The Jewish Religion And Its Impact On Western Culture Example - PHDessay.com (2022)

The long, rich history of Judaism gives the western world its shape today. The laws, traditions, culture, and values are directly attributable to Judaism. Judaism most prominently began with the founder of the Hebrews known as Abraham, who began to worship a figure called "Elohim. " Historically, the teachings of Judaism were also subscribed by nomadic tribes, which settled in present day Palestine, near Mt. Sinai. The people of these tribes did not label themselves as Hebrews, and referred to G-d as the G-d of Abraham.

The beginning of the story came about as G-d promised Abraham a son, and in the course of the events doubting that his old wife could give him a son, he had Ishmael with his maid, Hagar. Later, G-d's prophecy would be fulfilled with the birth of Isaac, by his wife Sarah. Due to their belief system, the tribe proliferated the idea that Isaac and his descendants were chosen by G-d to carry forward Abraham's holy ancestry. Isaac was the forefather of what was to become the 12 tribes of Israel. These twelve original tribes were later 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. 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 its people.

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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, while acknowledging their impact on society today. All Western law is based in part on Judaic Torah observance. A quick look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) is a very good summary of most modern law that is followed today, along with the next three chapters in Exodus. Judaism believes in the equality of all people and if these commandments were not made and observed today, the equality of Western law would be replaced by position, power, or money.

Another modern historical tradition adopted by from the Jews is how we eat. What is customary in Western society is a reflection of most of the Judaic dietary law. With the exception of the pig, Western society does not eat what is not contained in kosher law. Owls, mice, rats, and snakes are repugnant to most Westerners and it is a direct result of Jewish culture. A third example can be directly traced to Jewish culture in the way women are treated. Women's rights were carefully maintained in this ancient culture, and today's laws giving women equal rights under the law are a byproduct of Judaism.

Unfortunately in today’s world, education is taken for granted, yet Judaism has long maintained education as the highest goal of man in his pursuit of Godliness. After the Babylonian Captivity, it was decreed that all the people should be educated, and this tradition has been passed to Western culture. Other defining characteristics of Western civilization which are influenced by Judaism are the recognition of the importance of each individual. Every person is believed to have worth and to deserve a life of dignity.

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In Jewish literature, this idea is first expressed in the first chapter of the first book of the Hebrew Bible, which says that people are created in the image of G-d. Because of this, every person is valuable. This idea was not common in the ancient world, where an individual’s social status often determined one’s importance and value. Also, the idea that trials must be fair is closely connected to belief in the rule of law. The Hebrew Bible and Talmud include numerous statements that emphasize the importance of fair trials and a wide variety of provisions to help ensure that trials are fair.

Many of these provisions became key legal principles in the Western world. Jewish roots of legal principles have even been referenced by the U. S. Supreme Court. Lastly, giving charity is an important value in Western civilization that was not emphasized in most ancient cultures. In Judaism, on the other hand, supporting the needy is obligatory. Judaism has also played a significant role in the development of Western culture because of its unique relationship with Christianity, the dominant religious force in the West.

Although the Christian church drew from other sources as well, its retention of the sacred Scriptures of the synagogue (the Old Testament) as an integral part of its Bible is crucial. Not only was the development of its ideas and doctrines deeply influenced, but it also received an ethical dynamism that constantly overcame an inclination to withdraw into world-denying isolation. It was, however, not only Judaism’s heritage but its persistence that touched Western civilization. The continuing existence of the Jews, even as pariah people, is both a challenge and a warning. Their liberation from the shackles of discrimination, segregation, and rejection at the beginning of the modern era was understood by many to be the touchstone of all human liberty. The two central events of 20th-century Jewish history were the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. The former was the great tragedy of the Jewish people, while the later was the light of a rebirth, which promised political, cultural, and economic independence.

The rest of the world has been forced to reconsider and reorient its relationship with Judaism and the Jewish people because of these two events. At the same time, the centers of Jewish life have moved almost exclusively to Israel and North America. Along with these developments, theological considerations and practical realities, such as interfaith marriage, have made Jewish religious culture a point of interest for many non-Jews. In the early 21st century, Jewish religious life continued to fragment along ideological lines, but that very fragmentation animated both moral imagination and ritual life.

While ultra-Orthodox Judaism grew narrower, and some varieties of Liberal Judaism moved ritual practice even farther away from traditional observance, a vital center emerged, running from Reform Judaism to modern Orthodoxy. This center sought to understand Judaism within a broader context of interaction with other cultures while leaving the essentials of belief and practice unaffected. Predicting the future of Judaism is not an easy or desirable task, but there is reason to hope that the world will continue to draw upon the religious and cultural traditions of Judaism, both past and present.

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FAQs

How did Judaism affect Western culture? ›

It was the first religion based on ethical monotheism. Judaism influenced the development of Christianity and Islam, and had a major influence on Western civilization - Christianity, the eventually dominant religious faith of the West, was in large part a child of the Hebrew religion.

What is the cultural impact of Judaism? ›

Judaism marked the beginning of a revolutionary idea that laid the groundwork for social reform: humans have the ability and therefore the responsibility to stop injustices in the world. The Jews were the first to decide that it was their responsibility as the Chosen People to fight against inequality in the world.

What are the main beliefs of the Jewish religion? ›

Jewish people believe there's only one God who has established a covenant—or special agreement—with them. Their God communicates to believers through prophets and rewards good deeds while also punishing evil. Most Jews (with the exception of a few groups) believe that their Messiah hasn't yet come—but will one day.

Is Judaism part of Western culture? ›

Its historic role. Judaism has played a significant role in the development of Western culture because of its unique relationship with Christianity, the dominant religious force in the West.

What were the most important contributions of the Hebrews to Western civilization? ›

The main, and most important thing the Hebrews contributed was the idea of monotheism, the practice of virtually every religion today.

Is Judaism a religion or way of life? ›

Judaism, the first and oldest of the three great monotheistic faiths, is the religion and way of life of the Jewish people. The basic laws and tenets of Judaism are derived from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

Why did the Israelites have a great impact on Western civilization? ›

These ancient views of Hebrews influenced Christian and therefore Western ideas of not only eternal salvation but also earthly arrangements such as marriage and government. The “social compact” language Puritans and other early American colonists used politically was consciously derived from the Hebrew covenant.

How did Judaism influence Christianity? ›

Jewish Christianity is the foundation of Early Christianity, which later developed into Christianity. Christianity started with Jewish eschatological expectations, and it developed into the worship of a deified Jesus after his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, and the post-crucifixion experiences of his followers.

What are the characteristics of Western culture? ›

There are many different Western cultural characteristics; some include individuality, scientific rationalism, capitalism, and the rule of law. However, as stated previously, Western civilization began in ancient Greece, but the Greeks did not develop in isolation.

Why is it called Western culture? ›

Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Western lifestyle or European civilization, is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or ...

How does Western culture influence the world? ›

The impact that western culture has on various parts of the world is very broad. The exploitation of fast food and western fashion through multinational corporations, has allowed western culture to influence religion, culture, tradition, economy, and government. It reduces the country's traditional way of clothing.

What are 5 basic beliefs of Judaism? ›

A summary of what Jews believe about God
  • God exists.
  • There is only one God.
  • There are no other gods.
  • God can't be subdivided into different persons (unlike the Christian view of God)
  • Jews should worship only the one God.
  • God is Transcendent: ...
  • God doesn't have a body. ...
  • God created the universe without help.
Sep 14, 2009

What are 10 facts about Judaism? ›

Top 10 Judaism Facts for Kids
  • The Jewish day of worship is known as Shabbat (or Sabbath). ...
  • At age 13, Jewish boys take part in a ceremony called a bar mitzvah. ...
  • Many Jewish people eat a kosher diet. ...
  • The six-pointed star called the 'Star of David' is a symbol of the Jewish people.
Feb 10, 2022

What did the Hebrews contribute to Western legal tradition? ›

In developing their law, they sometimes borrowed legal concepts from other civilizations as well as passing on their own ideas. The Jewish law that developed influenced Roman law, English law, and our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

What is the name of the Hebrew religion? ›

Judaism, monotheistic religion developed among the ancient Hebrews. Judaism is characterized by a belief in one transcendent God who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions.

What was one major characteristic of the ancient Hebrews? ›

Belief in One God: The Hebrews were the first to accept and uphold the belief in one god as the fundamental and permanent feature of their culture. The civilization built by the ancient Hebrews was characterized by the faith and following of a single, ethical and all powerful God.

How many Jews are in the world? ›

As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population.

What is an example of Western influence? ›

Democracy, fast foods, and American pop-culture can all be examples that are considered as Westernization of the world.

What is the meaning of Western culture? ›

Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, artifacts and technologies of the Western world.

What countries are included in Western culture? ›

The modern meaning of the Western World (the Latin West)

In practical terms, this means the Western World typically includes most countries of the European Union as well as the U.K., Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

What defines a Western country? ›

In modern usage, Western world refers to Europe and to areas whose populations largely originate from Europe, through the Age of Discovery's imperialism.

Is Israel a Western country? ›

At 70, Israel is a democratic, Western-inspired and economically successful nation-state that has been fully integrated into the international community, despite its geographical location in a turbulent region.

What is the difference between Western and Eastern culture? ›

Eastern and Western cultures have a different perception of power and power distance. Eastern cultures tend to have a very hierarchical structure, where Western cultures are more egalitarian. “Western cultures value independence and tend to promote individuals who are task orientated and individualistic.”

What is the positive effect of Western culture? ›

Western Culture Helps People Find Out More About Other Countries' History. Western culture also opens the door to discovering the rich history of other countries. Countries gained better awareness and knowledge of other countries. This newfound knowledge can benefit countries in several ways.

What can we learn from Western culture? ›

Society and community value system

For any terrible situation, we think it is not our responsibility but that of someone else. However, the same responsibility towards community is well understood in the West. Western people show their concern for society and make sacrifices, if required.

What is Western influence? ›

Westernization, the adoption of the practices and culture of western Europe by societies and countries in other parts of the world, whether through compulsion or influence.

Why did the Israelites have a great impact on Western civilization? ›

These ancient views of Hebrews influenced Christian and therefore Western ideas of not only eternal salvation but also earthly arrangements such as marriage and government. The “social compact” language Puritans and other early American colonists used politically was consciously derived from the Hebrew covenant.

How did Judaism influence Christianity? ›

Jewish Christianity is the foundation of Early Christianity, which later developed into Christianity. Christianity started with Jewish eschatological expectations, and it developed into the worship of a deified Jesus after his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, and the post-crucifixion experiences of his followers.

Where did Judaism start spreading? ›

The origins of Judaism date back more than 3500 years. This religion is rooted in the ancient near eastern region of Canaan (which today constitutes Israel and the Palestinian territories). Judaism emerged from the beliefs and practices of the people known as “Israel”.

How did Judaism spread throughout the world? ›

Jews did not again have their own state until the foundation of Israel in the twentieth century. Political and military developments led Jews to scatter widely in a diaspora, first throughout the Mediterranean and then beyond.

What did the Hebrews contribute to Western legal tradition? ›

In developing their law, they sometimes borrowed legal concepts from other civilizations as well as passing on their own ideas. The Jewish law that developed influenced Roman law, English law, and our own Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

How many Jews are in the world? ›

As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population.

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