Outline of Judaism

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Main article: Judaism

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Judaism:

Judaism – "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people,[1] based on the ancient Mosaic Law.

Biblical and holy books and people

History of Judaism

Pre-monarchic period

  • History of ancient Israel and Judah – Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of ancient Canaan. The earliest known reference to the name Israel in archaeological records is in the Merneptah stele, an Egyptian record of c. 1209 BCE.
  • Ugaritic mythology – The Levant region was inhabited by people who themselves referred to the land as 'ca-na-na-um' as early as the mid-third millennium BCE
  • Ancient semitic religions – The term ancient Semitic religion encompasses the polytheistic religions of the Semitic speaking peoples of the ancient Near East and Northeast Africa. Its origins are intertwined with Mesopotamian mythology.

Monarchic period

United monarchy

  • Solomon's Temple – the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount (also known as Mount Zion), before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE.
  • Elohim – a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language.
  • Asherah – a Semitic mother goddess, the wife or consort of the Sumerian Anu or Ugaritic El, the oldest deities of their pantheons
  • Baal – a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord" that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor
  • King Saul – the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel.
  • King David – the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel
  • King Solomon – the final king before the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah

Further information:

  • Tel Dan Stele – a stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993/94 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel.
  • Mesha Stele – a black basalt stone bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC ruler Mesha of Moab in Jordan.

Divided monarchy

Return from captivity

Development of rabbinic judaism

Main articles: Origins of Rabbinic Judaism and Rabbinic Judaism

Further information: Tannaim, Amora, Talmud, and Origins of Christianity

Branches and denominations

Oral Law and Talmud


Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. But the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (ספרות חז"ל; "Literature [of our] sages [of] blessed memory," where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the Talmudic era). This more specific sense of "Rabbinic literature"—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of Rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts.

Mishnaic literature

The Mishnah and the Tosefta (compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, expounding and developing Judaism's Oral Law, as well as ethical teachings. Following these came the two Talmuds:

The Midrash

Midrash (pl. Midrashim) – Hebrew word referring to a method of reading details into, or out of, a Biblical text. The term midrash also can refer to a compilation of Midrashic teachings, in the form of legal, exegetical, homiletical, or narrative writing, often configured as a commentary on the Bible or Mishnah.

Later works by category

Major codes of Jewish law

Main article: Halakha

Jewish thought, mysticism and ethics


Later rabbinic works by historical period

Works of the Geonim

The Geonim are the rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in Babylon (650 - 1250) :

Works of the Rishonim (the "early" rabbinical commentators)

Main article: Rishonim

The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1000 - 1550), such as the following main examples:

Works of the Acharonim (the "later" rabbinical commentators)

Main article: Acharonim

The Acharonim are the rabbis from 1550 to the present day, such as the following main examples:


Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning "(classical rabbinical) commentators" (or roughly meaning "exegetes"), and is used as a substitute for the correct word perushim which means "commentaries". In Judaism this term refers to commentaries on the Torah (five books of Moses), Tanakh, the Mishnah, the Talmud, responsa, even the siddur (Jewish prayerbook), and more.

Classic Torah and Talmud commentaries

Classic Torah and/or Talmud commentaries have been written by the following individuals:

Classical Talmudic commentaries were written by Rashi. After Rashi the Tosafot were written, which was an omnibus commentary on the Talmud by the disciples and descendants of Rashi; this commentary was based on discussions done in the rabbinic academies of Germany and France.

Holy days and observances

Philosophy and jurisprudence


Main article: Halakha

Major legal codes and works

Examples of legal principles

Examples of Biblical punishments


Dietary laws and customs

Mysticism and the esoteric

Main article: Kabbalah
Names of God in Judaism:

Religious articles and prayers

Movement to and from Judaism

Repentance and return

Return to Judaism:
Conversion to Judaism:


Main article: Apostasy in Judaism

Interactions with other religions and cultures


  1. Jacobs, Louis (2007). "Judaism". In Fred Skolnik. Encyclopaedia Judaica. 11 (2d ed.). Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. p. 511. ISBN 978-0-02-865928-2. Judaism, the religion, philosophy, and way of life of the Jews 
  2. "Jewish Concepts: Karaites"