The study and observance of the laws

¶ … Hebrew Scriptures


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The Hebrew Bible is called the Tahakh (or Tanach), an anacronym for Torah. It is divided into three sections: The Torah, Prophets and Writings. The text of the Hebrew Scriptures was originally written in Hebrew, except for a few verses composed in Aramaic.


According to traditional Jewish belief, the God established a covenant with the Jewish people, revealing his laws and commandments to them in the Torah. The practice of Judaism is devoted to the study and observance of these laws and commandments, as written in the Torah.




The Jews were expelled from Palestine following the Roman-Jewish war around 65 CE, around the same time when the temple was destroyed in Jerusalem. The Judean elite were exiled to Babylonia (the first Jewish Diaspora.). During this captivity, the Jews in Babylon wrote what is known as the “Babylonian Talmud” while the remaining Jews in Judea wrote what is called the “Palestinian Talmud.” These are the first written forms of the Torah. The Babylonian Talmud is the same used to this day. Later many Jews returned to their homeland after the conquest of Babylonia by the Persians, and this is known as the Babylonian Captivity. A new Second Temple was constructed, and old religious practices were resumed. Today there are pilgrimage holidays, during which the Children of Israel journey to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God in His Temple.


History of the Hebrew Scripture


Jewish leaders felt the need to precisely define Hebrew Scriptures for the Jewish people. In 70 CE, Jewish scholars assembled in a town west of Jerusalem to decide which holy books of writings should form the core of the Hebrew Scriptures. They decided on 5 books (Pentateuch) to form the core. Then they added 34 other books, rejecting most books written after 150 BCE. The Masoretic Text (MT) is the Hebrew text of the Tanakh approved for general use in Judaism.The history of the Masorah may be divided into three periods: (1) the creative period, from the beginning to the introduction of vowel-signs; (2) the reproductive period, from the introduction of vowel-signs to the printing of the Masorah (1525 CE); (3) critical period, from 1525 to the present time. The Apocrypha consisted of many books used for spiritual guidance by the Jewish people throughout the ages. They were included in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures in general use during the time of Jesus.


Covenant vs. Law


Abraham established a covenant with God and moved to Canaan with his followers around 1800 BCE. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and established a covenant with God around 1280 BCE, starting the religious tradition of Judaism. The Laws of Hammarabi preceeded the Ten Commandments, but the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Deuteronomy are considered the books of Law for the Jewish people and are contained in the Torah.




Johnson, Paul (1987). A History of the Jews, First, hardback, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

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