What could be simpler than a single people worshiping a single God for more than 3,000 years? But Judaism is far from simple, and as a religion, culture, and civilization, it has evolved in surprising ways during its lengthy and remarkable history.
- Although Judaism is defined by its worship of one God, it was not always a pure monotheism. In I Kings 8, King Solomon addresses the Lord by saying, “There is no God like You,” suggesting that the Israelites recognized the existence of other gods.
- The practice of Judaism was focused on animal sacrifice until the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in the 1st century, which forced a radically new approach to worship.
- The political emancipation of the Jews in 18th-century Europe transformed a 1,000-year-old style of Jewish life. “You can’t find an expression of Judaism today that is just like [the way] Jews lived 300 years ago,” says Professor Shai Cherry.
Yet for all it has changed, Judaism has maintained unbroken ties to a foundation text, an ethnicity, a set of rituals and holidays, and a land.
In these 24 lectures, Professor Cherry explores the rich religious heritage of Judaism from biblical times to today.
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