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Empires and Jewish kingdoms
Source: Beck, et al. Patterns of Interaction. McDougal Littell
Judaism: An historical introduction
2. The story (Torah plus other writings)
a. Creation
b. Covenant: Abraham leaves Mesopotamia; promised
land for descendants in covenant with god.
c. Egypt: Descendants to Egypt during famine; enslaved
d. Exodus: Wander in desert 40 years; led by Moses.
e. Monarchy: Conquer the promised Canaan, establish
monarchy (later split) and Temple cult in Jerusalem
f. Exiled to Babylonia in 586 B.C.E.organize religion;
later return, then exiled again under Romans in 70 CE.
The Jewish Diaspora (dispersal),
late Roman period
Source: <Frontline: “From Jesus to Christ”>
Judaism: An historical introduction
1. The Old Testament or Bible
a. Hebrew (some Aramaic)
b. Codified across centuries (11th-6th BCE?)
c. 4-5 author styles that were edited and mixed;
seem to favor
d. Torah: 5 books—narrative of creation of
world to the Israelites.
e. Human drama connected to demands and
promises of god. “Israel” means “he who
struggled with god.”
Core Beliefs of Judaism
a. Concept of God: Universal God shared by all (monotheistic, whether
believe or not). All powerful, demanding of reverence, punishments
reinforce strength (bad things remind Jews of their faith).
b. View of humans nature: distinct from animals—make rational
choices, not forced by god (Humanism).
c. Relationship with God: Jews are “chosen” by covenant with God,
they have a special responsibility and are example to others.
d. Just society: “Ethical Monotheism”: God is source of right and
wrong (Ten Commandments and Torah). Express faith by following
god’s laws. Humans must repair earth when in need (social justice).
e. Different from other gods? Form an intimate and personal
relationship with this god.
Ancient Greece versus Jewish Gods
Greek Gods
Jewish God
• Each had different human
• Created humans in
likeness of God
• Interacted with each other
• Embodied understanding
of good and evil
• Interact with humans
Criteria for a Just Society: Comparing Philosophies 
plot philosophies along each spectrum
1. Hierarchy v. Equality
2. Conformity v. Pluralism
Pluralism/Free Inquiry
3. General will v. Individual Rights
Historiography and the Torah
1. Is the Bible a good historical source?
2. Who wrote and for what purpose?