By the Numbers
- Less than 1% of the world population
- 16 million globally (6m US, 6m Israel)
- Three primary sects with several subsects
- Began c. 1800 BC
- Primary Texts: Torah, Tanakh (Hebrew Bible)
In the beginning …
- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam trace their origins to Abram as chronicled in the Torah (the first five books of the New Testament).
- Abram was a monotheist.
- God calls Abram to move to Canaan.
God’s Covenant with Abram (and man)
- Abram renamed Abraham / Sarai (his wife) renamed Sarah
- Isaac, son of Abraham and Hagar, fathered Jacob who fathered 12 sons including Joseph (his favorite).
- Key figure in Judaism
- Led the Jews out of Egypt
- Recipient of the 10 commandments directly from God.
- Believed to have “written” the five books of the Torah
- The Torah and Tanahk were likely passed down as oral tradition for centuries before being recorded in writing.
Creation (teachings shared with Christianity)
In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
God created heaven and earth in six days. On the seventh day he rested. Today, Jews observe the seventh day as the Sabaoth—day of rest.
Adam and Eve were the first man and woman created by God, and lived in the garden of Eden. After giving in to temptation of sin, they were banished from paradise.
The Jewish deity is a singular God who created humanity and the world and is incorporeal (noncorporeal), omnipresent, omniscient, and eternal.
The basics of Jewish morality come from the Hebrew Bible, the 10 commandments.
- Respect for God
- Righteous attitudes
- Compassion for others
- Care for living creatures
Salvation and the Soul
- Directly tied to Jewish moral code
- Righteousness comes from obeying the laws of the Torah.
- Salvation is about a healthy relationship with God and humanity.
- Focuses more on earthly life than afterlife.
- The soul greatly influenced by Greek philosophy.
- The soul is eternal, surviving after bodily death.
To be Jewish
“That which is hateful to you, do not so to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”
Early Jewish Leader
b. 110 BC, d. 10 AD