The Roots Of Judaism And Christianity



(i) Judaism:
The Jews are a people who trace their descent from the biblical Israelites
and who are united by the religion called Judaism. They are not a race; Jewish
identity is a mixture of ethnic, national, and religious elements. An individual
may become part of the Jewish people by conversion to Judaism; but a born Jew
who rejects Judaism or adopts another religion does not entirely lose his Jewish
identity. In biblical times the Jews were divided into 12 tribes: Reuben, Simeon
(Levi), Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim,
and Manasseh.
The word Jew is derived from the kingdom of Judah, which included the
tribes of Benjamin and Judah. The name ...

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most scholars believe that the
biblical account is based on historic realities. According to the Book of
Genesis, God ordered the patriarch Abraham to leave his home in Mesopotamia and
travel to a new land, which he promised to Abraham's descendants as a perpetual
inheritance. Although the historicity of Abraham, his son Isaac, and his
grandson Jacob is uncertain, the Israelite tribes certainly came to Canaan from
Mesopotamia. Later they, or some of them, settled in Egypt, where they were
reduced to slavery; they finally fled to freedom under the leadership of an
extraordinary man named Moses, probably about 1200 BC. After a period of desert
wandering, the tribes invaded Canaan at different points, and over a lengthy
period of time they gained control over parts of the country.
For a century or more the tribes, loosely united and sometimes feuding
among themselves, were hard pressed by Canaanite forces based in fortified
strongholds and by marauders from outside. At ...

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dominant empire during the period of the divided kingdom. When Israel, with
Egyptian encouragement, tried to throw off Assyrian rule, it was destroyed and a
large number of its inhabitants were deported (722 BC). Judah managed to outlive
the Assyrian Empire (destroyed c.610), but the Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) Empire
that replaced it also insisted on control of Judah. When a new revolt broke out
under Egyptian influence, the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed
Jerusalem and burned the Temple (587 or 586 BC); the royalty, nobility, and
skilled craftsmen were deported to Babylonia.
Loss of state and Temple, however, did not lead to the disappearance of the
Judeans, as it did ...

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Added: 1/11/2007 08:26:10 PM
Category: Religion
Words: 4642
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