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Chapter 2
The Fertile Crescent
Section 5
• 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
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
• Christians adopted these books as
the first five books of the Old
Beliefs in Judaism
• Early Israelites believed that God took
part in their history.
• History and religion were closely
• 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
• Dead Sea Scrolls - discovered in
1947, showed an early history of the
Ten Commandments
• God delivered them through Moses.
• Some set out religious duties to God,
while others are rules for correct
• 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
• 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
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
• 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
• 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
• Both monotheistic
• All honor Abraham, Moses, and prophets
• Share the same moral point of view as the
Reading Check
How did the Jews preserve their
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
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
They followed the religious laws set forth
in the Torah, including the Ten
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
2. (c) Draw Inferences
What do the laws of Judaism say
about the moral values of the
These laws show that Israelites were
concerned with honoring God above men;
with issues of right and wrong; and
helping the less fortunate.