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Is there such a thing as Jewish theology?
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Is there such a thing as Jewish theology?

From my understanding Jewish scripture is either pure ethics/jurisprudence (in the wide sense of the term), or some form of mysticism that's not logically falsifiable; and while Maimonides has some dialectical elements he's not that consistent, and he's not a representative of the Rabbinical tradition as a whole.

So in general, are there 'canonical' ideas about the nature of God, the universe, the human being, etc. in Jewish scripture?
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All religions are ideology and philosophy. Some are more tangible and direct than others.
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>>672444
That wasn't the question OP asked. Are you Jewish?
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>>672427
Kabbalah.

I am not Jewish or religious person. But to read Old Testament in any other language than Hebrew is to miss out 90% of the metaphysics and sublime meanings one verse may have.

There are four levels of interpretation in Kabbalistic tradition.

Peshat (Hebrew: פשט lit. "simple"): the direct interpretations of meaning.

Remez (Hebrew: רמז lit. "hint[s]"): the allegoric meanings (through allusion).

Derash (Hebrew: דרש from Heb. darash: "inquire" or "seek"): midrashic (Rabbinic) meanings, often with imaginative comparisons with similar words or verses.

Sod (Hebrew: סוד lit. "secret" or "mystery"): the inner, esoteric (metaphysical) meanings, expressed in kabbalah.

Kabbalah is considered by its followers as a necessary part of the study of Torah – the study of Torah (the Tanakh and Rabbinic literature) being an inherent duty of any observant Jews.

Even simple verses like opening of the Bible in plain English:
>"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

In the original Hebrew language and in Kabbalistic analysis you find multiple levels of interpretation, symbolism and meaning for this verse. English version can never portray such things without the original text and interpretation.
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foremer yeshiva student here: no there isn't. they don't even have an official position on the unity of God. Ask the Rambam what it means to say that God is One, and then ask a Kabbalist. you will get totally different answers.
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>>672542
pardes (pshat, remez etc is a Talmudic system of interpretation not Kabbalistic). Not even close to all Orthodox Jews accept the Kabbalah. Many consider it, and have in the past considered it, an extension of idol worship and avodah zarah (meaning "work of foreign nations", things like divination etc)
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>>672427

Yes, but in Jewish religious teaching, you don't really divorce that from the legalism; you learn to understand the various aspects of God via study of the laws.

Crack open any page of the Talmud and read for a while. Within 5 pages, you'll get some sort of argument as to the nature or motivations of God concerning whatever it was they were discussing.
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>>672695
but there isn't any agreement, or dogma.
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>>672542
true, true

I often hear that nature of samael and/or satan is not simple in judaism, that he is often not even considered evil, etc...
which in kaballah is further explained, as he dwell within realm of qlippoth and is a fallen angel, much like those of "apocryphic" literature which were chained by raphael
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>>672427
Something like...the whole fucking Old Testament you goof?
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>>672689
The Lubavitch movement certainly studies Kabbalah, they being one of the largest orthodox groups among diaspora Jews. I'm not so sure where you're getting that notion that many view it as idol worship
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>>672702
Where does the OT speak about those things?
Outside of the story of creation and few general and very ambiguous remarks ("I am who I am" etc.), I don't see where there are theological arguments.
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>>672706
Chabad is pretty much a heresy within Judaism. Some people even don't consider it Jewish at all.
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>>672699
Is this from that book on the Orthodox movement's selective censorship throughout history?
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>>672707
Did you miss the whole life of Moses?
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>>672709
You're gonna have to back that shit up with some sources, cause calling it a heresy is a pretty big claim
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>>672712
What part(s) are you referring to in particular?
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>>672697

So? There's still quite a bit of disagreement as to aspects of the legalism too. Ashkenazi Jews ban polygamy, Yeminite communities actively practice it, and Sephardic ones do things on a case by case basis, although in practice, I've never heard of a Sephardic Rabbi who was willing to challenge the local laws about marrying multiple women, and as the Jewish communities in arab countries have shrunk, the practical trend has been towards no polygamy.

Judaism doesn't really have a set hierarchy among Rabbis. What your personal teacher says goes, unless there's a consensus (difficult to achieve) that "better" rabbis form a different opinion, at which point what they say goes. It's a massive, chaotic mess, and it perpetuates itself. I studied in Yeshiva University when I was an undergrad. Usually did Talmud study in the mornings. Paired up with someone, we got out our copies, started reading, interpreting. Often as not, any understanding was greeted with

>That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard

From your partner, and if the Rabbi was called in, you were more likely to get a lesson on Aramaic etymology and linguistics than an actual answer. It's a system designed to instill reasoning and debating skills, not provide dogma.
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>>672706
this guy
>>672709
is right. I lived in Jerusalem and studied in Orthodox yeshiva. Orthodox Jews call Chabadniks "Christians" (due to their obsessive beliefs surrounding their rebbe). they are despised by the Orthodox community at large.
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>>672717
God revealing himself to the entire Israelite people.

This is not the religion that starts with: "There was a man."
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>>672725
divergences in law are accounted for by the law itself. the talmud is a flexible document.
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>>672716
Here's one:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rebbe,_the_Messiah,_and_the_Scandal_of_Orthodox_Indifference

Of course this book doesn't present any real original arguments. It's stuff that has been going around for decades in orthodox circles. The idea of a flesh and blood messiah goes against the tenets of virtually all established Jewish doctrines (as loose as those may be).

>>672729
Rabbi Elazar Shach was once asked what is the religion that in his opinion is closest to Judaism. He answered "Chabad".
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>>672732
I understand that, but where are there statements regarding the nature of godhood, etc?
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>>672739
Like these?

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/jewfaq/god.htm

By the way, have you ever read Job?
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>>672736
I don't know what your point is, but as someone with intomate experience with all manner of Orthodox circles: only secular Jews like Chabad. They see then as "the nice ones". Other Orthodox don't like them, and incessantly make fun of then.
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>>672735

Yes, yes it is. But you're missing the point. There's no dogma because there's only the weakest of lines of authority between Rabbis. Very firm lines of authority between Rabbis and non-rabbis, but you have an anarchic system once you've made it to a teacher status.

There's no dogma because there's nobody in a position to hand out dogma. At best you get an opinion that becomes massively influential and hard to unseat because it becomes the mainstream. And that goes for ALL aspects of religious thought, not just discussions as to the nature of God.
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>>672742
You understand that each and every of those statements can be interpreted in a million different ways, right?

What you posted is basically a "Judaism for dummies" summary for new converts or highschool students writing papers. It's not very serious.

>By the way, have you ever read Job?
I have. Again, what part are you referring to?
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>>672755
arguably you are right. but historically, in practice, only religious Law can be said to be characteristic of Judaism. there aren't really any particular beliefs that are consistent throughoit.
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>>672755
Isn't there some type of informal hierarchy between the different rabbinical schools or "courts"?
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>>672755
>At best you get an opinion that becomes massively influential and hard to unseat because it becomes the mainstream.
Speaking of which, how frequently is Maimonides being contradicted or questioned in THE CURRENT YEAR?

>>672760
>I have. Again, what part are you referring to?
God being Satan's boss, the entire work being about the problem of evil, is it somehow not theology?

>You understand that each and every of those statements can be interpreted in a million different ways, right?
Even if "God is not a man" had multiple interpretations, would that not make it theology?

Is God affecting history not theology?

Is Ecclesiastes 12:7 not theology?
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>>672711
I'm not really sure, I got it from a pretty batshit insane site, which explained why 4 Esdras (where Uriel reveals himself to Prophet Esdras) was pulled off Catholic Bible

It claims it's from Talmud, I have no way to check it unfortunately
I know Bible's cannon has been heavily altered and depended on church, so I wouldn't be keen to believe in any predefined set

I wonder if modern Jews stick to that "Hebrew Bible" one, or in that manner are as ecclestic as OP claims?
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http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14362-theology
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>>672706
>>672709
What's the stuff with Chabad-Lubavitch?

They're a popular topic on conspiracist site I once browsed

Like... I heard they want to bring in Jewish Messiah, or something

>>672729
interesting, are they of worse status than so called Messianic Jews?
these are not even recognised as part of Judaism, while shit like "Reformed" (basically Church of Sweden tier) is
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>>672781
Ok, what is the theological doctrine in Job and Ecclesiastes then?
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>>672792
they are considered messianic jews. they treat the rebbe like the messiah, and many personally expect him to come back, though this is not an official chabad belieif
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>>672767

There aren't too many laws that can be said to be consistent throughout. I don't see why you're having a problem with this. There is a considerable corpus of theology, which is as divergent and argumentative as everything else in Judaism.

>>672775

You get some of that in terms of what you saw in the Gemara, but not nearly as much in the present day. Bais Hillel is pretty much always followed rather than Bais Shammai, for instance. But nowadays? Your hierarchy is going to depend enormously on what sort of teaching you've had, which will almost always put your school at the top.

>>672781

>Speaking of which, how frequently is Maimonides being contradicted or questioned in THE CURRENT YEAR?

Off the top of my head, the one where

>You can throw out the Gemara and just use the Mishneh Torah.

one he laid out is pretty universally ignored. Honestly, he's far more influential in Sephardi communities as opposed to Ashkenazi ones, and I'm not even really qualified to lay out what all of his opinions are, let alone which ones are contradicted, which should tell you something about the extent of his influence.

He's a big cheese, but he's hardly the only big cheese thinker out there.
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>>672792
They believe that R. Lubavitch is the messiah and that he will rise from the dead one day (or that he never died, not sure). That's the basic idea. Jews in general don't fancy milleniarism of this sort as they have a sad history with it (see: Shabtai Tzvi).
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>>672810


Don't forget that whole thing with Jesus that spun hugely out of control.
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Interesting bread
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>>672802
your the one missing the point here. jewish law is not meant to be consistent. the talmud, the text the law is derived from, deliberately leaves room for divergence within certain limits. divergencies are legitimate WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE LAW
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>>672792
The Jesus-believing Messianic Jews are targeted by outreach organizations like Jews for Judaism and other "counter-missionaries" such as Tovia Singer, who try to pull them out of "the Church".

>>672799
>Job
God is the creator of evil, don't blaspheme him, don't accuse him of injustice, don't think that everyone that suffer deserves it. His wisdom and design are not mortal concerns, he can grab the complexities of the world, you can't. Thank God for Satan.

>Ecclesiastes
Enjoy's God's gifts while this life lasts, even if the world doesn't make sense to you; the soul is immortal.
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>>672837

>jewish law is not meant to be consistent

That's right. Why are you then expecting consistency elsewhere? What part of "anarchic system of rabbinical teaching" are you so struggling with? There hasn't been a Sanhedrin for close to 2,000 years. Who is left to dictate dogma?
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>>672845
>God is the creator of evil
Why did God create evil? Does it mean he is evil? If not, why not? Does it mean evil is a corruption of good, or its absence? What distinguishes them?
>His wisdom and design are not mortal concerns
But then how can he reveal himself to man? How can we know if divine intervention is real? Are miracles possible? Are they over? Why are they over? etc. etc.

If the underlying point is that those things are beyond the reach of human knowledge and that ethics is all that matters, fine. It seems to be working for several millennia and I'm not the one to fuck with it. But it still doesn't form a coherent theology.
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>>672861
you're still not getting it, that's alright. forget it. believe what you like
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>>672904

You're the one who isn't getting it. I may as well say

>Christianity has no theology. The existence of Arianism shows that they can't even agree to the nature of God.

And then you'd come along and say that Arianism has been denounced as heresy, and there haven't been any organized Arians for something like 1500 years.

No such institution exists within the Jewish framework, very likely because of that whole diaspora thing. As a result, there's no authoritative body to create dogmas; and all the dogmas that do exist date from a time when there still was one.

That doesn't mean there isn't theology, just no firm agreement, because there's nothing in place to make people agree. What is so difficult about this concept?
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>>672924
it's very tiring to argue over this, and im leaving for class, sorry, but youre still not quite catching what im saying
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>>672937

Then I guess Christianity doesn't have theology, if dogma is the defining characteristic of theology. When you get back, you can elaborate on it.
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>>672755
The lack of rigid dogma is how and why Judaism is able to reconcile secularism with orthodoxy. The diaspora and persecution endured did much to unify Jews with a common cultural identity, even as regional, ethnic and of course, dogmatic differences still existed.The best example of this would be Israel, a secular state created by a widely diverse people with a common religious/cultural heritage. In Israel, religious law Halakah is established as the core of state policy - but it cannot be enforced or even theologically justified as much of Halakah itself is not dogmatic but customary. Rather, Jewish customs, which are defined along lines of geographic and ethnic heritage, make up the largest part of what is loosely considered dogma. Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Misrahi Jews are the three main heritages, with many intricate subdivisions within. In practice, Ashkenazi traditions have come to be accepted as the mainstream as they represented the majority of Jews in America and the decimated European rabbinic schools rebuilding in Israel. That being said, the religious differences between Sephardi and an Ashkenazi Jews are insignificant compared to Catholocism and Protestantism, which might as well be considered separate religions. Canon is the same throughout Judaism; how it is interpreted depends entirely on the heritage, customs and the rabbinic writings of each sect.
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>>672885
>Why did God create evil?
Same reason he created everything. If we get only the good, and everything for free, we cannot appreciate its worth, if we don't work for it we don't deserve it.
>If not, why not?
Jews have a covenant with God. Job said it best: “Should we accept only good from God and not accept evil?” (Job 1:10)
>Does it mean evil is a corruption of good, or its absence?
Ignore the inclination to do evil from within and from without, and get closer to God, no matter what he throws at you. Any semantics on the definition of evil is of no consequence to Judaism.
>But then how can he reveal himself to man?
In part, see Ex 33:20. Kabbalah might as well be almost entirely defined as the discourse on this topic.
>Are they over?
Who said so? And who cares, miracles cannot used to argue theological or legal issues in Judaism anyway (see that Baba Mezi'a 59b).
>But it still doesn't form a coherent theology.
You're only proving you are not familiar with it.

No, Judaism across all denominations - except Humanistic Judaism, because they're atheists and reject the supernatural - has its consistent core of beliefs, which begins with unitarian monotheism.

What's the problem? That the Jews argue all the time? If they didn't, they wouldn't be Jews.
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>>672815
The problem with Jesus was the problem with Rome. Israel was trying to retain as much control over their land and theology as they could. By this stage, the current Jewish practices of temple worship, tithes and strict state theocracy was very corrupted by Roman influences. Think of how corrupt the Vatican was around Martin Luther and that is how bastardized Temple Judaism was. Christianity offered liberation for the Jews from antiquated state theocracy, but was corrupted the minute the Romans imported it and taught it to pagans who added shit like Hell and idolatry. Early Christianity could have evolved side by side with early Rabbinic Judaism and coexisted peacefully had it not been bastardized. Fucking Romans ruin all good religions.
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>>673082

The opposition between Rabbinic/Pharisee Judaism and Temple/Sadducee Judaism predates Roman influence though, the first splits seem to have been during the Hasmonean revolt, when the temple priesthood tried to claim the throne as well.
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>>673068
>Same reason he created everything. If we get only the good, and everything for free, we cannot appreciate its worth, if we don't work for it we don't deserve it.
Labor theory of value. Does it come from the Biblical text or from 18th century political economy?

>Jews have a covenant with God. Job said it best
What does it have to do with the problem of evil? Suffering isn't limited to Jews only.

>Ignore the inclination to do evil from within and from without, and get closer to God, no matter what he throws at you.
How does one get "closer to god"? Do you count it by inches or by centimtres?

>semantics
Oh boy.

>Kabbalah
Not canonical.

Look, none of what you said has anything to do with what I'm asking. Those are tangential interpretations at best and evasions at worst. Not to mention this is all very far from any concrete discussion on metaphysics.
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>>673321
>Does it come from the Biblical text
The Tanakh holds working in high regard throughout its text since the creation, with God himself labouring and then resting, and Adam working even in Eden. Anyway, it's not like Jews believe in sola scriptura.

>What does it have to do with the problem of evil?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGC2TWoj2L4

>Suffering isn't limited to Jews only.
Neither is the Messiah. Or God. The goyim have the laws of Noah, which are significantly less. God didn't forbid you from eating bacon! Isn't he awesome?

>How does one get "closer to god"?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZzTQp4QraU

>Not canonical.
The Zohar's acceptance and influence is universal. Again, Jews don't believe in sola scriptura.

>Not to mention this is all very far from any concrete discussion on metaphysics.
You should probably read the Tanakh, because you did everything in your power to prove you did not.
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>>673555
>Anyway, it's not like Jews believe in sola scriptura.
You're the one who keep sending me back to the old testament.

I'm not going to watch an entire YT video anyway. I'm sure you're able to explain simple metaphysical concepts without recurring to secondary sources.
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Hey, is this possible to find the list of all "OT" books used by Jews?
Like, in Apostolical times it was the Septuagint.

Seeing >>672699 I notice how Bible cannon is getting smaller and smaller.

Are you aware of any Jewish (inc. pre and post Christian) depictions of angels aside those 3 and Ark of the Covenant?
I heard something of Temple of Solomon, even Dura-Europos. But not sure if this was included.
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>>673770

>Hey, is this possible to find the list of all "OT" books used by Jews?

Are you talking modern times, or at some specific point in history?

>Like, in Apostolical times it was the Septuagint.

That's not exactly true. The Septuagint was popular among a lot of Hellenic Jews, especially communities in Egypt, but it wasn't even the most universally popular Greek translation, the Aquila text probably has that honor, and there were of course the sorts who didn't think it should ever be translated out of the original language.

>Are you aware of any Jewish (inc. pre and post Christian) depictions of angels aside those 3 and Ark of the Covenant?

Offhand, there are a few passages in Ezekiel, and numerous "messengers" or "men" sent by God who are generally understood to be angels. I'm positive there are more, but I'd have to go digging for them, but the usual notion is one of angels usually assuming a human form when they have to do business with people, and having weird geometric abstract forms when beheld in their "natural" states.
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>>673708
The covenant has everything to do with the problem of evil. In Judaism, you accept the fact that God is the creator of both light and darkness. Therefore, not believing in God because there is evil makes about as much sense as not believing in God because there is good. So instead of questioning your faith because there is evil, and blashpeming God, you act upon the world. You manifest your faith by protesting the world that is and making it the world that it ought to be. God's instructions, with more duties and responsibilities in the case of the Jews, provide the means to make the world a better place, and he is the direction. The whole purpose is to glorify God by being a light to the nations.

God interacts with the world by means of creation, God interacts with man by means of revelation, man interacts with the world by means of redemption, all three are how you can get closer to God.

Faith and action are one in Judaism.

>>673770
>Hey, is this possible to find the list of all "OT" books used by Jews?
What exactly are you looking for? Books that didn't make it in the canon? Manuscripts? Translations? Explain what you mean by books.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Old_Testament_Apocrypha
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Old_Testament_pseudepigrapha
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