The idea of community in early Judaism – the fragmentation of world view and the analysis of community as methods to study politics and religion

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Title: The idea of community in early Judaism – the fragmentation of world view and the analysis of community as methods to study politics and religion
Author: Jääskeläinen, Jouko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Political Science
Thesis level: Licentiate thesis
Abstract: The aim of this study is to clarify how it is possible to research and prescribe the connection of religion and politics. The second aim is to study this question in early Judaism. To start with there is a commentary on the earlier research about religion and politics. After that the needed concepts and principles of the analysis are defined. In order to study the relationship between religion and politics we have to divide the area of the world view in three areas: Religion, moral on the individual level and the area of administration and economics. Behind the ways of behaviour there can be different religious world views, ideologies and social practices in the society. Different ways of behaviour can be studied in the community analysis. At the one end of the analysis chart there are solutions that stress uniformity in society and at the other end of the chart there is the fragmentation of values of the society. Creating a society from the same mould can be promoted by pressure or by different concrete means of force. The fragmentation of society is shown with an increase in multiple values and as isolation from the society. The ideal way of community living is spontaneous, but it can also be forced, alienating or dangerous. The natural community life is placed in the middle field of the analysis. In the society of communities we emphasize the common ways of behaving and the common values on all the areas of life. This concerns even economics and social life. Different institutions are needed to support the community. When the institutions of the state gain more power the process can turn out to be weakening the community way of living and the state focuses only on solving conflicts in the society. Differentiated operators in the society can even have different values. In the community analysis early Judaism was studied through its different stages until the time of the exile. In its early stages the focus was on the tribes and families. The law gave form to the communal society and to its ideals of low governing, economical stability and common faith. The teaching, common knowledge and motivation weakened and that's why even religion and morals were fragmented. Due to the pressures from outside a king was needed to lead the people and warfare and he was even needed to dispense the justice. A communal way of living is important to all societies and in order to achieve this a peaceful working environment and consciously adopted common values are needed. These aims did not become permanently real in the beginning of Judaism. In the latter critical periods of early Judaism one can see both tendencies of striving towards the original ideals as well as developments toward a more fragmented society and a weakening of the social and economic equality. Also characteristics that stressed communal and universal values were upheld in Judaism. After the exile the focus was on common religious practices, social equality and common moral values. The fragmentation reached its climax during the Roman era when the state was governed by a Hellenised upper class while at the same time the Pharisees functioned as religious leaders with traditional Jewish values. The Esseans isolated themselves from the others on religious and political level. The economic and social inequality weakened the society. In the last stage violent extreme groups, the Zealots, brought the situation with the Romans to its worst point ever. This leaded to the vanishing of the essential institutions but not of the whole Judaism.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen ( Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database ( Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta ( Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Date: 2006-01-23
Subject: religion
world view

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