Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Back to the Future

The writing of particular individuals can be appealed to as models of spirituality also; hence the journal or blog can actually be used for guidance or the counselling of others. Sara Isaacson suggests that Jewish tradition, challenged by syncretism arising from having no land, dispersal and decentralized due to the destruction of the temple, found new ways of passing on the teaching.
The Rabbis who arose at the start of the first millennium…had two main tasks. One was to secure the link with God in the absence of God’s presence in the Temple. The other was to unify the people as a community in the face of the external influences, particularly the wildfire spread of the new religion which had Christ as its spiritual centre. [1]

She goes onto write that the Jewish sages gathered up the oral tradition into the Mishna which in turn was refined to become the Gemara and combined into the Talmud, from this spawned literature which arose from debate and reflection on its teaching. The result of this was that Judaism was no longer Cult ritual based but founded on teaching and the spiritual direction which came from the written record which itself came about through interpretation and reflection. The very same thing, to some degree, appears to be being paralleled in the emerging Church e.g. the Jerusalem council’s meeting recorded in Acts 15:6ff. where there is a clear appeal to the writing of earlier prophetic writing of Amos and Levitical law.

[1] Sara Isaacson, ‘Jewish Spirituality’, London, Thorsons, 1999, p.29.


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