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    Jews & Hellenism – the contrasts

    Jewish and Greek thinking diverged radically.

    • Judaism believed in a God who gave a Torah to show the path of truth and virtue. Greek thinking preferred the use of scientific reason to attain truth and virtue.

    • Hellenism loved beauty; Judaism loved goodness (a modern author has said that one philosophy taught “art for art’s sake” whilst the other preferred “art for goodness’ sake”). The Greeks liked to be surrounded by statues and pictures, and they admired physical handsomeness. Judaism on the other hand refused to have anything to do with graven images and believed that the purpose of life was not mere pleasure but serious duty to God and man.

    • The Greeks did not have one God but many deities who were like earthly beings with human frailties, faults and lusts. By way of contrast, the Jewish God was one and unique, perfect and timeless. Though the scriptures occasionally used human terms (eyes, hands, etc.) to describe Him, these were just poetical expressions.

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