Question on using Logos 6 to research an answer

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Stephen Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Jan 19 2015 2:18 PM

So, first let me say, I am a lay person.  No religious training whatsoever.  But I like to study the bible and I own Logos 6.

I am curious how I could employ Logos 6 to research this topic.

I have heard a couple of times from Jewish friends (secular they are) that their faith does not believe in a heaven or a hell.  There is Sheol which they say was simply a place for the dead and they mention nothing about heaven as far as it being a place of reward to be with God. 

So it got me wondering.  How could I use Logos to educate myself about these subjects.  I am not looking for the answer to be given to me (well maybe I am), but I am curious how my software could help me to fish myself.

I suspect hours of research could be done so I am not asking anyone to spend a lot of their time, but any tips or help in using the software to get the answers would be wonderful.

I figure this would be nice diversion from the bugs and such. ;-)

Thanks

 

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 19 2015 2:23 PM

Stephen

Why not start at Psalm 73. It has quite a bit to say about life after death.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 19 2015 2:27 PM

You could run topic guides on heaven, hell, sheol and see what references come up. Some of your commentaries may well describe Jewish beliefs of particular eras.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 19 2015 2:48 PM

While the above suggestions are worthwhile, you may want to run the Topic Guide on "afterlife".

Here is what the "JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions" provides for comparison to your findings: (BTW it is a great resource and if you are working with the Jewish community there is a Jewish Bundle that you also might be interested in.)

Afterlife and the World to Come (עוֹלָם הַבָּא)

Judaism has always maintained a belief in an afterlife, though there has been a broad spectrum of views in different historical eras concerning such core issues as the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the dead, and the nature of the world to come (olam ha-ba) after the messianic redemption.

Biblical Period

According to the older books of the Hebrew Scripture, the sojourn of a human being on earth is followed by a descent to She’ol, a kind of Hades, a netherworld where the dead live an ethereal, shadowy existence. A vast region located deep beneath the earth, She’ol was enclosed with gates and a place of eternal silence. When Jacob heard that his favorite son, Joseph, had been torn to pieces by a wild beast, he moaned that he would “go down mourning to my son in She’ol” (Gen. 37:35). The prophets pictured it as a dreary, gloomy place, a land of the shades. In the Hallel (see p. 162), the Psalmist (115:17) observed: “The dead cannot praise the Lord, nor any who go down into the silence [of the grave].” Job (14:12) viewed death as the ultimate finality with no hope of an afterlife: “So man lies down never to rise; he will awake only when the heavens are no more.” An explicit biblical formulation of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead occurs in the Book of Daniel (12:2): “Many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, others to reproaches, to everlasting abhorrence.” However, the most dramatic portrayal of this bodily resurrection is found in the Valley of the Dry Bones prophecy in Ezekiel (37), which envisions the future redemption of Israel.

Paradise (Gan Eden) (גַּן עֵדֶן)

The term “Paradise” is a Greek word that the Septuagint used to translate the Hebrew word “pardes,” which refers to Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden). The early prophets figuratively depicted the end of days as a return to the original peace and joy of the Garden of Eden before the sin of Adam and Eve (Isa. 11:6–9, 51:3; Ezek. 36:35), rather than the “heavenly” abode of God. As with Gehenna (see p. 117), the Rabbis disagreed as to when the entry of the righteous into Gan Eden would occur—immediately after death or only at the time of resurrection.

In this eschatological Paradise, the righteous would sit at golden tables (Taan. 25a) or under elaborate canopies and participate in lavish banquets (BB 75a). For the medieval philosophers, Gan Eden and Gehenna were both figures of speech. Maimonides maintained that the former referred to communion with God, while the latter meant to be deprived of eternal life. For Joseph Albo,2 Gehenna was the state of the soul that, having sought only material gratifications in this life, had no means of obtaining satisfaction in the nonmaterial world beyond the grave.

During the Second Temple period, the idea of heavenly immortality, either for all Israel or for the righteous alone, vied with the resurrection of the dead as the dominant theme. One part of the Book of the Maccabees promised everlasting life with God to those Jewish martyrs who preferred death to the violation of the divine Torah but was silent on the subject of resurrection. Conversely, in another section a tortured Israelite on the point of death says to the wicked king: “Better to be killed by men and cherish God’s promise to raise us again. There will be no resurrection to life for you!” The philosopher Philo stressed the immortality of the individual soul, which is imprisoned in the body here on earth. The souls of the righteous return to their home in God, whereas those of the wicked suffer eternal death.

Talmudic Period and Midrash

According to the Rabbis, when a person dies, the soul leaves the body. However, for the first 12 months the soul retains a temporary relationship to the body, coming and going until the body has disintegrated. Thus the prophet Samuel could be raised from the dead by the witch of En-Dor within the first year of his demise (1 Sam. 28). This 12-month period is a time of purgatory for all souls or, according to another view, only for those of the wicked. The righteous then go to Paradise (Gan Eden; see p. 115), while the wicked are consigned to Hell (Geihinnom; see p. 117). Some sages believed that the soul remains quiescent, with those of the righteous “hidden under the Throne of Glory”; others viewed the souls of the dead as having full consciousness. The Midrash declares: “The only difference between the living and the dead is the power of speech” (PR 12:46). There also was controversy as to how much the dead know of the world they have left behind (Ber. 18b).

The Rabbis realized that the biblical principle that people are either rewarded or punished during their life for good or evil deeds seemed to be contradicted by ordinary experience. The problem of why the innocent suffer and the wicked prosper in this life, especially as presented in the Book of Job, appeared to be an enigmatic mystery that could be understood only by the wisdom of God. A rabbinic solution to this conundrum was the concept of the resurrection of the dead. Rabbi Jacob remarked that “there is no reward for precepts [virtuously fulfilling the mitzvot] in this world” (Kid. 39b), while several talmudic statements indicate that “the righteous will receive their reward in the world to come” (Taan. 11a).

Gehenna

“Gehenna” is the Greek form of the Aramaic “Geihinnom” and the Hebrew “Ge (Bene) Hinnom” (the Valley of [the sons of] Hinnom), the ravine in the south of ancient Jerusalem (Josh. 15:8, 18:16). Defiled by being the site of the cult of Moloch, which involved the burning of children, Gehenna was cursed by Jeremiah, who predicted that the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem would fill this valley with the corpses of the city’s inhabitants, who would burn there and rot like “dung upon the face of the earth” (Jer. 8:2). Isaiah (66:24) alluded to these words when he spoke of the punishments of the wicked at the end of days: “They shall go out and gaze on the corpses of the men who rebelled against Me: Their worm shall not die, nor their fire be quenched; they shall be a horror to all flesh.” Later writings added further gruesome details of the torments suffered by the wicked in this fiery pit, where their bodies burn eternally while at the same time rotting away with worms and maggots.

The traditional rabbinic view of Gehenna was a purgatory, where even the worst of sinners would spend only a year. There was some support for a doctrine of eternal damnation, but this was disputed by the talmudic claim that “there will be no Geihinnom in future times.” Saadiah Gaon argued that both reward and punishment were everlasting, with perpetual torment reserved for nonbelievers, polytheists, and the “impertinent perpetrators of grave sins.” As a strong believer in the immortality of the soul, Maimonides viewed the punishment of the sinner not as torment but as complete annihilation of the soul. Modern Jewish thought has essentially abandoned the notion of eternal punishment and has virtually eliminated the entire concept of Gehenna as a place of torture for one’s sins.

The Talmud unequivocally states: “He who maintains that resurrection [of the dead] is not a biblical doctrine [i.e., intimated in the Torah]” (Sanh. 90a) has no portion in the world to come. Indeed, the concepts of an afterlife and eventual divine justice became pillars of the Pharisees and their rabbinic descendants and one of the chief points of difference between them and the Sadducees, who asserted that the soul died together with the body. To paraphrase the Talmud, if those who never lived before can live, then why cannot God make those who have already lived live again (Sanh. 91a)?

Some Rabbis maintained that the resurrection of the dead would be only for the righteous, while others believed that the wicked also would be temporarily resurrected, only to be judged and destroyed, with the ashes of their souls being scattered under the feet of the righteous. The Rabbis offered various views as to the nature of human existence in the world to come. The third-century Babylonian amora Rav viewed the future life as a world of purely spiritual bliss, where “there is neither eating, nor drinking, nor any begetting of children, no bargaining or jealousy or hatred or strife. All that the righteous do is to sit with their crowns on their heads and enjoy the light of the [Divine] Presence” (Ber. 17a). However, most of his contemporaries and followers believed in the restoration of the souls into the bodies of the resurrected, who would rise from their graves fully clothed (Ket. 111b).

Rabbinic and later liturgical texts viewed the afterlife as a “Torah academy on high,” a yeshivah shel ma’alah as in the preamble to the Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur. This concept of an eternal house of study reflected the highest values of the Jewish people. The medieval comment “in prayer we speak to God; in study God speaks to us” indicated the belief that the Torah represents both the link of the Jew to God and the pathway to eternity.

The Talmud raises many questions about the precise way in which the body would be resurrected. For example, the decision that an amputee would be resurrected with a lost limb (Sanh. 91b) led to the tradition of burying amputated limbs of the deceased in the same grave so that they would be available at the time of resurrection. Another discussion dealt with the eventual living arrangements of a widow or widower who remarried—would that person spend eternity with the first or second spouse? The concept of resurrection of the body was also a source of the strong opposition in Jewish law to the practice of cremation.

Medieval Period

Medieval Jewish philosophers faced the problem of logically integrating the conflicting notions of the immortality of the incorporeal soul with a physical resurrection. The concept of a disembodied afterlife was especially strong among these individuals, who were heavily influenced by Greek tradition. As the part of a human being that is most like God, the soul was considered the seat of the intellect, spirituality, creativity, and the divine spark. Thus the soul can survive bodily death, being transported to a spiritual realm beyond the dimensions of time and space, where it enjoys eternal repose. The soul and body were seen as natural enemies, with the soul being a veritable prisoner of the body. Life was a struggle, a test of how well the individual could develop the soul despite the pernicious influence of the body.

If taken to the extreme, however, this belief could lead to asceticism and severe deprivation of the body to best prepare the soul for eternity. Maimonides noted that if the body triumphs over the soul, there is eternal oblivion. Only if the soul triumphs over the body can it achieve eternal repose in heaven. Nevertheless, doctrinal considerations made the belief in resurrection, not the immortality of the disembodied soul, one of Maimonides’ 13 fundamental principles of Jewish faith (see p. 509). In his later Guide of the Perplexed, however, Maimonides indicated that the immortality of the soul is paramount by describing two stages of the afterlife. In the first, with the advent of the Messiah, there would be physical resurrection on earth. The body, reunited with the soul, would eat, drink, marry, and procreate. After a long life span characteristic of the messianic age, the body would die again. Only the soul that had achieved “intellectual cohesion with God” would be immortal and enjoy an eternity of spiritual bliss. Nachmanides did not support this two-tiered approach, arguing instead that individuals would be resurrected into “specially refined bodies” and live forever in this world (i.e., the revived dead will not die again).

Kabbalistic Concepts

The kabbalists conceived of the soul as having its origin in divine emanation and being incarnated on earth with a specific task to fulfill. The soul of the wicked—one who has failed in his or her assigned task—is punished and purified in Hell or reincarnated (gilgul; lit., “rolling”) to complete its unfinished work. In certain cases, however, the wicked soul is denied even Hell or reincarnation and is exiled without the possibility of finding rest. This mystical view, which became normative in Judaism between the 16th and 18th centuries and has had even longer influence in the Hasidic community, may have developed as a response to the problem of theodicy. Since some individuals are born disadvantaged, either physically or mentally, it would seem unjust to expect the same achievement of everyone. In effect, this concept maintains that each soul deserves more than one opportunity at life, and thus it is placed in a variety of bodies to realize its potential. The body to which the soul is assigned in any given life reflects the moral quality of its former life. When fully developed, the soul breaks out of the wheel of transmigration and finds final repose with God.

According to the mystics, after death the soul does not necessarily go into a new human body. The worse the sins committed, the lower the life form to which the soul is assigned. If it is transformed into an animal, the fate of that creature affects the next transmigration. For example, if the animal is eaten by a person who uses the energy to study Torah or for another sacred purpose, this helps the soul within to be liberated from its lower bodily life form. Indeed, the mystics made detailed lists of which sins led to one coming back as which animal. They also showed which heroes of the Bible and of later Jewish history, including the great rabbis, were transmigrations of earlier figures. For example, the soul of Cain entered the body of Jethro and the soul of Abel, the body of Moses. When Moses and Jethro met they rectified the sins caused by the two brothers. Furthermore, the mystics claimed that they could read the lines of a person’s face to determine the state of that individual’s soul in this life and in all past lives.

Modern Jewish Thought

Orthodox Judaism has maintained a consistent belief in both the future resurrection of the dead as part of the messianic redemption and in some form of immortality of the soul after death. In the Amidah, Jews praise God who “faithfully revives the dead.” Similar sentiments are expressed in the Birkot ha-Shachar (morning blessings; see p. 401), Yigdal (see p. 470), and Ani Ma’amin. In the Modeh Ani (see p. 473), which is recited upon awaking, one thanks God for the “mini-resurrection” that occurs as the soul is returned to the body after sleep. However, Reform and Conservative prayer books (but only in its English translation) have eliminated any literal belief in the future resurrection of the dead, modifying the previous liturgical passages to relate only to the belief in a spiritual life after death. An unequivocal belief in the survival of the soul after death is implicit in the various prayers said in memory of the dead and in the custom of mourners reciting the Kaddish (see p. 394).

Who Merits an Afterlife?

The Talmud states that “all Israel have a portion in the world to come” (Sanh. 90a), while Maimonides asserted that this also applied to “the pious of the nations.” The afterlife has traditionally been viewed as a time of ultimate judgment and reckoning, with each person held accountable for his or her own actions. Thus, instead of serving as a way to moral and social escapism (i.e., since this world is not the essential one, why be concerned with moral and social responsibility), the opposite is true. Accountability in the future world is based on one’s actions in this world, which can be seen as a preparation for the world to come. The concept of an afterlife is also a valuable response to the vexing theodicy problem, providing a notion that regardless of what occurs in this temporary world, justice will emerge triumphant in the everlasting future. The Talmud describes a scenario in which a person goes before the heavenly tribunal for a final day of judgment and is asked five questions (Shab. 31a). Rather than the questions one might expect—Did you keep the Sabbath? Did you maintain a kosher home? Did you give to charity?—they are (1) Were you honest in your business dealings? (2) Did you set aside time to study Torah? (3) Did you have children? (4) Did you hope for redemption? and (5) Did you search for wisdom? The sages have related these questions to the innate human desire to perpetuate the self beyond the grave in terms of honestly begotten wealth, wisdom and experience, children as “biological” redemption, and perpetuation of one’s hopes and dreams.

Summary

Though firmly convinced of the reality of a world to come, Maimonides wisely stated that we mortals can have no real knowledge about its nature. Even if we did have some information concerning the afterlife, we would be incapable of comprehending it, since the world to come would have a different dimension of existence beyond time or space and thus it would be beyond our ability to describe it or even conceive of it. Nevertheless, the Jewish tradition assures us that, even in this life, one can experience a sample of the world to come. As the Talmud states, “three things give us a foretaste of the world to come—the Sabbath, a sunny day, and sexual intercourse” (Ber. 57b).

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 19 2015 2:49 PM

Stephen Smith:
So it got me wondering.  How could I use Logos to educate myself about these subjects.

Topic Guide (in Guides menu) is the most productive. You will see many suggestions for Heaven but the one for Sheol should give you many articles depending on how many bible dictionaries (encyclopedias) are in Library.

If you don't get enough results in the Topic section then make a collection with the rule type:(encyclopedia, concordance) and include it in the Collections section.

Dave
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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 19 2015 2:51 PM

You should try a search in your Library, with "Match all word forms" turned on, for:

"jewish belief" (hell, sheol, heaven, afterlife)

In my Library that gets me lots of very relevant hits.

The Lexham Bible Dictionary, which is free and which you probably already have if you bought a base package, has some good info in the article on Death. Jewish ideas of death and the afterlife developed over time, so it would be helpful to know from your Jewish friends whether they are talking about the historic Jewish faith (and what period) or the current faith of Jews (and if the latter, what branch of Judaism). There are probably as many different variations in beliefs about these matters within the Jewish faith as there are different beliefs about the ends times within Christianity.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 19 2015 3:01 PM

Stephen, I have in my Library the four volumes Answers to Jewish Objections to the Gospel by Michael Brown. In Volume 2 he writes:

In order to respond fairly to your objection, I’ll divide my answer into three parts: First, we’ll consider what the Tanakh, the New Testament, and the Rabbinic writings say about this world and the world to come. Second, we’ll look at how these viewpoints have played themselves out in Christianity and Judaism. Third, we’ll ask if the New Testament approach to life makes sense in the light of eternity.


There is no question at all that the primary emphasis in the Hebrew Scriptures was on this world rather than on the world to come, but that was mainly because God gradually revealed the truth about the resurrection of the dead and the world to come.416 In other words, even though it appears the patriarchs believed in some kind of life after death, we still have to admit that the Torah was not explicit about any of the details.417 For this reason, groups such as the Sadducees, basing their beliefs only on the Torah, incorrectly denied that there would be a resurrection of the dead. (See Yeshua’s refutation of this in Matt. 22:23–33.) However, by the time of Daniel, the revelation was clear: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:2–3).


Still, in spite of this gradual revelation of the world to come in the Hebrew Bible, there was a clear understanding that this life was fleeting at best. The patriarch Jacob, as an old man, said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers” (Gen. 47:9). The psalmist David, a man who literally lived in a king’s palace, said, “We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope” (1 Chron. 29:15). According to Psalm 90 (identified as a psalm of Moses in the superscription), “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (v. 10). Psalm 103 contains similar language: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (vv. 15–16). Isaiah 40:6–8 sums it up well: “A voice says, ‘Cry out.’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ ‘All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.’ ”


The New Testament uses almost identical descriptions: Peter exhorted the believers to live their lives on this earth “as strangers” (1 Peter 1:17), while Paul—in the midst of suffering and persecution for his faith in the Messiah—could write that “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). The language of Jacob (James) is also reminiscent of the language of the Tanakh: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’ ” (James 4:13–15).


Rabbinic Judaism also has much to say about the fleeting nature of this life and the importance of belief in the afterlife. According to Rabbi Simcha Paull Raphael, “teachings on life after death have always been part and parcel of the Jewish spiritual legacy.”418 While acknowledging that “Judaism does value life, here and now, over and above a future death and eternal life,” he is careful to point out that “this does not imply there is no Jewish belief in afterlife” (13). Rather, “there exists a profound and extensive legacy of Jewish teachings on the afterlife. Over the course of four millennia, Judaism evolved and promulgated a multifaceted philosophy of postmortem survival, with doctrines comparable to those found in the great religions of the world” (14). In fact, Rabbi Raphael argues that many Jews today do not believe in an afterlife because of modern secular and rationalistic thinking, historic persecution from the church (which thereby caused Jews to react strongly against the church’s beliefs in heaven and hell), and the tragedy of the Holocaust, among other factors. Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok can also state that “as with Heaven, Jewish sources contain extensive and elaborate descriptions of Hell.”419


Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 236–237.

In other words, he admits the relative lack of references int the OT to the afterlife, but he also points to to Rabbinic Judaism where the rabbis he quotes state strongly that Judaism has a strong belief in the afterlife.

My understanding of the development of Jewish beliefs about the afterlife is that it grew in the post-exilic period and this growth is reflected in the literature of that period, primarily parts of the deutero-canonical or apocryphal books. Here is a quote about this from the Anchor-Yale Bible Dictionary:

Postexilic Jewish literature manifests an intense curiosity about the contents of heaven. Various writings describe heavenly visions or journeys of revered individuals such as Enoch, Abraham, and Baruch (1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, Testament of Abraham, 3 Baruch). The topography of heaven, the inhabitants of heaven, the places of judgment, as well as other heavenly secrets are revealed to these persons. Many of these writings describe heaven as containing various levels, referred to as different heavens. The most popular number of heavens was seven. (Compare Paul’s statement in 2 Cor 12:2 concerning the third heaven.) The various heavens contain not only the throne room of God, paradise (the intermediate reward for the righteous), and the eternal abode of the righteous, but in many cases one or more of the heavens also contain the places of punishment for the wicked.

Mitchell G. Reddish, “Heaven,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 90–91.

So some of your study could be in the apocrypha.

I note another books in my Library:

A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life In Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity by R.H. Charles.

The Doctrine of the Last Things by W. O. E. Oesterly

Systematic theologies may have some help in articles on eschatology, the afterlife, etc.

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