Notes and References The first difficulty in writing about this subject is that the term 'Jew' has been used during the last years with two rather different meanings. To understand this, let us imagine ourselves in the year Then the universally accepted meaning of the term 'Jew' basically coincided with what the Jews themselves understood as constituting their own identity.
Author of A Social and Religious History of the Jews It is history that provides the clue to an understanding of Judaism, for its primal affirmations appear in early historical narratives. Many contemporary scholars agree that although the biblical Old Testament tales report contemporary events and activities, they do so for essentially theological reasons.
Such a distinction, however, would have been unacceptable to the authors, for their understanding of events was not superadded to but was contemporaneous with their experience or report of them. For them, it was primarily within history that the divine presence was encountered.
As ancient Israel believed itself through its history to be standing in a unique relationship to the divine, this basic belief affected and fashioned its life-style and mode of existence in a way markedly different from groups starting with a somewhat similar insight. The response of the people Israel to the divine presence in history was seen as crucial not only for itself but for all mankind.
Further, God had--as person--in a particular encounter revealed 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 its behalf, he had established a berit "covenant" with it and had required from it obedience to his Torah teaching.
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, time and again, to be summoned back to its responsibility by divinely called spokesmen--the prophets--who warned of retribution within history and argued and reargued the case of affirmative human response.
General observations Nature and characteristics In nearly 4, years of historical development, the Jewish people and their religion have displayed both a remarkable adaptability and continuity. In their encounter with the great civilizations, from ancient Babylonia and Egypt down to Western Christendom and modern secular culture, they have assimilated foreign elements and integrated them into their own socioreligious system, thus maintaining an unbroken line of ethnic and religious 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 time is a combination of all these successive elements along with whatever adjustments and accretions are imperative in each new age.
The fundamental teachings of Judaism have often been grouped around the concept of an ethical or ethical-historical monotheism. Belief in the one and only God of Israel has been adhered to by professing Jews of all ages and all shades of sectarian opinion.
By its very nature monotheism ultimately postulated religious universalism, although it could be combined with a measure of particularism. In the case of ancient Israel see below Biblical Judaism [20th-4th century BCE]particularism took the shape of the doctrine of election; that is, of a people chosen by God as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" to set an example for all mankind.
Such an arrangement presupposed a covenant between God and the people, the terms of which the chosen people had to live up to or be severely punished. As the 8th-century-BCE prophet Amos expressed it: With all its variations in detail, messianism has, in one form or another, permeated Jewish thinking throughout the ages and, under various guises, has coloured the outlook of many secular-minded Jews see also eschatology.
Law became the major instrumentality by which Judaism was to bring about the reign of God on earth. In this case law meant not only what the Romans called jus human law but also fas, the divine or moral law that embraces practically all domains of life.
The ideal, therefore, as expressed in the Ten Commandments, was a religioethical conduct that involved ritualistic observance as well as individual and social ethics, a liturgical-ethical way constantly expatiated on by the prophets and priests, rabbinic sages, and philosophers.
Such conduct was to be placed in the service of God, as the transcendent and immanent Ruler of the universe, and as such the Creator and propelling force of the natural world, and also as the One giving guidance to history and thus helping man to overcome the potentially destructive and amoral forces of nature.[AAA] Atlas of Ancient Archaeology, Jacquetta Hawkes (ed), Barnes and Nobles: [AAF] Answering a Fundamentalist, Albert J.
Nevins, M.M., Our Sunday Visitor. Orthodox Judaism is a collective term for the traditionalist branches of Judaism, which seek to maximally maintain the received Jewish beliefs and observances and which coalesced in opposition to the various challenges of modernity and secularization.
Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Written and Oral, as . Hebrews Main Page.
The Accession of Solomon.
Judas Maccabaeus. The Final Dispersion. Great Jewish Revolt One. Great Jewish Revolt Two. The Bible is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to Christians, especially, it is a source of inspiration and a guide to daily living..
To others, the Bible is a historical document and a source of controversy. To others still, the Bible is a self-contradictory mish-mash of arcane rules and proscriptions, mostly relevant to long-dead cultures in far away places. The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible - known more commonly to non-Jews as the "Old Testament" - that were given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai and include within them all of the biblical laws of Judaism.
The Torah is also known as the Chumash, Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses. Detailed History of Kaifeng Jews. by Michael Pollak (z”l), revised and updated by Jordan Paper and Anson Laytner (Summer ) Introduction For years, beginning in C.E., China was ruled by the emperors of the Song Dynasty from their capital at Kaifeng, then a bustling metropolis along the banks of the Yellow River, which connected the .