Chapter 2: History of Judaism
Religions of a Single God - A Critical Introduction to Monotheisms from Judaism to Baha'i - Zeba A. Crook
Zeba A. Crook [+]
That no religion has an essence is a feature of contemporary theory of religion. To say that we cannot speak of Judaism in the past until monotheism has been developed is not to say that monotheism is the essence of Judaism. But it is suggest that monotheism is the most innovative theological development before the common era, and that until its development, the religion of Israel is one among many competing national religions devoted to a national god. It is monotheism that sets them apart from the religions around them, and that allows us to suggest a shift from “Israelite Religion” to Judaism. The development of monotheism occurs as a response to the Babylonian exile, and so we begin there. The rest of the history of Judaism is one of interaction and interchange with non-Jews, minorities always living among Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Egyptians, Byzantine Christians, Muslims, and then European Christians. This is a history of diaspora and eventually nationhood.