Finding Judaism’s Founders

Mark Leuchter

in Varieties of Religious Invention

Published in print November 2015 | ISBN: 9780199359714
Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190264253 | DOI:
Finding Judaism’s Founders

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The “myth” of Judaism’s origins involves a linear storyline beginning with patriarchs such as Abraham and Moses who broker a relationship between the people of ancient Israel and their deity YHWH, leading to a kingdom founded by David and a system of faith ultimately preserved by priests, scribes, and, later, the Rabbis. But beneath this myth is a far more complicated intellectual history that sought to countenance diverse and contradictory worldviews and practices from ancient Israel in a new and synthetic manner. This chapter considers the true “founders” of Judaism, namely, the largely anonymous writers and thinkers who—utilizing features of Israelite cultural memory—forged a meaningful rendition of the past that laid the foundations for ancient Judaism.

Keywords: Judaism; Rabbis; ancient Israel; patriarchs; Abraham; Moses; YHWH

Chapter.  10155 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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