Judaism

Published: 16.05.2011
Updated: 03.12.2011

Judaism

Judaism is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people. Originating in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh) and explored in later texts such as the Talmud, it is considered by Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God developed with the Children of Israel. According to traditional Rabbinic Judaism, God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah. This was historically challenged by the Karaites, a movement that flourished in the medieval period, retains several thousand followers today and maintains that only the Written Torah was revealed. In modern times, liberal movements such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic.

  • Judaism claims a historical continuity spanning more than 3,000 years; it is one of the oldest monotheistic religions, and the oldest to survive into the present day.
  • The Hebrews /Israelites were already referred to as Jews in later books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel."
  • Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i Faith.
  • Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law.

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