Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Tudor Parfitt

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Oren Stier

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Erik Larson

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Judaism, Noahidism, Noahides, B'nei Noach, Orthodox Judaism, New Religions Movements, Noah, Global Religious Movements, Chabad, New Religions

Date of Defense

3-21-2017

Abstract

This thesis investigates artifacts and concepts present in the Noahide world and how they affect Noahide identity. Five factors are analyzed, namely Noahide law, religious pluralism, ritual, sectarianism, and conversion. I consult the Hebrew Scriptures as well as early, medieval, and modern rabbinic sources to set the conceptual background of the Noahide movement before moving into the primary, contemporary sources written by Orthodox Jews, Orthodox rabbis, and Noahides. To supplement my literary analysis, I have conducted a survey of self-identifying Noahide practitioners. This survey collects data concerning religious background, religious behavior, demographics, and free responses. I aim to show first and foremost that Noahidism is a new, exclusive religious tradition which comprises the lay order of Orthodox Judaism. This is born out of a theology which requires belief in the Jewish God and Jewish revelation, a strict ritual system based on Orthodox Jewish prescriptions, and a sectarian typology which mirrors Orthodox Jewish sectarianism. Additionally, my analysis of conversion shows Noahidism is not a gateway to Orthodox conversion, but an end in itself.

Identifier

FIDC001820