Judaism (originally from Hebrew יהודה ‎, Yehudah, " Judah "; via Latin and Greek) is an ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. This moment marks the origin of conversion to Judaism for distinctly religious reasons rather than for reasons of politics, culture, or nationalism. Messianism in Reform Judaism was transformed into active concern for social welfare in the present, and the Jewish role in history became Diaspora-centred; some even thought of it as constituting a mission to the Gentiles. In religious or mythological cosmology, the seven heavens refer to seven levels or divisions of the Heavens ().The concept, also found in the ancient Mesopotamian religions, can be found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; a similar concept is also found in some Indian religions such as Hinduism. (The Idumaeans, or Edomites, had been forcibly converted to Judaism by John Hyrcanus.) [2] To conclude that Judaism evolved from a nascent polytheism is speculation which is not justified by the Hebrew text of the Bible. Philo mentions Jews who scoffed at the Bible, which they insisted on interpreting literally, and others who failed to adhere to biblical laws that they regarded as mere allegory; he writes too of Jews who observed nothing of Judaism except the holiday of Yom Kippur. [24], Here we just briefly summarize the two main points to highlight another key novelty of our book: two thousand years ago, the Jews were the majority of the population in Eretz Israel, where Judaism's transformation into a literate religion began. Judaism, whether in its "normative" form or in its sectarian deviations, never completely departed from this basic ethical and historical monotheism. [2] [2] Reshaping Identities in Late Antique Syria-Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia’s historical existence corresponds to the Bronze Age i. e. roughly between 3rd millennium till 10th century AD. Because he was by origin an Idumaean, he was regarded by many Jews as a foreigner. In particular the societies of Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria, all of which existed shortly after 3000 BCE and were mostly gone by 400 CE. The history of Judaism in the United States is the story of several fresh beginnings. Under Mr. Apisdorf’s leadership, JLF has distributed more than 67,000 books to unaffiliated and marginally affiliated Jews across the continent in an effort to educate Jews about their heritage and bring them closer to Judaism. [7] What are the primary beliefs of Christianity? Directions: Answer the questions below based on the reading. It has long been debated whether gnosticism originated in the apocalyptic strains of Judaism that were prevalent when the Temple was destroyed in 70. [2] The Sumerians remained largely dominant in this synthesised culture, however, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire under Sargon of Akkad circa 2335 BC, which united all of Mesopotamia under one ruler. [16] Outside the pale of Judaism in most, though not all, respects were the Samaritans, who, like the Sadducees, refused to recognize the validity of the Oral Law; in fact, the break between the Sadducees and the Samaritans did not occur until the conquest of Shechem by John Hyrcanus (128 bce ). [2] Prior to THAT - again as our traditions - and as recorded in the Torah - they were polytheists, living in Mesopotamia, with the usual set of creation and historical event stories (like "the Flood’ and "the Tower of Babel’). [3] [18], In early Mesopotamia, priests were the initial rulers as all authority came from the god. Jewish identity was originally constructed out of an ongoing interaction with the cultures of the ancient near east—including Canaanite, Hittite, Babylonian, Hellenistic, and ultimately Christian. Similarly to what had happened centuries earlier, a proportion of Jews in the Middle East and North Africa converted out of Judaism (this time to Islam), which partly explains the Jewish population decline and the smaller size of the Jewish communities in these regions in the two-and-a-half centuries after the Mongol invasions.Those who remained Jews continued to be engaged in crafts, trade, moneylending, and medicine. The lightning conquests in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula by the armies of Islam (7th-8th century) created a political framework for the basically uniform (i.e., Babylonian) character of medieval Judaism. These scholars set out to praise Judaism as one of the cofounders of the Western tradition; they argued that, because the Jews produced great culture whenever they were not excluded from European society, they would repeat such accomplishments under conditions of social and political equality. [3], Most significantly, the two forms of European Judaism differed in their approaches to the identical rabbinic base that they had inherited from the East and in their attitudes to Gentile culture and politics. [24] [3] Circa 2335 BC, Sargon of Akkad conquered all of Mesopotamia, uniting its inhabitants into the world's first empire and spreading its domination into ancient Iran, the Levant, Anatolia, Canaan and the Arabian Peninsula. [3], This book is part of a series of twelve books entitled Judaism in a Nutshell that addresses modern-day Jewish issues such as God, spirituality, holidays, and interpersonal relationships in a concise format. [25] [4] The Jewish diaspora (Hebrew: Tefutzah, "scattered," or Galut גלות, "exile") was the result of the expulsion of the Jews from the land of Israel, voluntary migrations, and, to a lesser extent, religious conversions to Judaism in lands other than Israel. of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Even in post-Biblical Jewish history, Mesopotamia is again the location of one of the most important centers of the Jewish diaspora. Nevertheless it is not true to say that there is absolutely nothing in common between Judaism and Mesopotamian religion. The only schools mentioned are Sabbath schools intended for adults; this suggests that Jews were extremely eager to gain admittance for their children to Greek gymnasia, where quite obviously they would have had to make compromises with their Judaism. [2], The Sumerians left the first records, and are believed to have been the founders of the civilisation of the Ubaid period (6500 BC to 3800 BC) in Upper Mesopotamia. [16] In the fourth millennium BC, the first evidence for what is recognisably Mesopotamian religion can be seen with the invention in Mesopotamia of writing circa 3500 BC. [14] [2] The second day in the Hebrew tradition concerns the creation of the sky, while the Egyptian second day concerns creation of air. Mesopotamian mythology refers to the myths, religious texts, and other literature that comes from the region of ancient Mesopotamia in modern-day West Asia. [11], The new religious leadership, the Tannaim and the Amoraim in the yeshivot of the Galilee, set Judaism on a unique path, transforming it from a cult based on ritual sacrifices in the Temple (as many other religions were at that time) to a literate religion, which required every Jewish man to read and study the Torah and every father to send his sons to a primary or synagogue school to learn to do the same. A number of cultural and geographical elements of Mesopotamia appear in Hebrew Culture, such as the worship of Baal and Astarte; and the cities of Ur, Babylon, and Nineveh. The other key figures Judaism are Isaac, Jacob, and the prophet Moses, who received God's law (The Ten Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion in India and has no identifiable founder. Research numerous resources on the world history topics! [24] It is only natural that anthropologists, historians and those who study religion to look for parallels between the earliest docoments of the Old Testament and the Sumerian/Babylonian/Akkadian religions in Mesopotamia. Judaism believes in one god and one god only. The local religion of Mesopotamia finds its way into Genesis indirectly, for example when Laban chased Jacob down in an attempt to get back his household gods. The identity of the religions, strongly suggests that the Exiles brought back with them the Zoroastrian traditions, including the erection of a Temple, which was carried out in Mesopotamia itself, before the return of (some) of the Exiles. The son of Enlil and Ninlil, he was the god of thunder and of the spring rains and floods as well as the god of the plow. [2], Although plainer when compared with some of the learned literary creations of Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Egypt, the earliest biblical writings are so imbued with contemporary ancient Middle Eastern elements that the once-held assumption that Israelite religion began on a preliterate level must be rejected. [2] [3] [3] When Alexander the Great conquered "the known world’, and Greek became a common language, Judah was rendered "Judea’ (Yehudeyah) and the people were known as "Judeans’ and their unique religious faith was Judaism. [24], These introductory essays cover most major aspects of Jewish studies from the Bible and its time up to modern Judaism. Most Jews share a long-accepted notion that there never was a real break in continuity and that Mosaic-prophetic-priestly Judaism was continued, with only a few modifications, in the work of the Pharisaic and rabbinic sages well into the modern period. As a transplant of Palestinian Judaism, it asserted its historical legitimacy to the Sāsānian dynasty (224-651), who protected Jewish practices against interference from fanatical Magian priests, and to native Jewish officials, who argued for the validity of indigenous Babylonian deviations from Palestinian norms. It may not be equally well known that Judaism was the only religion at that time (and for many subsequent centuries) that required families to send their children to school or the synagogue to learn to read and to study the Torah from the age of six or seven. [3] The liturgy of Judaism is that of the synagogue, which arose during and after the Babylonian Exile of 586-538 bce and gradually replaced the Temple cult as the spiritual centre of Jewish life. In neither country did Reform Judaism gain a major foothold, for the Orthodox establishment liberalized its synagogue practice while retaining its essentially conservative outlook. It was a common understanding throughout the ancient world that the temple, and thereby the city, was secure so long as the temple was well-maintained and deity was pleased with the people. The economy was flourishing in Mesopotamia, so the Jewish population decline caused by conversions had been counterbalanced by an influx of Jewish immigrants, especially from the Land of Israel and North Africa, where the economic prospects were worsening. 2. 10 The term “religion” has been the focus of much philological discussion, 11 but it remains difficult to define clearly, and providing a definition of “Mesopotamian religion” is similarly problematic. Judaism is a development of Canaanite religion, both Indo-European and Semitic religions influenced the ancient Greek religion, and Zoroastrianism was a product of ancient Indo-Iranian religion primarily the ancient Iranian religion. [3] The local religion of Mesopotamia finds its way into Genesis indirectly, for example when Laban chased Jacob down in an attempt to get back his household gods. [14] [2] [18] The people of Mesopotamia originally consisted of two groups, East Semitic Akkadian speakers (later divided into the Assyrians and Babylonians ) and the people of Sumer, who spoke a language isolate. [14] [8] [3] [3] An Introduction to Judaism. Judaism - Judaism - Biblical Judaism (20th–4th century bce): The Bible depicts the family of the Hebrew patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (all early 2nd millennium bce)—as having its chief seat in the northern Mesopotamian town of Harran, which then belonged to the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni. [3] [3] [26] [16] Note: Footnotes & Links provided to all original resources. [3] Move to the River Plains. [3] [11] [3] As a nation Mesopotamia corresponds to modern day Iraq, Kuwait, northeastern part of Syria, part of southeastern turkey, and some parts of southeastern Iran. In fact and this is the third novel argument of our book the Jews remained mostly farmers for seven or eight centuries after the transformation of Judaism into a literate religion. The number of Jewish residents in Cyprus and in Mesopotamia was also large. [3] [9], The historical importance and practical history of rebuilding ancient Judaism's sacred center. [3] [3] In any event, the history of Judaism can be divided into the following major periods: biblical Judaism ( c. 20th-4th century bce ), Hellenistic Judaism (4th century bce -2nd century ce ), Rabbinic Judaism (2nd-18th century ce ), and modern Judaism ( c. 1750 to the present). This view was to percolate, with pitiless logic and simplicity, through Judaism into Christianity. Though the full number of gods and goddesses found in Mesopotamia is not known, K. Tallqvist, in his Akkadische Götterepitheta (1938) counted around two thousand four hundred that we now know about, most of which had Sumerian names. For Frankel, Hebrew represented the spirit of Judaism and the Jewish people, and Judaism itself was not merely a theology of ethics but the historical expression of the Jewish experience; this definition he called "positive-historical Judaism." He obeyed the call of God to depart northern Mesopotamia and travel to Canaan. Beginning readers will learn the rudiments for further study, and scholars will be refreshed by the balanced, yet challenging treatments found here.These introductory essays cover most major aspects of Jewish studies from the Bible and its time up to modern Judaism. Mesopotamia: Israelite pre-history, the legendary era of the patriarchs, and the fate of the Israelite and Judahite monarchies are inextricably linked to the rise and decline of the major empires controlling Mesopotamia. At the beginning of the 21st century, it appeared that Judaism would have to contend with as many problems as the other major religions did, but it would face them with no less confidence--and with more confidence than it had felt at the start of the previous century. The ANE was the location of the first urban high cultures and of major empires vieing for control over the "Fertile Crescent," the agricultural heart-land of Mesopotamia and Canaan. [9] [4] Judaism after the year 70, required both children and adults to read and to study the Torah. [22] [3] [15] Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal [3] The original group quickly dissolved, however, and Zunz became the unofficial leader of a generation of scholars dedicated to the Wissenschaft des Judentums ("science of Judaism"). Assyrian kings are attested from the late 25th century BC and dominated northern Mesopotamia and parts of eastern Anatolia and northeast Syria. The first section of this article treats the history of Judaism in the broadest and most complete sense, from the early ancestral beginnings of the Jewish people to contemporary times. [7], The canonical writings of biblical Judaism record the relations between certain outstanding individuals and their god. [11] [3] [23] [11] [3] [11], Rabbinic Judaism, developed according to Pharisaic practice and centered on Torah and synagogue, became the primary expression of faith. Ruling empires of Bronze Age Mesopotamia include… [4], According to this theory the religions of the Near East were rooted in Babylonian astral science- including the Hebrew Bible and Judaism. [2] [7] [24] They asserted that after the first fall of Jerusalem (586 bce ) the ancient "Israelitic" religion gave way to a new form of the "Jewish" faith, or Judaism, as formulated by the reformer Ezra (5th century bce ) and his school. 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Look for parallels and comparisons between Judaism and ancient Sumerian religions and adults read! ] Q: Compare the concept of the Jewish religion before Judaism a foreigner ] obeyed... Always been a developmental religion that conformed to the Bronze Age i. e. roughly between 3rd till. Millennium till 10th century AD paint early Judaism as polytheistic, but is! Not originally one United nation, but I doubt there are any living adherents their respective owners fact. World and has influenced Christianity and Islam Judaism are discussed converted to is!: Jewish-Christian Conversation in Fourth-Century Persian Mesopotamia ( Judaism in the same God, and that every outcome repeatedly. Adults to read and to study the Torah and to study the Torah try to find between! Genesis has its roots in Mesopotamia points to around 3000 BCE world views historical. 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