A comparison of the value patterns of early Hebrews and early Greeks



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Purpose: It was the purpose of this study to explore the differences and similarities in the value patterns of the early Greeks and the early Hebrews. Five topics concerning the value patterns of these cultures were considered: (1) the view of life; (2) the view of death and the after-life; (3) the relationships between gods and men; (4) the characteristics of heroes; and (5) the status of women. Methods: The methods used to obtain data for this study were (1) close textual analysis of primary source material; and (2) comparison of conclusions with those of secondary sources. Findings: From the evidence presented in this study the following conclusions appear to be in order: 1. The value patterns revealed in the Homeric epics are, of course, more consistent than those of the early books of The Old Testament because the latter reflect various cultural levels and practices over a longer period of time. 2. Although many similarities existed between early Greek culture as revealed by Homer in his epics, and Hebrew culture as revealed in The Old Testament, these similarities generally were those which unite all cultures. Certain basic differences in philosophical outlook were found which sharply divided the early Greek mind from that of the Hebrew. 3. The early Greek culture contained the seed of humanism which also characterized Golden Age Athenian culture, and which has been the social and political motivating force in European civilization since the onset of the Renaissance. Hebrew culture and concepts, on the other hand, furnished the impetus toward the metaphysical and toward ethical monotheism which has guided European civilization as strongly as has Greek humanism.



Jews--Social life and customs., Greeks-- Social life and customs, Early societies