History Of Judaism Essay

1214 words - 5 pages

History of Judaism

Circa 2000 BCE, the G-d of the ancient Israelites established a divine
covenant with Abraham, making him the patriarch of many nations. From
his name, the term Abramic Religions is derived; these are the three
religions which trace their roots back to Abraham: Judaism,
Christianity and Islam. The book of Genesis describes the events
surrounding the lives of the four patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
and Joseph. Moses was the next leader. He led his people out of
captivity in Egypt, and received the Law from G-d. After decades of
wandering through wilderness, Joshua led the tribes into the promised
land, driving out the Canaanites through a series of military battles.

The original tribal organization was converted into a Kingdom by
Samuel; its first king was Saul. The second king, David, established
Jerusalem as the religious and political center. The third king,
Solomon built the first temple there.Division into the Northern
kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah occurred shortly
after the death of Solomon in 922 BCE. Israel fell to Assyria in 722
BCE; Judah fell to the Babylonians in 587 BCE. The temple was
destroyed. Some Jews returned from captivity under the Babylonians and
started to restore the temple in 536 BCE. Alexander the Great invaded
the area in 332 BCE. From circa 300 to 63 BCE, Greek became the
language of commerce, and Greek culture had a major influence on
Judaism. In 63 BCE, the Roman Empire took control of Palestine.

Three religious sects had formed by the 1st century AD: the Sadducees,
Pharisees and Essenes. Many anticipated the arrival of a Messiah who
would drive the Roman invaders out and restore independence.
Christianity was established initially as a Jewish sect, centered in
Jerusalem. Paul broke with this tradition and spread the religion to
the Gentiles (non-Jews). Many mini-revolts led to the destruction of
Jerusalem and its temple in 70 CE. The Jewish Christians were wiped
out or scattered at this time. The movement started by Paul flourished
and quickly evolved into a separate religion. Jews were scattered
throughout the known world. Their religion was no longer centered in
Jerusalem; Jews were prohibited from setting foot there. Judaism
became decentralized and stopped seeking converts. The local synagogue
became the new center of Jewish life, and authority shifted from the
centralized priesthood to local scholars and teachers, giving rise to
Rabbinic Judaism.

The period from the destruction of the temple onward give rise to
heavy persecution by Christians throughout Europe and Russia. The
latter held the Jews continuously responsible for the execution of
Jesus. In the 1930s and 1940s, Adolf Hitler and the German Nazi party
drew on centuries of anti-Semitism (and upon their own psychotic
beliefs in racial...

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