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15-Jun-2017 08:24

The chief question confronting the Palestinian Jews was not, therefore, the extension of Judaism among the nations, but its very preservation among the children of Israel .

No wonder then that Judaism assumed there an attitude of direct antagonism to everything hellenistic, that the Mosaic observances were gradually enforced with extreme rigour, and that the oral Law, or rulings of the Elders relative to such observances appeared in the eyes of pious Judean Jews of no less importance than the Mosaic Law itself.

Its great centre was Jerusalem, the "Holy City", whither repaired in hundreds of thousands Jews of every part of the world, anxious to celebrate the yearly festivals in the "City of the Great King".

The Temple was in the eyes of them all the worthy House of the Lord, both by the magnificence of its structure and by the wonderful appointment of its service.

Owing to this attachment, the fierce persecutions which they then underwent, confirmed instead of rooting out their belief in the true God.Nor was this happy condition materially interfered with under Alexander the Great and his immediate successors in Syria and in Egypt.In fact, the first contact of the Judean Jews with hellenistic civilization seemed to open to them a wider field for their theocratic influence, by giving rise to a Western Dispersion with Alexandria and Antioch as its chief local centres and Jerusalem as its metropolis.At the present day, the term designates the religious communion which survived the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. It was that religion which had prompted the exiles to return to the land promised by Yahweh to their ancestors, and they were now determined to maintain it in its purity.

A brief account of Judaism thus understood may be given under the following heads: (1) Judaism before the Christian Era; (2) Judaism and Early Christianity; (3) Judaism since A. From the Captivity they had learned that in His justice, God had punished their sins by delivering them into the power of pagan nations, as the Prophets of old had repeatedly announced; and that in His love for the people of His choice, the same God had brought them back, as Isaias (40-46) had particularly foretold.

On the one hand, this religious attitude of the Judean Jews secured the preservation of Monotheism among them.