Religious Knowledge

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Question 2: Explain the origin of Judaism and Christianity.

Both early Christians and early Rabbinic Jews were significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion and Hellenistic philosophy. The ancient roots of Judaism lie in the Bronze Age polytheistic ancient Semitic religions, specifically Canaanite religion, a syncretisation with elements of Babylonian religion and of the worship of Yahweh reflected in the early prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible. Certain circles within the exiled Judahites in Babylon redefined pre-existing ideas about monotheism, election, divine law and covenant into a theology which came to dominate Judah. This redefinition was done during the Babylon captivity of the 6th and 5th centuries BC. From the 5th century BCE until 70 CE, Israelite religion developed into the various theological schools of Second temple Judaism besides Hellenistic Judaism in the Diaspora. The rabbinic form of Judaism developed during Late Antiquity, during the 3rd to 6th centuries CE. Christianity was founded in the 1st century in the Levant region of the Middle East by Jesus of Nazareth, who is prophesied in the Old Testament to be the Christ or chosen one of God. The fathers of Christianity included those who had been disciples of Jesus such as Peter, Matthew, James and John as well as others who may have never met him but were influenced by his teachings, such as the Gospel writers Mark and Luke. Christianity initially spread from Jerusalem throughout the near East, into places such as Syria, Assyria, Phoenicia, Jordan and Egypt. In the 4th century, it was successfully adopted as the state religion by Armenia in 301, Georgia in 319, the Aksumite Empire in 325, and the Roman Empire in 380. It became common to all of Europe in the Middle Ages and expanded throughout the world during Europe’s Age of Exploration from the Renaissance onwards to become the world’s largest religion. Throughout its history, Christianity has weathered persecutions,...
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