- The Shema "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one..." (Deut 6:4-5)
- The first commandment (Deut 5)
- Contrasts Hellenistic religions of the time
- Progressed from henotheism (our God is the most important) to monotheism (ours is the only God)
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- "Berith" is the Hebrew word for covenant meaning "bond"
- Dunn says all Jews believed they were "specially chosen by God"
- Covenant consisted of 5 key elements: promise, commitment, favour, intimacy and setting apart
- An example of a covenant in the Old Testament was Moses' covenant at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20)
- E.P. Sanders used the term covenantal nomism to explain that Jews obey law in exchange for God's favour.
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Law or Torah
- Given as part of covenant
- 613 mitzvot or rules found in the pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament). Of these, 365 are positive and the rest are negative.
- Written law combined with oral law ----> halakah
- Different sects had different interpretations but all followed law.
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Land and Temple
- Judea was a temple state at this time
- The temple functioned as a religious, political and economic base
- Sanhedrin located there
- It provided revenue through pilgrimage
- The temple was a common bond between all Jews, according to Josephus, there was "One Temple for One God"
- All Jews were obligated to make pilgrimage at least three times during their lifetime and to visit in order to pay tax.
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