Religions of Place
On Religions of Place and Religions of Community
Carefully selected from among five group research proposals submitted to Scholion, "On Religions of Place and Religions of Community" proposes to address the relationship between two sets of contrasts that have hitherto been studied each in a separate context. The first is the study of a religion that centers clearly on a divinely ordained location as opposed to one that is practiced equally in numerous sites consecrated by communities. But the ramifications of such a contrast between Temple religion and its synagogual counterpart go well beyond this initial distinction. Fundamental ritualistic paradigms (sacrifice vs. prayer/sermonizing) and styles (formal vs. informal), as well as broader issues such as authority and leadership (hereditary priesthood vs. learned Rabbinate), and the status of the community in general are all issues that differ vitally between these two poles of disparity.
The second point of contrast juxtaposes Sects and Church, whose differences are much more than the split hairs of pedantic doctrinal variance, but go so far as to include separate and independent rituals and beliefs, not to mention political agendas and, accordingly, custom-tailored cosmologies and eschatologies that justify mutual intractability and estrangement.
Scholion's group conducted a triennial research effort into the complex interrelationship of these two contrasts, attempting to enrich our understanding of the one by viewing it in the perspective of the other. It is believed that the sociological approach prevalent in the study of Church and sects can help shed much light on the social context of the Jewish transition from Temple to synagogue. And vice versa, applying the historical work on the evolution from Temple to synagogue may serve to instill vital nuances into the study of Church and sect. For example, such a comparative study of Temple and synagogue, given that the latter existed both before and after the destruction of the former, may lead to a better understanding of the factional state of affairs when the Temple disappeared, and help answer the question of why the plurality of sects that characterized the Second Temple period (Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, etc.) dwindled down to one, which then went on to assume all the trimmings and trappings of a completely separate religion.
Dr. Gideon Aran firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Zeev Weiss email@example.com
Dr. Esther Chazon firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Daniel Schwartz email@example.com
Dr. Naama Vilozni firstname.lastname@example.org
Ori Schwartz email@example.com
Nadav Sharon firstname.lastname@example.org
On December 2007, in cooperation with "Ascending and Descending", the group held a conference in Bet Avichai titled "Ulam Umlo'o - A Hall and its Whole". For the invitation, click here. For the conference review in the Scholion Newsletter, click here.