Primary Author
Chara Scroope,

Judaism is chronologically the first of three religions that trace its origins to the prophet Avraham (Abraham). The history of Judaism and the Jewish people can be traced back at least 4,000 years. The origins of the Jewish people are described in the Tanakh, which recounts the ongoing interactions between the Israelites and God, and other tribes of the time.

The Jewish tradition espouses , which refers to belief in the existence of one and only one God (usually referred to as YHWH, Yahweh or Adonai). The same God is believed to have revealed itself to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. It is here that a unique relationship between the Jewish people and God is formed. This relationship is marked by the Covenant, which details the obligations, laws and expectations of the Jewish people to God.

Although Judaism has had a relatively small number of followers throughout history, the religion has played an enormous role in the development of Western and Near Eastern civilisation. As a complex system, contemporary Judaism can be understood and experienced in a number of different ways, including as a religious affiliation, or ancestry. 

Get a downloadable PDF that you can share, print and read.

Guaranteed secure stripe badge

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world's cultures and religions

Sign up for free