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VCE Religion & Society Units 1 & 2: Judaism

Year 11 research guide

Tenets of Judaism

Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheist religions—the others being Christianity and Islam. Judaism has two major collections of sacred writings, the Hebrew Bible, and the Talmud. These works provide the basis for Judaism's beliefs and practices.

The first five books of the Hebrew Bible make up the Torah, the most important of all Jewish Scriptures. The Torah is also called the Pentateuch, meaning five books. The Torah contains basic Judaic law and describes the history of the Jews until the death of Moses in the 1200's B.C. According to Jewish tradition, Moses received and wrote down the word of God in the Torah, which is sometimes called the Five Books of Moses. In addition to the Torah, the Hebrew Bible contains books of history and moral teachings called the Prophets and 11 other books called the Writings.The Hebrew scriptures first took shape around 450 BCE with the assembling of the Torah (“instruction”), which recorded the revelation of God to Moses at Mount Sinai.

The Talmud is a collection of legal, ritual, and ethical writings, as well as Jewish history and folklore. It serves primarily as a guide to the civil and religious laws of Judaism. Orthodox Jews believe the laws in the Talmud were an "oral Torah" that God gave Moses to explain the written Torah. The Mishnah and the Gemara together make up the Talmud.

from "Judaism." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 219-223. World History in Context. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

To learn more about the theology of Judaism go to World History in Context database [email a Librarian for the login details].

Origins & history

Bar mitzvah boys


Dudi & Tammy - Judaism