To understand this, let us imagine ourselves in the year This identity was primarily religious, but the precepts of religion governed the details of daily behavior in all aspects of life, both social and private, among the Jews themselves as well as in their relation to non-Jews. It was then literally true that a Jew could not even drink a glass of water in the home of a non-Jew. And the same basic laws of behavior towards non-Jews were equally valid from Yemen to New York.
The sacred texts of revealed religions may be eternal and unchanging, but they are understood and applied by human beings living in time. Christians believed not only that the Jews had misunderstood Scripture, thus justifying the Christian reinterpretation of Jewish Scripture, but… The history of Judaism It is history that provides the key to an understanding of Judaism, for its primal affirmations appear in early historical narratives.
Thus, the Bible reports contemporary events and activities for essentially religious reasons. The biblical authors believed that the divine presence is encountered primarily within history. Although other ancient communities also perceived a divine presence in history, the understanding of the ancient Israelites proved to be the most lasting and influential.
The people of Israel believed that their response to the divine presence in history was central not only for themselves but for all humankind. Furthermore, God—as person—had revealed in a particular encounter the pattern and structure of communal and individual life to this people. Claiming sovereignty over the people because of his continuing action in history on their behalf, he had established a covenant berit with them and required from them obedience to his teaching, or law Torah.
This obedience was a further means by which the divine presence was made manifest—expressed in concrete human existence.
Even the chosen community failed in its obligation and had to be summoned back, time and again, to its responsibility by the prophets—the divinely called spokespersons who warned of retribution within history and argued and reargued the case for affirmative human response.
General observations Nature and characteristics In nearly 4, years of historical development, the Jewish people and their religion have displayed a remarkable adaptability and continuity. In their encounter with the great civilizations, from ancient Babylonia and Egypt to Western Christendom and modern secular culture, they have assimilated foreign elements and integrated them into their own social and religious systems, thus maintaining an unbroken religious and cultural tradition.
Furthermore, each period of Jewish history has left behind it a specific element of a Judaic heritage that continued to influence subsequent developments, so that the total Jewish heritage at any given time is a combination of all these successive elements along with whatever adjustments and accretions have occurred in each new age.
The various teachings of Judaism have often been regarded as specifications of the central idea of monotheism. One God, the creator of the world, has freely elected the Jewish people for a unique covenantal relationship with himself. This one and only God has been affirmed by virtually all professing Jews in a variety of ways throughout the ages.
Jewish monotheism has had both universalistic and particularistic features. Along universal lines, it has affirmed a God who created and rules the entire world and who at the end of history will redeem all Israel the classical name for the Jewish peopleall humankind, and indeed the whole world.
The ultimate goal of all nature and history is an unending reign of cosmic intimacy with God, entailing universal justice and peace. This arrangement is designated a covenant and is structured by an elaborate and intricate law.
Thus, the Jewish people are both entitled to special privileges and burdened with special responsibilities from God. As the prophet Amos 8th century bce expressed it: The universal goal of the Jewish people has frequently expressed itself in messianism —the idea of a universal, political realm of justice and peace.
In one form or another, messianism has permeated Jewish thinking and action throughout the ages, and it has strongly influenced the outlook of many secular-minded Jews see also eschatology. Law embraces practically all domains of Jewish life, and it became the principle means by which Judaism was to bring about the reign of God on earth.
It is a total guide to religious and ethical conduct, involving ritualistic observance as well as individual and social ethics. It is a liturgical and ethical way constantly expatiated on by the prophets and priests, by rabbinic sages, and by philosophers. Such conduct was to be performed in the service of God, the transcendent and immanent ruler of the universe, the Creator and the propelling force of nature, and the one giving guidance and purpose to history.
According to Judaic belief, this divine guidance is manifested through the history of the Jewish people, which will culminate in the messianic age.
Salo Wittmayer Baron Lou Hackett Silberman Periodization The division of the millennia of Jewish history into periods is a procedure frequently dependent on philosophical predilections.An Overview of Israelite, Jewish, and Early Christian History.
Theology discussion on Jewish religion. Brief summary of the history of Judaism and main ideas / beliefs of Jews.
Information and quotes from the ancient Jewish religious text, The Torah. History of Religion: An Overview of the most Important People and Events in: The Worlds Religions, Mythologies, & History of the Church (Christianity, Buddhism, Jewish History, Hinduism Book 1) - Kindle edition by Michael J.
Stewart/5(35). There's very little I can add to the many excellent reviews of Rabbi Telushkin's wonderful compendium of Jewish knowledge. Written for Jews who don't know much about their own religion, or well-intentioned, inquisitive Gentiles, the book is an encyclopedia of facts and ideas about the Jewish people, the history of Israel; the Torah, Talmud, and other salient texts; and quite a bit more.
 Records of Jewish communities in France (see History of the Jews in France) and Germany (see History of the Jews in Germany) date from the 4th century, and substantial Jewish communities in Spain were noted even earlier. An overview of early Christian history up to CE. Four gospels, written by unknown authors, but attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.