Origin of Judaism

Jewish tradition states that Abraham was a central figure in the founding of Judaism almost 4000 years ago.

The religion is one of the oldest surviving religions in the world, and is also one of the oldest to worship a single deity.  A lot of the texts and traditions of this religions overlap in some areas with other Abrahamic religions (those that worship one god). Christianity and Islam, as well as some other non-Abrahamic religions, have been influenced by Jewish history, principles and ethics. Many aspects of the Jewish faith also correlate with secular western concepts of civil law and ethics.

The origin of Judaism can be traced back to the covenant that was made between God and Abraham. Abraham is considered the progenitor and the patriarch of the nation of Jews. The most important of the religious principles that followers of the Jewish faith adhere to is that there is a single, all-powerful (all-seeing, all-knowing, all-loving) God who created the universe and still rules it. It is written that the covenant was made between God and Abraham, the first Hebrew, to mark the latter”s rejection of idolatry and polytheism of his people. His reward was to have as many descendants as there were stars in the sky.

God also formed a covenant with the Israelites and subsequently their descendants while granting Moses the written and oral Torah that carried all his laws and commandments. However, there are scholars of Judaism who believe that Moses was only given the written Torah on Mount Sinai. Study of the Torah is highly valued to understand the origin of Judaism, as are observance of the commandments that were recorded in the Torah and further expanded in the Talmud.

The legend of Abraham and Moses aside, there are historians who believe that the origins of the Israelite people are not as cut and dry as it may appear. While they agree that the people of Israel had roots in Mesopotamia and Egypt, it is thought that the Israelites may have believed that each country or nation had its own god, only theirs was an omnipotent god above all the others.

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