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Early History of Judaism, According to the Hebrew Scriptures

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Essay title: Early History of Judaism, According to the Hebrew Scriptures

Early History of Judaism, according to the Hebrew Scriptures:

Circa 2000 BCE, the G-d of the ancient Israelites established a divine covenant with Abraham, making him the patriarch of many nations. The term Abrahamic Religions is derived from his name. These are the three or four major religions which trace their roots back to Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i World Faith. The Baha'i faith is often not included among the Abramic religions. Also, smaller non-Jewish groups such as Falashas, Karaits, Mandaeanism, Rastafarians, Samaritans, etc. trace their spiritual roots back to Abraham.

The book of Genesis describes the events surrounding the lives of the three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Joseph, who is recognized as a fourth patriarch by Christians is not considered one by Jews). Moses was the next major leader of the ancient Israelites. He led his people out of captivity in Egypt, and received the Mosaic 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. (Orthodox Jews date the Babylonian exile from 422 to 352 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 Judea and Israel.

Jewish developments during the 1st century CE:

About 24 religious sects had formed by the 1st century CE of which the largest were the Basusim, Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots. Many anticipated the arrival of the Messiah, a religious-political-military leader who was expected to drive out the Roman invaders and restore independence.

Christianity was established initially as a Jewish sect, centered in Jerusalem. The group followed the teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth, who is now commonly referred to as Jesus Christ. The group was led by James, one of Jesus' four brothers. They are generally referred to as Jewish Christians. Paul broke with this tradition, created an alternative belief system of Pauline Christianity and spread the religion to the Gentiles (non-Jews) in much of the Roman Empire. A third religion, Gnosticism, emerged in a number of forms, such as Christian and Jewish Gnosticism.

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 the religion of Christianity. 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. Animal sacrifice was abandoned. Authority shifted from the centralized priesthood to local scholars and teachers, giving rise to Rabbinic Judaism.

The period from the destruction of the

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