The Old Testament in Jewish Thought and Life Part 2 -- By: Charles Lee Feinberg

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:442 (Apr 1954)
Article: The Old Testament in Jewish Thought and Life Part 2
Author: Charles Lee Feinberg


The Old Testament in Jewish Thought and Life
Part 2

Charles Lee Feinberg

(Continued from the January-March Number, 1954)

[Author’s Note: This article and the one which preceded it are condensations of the material given in the W. H. Griffith Thomas Memorial Lectureship, November 10–13, 1953. Documentation has been keep within certain limits. The Lectures are to appear in book form with due elaboration and full documentation.]

In treating the theme of the influence of the Old Testament on Jewish thought and life, we have seen in a previous study how the conceptual life of the Jews was molded by their sacred writings. It is our purpose now to trace the impact of the Old Testament on their daily living, their religious observances and customs, and their sacred calendar. Realizing the limits we have set to this study, we shall necessarily deal in brief fashion with each phase of this broad subject.

When we have surveyed the place of the Old Testament in Jewish study, interpretation, and hope, there remains a large portion of our subject yet to be treated. It remains to be seen how fully the Old Testament has entered into the practical, daily life of the Jew in the home, the relationships one with another outside the home, and in the synagogue. Perhaps at this point it would be well to differentiate between the three groups of Jews professing some religious affiliation.1 The orthodox Jew believes in the Old Testament with all the accumulated traditions of the rabbis. He holds the Talmud is just as valid as the Old Testament. He does not receive the New Testament as authoritative. Christ is considered a mere man and an impostor. Life is regulated by the Shulchan Aruch, the Jewish code of laws published by Joseph Karo in 1567. Among these Jews there is strict observance of the law, the Sabbath, and the dietary laws; however, there are

degrees of observance here among those who still call themselves orthodox. As a rule they worship in synagogues, while Reformed Jews congregate in temples. The older generation of Jewry is usually found in the orthodox category.2

The conservative Jew stands midway between the orthodox and the reformed. He holds to many of the old doctrines of Judaism, but seeks to adapt them to modern conditions.3 In the early part of the last century the reformed movement in Judaism arose in Germany to adapt the old ritual to the new thought and enlightenment of the day. The ritual was altered; the vernacular was used in services instead of the exclusive use of Hebrew...

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