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research paper ethnic group - jews

research paper ethnic group - jews

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Published by: Grant on Mar 30, 2009
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The Jews

A Brief History of Movement
Religious interpretation

Grant J. Brill
IR 353 \u2013 Middle Eastern Culture
Prof. Rudolph E. Tinker
24 June 2008


Over nearly 4,000 years the Jewish people have been trying to establish solidarity
to their ethnic identity. This identity though is distinctly characterized by the years of
exile and oppression faced by the hand of a number of empires. A contemporary Jew is
defined as either having converted to Judaism or being born from a Jewish mother, in
some sects this also applies to being born from a Jewish Father. Today, the Jewish Nation
lies in Israel and though it can be said that Jerusalem is the focal point of Jewish culture it
is nearly impossible though, to define their culture without understanding how the Jews
finally came to reside in the Israel we know today. In this paper I will skim over the
history of movement of the Jewish people, starting in 1920 B.C. with Abraham and
ending in 1948 A.D. with creation of the modern state of Israel, once completed I will
then briefly go over some of the implications history has had on Jewish beliefs, which
affect its culture to this day.

Birth of a Nation

The birth of Jewish ethnicity and religion started around 1920 B.C. when God
summoned Abraham. God ordered Abraham to leave Terah\u2019s, his father, house and to
leave his country. In return, Abraham would become the ancestor of a great nation in a
land yet to be seen. Abraham accepted and by doing so is charged with spreading the
word of monotheism to his people. This was no small task as pagan worship was widely
accepted to include by Abrahams father. In order to make early Judaism more appealing,
the emphasis was placed one accepting one all powerful God, while at the same time
allowing the worship of pagan deities, this practice would last until around 1238 B.C.

with the end of the Babylonian exile.1 Today scholars believe that Abraham was a
wondering chieftain who had led his people from Mesopotamia to Canaan. These
followers were by no means un-diverse as not only were they composed of politicians,
merchants, and servants; it was also composed of various ethnic groups that came in three
prominent migrations of Hebrew settlement. The first was associated with Abraham
himself in 1850 B.C. The second was associated with Abrahams grandson Jacob,
renamed Israel, that settled in the area of the present day West Bank. The third occurred
in about 1200 B.C. when tribes arrived from Egypt claiming that they had been freed by
\u201ca deity called Yahweh, who was the god of their leader, Moses.\u201d2

Ironically even though Moses led his people to Canaan, Moses never entered
Canaan. This task, the task of conquering Canaan was given to Joshua. Joshua conquers
Canaan and allies with the Hebrew people, officially claiming the identity as the people
of Israel. In 1020 B.C. the first king, Saul began his rule. Achieving in bringing the tribes
of Israel together and setting up a monarchy, he was succeeded by King David in 1004
B.C. An extremely successful military commander, he lead multiple military campaigns
expanding the kingdom to the border of Egypt and the Red Sea to the Euphrates. King
David also successfully united all the tribes of Israel and established its capital in
Jerusalem. In 965 B.C. King David was succeeded by his son Solomon. King Solomon in
many ways set Israel on a course to be a great nation by establishing treaties and trading
with neighboring nations, and promoting domestic security and production of natural
resources. Perhaps one of his biggest achievements though was the building of the
Temple in Jerusalem which was to become the epicenter for Jewish worship and practice.

1 Wolff,Richard. The Popular Encyclopedia of World Religions. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2007,
(pg 205)
2Armstrong,Ka ren. A History Of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ne w
York: Ballantine Books, 1993, (pg 11-12)

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