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Manual for Faculty
Unit 3: The Shaping of Traditions
(First to Ninth Centuries)
Introduction Teaching This Unit Directions to Students Bookmarks
Directions to Students
(From the Study Guide)

Before Viewing the Show

Examine maps 4 and 5, of the Jewish population centers, in the Study Guide and refer to them as needed.

Watch for . . . and Think About

Look closely at the synagogues where the Jews worshipped in the Holy Land and in the Diaspora. How would you compare them? What do they reveal about Jewish life inside and outside of Israel?

Observe the mosques of Islam and contrast them with the buildings seen at the end of the show that are associated with Charlemagne. Can you imagine the texture of life in these two dissimilar societies?

While Reading the Study Guide and Source Reader
Look for the following:
  • The political and religious responses to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Identify mizvot, nasi.
  • The "parting of the ways" between Christianity and Judaism. It was a gradual process. Identify gentiles, and the adversos Judaeos tradition and their goal.
  • Halakha, Midrash. What kinds of materials do the Midrash, Baraita, and Talmud contain?
  • How the new religion of Islam developed and how its attitudes towards Judaism became formulated. Identify Koran, dhimmis.
  • Why Jews moved from Muslim countries to Christian Europe. What was the Church's response to this new migration?
After Viewing and Reading
  • A noted historian has written that there were two roads leading out of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E.: one led to Masada and the other to Yavneh. What does he mean? Do you agree?
  • How did Paul's preaching serve to separate further the Jews from Christians? How did the rabbis respond? What became Christianity's position towards the Jews by the end of the sixth century?
  • How did Jewish customs and traditions develop from the compilation of the Mishnah to the final editing of the Talmud? What other writings are extant today from the rabbis?
  • What role did Judaism play in the rise of Islam? How did Muslims, as reflected in the pact of Umar, treat the Jews? How did the resh galuta and the geonim help govern the Jews who lived under the Abbasid Caliphate?
  • What were the charters that Charlemagne and Louis the Pious offered the Jews? Why did this policy upset Agobard of Lyons?
Suggested Readings

S.D. Goitein, Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages (Schocken, 1964)

S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Community of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (4 vols.) (University of California Press, 1967-78)

Judah Goldin, The Living Talmud: The Wisdom of the Fathers (Mentor, 1957)

Jacob Neusner, First Century Judaism in Crisis: Yohanan b. Zakkai and the Renaissance of Torah (Abingdon Press, 1975)

Jacob Neusner, There We Sat Down: Talmudic Judaism in the Making (Abingdon Press, 1972)

Rosemary Ruether, Faith and Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism (Seabury Press, 1974)

Milton Steinberg, As a Driven Leaf (Behrman House, 1939)

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