Monday, December 21, 2009

Wright's OT vs. it's environment

G.E. Wright wrote a comparitive religions book for the period of time in which the Old Testament was written. He answers the question, "What was so unique about the OT during that time?"
I've boiled the book down into an easy-to-read quick reference chart for anyone interested in a cliff notes version of the book.
Transcendent God
Moral and fair God
God made and controls nature
One God
God acts in linear history
The Godhead is essentially sexless, no word in Hebrew for goddess
Prohibition of images of God
God and humans have a special personal relationship
Social justice
God dislikes and disagrees with evil
“Heros” of OT faith are described as being flawed, while these men may be God’s messengers- they are in no way like God
Free will, faith is the ultimate religious achievement
Sin, repentance, forgiveness
No oaths in God’s name
Festivals are for remembrance of historical events
Sacrifices are for our sake
Separate offices for king and priest
Prophecy and fulfillment Wise sayings
Salvation by faith

Contemporary Religions
gods limited to shrine, mountain, etc.
gods unfair, immoral, capricious.
gods are nature, storm-god, etc.
Thousands of gods
Cyclical experiences
Always male and complimentary female goddesses.
Idols, shrines
Everything in nature relates together in a natural way
emphasized Survival of the fittest
If someone is suffering, the gods are punishing them
Heros are unflawed, powerful, full of glory, able even to trick gods – full of renown, often considered as good as gods
Sympathetic magic rituals, manipulating the gods is the greatest religious achievement
Oracles, dreams, omens
Oaths were a huge part of daily life
festivals are for preserving harmony between people and gods
Sacrifices are for the sake of the gods, to appease or even “feed” them
King was the religious leader
Uncertainty about the next life, works.

1 comment:

  1. sorry! i tried to put these 2 charts side by side and formated into a chart...but this blog site would not let me! no matter what i tried!! so, you'll have to just use your imagination...