A history of the Jewish faith

The evolution of Judaism over 4,000 years, by Assoc Prof Peter Schattner

A series of 6 lectures covering the major developments in the evolution of Judaism over nearly 4,000 years, with an emphasis on the historical stages rather than a theological analysis.

The major stages (ancient, medieval and modern) will be covered by two lectures each comprising the topics in the list opposite.

Six lectures weekly on Wednesdays, 2 – 3.30 pm, 2021, commencing 17 February

The format is lectures, audience discussion and readings.

Ancient (biblical) Judaism (1800 BCE – 70 CE)

  • Foundations – Patriarchs, Exodus, Revelation at Sinai, etc.: Who wrote the Bible? 
  • Temple Judaism
  • Hellenistic Judaism
  • Jewish sects – Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Christian Jews

Medieval (rabbinic) Judaism (70 – 1750)

  • The sages – Tannaim, Amoraim, Geonim and Rabbinic Judaism
  • Mystical Judaism – Kabbalah, Lurianic Judaism
  • Rabbis: The ‘first ones’ (Rishonim)
  • Rabbis: The ‘last ones’ (Acharonim)
  • Philosophical Judaism – Saadia Gaon, Maimonides
  • Messianic Judaism – Sabbateanism

Modern Judaism (1750 – today)

  • Hasidism vs Mitnagdim (‘opponents’)
  • Reform vs Neo-Orthodoxy
  • Positive historical vs Conservatism
  • 20th – 21st century – Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi), Reconstructionism, Humanistic Judaism, Religious Zionism, secular Jews and others