Chapter 2, Section 5
•Roots of
Still a major religion today
Roots of Judaism
• About 4000 years ago, the ancient Israelites
(Hebrews) developed the religion of Judaism
“I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out of the
• Monotheistic
land of Egypt, out of the
– Different from all othershouse
nearbyof bondage. You shall
have no other gods before
-God to Moses
(Hebrew bible)
Ancient Israelites
 Israelites also known
 They were monotheistic
 The Israelites recorded events and laws in the Torah
 The Torah, their most sacred text, includes the first five
books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
 The Hebrew Bible includes a total of 24 books. Additional
laws and customs were written in a much later written
text, the Talmud.
The Ancient
According to the Torah,
a man by the name of Abraham
lived near Ur in Mesopotamia; about 2000 B.C. he and his
family migrated to Canaan. He is considered to be the
father of the Israelite people
The Israelites believe that God made
a covenant with Abraham:
1. God declared that He would have
a special relationship with Abraham
and his descendants
2. God declared Canaan would one
day belong to the Israelites. Making
Canaan their “promised land”
• An Israelite named Moses later renewed God’s covenant with the Israelites.
Many Israelites migrated to Egypt due to famine and became enslaved
according to the Book of Genesis. In the Book of Exodus, Moses tells the
Israelites that in return for faithful obedience to God, God will lead them out
of bondage and into the promised land. Moses leads the Israelites out of
bondage and 40 years later they reached Canaan.
However, Moses died
before they arrived.
The Kingdom of Israel
By 1000b.c., Israelites had set up kingdom of Israel
The Torah tells of 12
separate tribes of Israel
that had feuded up
until 1000B.C. Then
David, a strong and
wise king, united these
tribes into a single
Son of David, followed
in his fathers footsteps
and turned the city of
Jerusalem into an
impressive capital.
Israel Under
• Solomon’s building
• Required high taxes
• Lots of forced labor
• Revolts started after
his death in 922 B.C.
• Revolts lead to a split
• Israel in North
• Judah in South
Israel Under Solomon
• Independent for 200
• 722 B.C., Assyrians
conquered Israel
• 586 B.C. Babylonians
conquered Judah = Jews
• Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the great temple
• Forced Israelites into exile
• ~50 years later, Cyrus the Great defeated
Babylonians, freed the Israelites
• Most stayed and lived under Persian rule
The Ten Commandments
At the heart of Judaism are the Ten
Commandments, a set of laws that Jews
believe God gave to them through Moses.
Judaism Teaches About Law and Morality
 Law was central to the Israelites
 Torah included many laws.
 Cleanliness
 Food preparation
 Criminal acts
 Moral principals
Still a major religion
Influenced other
monotheistic religions,
Christianity & Islam.
Both honor Abraham,
Moses, the prophets &
teach ethical world view
 Israelite society was patriarchal
 Throughout history, prophets (such as Jeremiah &
Isaiah), emerge to interpret God’s will
 Remind Jewish people of their duties
 Taught strong code of ethics (moral standards)
Many Jews left Judah & spread around the world (Diaspora)