Roots of Western Culture Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Josiah Restores the Ancient Customs

The Bible contains two different accounts of King Josiah's reforms. These are found in 2 Kings 22-23, and 2 Chronicles 34-35. The two versions are on the whole similar, at least in the beginning, however, Chronicles adds an additional story that is only alluded to in the earlier account, and which is not described in detail. The basic intent of both tales is to hold up the actions of Josiah as worthy of praise. He is depicted as a great reformer, a king who restored the true traditions of Israel, and who faithfully followed the precepts of God ... once he had learned about them. It is clearly implied that, in some sense, Josiah will be punished for his having been brought up incorrectly, in a state of sin as it were, but at the same time, he will be rewarded for having rediscovered the commandments that the Lord gave to Moses. Josiah had ordered some construction work to be done at the Temple when his workmen found a book that had been kept in the Temple since the beginning. It accurately chronicled God's commandments, and when this book was read out to Josiah, he realized at once how in error the Israelites truly were. Immediately, he ordered a general purge of all the pagan customs, and of all the individuals that had served the pagan gods. These individuals were killed, and their bodies burnt along with their idols, and their altars, and so forth. Josiah purified the Temple and took an oath before God, and before the People of Israel, to keep the Commandments of the Lord.

Both versions of this account contain essentially this same story, yet the version in Chronicles adds a second story concerning the keeping of the Passover. Though mentioned in the version in 2 Kings, the Passover celebrated by Josiah is not described in any way. There are two obvious reasons for these differences, both of which are derived from the Chronicler's purpose in relating the events of Josiah's reign. From the additions made by the recorder of the story in 2 Chronicles one can conclude that not only had pagan customs been allowed to re-emerge since the time of Josiah, but even the manner in which Passover should be commemorated had been forgotten. Evidently, in the earlier period when the account in Kings 2 was written, the primary problem had been the intrusion of paganism into the Temple, and into the general life of the Israelites. Passover was still familiar enough that it did not need to be described. It was only necessary to show the evil inherent in allowing Heathen practice -- thus, the violent destruction of the idols and altars, and the slaughter and immolation of the wicked priests, and those associated with them.

That the people of Israel have again fallen into error in the days of the Chronicles story goes without saying -- the same story would not have to be repeated if it were not so. However, the people of that day had evidently truly begun to forget even how to perform their obligations, let alone the fact that they had been actively serving other gods. In 2 Chronicles, the celebration of the Passover occupies a place equal with that of the destruction of the emblems of pagan worship. It is as if people today had been practicing alien, non-Christian rites in the Church, but had a the same time, forgotten how to perform the genuinely Christian rites. Or, on a patriotic level, the case would be one of imagining Americans celebrating foreign holidays, and adopting foreign attitudes and laws. In the Kings version, the equivalent would be merely the need to stamp out the alien practices, and restore the "American" customs and practices. In Chronicles, however, it is as if these very customs have been forgotten.

Furthermore, both versions of events dwell on Josiah's actions in wiping out paganism. Not only are these undesirable practices simply wrong, they are also such great abominations that they must be destroyed with fire and utterly obliterated from off the face of the Earth. Josiah avails himself of every possible means to completely and totally erase from view these objects and symbols of error. His is as the fanatic who burns books and executes traitors all in the name of saving his people, and preserving that which is good. In neither version of…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Roots Of Western Culture" (2004, December 13) Retrieved November 29, 2016, from

"Roots Of Western Culture" 13 December 2004. Web.29 November. 2016. <>

"Roots Of Western Culture", 13 December 2004, Accessed.29 November. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Why Harmony Develop Exclusively Western Culture Tribal Asian Cultures...

    Harmony Why did harmony develop almost exclusively in western culture and not in tribal or Asian cultures? Harmony is a unique concept depending primarily on the geographic region of origination. The concept of harmony however predates to early biblical times with a particular emphasis on collaboration. The term harmony originates from the Greek work "harmonia," which refers to the concept of a joint agreement, collaboration of joining together. Modern, tonal harmony as

  • New Testament and Western Culture

    The New Testament both influenced Western political philosophy and it influenced the geo-political landscape of the Western World. Greek political philosophy, which is related to New Testament political philosophy, has dominated the way that Americans perceive their governmental systems. The ways the Western justice systems work were in part based on New Testament thought in the same way that Christian morality influences public opinion of leaders and citizens. Christianity

  • Transcendentalists Borrowing From Non Western Cultures

    The similarities between the two perspectives - the Vedic and the Transcendentalist ones - start with the stress over the virtues of intuition when it comes to both social and spiritual knowledge. Truth must agree to an individual intuitive notion of truth, seem to say the Transcendentalists, and part of this truth can be found within nature. Maintaining a Christian approach (which means that the doubts they were expressing were

  • Western Religion

    Western Religion In his book, "Western Ways of Being Religious," (Kessler, 1999) the author Gary E. Kessler identifies the theological, philosophical and societal ramifications of the evolution of religion in the West. Christianity, Judaism and Islam can be traced to a single origin but their divergence has been very marked. Kessler sets his thesis very early in the book. He avers that there are two approaches to religion. One is to

  • Roots of Terrorism in the

    Middle East countries, and also former colonies around the world, struggled to find their freedom and independence from any imperial forces. Therefore, being once again in charge of their own natural resources became "paramount to the extent that dictators and human rights abusers were supported"(Shah, 2000). People were sensitive to radical messages and a violent, anti-foreigners speech. Dictators and terrorist groups speculated that "weak spot" and provided the right

  • Culture Industry We Make and

    With the implementation of technology allowing these works to be mass produced mechanically, they are fully engrained within the popular culture of a society as well as the idea of high Culture, (51). Therefore, millions of people believe that these pieces, which they will never be able to obtain in real life, still represent a part of the larger culture which dominants their life. This strange structure of the cultural

  • Roots and Principles Socrates Was

    Euthyphro then offers the third definition, derived from the second one: I should say that what all the gods love is pious and holy, and the opposite which they all hate, impious. Socrates then replies with the creation of a dilemma -- would the things and people be considered pious because they are loved by gods, or would the gods all love them because they are pious. After a deeper process

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved