Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Judaism is the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people. This entry presents the basic beliefs and practices of the Jewish religion, its adaptation to exile, its relationships with other religions, its Ashkenaz and Sepharad components, and the role of rabbis; then, following emancipation, new religious and secular developments; and, in conclusion, contemporary challenges. Judaism is the first monotheistic religion. It appeared with the Hebrew Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and the Matriarchs—Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah—some 3,500 years ago. Judaism crystallized with Moses, with emphasis on the exodus from Egypt, freedom from bondage, and the revelation of the Ten Commandments. In Judaism, God is transcendent—beyond representation—omnipotent, benevolent. He created the world, revealed himself, and will lead to redemption. The covenant between God and Abraham, renewed at Mount Sinai between God and the Children of Israel, is an eternal one: Jews exist as a representative of the deity (kingdom of priests, ...