Religion & Spirituality

Shema

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Shema
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   • 488 •  Shema painting The Mocking of Ham (1510•1515) depicts  Noah unconscious under a grape-laden tree, while Shem and Japheth make a concerted effort to cover  Noah with a cloak without glancing at his nudity. Similarly, a woodcut illustration appearing in the 1535 Coverdale Bible represents Shem and Japheth walking backwards to place a cloak over Noah!s exposed genitals. By contrast, woodcut illustrations from the Cologne and Lübeck Bibles (1469/1494) and from Luther!s  Deutsch Catechismus (1531) rep-resent only one brother covering Noah. In light of the mimetic theory of René Girard, Stephen Haynes  proposes that "the doubling! conduct of Shem and Japheth suggests sibling rivalry and victimization of Ham. Recommended reading.  Haynes, Stephen R.  Noah!s Curse: The Biblical Justi   Þ cation of American Slavery. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Whitford, David M. The Curse of Ham in the Early Modern Era: The Bible and the Justi   Þ cations for Slavery. Burlington, VT: Ash-gate, 2009. Zuf  Þ , Stefano. Old Testament Figures in Art. Trans. Thomas Michael Hartman. Los Angeles: Getty Museum, 2003. See also  C ANAAN ; F LOOD ; H AM ; J APHETH ; N OAH  [ JRW ] Shema.  From the Hebrew verb  shema!  , "to hear;! the Þ rst word of Deut. 6.4: "Hear, O Israel. The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!. Throughout the OT and  NT, authors often allude to Deut. 6.4-5 to express the fundamentals of Israel!s religion: the oneness of Israel!s God, and Israel!s duty to love God. Isaiah, for example, declares: "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts. I am the Þ rst and I am the last; besides me there is no god! (44.6; see also Jer. 32.39-41; Ps. 50.7; Zech. 14.9; John 10.30; 1 Cor. 8.6). When asked to identify the "most important! of all commandments, Jesus recites Deut. 6.4-5 (Mark 12.29-30).In Judaism, Deut. 6.4-9 (together with Deut. 11.13-21), and Num. 15.37-41 are joined to form a daily liturgy, the  Keri!at Shema!   ("the reading of the Shema!), recited as part of the morning and evening service in the synagogue. The standard Shema liturgy today is comprised of blessings that encapsulate the  biblical passages. In the morning, two blessings are said before the Shema, "Who forms light and cre-ates darkness ( Yotzer "Or  )!, "With Abounding Love (  Ahavah Rabbah )!. One blessing is said after, "True and Certain (  Emet Ve-Yaziv )!. The evening Shema contains the preceding blessings "Who at Thy word  brings on the evening twilight! (  Ma!ariv Aravim ), and "With everlasting love, (  Ahavat Olam )!. "True and trustworthy! (  Emet ve-Emunah ), and "Cause us to lie down in peace! (  Hashkivenu ) are the two bless-ings recited after.The literary form and structure of the Shema liturgy, with its biblical portions and blessings, is arranged to evoke God!s sovereignty, af  Þ rm the unity of God, and transmit the biblical narrative of creation, revelation, and redemption. As a confes-sion of faith, the Shema is often referred to as "the acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven! (cf. b. Ber.  13a-b, 14b). In the late antique period the Shema came to be understood as having the power to protect against ones enemies ( b.   Sotah  42a); in  Midrash on Psalms 4.9, the recitation of the Shema upon retiring to bed is said to protect one from demons of the night.Canadian poet A.M. Klein reworks themes of the Shema in his poem, "Stance of the Amidah!.Thyself do utter the Shema# Sound the great horn of freedom, and gather from the four corners of the earth as we do gather the four fringes to kiss them, Thy people, Thy folk, rejected Thine elect.The poem urges God, not the congregation, to recite the Shema, to gather the dispersed Jews from the corners of the earth like the fringes of the prayer shawl. This image recalls the last section of the liturgy, when the worshipper gathers these fringes from the four corners of the prayer shawl and kisses them as a sign of devotion. Recommended reading. Kimelman, Reuven. "The Shema Liturgy: From Covenant Ceremony to Corona-tion!. In  Kenishta: Studies of the Synagogue World  . Ed. J. Tabory. Pp. 9-105. Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2001. See also  B LESSED /B LESSING ; W ORSHIP  [ JP ] Sheol. The proper Hebrew noun Sheol (  sh!wl/sh!l  ; etymology uncertain) occurs 67 times throughout the OT referring to the underworld inhabited by the deceased. Though the OT does not present a formal doctrine concerning the fate and destination of the dead, Sheol is described through various metaphors and images re ß ecting the Israelite belief concerning what existence beyond the grave entailed. Charac-teristically Sheol, is presented as a pit (Isa. 14.15; Ezek. 31.16), a deep abyss shrouded in darkness (Job 14.13; 17.13) and a realm of destitution (Prov. 30.16) in which the dead remained in a shadowy existence. Sheol is predominantly personi Þ ed as  possessing an insatiable appetite (Prov. 27.20; Isa. 5.14) with a broad throat (Hab. 2.5) and open mouth Beavis_Gilmour3.indd 48810/19/2012 10:01:21 AM
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