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The Concept of Wisdom in Judaism and Confucius - Essay Example

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The Concept of Wisdom in Judaism and Confucius

For Aristotle the acts of the Gods had to be contemplative since they did not engage in acts of justice or bravery, where as Plato thought that imitating the Gods included both ethical and political values.
In Judaism Imitatio Dei is centered on ethical values and striving to be the best that humans can be, not wise like God, because wisdom is what God used to create the world. Wisdom is the search for the knowledge of God (Shapiro 1971 pg 3). This idea is related in Genesis.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the Heavens. By His knowledge the depths were broken up, and the skies drop down the dew. How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast thou made them all.
According to the Pentateuch, the knowledge of God is the fruit of wisdom and a faithful path toward Imitatio Dei. Knowledge of God in Judaism is tied to the instructions God gave to Moses. The Israelites were captured because they had no knowledge of God, that is, they did not follow the rules Yahweh handed down to Moses.
In Proverbs it states that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the All-Holy is understanding. True wisdom is the pursuit if the knowledge of God and all other goals serve only to be wise to other humans or oneself. Man can search for God's wisdom by reading Torah since Torah is the reflections of God's knowledge.
David Shapiro makes an interesting observation when he points out that Israel avoids the pagan ideas of actually gaining the wisdom of a deity and becoming a God because the pagans subscribed to the belief. In Genesis 9:6 the Bible does say that man was created in the image of God, but that aspect is not mentioned again after that chapter and verse.
While pagans strove to become Gods, Jews strove for the knowledge of God, a fundamental difference. This may also be a reaction to information in Genesis that wisdom is a quality of Satan. The snake talked Eve into eating from the Tree of Knowledge, thus becoming "wise" and knowing good and evil like God. In Judaism the limitations of man's knowledge contrasts with the pagan goal of actually gaining God's wisdom.
In the pursuit of Imitatio Dei it was necessary to build God's dwelling place on earth. The Tabernacle, and later, the Temple served as the Imago Mundi, God's house on earth. This was the start of wisdom being incorporated into architecture, sacred geometry of a meta-physical nature. In the Jewish religion then God had a sacred book and a sacred house on earth.
The Talmud as interpreted by Raba of Babylonia, states that wisdom is repentance combined with good deeds. One should not spend hours reading Torah then disrespect his parents and elders. This notion maintains the hierarchy sanctioned in the Torah where one's own wisdom is a reflection of superiors.
Judaism began with humans having direct contact with God. Abraham founded the one God religion and Moses accepted the Covenant and the rules of following Yahweh. This one on one relationship is an on going central part of Judaism.
Confucius lived around 550 to 480 B.C.E. in the Zhou Dynasty. The name is the Latinized version of Kong fu-zi or Master Kong (Nadeau pg 1). He is one of China's most important ...Show more

Summary

The search for the knowledge of God in Judaism is a life long process where wisdom is a trait belonging to God. The Jewish person comes to know God through a personal relationship with God. In Confucianism wisdom indicates an understanding of the relationship of the whole; the Heavens, the Earth and Humanity.
Author : filomena60
The Concept of Wisdom in Judaism and Confucius essay example
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