Cultural Dimensions

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by dreamcatcher, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Geert Hofstede is an influential Dutch expert on the interactions between national cultures and organizational cultures, author of several books including Culture's Consequences (2nd, fully revised edition, 2001) and Software of the Mind.

    Hofstede demonstrated that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect the behaviour of organizations.

    Wikipedia Encyclopedia.(2005). Retrieved on December 14, 2005, from

    Here are his cultural dimensions:

    Power distance - The degree to which the less powerful members of society expects there to be differences in the levels of power. A high score suggests that there is an expectation that some individuals wield larger amounts of power than others. Countries with high power distance rating are often characterised by a high rate of political violence. A low score reflects the view that all people should have equal rights. Latin American and Arab nations are ranked the highest in this category; Scandinavian and Germanic speaking countries the least.
    Individualism vs. collectivism - individualism is contrasted with collectivism, and refers to the extent to which people are expected to stand up for themselves, or alternatively act predominantly as a member of the group or organization. Latin American cultures rank the lowest in this category, while U.S.A. is the most individualistic culture.
    Masculinity vs femininity - refers to the value placed on traditionally male or female values. Male values for example include competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition, and the accumulation of wealth and material possessions. In a masculine culture, most persons believe that only men should worry about lucrative careers and that women shouldn't have to work hard or study if they don't want to. In a feminine culture, there are more instances of women in traditionally male careers (i.e. engineering) than in a masculine culture. Japan is considered by Hofstede to be the most "masculine" culture, Sweden the most "feminine." The U.S. and U.K. are moderately masculine.
    Uncertainty avoidance - reflects the extent to which a society accepts uncertainty and risk. Said plainly, cultures that rank high in uncertainty avoidance dislike taking risks in business. Ironically, high uncertainty avoidance cultures appear to be more accident prone. Mediterranean cultures and Japan rank the highest in this category.
    Long-Term Orientation
    is the fifth dimension of Hofstede which was added after the original four to try to distinguish the difference in thinking between the East and West. From the original IBM studies, this difference was something that could not be deduced. Therefore, Hofstede created a Chinese value survey which was distributed across 23 countries. From these results, and with an understanding of the influence of the teaching of Confucius on the East, long term vs. short term orientation became the fifth cultural dimension.

    In long term orientation cultures:

    (a) persistence
    (B) ordering relationships by status and observing this order
    (c) thrift
    (d) having a sense of shame

    In short term orientation cultures:

    (a) personal steadiness and stability
    (b) protecting your ‘face’
    (c) respect or tradition
    (d) reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts

    Although I have some issues with the term "expert" I can certainly appreciate Professor Hofstede's work in this area. I came across this information through my studies and found it to be quite interesting, especially when you look at how we approach each other. I am studying this from a business perspective, but those who travel or come in contact with other cultures may find this to be useful in some way. The graphs are pretty self explanatory when you attempt to do comparison checks with the United States. There is an etiquette section on the right of the link below that will feature some neat tidbits about our country that may be beneficial.

    Disclaimer: Brain food may be hazardous to your health if viewed politically ;)
  2. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    does this guy have a book out on this subject? sounds like a tpoic i'd like to read more about.

  3. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Ithaca, MI
    REALLY, really brilliant stuff, Vic. Thanks!
  4. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Mike, there is a book cited at the beginning of the post. Also, sorry for the link at the bottom. Just type it in with the common pretext and you should be able to access the info.

    Victor Brown
  5. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    duh ! i looked right past it. you know how slow us ohio guys are...thanks
  6. Cheryl

    Cheryl Well-Known Member

    Vic, Interesting but I think it put my teeny brain on overload. Some deep reading there. Thanks for sharing!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

    P.S. I'm glad you're posting a few here and there. Did you see my reply about the cave?
  7. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Yes Cheryl. There isn't much that I miss from that area.

  8. elphaba7

    elphaba7 New Member

    Mo'town, WV
    Vic, this is some fascinating stuff. I think I'll need to reread a few times before I get my head around the whole thing. :eek: The easiest part for me to get at this point is the masculine/feminine part. I can so easily see how Japan and Sweden are great examples to explain that. I wonder where the US falls in the ranks in that one?
  9. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Jen, the U.S. comes in at a ranking of 62, which is higher than the global average of 50....

    Hopefully that link will be accessible now...
  10. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    I came across these links today when I was doing research in regards to the health care industry in Italy, India, and Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a mess, but India seems to be making a comeback, especially for those ones who are looking for a good deal in the health care industry. Maybe a hip replacement, or something that you've been putting off because you can't afford it? They already have a strong base as far as information technology goes, and there medical will probably take off in the next decade or so...Two of the reasons they don't have a long waiting list is the environment around these medical facilities, and the perception of quackery... :glare:

    Would you hop a flight to Calcutta to get a needed operation that your insurance wouldn't cover in the States? Definitely some interesting reading...
  11. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Wilmington, NC
    My little pee-wee brain is having a over-drive.....LOL :eek: :D
  12. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Do you think it's bad in the United States in regard to language barriers? Try living in India with 16 official languages and over 3000 dialects!!!

    World languages by country in view of predominance:


    Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritiana

    Chinese dialects



    United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Guyana, Belize, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Mauritius, Trinidad & Tobago, Virgin Islands, New Zealand


    France, Senegal, Guinea, Gabon, French Guiana, Monaco, Martinique


    Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein


    India(English equally dominant)


    Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique

    Russian and other Slavic

    Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia/Montenegro, Georgia


    Norway, Sweden, Denmark


    Spain, Central America (excluding Belize), Venezuala, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uraguay, Chile, Argentina, Cuba


    Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan

    Notables mix

    Kazakhstan - Turkic/Slavic/Russian
    Chad - French/Arabic
    Angola - Portuguese/other dialects
    Zaire - French/other dialects
    Niger - French/other
    Tanzania - English/other
    Kenya - English/other
    Madagascar - French/other
    Greenland - English/other
    Cote d' Ivoire - French/other
    Nigeria - English/other
    Cameroon - French/English
    Zimbabwe - English/other
    Zambia - English/other
    Luxembourg - German/French

    The others

    Finland (?)
    Latvia (?)
    Lithuania (?)
    Greece (?)
    Hungary (?)
    Albania (?)
    Italy (Italian)
    Netherlands (?)
    South Korea(Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school)
    North Korea(Korean)
    Papua New Guinea(?)
    Sri Lanka(?)
    Sierra Leone(?)
    Puerto Rico(Spanish/English)
    Dominican Republic(Spanish)

    I know I have missed a few countries, so here's your opportunity to help me fill in the blanks. Again, I am looking to cite the predominant language in each country. Each country probably has regions that speak other languages. After all there are over 10,000 languages spoken to include dialects!!!


    Griffin, R. & Putsay, M. (2005). International Business Fourth Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ

    The World Factbook.(2005). Retrieved on December 21, 2005, from
  13. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Ithaca, MI
    Best I can do positively, brother!

    Finland (?) Finn, scandanavian origin
    Latvia (?) Slavic origin
    Lithuania (?) slavic origin
    Greece (?) Hellenic origin, Greek
    Hungary (?) slavic origin
    Albania (?) slavic origin
    Italy (Italian)
    Romania(?) Latin/slavic origin (one of the 5 "romance" languges derived from latin)
    Netherlands (?) Dutch/german
    Pakistan(?) [
    South Korea(Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school)
    North Korea(Korean)
    Phillipines(?) Tagalog
    Papua New Guinea(?)
    Sri Lanka(?)
    Sierra Leone(?)
    Puerto Rico(Spanish/English)
    Dominican Republic(Spanish)
  14. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Thanks Sal. I knew I could count on you to come in here and lend a hand. :) I'll update my list later...
  15. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Ithaca, MI
    LOL- found the mother lode. link:

    Afghanistan Pashtu, Dari Persian, other Turkic and minor languages

    Albania Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek

    Algeria Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

    Andorra Catalán (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese

    Angola Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages

    Antigua and Barbuda English (official), local dialects

    Argentina Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French

    Armenia Armenian 96%, Russian 2%, other 2%

    Australia English, native languages

    Austria German 98% (official nationwide); Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian (each official in one region)

    Azerbaijan Azerbaijani Turkic 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)

    Bahamas English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)

    Bahrain Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

    Bangladesh Bangla (official), English

    Barbados English

    Belarus Belorussian (White Russian), Russian, other

    Belgium Dutch (Flemish) 60%, French 40%, German less than 1% (all official)

    Belize English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole

    Benin French (official), Fon, Yoruba, tribal languages

    Bhutan Dzongkha (official), Tibetan dialects (among Bhotes), Nepalese
    dialects (among Nepalese)

    Bolivia Spanish, Quechua, Aymara (all official)

    Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian (all official)

    Botswana English (official), Setswana

    Brazil Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French

    Brunei Malay (official), English, Chinese

    Bulgaria Bulgarian; secondary languages strongly correspond to ethnic

    Burkina Faso French (official); native African (Sudanic) languages 90%

    Burundi Kirundi and French (official), Swahili

    Cambodia Khmer (official), French, English

    Cameroon French, English (both official); 24 major African language groups

    Canada English 59.3%, French 23.2% (both official); other 17.5%

    Cape Verde Portuguese, Criuolo

    Central African Republic French (official), Sangho (lingua franca, national), tribal languages

    Chad French, Arabic (both official); Sara; more than 120 languages and dialects

    Chile Spanish

    China Standard Chinese (Mandarin/Putonghua), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages

    Colombia Spanish

    Comoros Arabic and French (both official), Shikomoro (Swahili/Arabic blend)

    Congo, Democratic Republic of the French (official), Lingala, Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba

    Congo, Republic of French (official), Lingala, Monokutuba, Kikongo, many local
    languages and dialects

    Costa Rica Spanish (official), English

    Côte d'Ivoire French (official) and African languages (Diaula esp.)

    Croatia Croatian 96% (official), other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, German)

    Cuba Spanish

    Cyprus Greek, Turkish (both official); English

    Czech Republic Czech

    Denmark Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (Inuit dialect), German; English is the predominant second language

    Djibouti French and Arabic (both official), Somali, Afar

    Dominica English (official) and French patois

    Dominican Republic Spanish

    East Timor Tetum, Portuguese (official); Bahasa Indonesia, English; other indigenous languages, including Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak

    Ecuador Spanish (official), Quechua, other Amerindian languages

    Egypt Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes

    El Salvador Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)

    Equatorial Guinea Spanish, French (both official); pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo

    Eritrea Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages

    Estonia Estonian (official), Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish, other

    Ethiopia Amharic (official), Tigrigna, Orominga, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic,
    English, over 70 others

    Fiji English (official), Fijian, Hindustani

    Finland Finnish 93.4%, Swedish 5.9% (both official); small Sami- (Lapp) and
    Russian-speaking minorities

    France French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects (Provençal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)

    Gabon French (official), Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

    Gambia, The English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous

    Georgia Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azerbaijani 6%, other 7% (Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia)

    Germany German

    Ghana English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)

    Greece Greek 99% (official), English, French

    Grenada English (official), French patois

    Guatemala Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)

    Guinea French (official), native tongues (Malinké, Susu, Fulani)

    Guinea-Bissau Portuguese (official), Criolo, African languages

    Guyana English (official), Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu

    Haiti Creole and French (both official)

    Honduras Spanish (official), Amerindian dialects; English widely spoken in business

    Hungary Magyar (Hungarian) 98.2%, other 1.8%

    Iceland Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken

    India Hindi (official), English (official), Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit, Sindhi (all recognized by the constitution). Dialects, 1,600+
    Indonesia Bahasa Indonesia (official), English, Dutch, Javanese, and more than 580 other languages and dialects

    Iran Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%,
    Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%

    Iraq Arabic (official), Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian

    Ireland English, Irish (Gaelic)

    Israel Hebrew (official), Arabic, English

    Italy Italian (official); German-, French-, and Slovene-speaking minorities

    Jamaica English, Jamaican Creole

    Japan Japanese

    Jordan Arabic (official), English

    Kazakhstan Kazak (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%; Russian (official, used in everyday business) 95% (2001 est.)

    Kenya English (official), Swahili (national), and several other languages spoken by 25 ethnic groups

    Kiribati English (official), I-Kiribati (Gilbertese)

    Korea, North Korean

    Korea, South Korean, English widely taught

    Kuwait Arabic (official), English

    Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz, Russian (both official)

    Laos Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages

    Latvia Latvian (official), Lithuanian, Russian, other

    Lebanon Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

    Lesotho English, Sesotho (both official); Zulu, Xhosa

    Liberia English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic-group languages

    Libya Arabic, Italian, and English widely understood in major cities

    Liechtenstein German (official), Alemannic dialect

    Lithuania Lithuanian (official), Polish, Russian

    Luxembourg Luxermbourgish (national) French, German (both administrative)

    Macedonia Macedonian 68%, Albanian 25% (both official); Turkish 3%,
    Serbo-Croatian 2%, other 2%

    Madagascar Malagasy and French (both official)

    Malawi English and Chichewa (both official), others important regionally

    Malaysia Bahasa Melayu (Malay, official), English, Chinese dialects
    (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu,
    Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; several indigenous languages (including Iban, Kadazan) in East Malaysia

    Maldives Maldivian Dhivehi (official); English spoken by most government officials

    Mali French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages

    Malta Maltese and English (both official)

    Marshall Islands Marshallese (two major dialects from the Malayo-Polynesian family), English (both official); Japanese

    Mauritania Hassaniya Arabic, Wolof (both official); Pulaar, Soninke, French

    Mauritius English, French (both official); Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka, Bojpoori

    Mexico Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages

    Micronesia English (official, common), Chukese, Pohnpeian, Yapase, Kosrean,
    Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi

    Moldova Moldovan (official; virtually the same as Romanian), Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)

    Monaco French (official), English, Italian, Monégasque

    Mongolia Mongolian, 90%; also Turkic and Russian (1999)

    Morocco Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often used for business, government, and diplomacy

    Mozambique Portuguese (official), Bantu languages

    Myanmar Burmese, minority languages

    Namibia English 7% (official), Afrikaans common language of most of the population and about 60% of the white population, German 32%, indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama

    Nauru Nauruan (official), English

    Nepal Nepali 90% (official), over 40 other languages and major dialects, English (1995)

    The Netherlands Dutch, Frisian (both official)

    New Zealand English, Maori (both official)

    Nicaragua Spanish (official); English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast

    Niger French (official), Hausa, Djerma

    Nigeria English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Fulani, and more than 200 others

    Norway Bokmål Norwegian, Nynorsk Norwegian (both official); small Sami- and
    Finnish-speaking minorities

    Oman Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects

    Pakistan Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English, Burushaski, and others 8%

    Palau Palauan, English, Sonsoralese, Tobi, Angaur (all official), Filipino, Chinese, Carolinian, Japanese, and other Asian languages.

    Palestinian State (proposed) Arabic, Hebrew, English

    Panama Spanish (official), English 14%, many bilingual

    Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin, the lingua franca), Hiri Motu (in Papua region), English 1–2%; 715 indigenous languages

    Paraguay Spanish, Guaraní (both official)

    Peru Spanish, Quéchua (both official); Aymara; many minor Amazonian languages

    The Philippines Filipino (based on Tagalog), English (both official); eight major dialects: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense

    Poland Polish

    Portugal Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official, but locally used)

    Qatar Arabic (official); English a common second language

    Romania Romanian (official), Hungarian, German

    Russia Russian, others

    Rwanda Kinyarwanda, French, and English (all official); Kiswahili in commercial centers

    St. Kitts and Nevis English

    St. Lucia English (official), French patois

    St. Vincent and the Grenadines English, French patois

    Samoa Samoan, English

    San Marino Italian

    São Tomé and Príncipe Portuguese (official)

    Saudi Arabia Arabic

    Senegal French (official); Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

    Serbia and Montenegro Serbian (official) 95%, Albanian 5%

    Seychelles Seselwa Creole, English, French (all official)

    Sierra Leone English (official), Mende (southern vernacular), Temne (northern vernacular), Krio (lingua franca)

    Singapore Malay (national), Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, English (all official)

    Slovakia Slovak (official), Hungarian

    Slovenia Slovenian 92%, Serbo-Croatian 6.2%, other 1.8%

    Solomon Islands English 1%–2% (official), Melanesian pidgin (lingua franca), 120 indigenous languages

    Somalia Somali (official), Arabic, English, Italian

    South Africa Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga,
    Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu (all 11 official)

    Spain Castilian Spanish 74% (official nationwide); Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2% (each official regionally)

    Sri Lanka Sinhala 74% (official and national), Tamil 18% (national), other 8%; English is commonly used in government and spoken competently by about 10%

    Sudan Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English

    Suriname Dutch (official), Surinamese (lingua franca), English widely spoken, Hindustani, Javanese

    Swaziland English, siSwati (both official)

    Sweden Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

    Switzerland German 63.7%, French 12.9%, Italian 7.6%, Romansch 0.6% (all official); other 8.9%

    Syria Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely
    understood; French, English somewhat understood

    Taiwan Chinese (Mandarin, official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects

    Tajikistan Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business

    Tanzania Swahili, English (both official); Arabic; many local languages

    Thailand Thai (Siamese), English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects

    Togo French (official, commerce); Ewé, Mina (south); Kabyé, Cotocoli (north); and many dialects

    Tonga Tongan (an Austronesian language), English

    Trinidad and Tobago English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese

    Tunisia Arabic (official, commerce), French (commerce)

    Turkey Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek

    Turkmenistan Turkmen 72%; Russian 12%; Uzbek 9%, other 7%

    Tuvalu Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)

    Uganda English (official), Ganda or Luganda, other Niger-Congo languages,
    Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic

    Ukraine Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian

    United Arab Emirates Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu

    United Kingdom English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic

    United States English, sizable Spanish-speaking minority

    Uruguay Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero

    Uzbekistan Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%

    Vanuatu Bislama (a Melanesian pidgin English), English, French (all 3 official); more than 100 local languages

    Vatican City (Holy See) Italian, Latin, French, various other languages

    Venezuela Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects

    Vietnam Vietnamese (official); English (increasingly favored as a second language); some French, Chinese, Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

    Western Sahara (proposed state) Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic

    Yemen Arabic

    Zambia English (official); major vernaculars: Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga; about 70 other indigenous languages

    Zimbabwe English (official), Shona, Ndebele (Sindebele), numerous minor tribal dialects
  16. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    dont forget about k-bonics, that dialect from mid kentucky. went down there last summer...couldnt hardly understand em. lol
  17. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Ok...i'll just go ahead and delete my posts right now. ROTFLOL. I will be posting a religious breakdown unless you beat me to it. LOL. I love this kind of information :grin-big: Nothing wrong with a little global knowledge...
  18. sal_jr

    sal_jr New Member

    Ithaca, MI
  19. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member


    The most ancient monotheistic faith is Judaism.(Monotheistic means belief in one God). The pillar is that Yahweh entered into a covenant with the descendants of Abraham, which became God's chosen people. Ancient writings reflect how Yahweh was present among the people throughout history. These accounts became known as the Torah, which is parallel to the five books of Moses(Hebrew Scriptures). Traditonally, it's called the Old Testament by those who practice Christian faith, and is the compilation of oral tradition known as the Talmud.

    "The Talmud is a record of rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, Jewish ethics, customs, legends and stories, which Jewish tradition considers authoritative. It is a fundamental source of legislation, customs, case histories and moral exhortations. The Talmud has two components, the Mishnah which is the first written compilation of Judaism's Oral Law, and the Gemara, a discussion of the Mishnah (though the terms Talmud and Gemara are generally used interchangeably). It expands on the earlier writings in the Torah in general and in the Mishnah in particular, and is the basis for all later codes of Jewish law, and much of Rabbinic literature. The Talmud is also traditionally referred to as Shas (a Hebrew abbreviation of shishah sedarim, the "six orders" of the Mishnah)." (Wikipedia, 2005).

    "According to Scripture, the Hebrew patriarch Abraham (20th century? B.C.) founded the faith that would become known as Judaism." (Infoplease, 2005). He was obedient to the will of Yahweh by leaving Northern Mesopotamia and traveling to the land of Canaan. Yahweh promised to bless the descendants of Abraham if they remained faithful to the One. The lineage of Abraham was through Isaac, Jacob(who was later renamed Israel; and whose descendants became known as Israelites). There were twelve sons of Israel that migrated to Egypt. All of their offspring were eventually led into bondage. After 400 or so years, Moses led his people out of Egypt, and united them in worshipping Yahweh. The Israelites displeased Yahweh, and were made to wonder in the desert for forty years before they were allowed to take possession of the land that was promised to them.

    The twelve tribes of Israel lived under the law of the covenant (binding contract) during the period of the Judges, who were leaders that were renown for ther heroism and wisdom. Saul established the monarhcy, and his successor David made the city of Jerusalem the religious/political center of the region. Solomon, David's son, a new era began in the construction of a temple for worshipping purposes, as opposed to the portable sancturary that was created during the time of Moses. After Solomon died the kingdom was divided, with Israel in the north and Judah in the southern region. There was a great deal of political unrest afterwards, which led to the conquering of Israel and Judah from Assyria and Babylon, respectively. Judeans were exiled to Babylon.

    It is the belief of some that Israel's defeat(including Judah which is still from the same bloodline) came about from their turning away from the pure worship of Yahweh, and getting too immersed in the secular activities of the time period. Prophets remained active and passionate in emphasizing faith in Yahweh as the God of Israel and the universe, however, in saying that we see that Yahweh would not only be the God of Israel, but of all mankind. On the other hand, Abraham was chosen as the vessel for Yahweh to fulfill his purposes through mankind.

    "The Judeans were permitted to return in 539 B.C. to Judea, where they were ruled as a Persian province. Though temple and cult were restored in Jerusalem, during the exile a new class of religious leaders had emerged—the scribes. They became rivals to the temple hierarchy and would eventually evolve into the party known as the Pharisees.

    Persian rule ended when Alexander the Great conquered Palestine in 332 B.C. After his death, rule of Judea alternated between Egypt and Syria. When the Syrian ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to prevent the practice of Judaism, a revolt was led by the Maccabees (a Jewish family), winning Jewish independence in 128 B.C. The Romans conquered Jerusalem in 63 B.C.

    During this period the Sadducees (temple priests) and the Pharisees (teachers of the law in the synagogues) offered different interpretations of Judaism. Smaller groups that emerged were the Essenes, a religious order; the Apocalyptists, who expected divine deliverance led by the Messiah; and the Zealots, who were prepared to fight for national independence. Hellenism also influenced Judaism at this time.

    When the Zealots revolted, the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and its temple (A.D. 70). The Jews were scattered in the Diaspora (dispersion) and experienced much persecution. Rabbinic Judaism, developed according to Pharisaic practice and centered on Torah and synagogue, became the primary expression of faith. The Scriptures became codified, and the Talmud took shape. In the 12th century Maimonides formulated the influential 13 Articles of Faith, including belief in God, God's oneness and lack of physical or other form, the changelessness of Torah, restoration of the monarchy under the Messiah, and resurrection of the dead.

    Two branches of European Judaism developed during the Middle Ages: the Sephardic, based in Spain and with an affinity to Babylonian Jews; and the Ashkenazic, based in Franco-German lands and affiliated with Rome and Palestine. Two forms of Jewish mysticism also arose at this time: medieval Hasidism and attention to the Kabbalah (a mystical interpretation of Scripture).

    After a respite during the 18th-century Enlightenment, anti-Semitism again plagued European Jews in the 19th century, sparking the Zionist movement that culminated in the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. The Holocaust of World War II took the lives of more than 6 million Jews.

    Jews today continue synagogue worship, which includes readings from the Law and the Prophets and prayers, such as the Shema (Hear, O Israel) and the Amidah (the 18 Benedictions). Religious life is guided by the commandments of the Torah, which include the practice of circumcision and Sabbath observance.

    Present-day Judaism has three main expressions: Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. Reform movements, resulting from the Haskala (Jewish Enlightenment) of the 18th century, began in western Europe but took root in North America. Reform Jews do not hold the oral law (Talmud) to be a divine revelation, and they emphasize ethical and moral teachings. Orthodox Jews follow the traditional faith and practice with great seriousness. They follow a strict kosher diet and keep the Sabbath with care. Conservative Judaism, which developed in the mid-18th century, holds the Talmud to be authoritative and follows most traditional practices, yet tries to make Judaism relevant for each generation, believing that change and tradition can complement each other. Because the Torah assumes belief in God but does not require it, a strong secular movement also exists within Judaism, including atheist and agnostic elements.

    In general, Jews do not proselytize, but they do welcome newcomers to their faith." (Infoplease, 2005).


    Wikipedia Encyclopedia.(2005). Retrieved on December 22, 2005, from

    Infoplease. (2005). Retrieved on December 22, 2005, from

    The bold type is actual text from the sites, with the remainder being elements that were reworded for me to inject some of my thoughts in line with the general text. I cited and referenced the material, but unsure about infoplease in regards to copyright. Please check, although I didn't read anything to the contrary of making this posting.
  20. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member


    Confucianism was established around 551 BCE by it's founder K'ung Fu Tzu (pronounced Confucius in English) in the region of the Shangtung Province. His lifetime was during the Chou dynasty, which was a time period of moral ineptitude. As he got older he lived a nomadic lifestyle advising rulers on the proper exercising of political powers. As a teacher, his work primarily deals with individual morality and ethics. In China - and other areas in Asia - the lessons of Confucius are joined with Taoism and Buddhist philosophies of the afterlife. This forms a harmonious set of complimemtary religions that are ecumenical(representing the whole of a body of beliefs). There are approximately 6 million Confucians in the world. About 26,000 live in North America; almost all of the remainder are found throughout China and the rest of Asia.

    The main pillars of Confucian teachings are:

    Li - Ritual, propriety, ettiquette, etc.
    Hsiao - Love within the family; reciprocated between parents and children
    Yi - Righteousness
    Xin - Honesty and trustworthiness
    Jen - Benevolence, displaying humaneness to others; the most revered of Confucian values

    It would be unfair to compare Confucianism with some of the major religions whose faith is centered on a supreme being. Confucianism is a system that revolves around ethics and is highly ritualistic in nature. These rituals coincide with different phases in the life course of an individual. From the beginning of the Han Dynasty (206 C.E.) to the present day, there are four phases that have gained wide recognition and acceptance for the followers of Confucianism:

    Birth - The T'ai - shen (spirit of the fetus) protects the mother during pregnanacy from any potential harrassment. There is a special procedure that is exercised in disposal of the placenta. The mother is given a special diet and allowed to rest for one month after delivery. It is the responsibility of the mother's family to take care of all the baby's essential needs on the first, fourth, and twelfth anniversary months in the first year.

    Reaching maturity - This ritual is no longer practiced except in the most traditional circles. This is done in a group setting where the young adult is served chicken.

    Marriage - This is carried out in six steps:
    (1) Proposal - couples share the hour, day, month and year of their birth; if anything happens in the next three days that would be considered a bad omen to the bride-to-be's family then the proposal is rejected by the woman

    (2) Engagement - once a wedding date is set, the bride sends out invitations and a gift of cookies that are in the shape of a moon

    (3) Dowry - the dowry(bride's monetary/material possessions) are brought to the groom's home in a solemn procession; the bride price is then sent to the bride by the parents of the groom; gifts from the groom are equivalent in value to the dowry

    (4) Procession - groom visits the bride's home and then both of them return to his home amidst much fanfare

    (5) Marriage and Reception - vows are recited, a toast is made with wine, and the couple take center stage at a banquet

    (6) Morning after - bride serves breakfast to the groom's parents, and the act is reciprocated

    Death - "At death, the relatives cry out aloud to inform the neighbors. The family starts mourning and puts on clothes made of a coarse material. The corpse is washed and placed in a coffin. Mourners bring incense and money to offset the cost of the funeral. Food and significant objects of the deceased are placed into the coffin. A Buddhist or Taoist priest (or even a Christian minister) performs the burial ritual. Friends and family follow the coffin to the cemetery, along with a willow branch which symbolizes the soul of the person who has died. The latter is carried back to the family altar where it is used to "install" the spirit of the deceased. Liturgies are performed on the 7th, 9th, 49th day after the burial and on the first and third anniversaries of the death." (Religious Tolerance, 2005)


    Anonymous. (2005). Retrieved on December 23, 2005, from