The Patriarchs and the Origins of Judaism Level: They founded the religion now known as Judaism, and their descendants are the Jewish people. Of course, technically, it is incorrect to refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as Jews, because the terms "Jew" and "Judaism" were not used generally to refer to this nation until hundreds of years after their time; nevertheless, for convenience and in accordance with common practice, I will use these terms. The history below is derived from written TorahTalmudMidrash and other sources.
The early part of the story is told in the Hebrew Bible Old Testament. It describes how God chose the Jews to be an example to the world, and how God and his chosen people worked out their relationship.
It was a stormy relationship much of the time, and one of the fascinating things about Jewish history is to watch God changing and developing alongside his people. The birth of the Jewish people and the start of Judaism is told in the first 5 books of the Bible.
God chose Abraham to be the father of a people who would be special to God, and who would be an example of good behaviour and holiness to the rest of the world.
God guided the Jewish people through many troubles, and at the time of Moses he gave them a set of rules by which they should live, including the Ten Commandments. From then on Jewish worship was focussed on the Temple, as it contained the Ark of the Covenant, and was the only place where certain rites could be carried out.
The kingdom declines Around BCE, the kingdom fell apart, and the Jewish people split into groups. This was the time of the prophets. Around BCE the temple was destroyed, and the Jewish leadership was killed.
Many Jews were sent into exile in Babylon. Although the Jews were soon allowed to return home, many stayed in exile, beginning the Jewish tradition of the Diaspora - living away from Israel.
Rebuilding a Jewish kingdom The Jews grew in strength throughout the next years BCE, despite their lands being ruled by foreign powers. At the same time they became more able to practice their faith freely, led by scribes and teachers who explained and interpreted the Bible.
In BCE the King of Syria desecrated the temple and implemented a series of laws aiming to wipe out Judaism in favour of Zeus worship. There was a revolt BCE and the temple was restored. The revolt is celebrated in the Jewish festival of Hannukah.
But internal divisions weakened the Jewish kingdom and allowed the Romans to establish control in 63 BCE. In the years that followed, the Jewish people were taxed and oppressed by a series of "puppet" rulers who neglected the practice of Judaism.
The priests or Sadducees were allied to the rulers and lost favour with the people, who turned increasingly to the Pharisees or Scribes. These were also known as Rabbis, meaning teachers. His followers came to believe he was the promised Messiah and later split away from Judaism to found Christianity, a faith whose roots are firmly in Judaism.
Rabbinic Judaism The Rabbis encouraged the Jewish people to observe ethical laws in all aspects of life, and observe a cycle of prayer and festivals in the home and at synagogues.
This involved a major rethink of Jewish life. Although the Temple still stood, its unique place as the focus of Jewish prayer and practice was diminished.
Many synagogues had been founded in Palestine and right around the Jewish Diaspora. Great teaching academies were founded in the first century BCE with scholars discussing and debating God's laws.
The most well known of the early teachers were Hillel, and his contemporary Shammai. The destruction of the Temple This was a period of great change - political, religious, cultural and social turmoil abounded in Palestine. The Jewish academies flourished but many Jews could not bear being ruled over by the Romans.
During the first years CE the Jews twice rebelled against their Roman leaders, both rebellions were brutally put down, and were followed by stern restrictions on Jewish freedom. The first revolt, in 70 CE, led to the destruction of the Temple. This brought to an end the temple worship and is still perceived by traditional Jews as the biggest trauma in Jewish history.
It is marked by the fast day of Tisha B'av meaning the ninth day of the month of Av. A second revolt, in CE, resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Jews, the enslaving of thousands of others, and the banning of Jews from Jerusalem - CE: Following the twin religious and political traumas, the academies moved to new centres both in Palestine and in the Diaspora.
A sense of urgency had taken hold and it was considered vital to write down the teachings of the Rabbis so that Judaism could continue. Around CE, scholars compiled the Mishna, the collection of teachings, sayings and interpretations of the early Rabbis. The academies continued their work and several generations of Rabbis followed.Find out more about the history of Hanukkah, including videos, interesting articles, pictures, historical features and more.
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Jul 01, · Jewish history begins during the Bronze age in the Middle East. The birth of the Jewish people and the start of Judaism is told in the first 5 books of the Bible.  Addison G. Wright, Roland E. Murphy, Joseph A.
Fitzmyer, “A History of Israel” in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, (Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, In Die Entstehung des Judentums (; “The Origin of Judaism”) the German historian Eduard Meyer argued that Judaism originated in the Persian period, or the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (5th century bce); indeed, he attributed an important role in shaping the emergent religion to Persian imperialism.