Jewish History Essay

2183 words - 9 pages

Jewish History

Throughout the history of the world, the Jewish people have been persecuted and oppressed because of their religious beliefs and faith. Many groups of people have made Jews their scapegoat. Jews have suffered from years of intolerance because people have not understood what the religion really means. They do not understand where and why the religion began, nor the customs of it's people. For one to understand the great hardships, triumphs, and history of the Jewish people one must open-mindedly peruse a greater knowledge of the Jewish people and faith.

In the beginning, Judaism was founded by Abraham when he began to worship a figure called "Elohim." There were twelve original tribes that were enslaved for several generations in Egypt. In Egypt the Jews were persecuted and sold into slavery. It was not until Moses, a Hebrew adopted by the pharaoh, realized his duty to release his people from their oppression. He eventually led the people from Egypt into the desert where they wandered for 40 years (Encyclopedia Britannica 6).
Israel began as a confederation of tribes, then as a kingdom and celebrated as its formative experiences the redemption from Egyptian bondage. The notion of an independent Jewish confederation of tribes started as a kingdom that was to celebrate its freedom from Egyptian bondage. The settlement of the land Cannon, the future sight of the land Israel, is a perfect example portraying such a redemption. According to the Exodus tradition in the torah and the conquest tradition in the bible this coarse of events appears to have taken place during the late 13th century BCE and perhaps to the beginning of the 12th century (Microsoft Encarta 3).
The exile of the Judeans to Babylonia in 586 BC was a major turning point in Israelite religion. The prior history of Israel was reinterpreted in light of the events of 586, laying the foundation for the traditional biblical Pentateuch, prophetic canon, and historical books (Microsoft Encarta 4). The prophets Ezekiel and Deutero-Isaiah believed that Yahweh had used the Babylonian Empire to punish the Israelites for their sins, and he therefore had the power to redeem them from captivity if they repented. The Babylonian exiles' messianic hope for a restored Judean kingdom under the leadership of a scion of the royal house of David seemed to have been justified when Cyrus the Great, after conquering Babylon in 539 BC, permitted a repatriation of subject populations and a restoration of local temples. The restored Judean commonwealth did not fully realize this hope, however, because the Persians did not allow the reestablishment of a Judean monarchy, but only a temple-state with the high priest as its chief administrator. A truly monotheistic religion developed as the God of Israel came to be seen as the God ruling universal history and the destiny of all nations (Rich 2).
As for a common thread throughout Judaism, the area of focus is the place associated...

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