FINAL EXAM ESSAY
Answer two (2) questions in essay form.Each essay must be a minimum of two (2) pages.The two essays must be submitted as one submission (not separately).NO LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.ALSO, IF YOU DON’T SUBMIT TWO ESSAYS YOU WILL NOT GET FULL CREDIT FOR THE EXAM.
1.In this course Judaism, Christianity and Islam were taught as arising from and grounded in the religion of Israel.Which concepts, institutions, ideals, or models from the religion of Israel) most strongly or significantly shaped or influenced Islam?Which elements from the religion of Israel (as well as from Judaism and Christianity) did Islam challenge and even reject as it sought to restore the purity of the one religion revealed by God to Jews, Christians, and Muslims?That is, what are the central aspects, institutions, or concepts of Islam these be traced back to or originate directly or indirectly in the religion of Israel?By “religion of Israel,” as I have explained in the lectures, I mean the religion found in the Hebrew Bible—Genesis through Malachi—and it dates from roughly the time of Abraham (1800 b.c.) to the times of Ezra and Nehemiah (400 b.c.).Judaism proper begins after this period, and Rabbinic Judaism, more or less as we know it today, dates from the early common era but closer to 500 c.e. when the (Babylonian) Talmud is completed, next to the Bible the most important source of authority in Judaism.
2. In this course Luther, Jesus, and Muhammed (pbup) have been discussed in the lectures as “prophetic” figures.Explain why they should be considered “prophets”? Most people think of a prophet as someone who “predicts” the future, but the Hebrew/Israelite prophets, who influenced Jesus, Muhammed, and Luther, were mostly interested in other things (such as justice, mercy for the poor and the marginalized members of society, challenging the political and religious establishment). For example, what do each of these “prophets” have in common?Think about what the earliest prophets, the Hebrew prophets, did when dealing with the institutions (priests, temple, king/messiah) of their times.
3.Briefly discuss at least five fundamental or important concepts or sources of authority of the Muslim religion. (The “Five Pillars” of Islam count as one concept only.)
4.Christianity starts out as a Jewish sect, with its leadership based in Jerusalem, led by James, the brother of Jesus, and expecting Jesus (the Messiah and descendant of King David) to return to restore the Davidic dynasty.But in continuation with the developments the professor called “Early Catholicism” in the later writings of the New Testament, Christianity takes a decidedly different course away from its Jewish roots (as we can glean from the subsequent developments). Why?That is, how did Christianity become so different from the earliest Jewish interpretation of the mission of Jesus and his person, with its emphasis on the national restoration of Israel; the concept of the Davidic messiah who would re-establish the kingdom of David and Solomon, purify the temple; and the prophetic critique of religion?What do you think might have precipitated the change of direction that we see in the development of Christianity from the second century (100s) on?
5.Discuss the central concepts and institutions of Judaism in distinction to or contrast with the dominant concepts and institutions of the religion of Israel (as found in the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament).That is, what are the new elements that characterize Judaism that are absent in the religion of Israel?And what are those things Judaism still has in common with the religion of ancient Israel, from which it arose?Another way of approaching this question is to consider what from the religion of Israel still survive or are present in Judaism today, and which are not at the present time (but might become present at some future time)?