The first monotheistic religion, the origins of the religion of the Hebrews, was born in antiquity at a time when other peoples practiced polytheistic faiths. This religion is called Judaism. Beyond this singularity, we will define the religion of the Hebrews by its actors. Its rites within spaces evolved from the Hebrew kingdoms to the time of the diaspora.
Around the year one thousand before our era, the Hebrews settled in Canaan in the Near East. Therefore, they founded a kingdom whose capital was Jerusalem, whose most famous kings were David and his son Solomon. Indeed, in the 8th century, two Hebrew kingdoms existed: Israel in the north with its capital Samaria and Judas in the south with Jerusalem. The Israelites are surrounded by people who belong to other cultures.
In the 8th century, the Assyrians seized the kingdom of Israel. In the 6th century, the Babylonians succeeded the Assyrians and invaded the two kingdoms. They deport part of the inhabitants to Babylon, who become the slaves of King Nebuchadnezzar. The Hebrews are no longer independent; they no longer have a territory and are called the Jews.
Representation of the religion of the Hebrews
Preserving its culture
The dispersion of the Jews in the Mediterranean basin, the deportation, and the acculturation of some of them made the gradual disappearance of this culture possible. It is, therefore, for fear of losing their oral traditions that part of the Hebrews will, as early as the 8th century, begin to set down their habits in writing in the Hebrew Bible at the time of King Josiah.
The Bible, which includes a total of 24 works, recounts, among other things, the exile in Babylon until the return. The story mixes both actual historical facts and beliefs. The Bible contains the religious and moral rules God would have ordered the Hebrews to follow. Indeed, it is the book of the Law or Torah.
The Torah itself is made up of 5 works. The 19 others are the Books of the Prophets, which correspond to what Christians call the Old Testament. More than a history book, the Bible is, above all, a book of faith. Around 280 BC, it was translated into Greek in Alexandria by the Jews who had settled there: it was the Septuagint.
The foundations of Judaism
Indeed, Judaism is the first monotheistic religion of the Hebrews: the Jews are the first to believe in only one God. The Bible tells the story of the Hebrews as a quest for “the Promised Land” by a people chosen by God. This research requires divine interventions which should strengthen the belief of the Jews in God. The following episodes and also characters are found in the Bible.
Abraham plays a fundamental role in the religion of the Hebrews: it is to him that God promises a land where he will settle and where his descendants will reside. Her belief and fear of God were tested when He asked her to sacrifice her son. God interrupted him, saying he was about to comply with his request, and Abraham offered a ram.
God made Moses a prophet, that is, his messenger: God would have transmitted to him, in particular, the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, which he engraves on the tablets of the Law. These commandments were recorded in the Torah. Moses also led the Hebrew people from Egypt to Canaan, guided and helped by God, especially during the passage of the Red Sea. The prophets who succeeded Moses enforced religious rules and announced the coming of a Messiah who God would send to deliver Israel.
Rules in Judaism
Judaism is based on strict religious rules set out in the Torah:
- It is forbidden to work on the Sabbath day, in the image of God, who created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath day should be dedicated to God and religious holidays.
- Every day, Jews must address prayers to God.
- Jewish boys must be circumcised.
- Jews must respect some dietary rules, including eating only kosher meat that has been prepared according to specific rules.
- Therefore, the Temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon, is considered the house of God. Therefore, the priests address animal sacrifices and prayers to him.
- The Wailing Wall is the only remaining remnant of the Temple in Jerusalem. Today it is an important holy place for Jewish believers.
Dispersal of the Jews
After the invasions they suffered, many Jews left their land. In Roman times, with the destruction of the Temple in 70, the departures became more and more critical. The Jews who lived in Palestine – a land of Canaan – left to settle throughout the Mediterranean basin. This dispersion of the ancient Jewish community is called the diaspora.
Communities united by the religion of the Hebrews
Jewish communities are mainly present in the south of Spain, in the center of Italy, the Nile Valley, Greece, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia. The members of these communities maintain links between them close thanks to the perpetuation of their rites and traditions.
They constitute Jewish quarters in the great ancient cities and gather regularly in their synagogues. Following the Romans’ destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, the synagogues became the only places of worship for the Jews. There, one regularly reads the rolls of the Torah piously preserved. One celebrates religious festivals, and one prays.
You might also want to know.
1. What is the religion of the Hebrews?
The religion of the Hebrews is Judaism, which is the millennia-old civilization that takes its starting point from Abraham, the progenitor of the three great monotheistic religions. Its center of gravity is the Torah, composed of the five books transmitted, according to Jewish tradition, by God to the people of Israel through the prophet Moses.
The religion of the Hebrews is the complex beliefs and culture of the Hebrews. It is one of the oldest monotheistic religions, from which Christianity was derived, and whose original core goes back to the belief in a national God, Yahweh. He makes a special covenant with his people.
2. In what way do Jews pray?
All Jews believers pray to God three times a day: in the morning, afternoon, and evening. During prayer, Jews wear a headdress (kippah) and a Prayer shawl (tallith).
3. What is the holy city for Jews?
The Holy City for Jews in Jerusalem is located in the mountains of Judea and is also one of the world’s oldest cities. Christians, Jews, and Muslims live there.
4. Who are the Jews in summary?
The Jews were originally a nomadic tribe, living off the herding of small animals; they later settled in the lands between the Mesopotamian frontier and the coastal belt of Syria-Palestine. The Jews were monotheistic and the chosen people of their god, Yhwh.
5. What meat can Jews eat?
Kosher at the table: Meat
Jews can eat meat from pure animals; those that Jews may eat must have a split hoof, be divided into two parts, and qualify as ruminants (cows, calves, lambs, and goats). On the other hand, it is forbidden to eat pork, horse, and rabbit meat.
The Bible is a set of founding texts of the first monotheistic religion in history: Judaism. This religion also will serve as the foundation for the other religions of the Book, Christianity, and Islam. It is also a memory book that reminds Jews of their origins. Finally, it serves them in their daily lives by regulating an essential part of the behaviors of their lives.
Judaism religion is the religion of the Hebrews. Indeed is one of the most ancient monotheistic religions, from which Christianity is derived and whose original nucleus goes back to the belief in a national God, Yahweh. He makes a unique pact with his people.
Therefore, the Jews originally had a religion similar to that of the neighboring peoples; monotheism gradually arose among the groups headed by the prophets and established itself definitively after the exile in Babylon. Also, from the period of the Second Temple onwards (starting from the 6th century BC), the religion of the Israelites is more appropriately called Judaism.