Download Ch6/Sec1 cont.: Judaism and Ethnic African Religions Judaism: ~14

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Ch6/Sec1 cont.: Judaism and Ethnic African Religions
Judaism: ~14 million adherents worldwide
- 1/3 in the U.S., 1/3 in Israel, 1/3 around the world
- In the U.S.: Jews are clustered in NYC
- 2 of the 3 universalizing religions have their roots in Judaism:
Christianity & Islam
- 1st recorded monotheistic religion: only one all-powerful God (v.
polytheistic religions that worship multiple gods)
- Record their religion & history in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament):
archeological evidence contradict some of their stories
- Israelites migrated from Mesopotamia to Palestine (Canaan)
(Abraham led the Israelites from the ancient city of Ur to Canaan; got into a
covenant w/ God: Yahweh is supreme authority + ten Commandments on
Mount Sinai, Abraham is the father of his nation)
- Nomadic lifestyle (grazing & herding flocks of animals)
- Drought  left for Egypt  enslaved  Moses led them out of
Egypt  wondered in the desert for 40 years  returned to Palestine
(Yahweh had to curse the ancient Egyptians w/ 10 plagues in order for
Pharaoh Ramses II to free the Israelites)
Historians: distinct tribe emerged b/w 1200-1000 B.C. & organized the
tribes into a united kingdom of Israel
 The United Kingdom: by the son of King David: wise King
Solomon, 970-930 B.C.
- Israelites establish control over Palestine; capital: Jerusalem
- Built a temple in Jerusalem: center of their religion & kingdom itself
(today its remnants are know as the Western Wall by the Jewish ppl.)
- Expanded the gov.’t, the army, & trade  height of Israel’s power
 The Divided Kingdom: after King Solomon’s death, the northern &
southern tribes w/in Israel split the kingdom into 2:
Israel: in the north; 10 tribes; capital: Samaria; overran by the
Assyrians  tribes scattered & merged w/ neighboring people
Judah: in the south; 2 tribes; capital: Jerusalem; overran by the
Chaldeans  upper-class people of Judah escaped to Babylonia 
overran by the Persians, who allowed the people of Judah to return to
Jerusalem & rebuild the city (under Persian control until Alexander
the Great)
The people of Judah survived  Jews & the religion of Judaism
Stateless religion: belief in God was not tied to one land, b/c Yahweh was the
Creator and Lord of the whole world
The Spiritual Dimensions of Israel:
 Monotheistic people: worshipped only one God, called Yahweh (no
worship of gods/goddesses or the natural world, e.g. sun, river, etc.)
Jews did not accept the gods of their neighbors/conquerors
Separation b/w Jews & their non-Jewish neighbors
 Yahweh ruled the world, all people were his servants
 Yahweh was good, loving, just, and merciful
 Each person had a personal relationship w/ Yahweh
 At the core of Jewish religious tradition:
- Covenant (contract) b/w Moses & Yahweh
- Obedience to the law of God, the Ten Commandments
- Prophets: religious teachers sent by God to teach the people
* Golden age of prophecy: during threats by conquests (mid-800s B.C.)
* Concern for all of humanity: all nations would one day come toYahweh
* End of war
* Establishment of peace for all the nations of the world
* Live justly, share w/ one’s neighbors, care for the poor and the
act w/ compassion  they denounced social injustice
Ethnic African Religions: ~ 100 million adherents (12% of the
Animism: inanimate objects have spirits & conscious lives
- Hierarchy of gods: supreme god + multiple assistant divinities
- No written holy book(s) or rigid doctrines
- Passed down from generation to generation orally
The # of adherents to animism is declining (200 million in 1980)
Christianity & Islam became dominant (46% Christian, 40%
Animism is the majority religion only in Botswana