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Chapter 2 The Fertile Crescent Section 5 Judaism Objectives • In this section you will • 1. Learn about the basic beliefs of Judaism. • 2. Find out about the effect that Judaism has had on other religions. Key Terms • covenant – a binding agreement • Moses – an Israelite leader whom the Torah credits with leading the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan • prophet – a religious teacher who is regarded as someone who speaks for God or for a god • diaspora – the scattering of people who have a common background or beliefs • Torah - most sacred text of Judaism • It recorded events and laws important to the Israelites. • Made up of 5 books: Genesis (Very beginning of Judaism), Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. • Christians adopted these books as the first five books of the Old Testament. Beliefs in Judaism • Early Israelites believed that God took part in their history. • History and religion were closely connected. • Each event showed the people God’s plan. • Monotheistic – belief in one god • God is present everywhere, knows everything, and has complete power. • Through the Torah, God promised Abraham that his people would become kings and build nations. • Because of the covenant or promise made by God, the Israelites were considered God’s chosen people. • The covenant was renewed by Moses. • He told his followers that God would lead them to Canaan or ‘the promise land” and in return the Israelites had to obey God faithfully. • Dead Sea Scrolls - discovered in 1947, showed an early history of the Israelites. Ten Commandments • God delivered them through Moses. • Some set out religious duties to God, while others are rules for correct behavior. • There were other laws for crime and like Hammurabi’s code the punishment should match the crime. • Religious teachers asked leaders to carry out the laws with justice and mercy. Judaism and Women • Some laws protected women, such as the commandment that required a mother to be treated with respect. • The man was the head of the family and owned his wife and children. • A father could choose his daughter’s suitors. • Only the husband could seek divorce. • A few women in early Israelite history won honor as religious leaders, such as Deborah, but later they were not allowed to take part in many religious leadership roles. Justice and Morality • Prophets or religious teachers who are regarded as speaking for God told the Israelites how to live. • They warned people not to disobey God’s law and if they did, it would bring disaster. • Prophets preached a code of ethics. • The rich and powerful should protect the poor and weak. • All people were equal before God and all had to follow God’s rule. Not like in other societies where the ruler was seen as a god. Reading Check What did the prophets tell the Israelites? The prophets preached a code of ethics that told the Israelites how God wanted them to live. Effects of Judaism • After exile from Judah in 587 B.C., the Jews or people who follow Judaism saw the homeland controlled by various powers including the Romans. • 135 A.D. Romans drove the Jews out of their homeland. • The Jewish people scattered to different parts of the world. New Settlement • The Romans continued the Jewish diaspora or the scattering of groups of people. • Wherever the Jews settled, their heritage was always preserved by living in close communities. • They took care to obey all religious laws, worship at their temples, and follow their traditions such as Passover. • Passover is a holiday that celebrates a time when they believed that their children were spared as death “passed over” them and they were lead out of Egypt by Moses. Effect on later religions Judaism had a great influence on two later religions: Christianity and Islam • Both have their beginnings in Judaism • Both originated from the same geographical area • Both monotheistic • All honor Abraham, Moses, and prophets • Share the same moral point of view as the Israelites Reading Check How did the Jews preserve their heritage? The Jews preserved their heritage by living together in close communities; obeying their religious laws; worshipping at their synagogues; following traditions. Section 5, Assessment 1. (a) Identify What promise did the Israelites believe God made to Abraham? They believed God promised Abraham that his people would become kings and build nations. 1. (b) Explain What did God’s covenant with Abraham require of the Israelites? God required the Israelites to obey God faithfully. 1. (c) Analyze Information Why did the Israelites believe that they were God’s chosen people? According to the Torah, based on the covenant made between God and Abraham and later renewed by Moses, the Israelites are God’s chosen people. 2. (a) Recall What religious laws did the Israelites follow? They followed the religious laws set forth in the Torah, including the Ten Commandments. 2. (b) Compare and Contrast How does Judaism compare and contrast with the beliefs of other peoples in the ancient world? Most ancient people believed in many gods that were connected to specific places or people; the Israelites believed in one all powerful God that was everywhere. 2. (c) Draw Inferences What do the laws of Judaism say about the moral values of the Israelites? These laws show that Israelites were concerned with honoring God above men; with issues of right and wrong; and helping the less fortunate.