Hebrew religious beliefs differed from the beliefs of other people in the ancient Middle East. “Of all the ancient civilizations, it was the Hebrews who exerted perhaps the greatest influence on western society as well as the western intellectual tradition” (“Hebrew”). The Hebrews first appeared in Mesopotamia and then migrated from Mesopotamia to Canaan and then into Egypt and back to Canaan. The Hebrew people were different. For them, there was only one god, Yahweh. This was a fundamental difference between the Hebrews and their neighbors in the ancient Middle East. The Egyptians, Babylonians, and others did not worship Yahweh.
“Not Reason but Revelation was the cornerstone of the Hebrew faith” (“Religion”). Yahweh was the focus of Hebrew life; therefore, the Hebrews would give no praise to royalty. Moses received the Ten Commandments as guidelines for the Hebrews. The poor, children, and sick were all protected and rich and poor were to be treated under the same laws. Personal property was not most important and did not define a person for the first time. Hebrews' felt that Yahweh was fair; however their neighbors felt different about their Gods. “The ancient lands of Canaan, Israel, and Judah were overrun at various times. The peoples who ruled them brought with them their own gods and religious practices. Wherever they went, the Hebrews kept their customs and their belief” (“Hebrew”).
The Persians were settled in the area long before the Hebrews. “The Persians had two gods, Ahura Mazda, who created all the good things in the world, and Ahriman, who created all the bad things in the world. These two gods were at war all the time. Their struggle kept the world in a delicate balance. If one god gained the upper hand, then more of his influence would be felt” (“Middle”). The Phoenicians also believed in gods that were responsible for parts of nature, such as rain and wind. “Baal, the storm god, was the second most important Phoenician...
References: Ford, Charles H., Geoffrey De Laforcade, Steven Issac, and Patrick U. Mbajekwe. The How and Why of World History. Iowa: Kendall Hunt, 2011. Print.
“HEBREW VIEW OF GODS vs SUMERIAN VIEW OF GODS” Thinking Made Easy. Alexa, 1 October 2001. Web. 11 September 2011.
“Religion: Three Religions, One God”. PBS. WGBH Educational Foundation, 2002. Web. 11 September 2011.
“The Middle East and Religion”. Near East Collections. Library of Congress, 15 November 2010. Web. 11 September 2011.
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