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Terms for Miderm
Christianity,Judaism and Islam
Religious Studies
Undergraduate 2

Additional Religious Studies Flashcards





Originally Abram. One of the central most figures of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Featured in the book of Genesis. Regarded as the founding patriarch of Israelites/Ishmaelites, father of Judaism and Monotheism.Brought by God from mesopotamia (land of idol worship with his father Terah) to Canaan where he entered a covenant with God; in exchange for recognizing YHWH as one and only God,YHWH would protect him and his the nation that would come from his offspring. God promised Abraham that through his offspring, all the nations of the world will come to be blessed, interpreted in Christian tradition as a reference particularly to Christ. Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider him father of the people of Israel through his son Isaac). For Muslims, he is a prophet of Islam and the ancestor of Muhammad through his other son ishmael - born to him by his wife's servant, Hagar.


In religion and mythology, anthropomorphism refers to the perception of a divine being or beings in human form, or the recognition of human qualities in these beings. Many mythologies are almost entirely concerned with anthropomorphic deities who express human characteristics such as jealousy, hatred, or love. The Greek gods, such as Zeus and Apollo, were often depicted in human form exhibiting both commendable and despicable human traits. Anthropomorphism in this case is sometimes referred to as Anthropotheism.



Numerous sects throughout history have been called anthropomorphites attributing such things as hands and eyes to God, including a sect in Egypt in the 4th century, and a heretical, 10th-century sect, who literally interpreted Book of Genesis chapter 1, verse 27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Among modern adherents of this view are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the Mormons, followers of Joseph Smith.

A lot of people see the Lord God in this fashion as it is an easier way to imagine how he looks. The truth for believers is that no one has seen him and lived according to Exodus 33:20.


Anthropomorphism of God is rejected by Islam, as God in Islam is beyond human limits of physical comprehension and is unlike the Creation. This conception is also championed by the doctrinal view of Nirguna Brahman and by Judaism.

From the perspective of adherents of religions in which the deity or deities have human characteristics, it may be more accurate to describe the phenomenon as theomorphism, or the giving of divine qualities to humans, rather than anthropomorphism, the giving of human qualities to the divine.

Apocalypse, in the terminology of early Jewish and Christian literature, is a revelation of hidden things revealed by God to a chosen prophet or apostle. The term is often used to describe the written account of such a revelation. Apocalyptic literature is of considerable importance in the history of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic beliefs and traditions, because it makes specific references to beliefs such as the resurrection of the dead, judgment day, eternal life, final judgment and perdition. Apocalyptic beliefs predate Christianity, appear throughout other religions, and have been assimilated into contemporary secular society, especially through popular culture.



Apocrypha are texts of uncertain authenticity, or writings where the authorship is questioned.

When used in the specific context of Judeo-Christian theology, the term apocrypha refers to any collection of scriptural texts that falls outside the canon. Given that different denominations have different ideas about what constitutes canonical scripture, there are several different versions of the apocrypha. During sixteenth-century controversies over the biblical canon the word "apocrypha" acquired a negative connotation, and it has become a synonym for "spurious" or "false". This usage usually involves fictitious or legendary accounts that are plausible enough to commonly be considered as truth.


In each religion there is a concept of being holy. We have witnessed the Christian religions and their ministers, and their concept on being holy. They basically understand holiness as being separate from the worldly influences. We see in extreme examples that some of the men in the Catholic religion become priests and separate from women, some become monks and live in monasteries while some of the women become nuns and live in convents separate from the rest of the world. In Eastern religions we have seen that the concept of holiness also entails separation from the world and meditation in an environment that promotes peace and tranquility. In every religious group the concept of holiness entails a separation from the world.

The Torah beseeches the Jewish people to be a holy people as it states in Leviticus 11:44 and 11:15, " holy because I am Holy." The question here is: what is "holy"? We are instructed to be holy because G-d is Holy - but what is the connection between His Holiness and us? After all, our abilities to achieve a semblance of sanctity are severely curtailed by our own G-d given human desires and drives. If G-d wants us as Jews to be holy because He is Holy, then what is the point of comparison?

Perhaps the understanding of what is "holy" is needed to really harness our inherent and G-d given abilities to achieve this goal. We must accept as a given that G-d would not give us a task that we could not carry out.

To understand the meaning of the word "holy" we are fortunate that we understand the Hebrew language and do not rely upon translated texts. The word "holy" is in Hebrew "kadosh". A principle in Hebrew is that all Hebrew words are related through their spelling - different words using the very same letters have connections in meanings. We find a very interesting connection based on the story of Judah, the son of Jacob, who saw his daughter-in-law wearing a veil, disguised as a harlot. The Torah relates that he thought that she was a "kadasha." (See Genesis 38:21) The word for a harlot in Hebrew is "kadasha" and the word for holiness is "kadusha".

This is a difficult thing to understand. How can the same letters (which in Hebrew convey similar meanings) be used for such completely opposite meanings - holiness and prostitution??

But the concept can be understood simply. A "kadasha" was not a prostitute, but merely a woman who was living with out the bounds of the normal worldly conveniences of marriage. She lived without regards to the worldly laws of conduct. Her conduct was in effect oblivious to the normal rules and boundaries. Her life was not bounded.

G-d also lives with out bounds. On one side of the picture, he is the infinite, totally with out beginning and with out end. He existed before the world existed and will exist after the world ceases to exist. He created time and space. The world and all that is in it is a created place and by virtue of being created, they are limited in time and space - meaning that in time they have a beginning and an end. In space they have limits, boundaries and ends. Two objects can not occupy the same place at the same time.

Can a finite box contain an infinite amount of objects? Obviously not! How can the finite contain the infinite?

Can the world, which is finite, contain the infinite of G-d?

Yet, if we say that the world can not contain G-d, we have placed a limitation on G-d and we know that G-d is unlimited and has the ability to do all. This means that G-d, the infinite, certainly can fill the world and at the same time not be contained by the world.

This is the definition of G-d's Holiness: He is not bound by the world, yet he fills the entire world with no place void of his presence - even the lowliest places. Never the less, he is not affected by the world. All that we do can not cause a change in G-d, to G-d, the world is nothing and has no effect upon Him. Yet He is immediately present in every aspect of the world in a manner that He can not be separated from the world.

This is a bit of a dichotomy, He is actively involved in the running of the world, yet, totally unaffected by the world - and yet our prayers He hears and answers!!

That is Holiness!

This is our holiness also. As Jews, we must occupy ourselves in the betterment of the world through carrying out His directives. This means living in this world, marrying, procreating, working and at the same time not to be affected by the daily worldly occurrences.

That is the holiness of the Jew in this world. We do not separate ourselves from the world! We must involve ourselves in the betterment of the world. Yet through this entanglement in the mundane we will see the hand of G-d effecting the changes that we strive to achieve.

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