Hebrew vs Greek Religion
The Ancient Hebrew culture was a culture defined by many things but mostly for their construction of their religion. Hebrews or the religion Judaism were the first to be a monotheistic religion, unlike many others they believed that there was only one God, “You shall have no other gods besides Me. ” (Exodus 20. 1, RWH 131) Their religion began when Abraham spoke with a supernatural deity on a hill. It was at that time when the deity and Abraham made a covenant. The deity promised Abraham that if he followed his rules his people would flourish and be protected.
Hebrews believed that this god made the heavens and the earth, the sun and the moon etc. Their religion existed around him and they would do anything to please him and live by his laws. The belief in ancient Hebrew was that God was one that had a commitment to righteousness and integrity, and they had sayings to prove it. “You shall not murder. You shall not steal. ” (Exodus 20:5, RWH 131) These are a part of the Ten Commandments which was core of Mosaic law. It was a guiding hand on the way God would have liked humans to behave with one another.
They believed in what we call the golden rule do onto others as they would do unto you. This religion was so tied in with the covenant with god that there was no difference between a sin and a crime, both were punishable in the same way, you must seek forgiveness of the deity and of the person you did the crime against. The Hebrews valued their lives and their bodies because they believed that God has made them in his image, “And God created man in His image, in the image of God. He created him; male and female He created them. ” (Gen 1:26, RWH 128) The people of Ancient Israel believed that there life was given by od and they were the chosen people under his rule. There are many passages in the old testament that talk about your body being a temple from God and that you needed to do right with your life and gods law. After the Persians saved the Jews from Babylonian Captivity they expanded their thoughts on Yahweh. They started to think about good and evil and life and death. There was now in their thoughts “A time for being born and a time for dying. ” (Ecclesiastes 3:2, RWH 141) They stated to consider eschatology and also the apocalypse, that one day the coming of god and the Day of Judgment would occur.
On this day god would bring peace and justice to humankind, and they would be with him. Archaic Greeks had a much different beliefs than the ancient Hebrew people about their gods. Greeks believed that both man and god came from the same place, “Of how both gods and men began the same. ” (Five Ages 1. 1, RWH 49) Greeks considered their many gods were just another species of human. They did not believe that the gods made them or wanted them to worship at their feet. Greeks believed that they interacted with them daily. However they believed that there was specialness about them that Zeus made them to be above the normal humans.
Zeus made demi-gods “In godlike race of heroes, who are called demi-gods a race before our own. ” (Hesiod 1. 53, RWH 50) In all tales of the Greeks there was always a hero and that hero was portrayed as a god like person or a person with a godlike skill. Also in theses tails its said that the reason for Gods was to understand natural occurrences happening around the Greeks. Even though humans and gods were made of the same things Greeks believed that gods had special powers. The Greeks believed that even the mightiest of man could still be controlled by the gods, “Which of the gods was it that made them a quarrel? (Plague and Wrath 1. 8, RWH, 33) Not only did the gods have their special powers but they had the power to mess with the humans. In many instances people like Odysseus and his wife believed that the gods had done something evil or deceitful to someone they knew or even themselves. Greeks did not just have a secular god, they had many gods and those gods had many different jobs. There were also two different classifications for the gods. One was the Olympians and they lived on the top of Mount Olympus and then there were the Chthonian they lived underground controlling all things earthly. The gods, who live on Mount Olympus, next Fashioned a lesser, silver race of men:” this illustrates that the Greeks had mount Olympus as the dwelling grounds of the gods and they saw themselves as a lesser human. There were gods for war, gods for love, and gods for everything. Greeks however thought that Zeus was the father of all gods and themselves. As you can see, with just these few details that Archaic Greeks and Ancient Hebrews had very different practices, values and beliefs. Greeks had many gods that had very different roles in everyday life, they had many stories and tales of heroes that showed their true beliefs and way of life.
Ancient Hebrew believed in one God and had a book that they wrote to support their beliefs and values. It was their symbol of hope on how to live and do right in the eyes of Yahweh. Greeks believed that their gods were a special type of human where Hebrews believed that they were made in the image of god and that he was not even fathomable and that he was everywhere and in everything. Even with all their differences there is one thing they have in common that both cultures believed with all their hearts in their god(s).