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Judaism is one of the main influential religions in the world. While the relative population of adherents is small, both Christianity and Islam trace their roots to Judaism. Pracitioners of Judaism are called Jews, the main holy scripture is the Tanakh (or Hebrew Bible), and the local house of worship is the synagogue.

Judaism is a monotheistic religion that was formed in ancient times. The ancient Hebrews migrated across the Middle East, eventually settling in Canaan. Key figures in the ancient Jewish tradition include prophets, priests, and kings.

According to Jewish tradition, God formed a covenant with Abraham and directed him to settle in Canaan, and later gave the law to Moses in the form of the Ten Commandments, during their escape from Egypt back to Canaan. Because of its location as a crossroads between Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean world, the ancient Israelites were frequently conquered by larger civilizations, though managed to form a series of small kingdoms during their history. Most of the Jewish lands were eventually conquered by the Roman Empire and the monotheistic Jews refused to accept the polytheistic system of the Romans, leading to dissent and revolt, and looking for a messiah to liberate them, though the Jewish revolt was crushed in 70 AD, with the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

An offshoot of Judaism, based on the teaching of Jesus, grew to become Christianity and the state religion of the Roman Empire, and eventually the dominant religion of Europe. During the Middle Ages, Jews became marginalized and persecuted in Christian Europe, but fared better in the Islamic world. By the early twentieth century, Europe was home to the majority of the world's Jewish population, though in many places, they faced institutional prejudice. After World War I, the Jews became one of the main scapegoats for groups such as the Nazi party in Germany, which blamed Jews for the political and economic woes of the era. This led to widescale persecution, and culminated in the Holocaust during World War II, an attempt to eradicate the population of Europe's Jews and others the Nazis deemed undesirable.

Figures in Judaism[]



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