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Varieties of Religious InventionFounders and Their Functions in History$
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Patrick Gray

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199359714

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359714.001.0001

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Finding Judaism’s Founders

Finding Judaism’s Founders

(p.15) 1 Finding Judaism’s Founders
Varieties of Religious Invention

Mark Leuchter

Oxford University Press

The “myth” of Judaism’s origins involves a linear storyline beginning with patriarchs such as Abraham and Moses who broker a relationship between the people of ancient Israel and their deity YHWH, leading to a kingdom founded by David and a system of faith ultimately preserved by priests, scribes, and, later, the Rabbis. But beneath this myth is a far more complicated intellectual history that sought to countenance diverse and contradictory worldviews and practices from ancient Israel in a new and synthetic manner. This chapter considers the true “founders” of Judaism, namely, the largely anonymous writers and thinkers who—utilizing features of Israelite cultural memory—forged a meaningful rendition of the past that laid the foundations for ancient Judaism.

Keywords:   Judaism, Rabbis, ancient Israel, patriarchs, Abraham, Moses, YHWH

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