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Jewish Perspectives on Original Sin

Hosted By: The Siegal Lifelong Learning Program at Case Western Reserve University

What is Original Sin? Why is the Adam and Eve story different from Original Sin? How does the Jewish concept of the Evil Inclination differ from Original Sin? Everyone has heard that Christians believe in Original Sin, but Jews do not. This class will describe Original Sin according to traditional Christian theology and how it differs from the Jewish ideas of the Evil Inclination and human nature. Are people “slaves” to their passions, or does free will allow people to change?

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Major Themes in Anthropologies of Judaism

Anthropological studies of Judaism come to grips with some of the big themes in Jewish culture: the centrality of texts, the question of performance, and historical change.

Biblical and Rabbinic Ideas

Neither the Bible nor rabbinic literature are explicitly philosophical, but they nonetheless contain precedents invoked by later Jewish thinkers.

Holiness (Kedushah)

The Torah exhorts the Israelites to be holy and tells them how to do so.