—out of their slavery in Egypt. During their sojourn in the desert, the tribes were united into the “people of Israel” at Mount Sinai, the traditional site of God’s revelation of the Torah.
c. 1200‑1050 BCE The Israelite Conquest of Canaan
Under the leadership of Joshua, the twelve tribes conquered and reapportioned Canaan as the land of Israel. Thereafter the people were led by a series of religious/military chiefs called Judges. From this period comes the earliest archaeological evidence of the people of Israel, mentioned on an Egyptian stele in the name of Pharoah Merneptah.
Introduction to Christianity
Issues for Christians in America
1 CE Life of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth, the man whom Christians consider to be the Messiah (or christos in Greek), was born in Palestine in present-day Israel. Many biblical scholars today, drawing on the known date of King Herod’s death, assert that Jesus was likely born in 4-5 BCE. The events Christians relate of his death by crucifixion and his resurrection would thus be dated to about the year 30 of the Common Era.
50-60 CE Paul’ s Letters to Churches
Paul, a Jewish tentmaker, was dramatically converted to the way of Jesus in about 30 CE. He preached not only to Jews in synagogues, but also to non-Jews or Gentiles. He nurtured small communities of Christians throughout the Mediterranean world. His letters to these churches constitute the earliest Christian literature and became part of the New Testament.
70-100 CE Gospels Emerge from Early Communities
The word “gospel” translates the Greek term used by Mark: euangelion, meaning “good news.” The writers of the Gospels were “evangelists” telling the story of the good news of Jesus Christ. There were several early Gospels, including the four that came to be part of the New Testament canon.
150-200 CE Initial Formation of the New Testament Canon
The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, along with the letters of Paul and other writings such as the Book of Acts, came to be regarded as having special authority for the early church. These writings were described as a “canon of truth” and were also referred to collectively as the “New Testament.” The process of collecting and defining the New Testament involved much controversy, as some writings were deemed heretical and excluded from the canon.
Introduction to Islam
The Muslim Experience
A New Islamic Landscape
Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr
Shia//Sunni Short Film