21.05.2018 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in the world, and it is more than 3,000 years old.

The word itself came from the name of the local Israeli population of the time, descended from the tribe of Judah. According to the biblical narrative, this tribe had the largest population. Being a collection of many traditions of the East, even in its origin and formation, Judaism developed in the spiritual sphere of the people and also affected their social structure. 

Briefly about judaism

The religion was first mentioned in the literature of the 1st century BC. Judaism is pronounced as “iudaismos” in the Russian language. 

Judaism is a world religion that does not have a specific face of power. Social, family, and religious boundaries for Jewish people are specified in Halakha—the combination of traditional laws and regulations of Judaism. This set of rules was based on the Torah and the Talmud.

The belief in the onliness of God (the existence of only one god) is supplemented by the doctrine that people are created in the image and likeness of God. His divine love for man equates to helping people in the struggle against evil.

The Star of David is a modern symbol of Judaism.


Previously Judaism was symbolized by the seven-branched menorah.

Basic beliefs

The basic traditions and principles of judaism

Basic beliefs

  1. God in Judaism is the absolute perfection of power, as well as justice and love. The Creator has the role of the father of humankind.
  2. The understanding of the immortality of the soul is supplemented by the understanding of the value of life itself and all humanity. The purpose of life is to attain absolute spiritual improvement.
  3. Equality of people before God is a gift of God to every man and woman, as his creation. People have all the means in the form of God’s help and free will to follow the path of knowing the Almighty.
  4. The Jewish people are belived to be the ‘chosen’ ones with a purposeful mission to bring the divine truth to people, and help them get closer to God.
  5. Judaism involves the adoption of the necessary moral principles, and their minimum number should be accepted not only by Jews but also by others. The religion itself has no principle of missionary work (the intentional attraction of new believers) and is a religion of a particular people.
  6. The understanding of the superiority of the spirit over matter is immutable. Man, created in God’s likeness and image, gained power over matter, but only to use this opportunity to fulfil his divine destiny.
  7. The coming of the Messiah (Mashiaha) — the ideal sovereign of all time. According to the teachings, God’s chosen one is the hope of the prophets for a better future.
  8. The doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, after which people will again continue their earthly lives.


Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible, is the sacred book of Judaism and it corresponds to the Old Testament in a Christian analogy. It describes the creation of the whole world, man himself, the divine commandments and the testament. In the texts of Tanakh, you can find different names for God. Modern interpretation explains this by the predominance of different qualities of God at one point in time or another. For example, the predominance of God’s love or mercy to man over the rigour of his judgment.

Torah (the Samaritan Pentateuch). In general meaning, this is a set of traditions of Judaism and Jewish law. In limited interpretation, these are the first books of Tanakh. The texts of the Torah and its deep meaning, are often incomprehensible to readers. For a long time, the sages made it easier to understand the texts. To do this, they commented on the scriptures and revealed the true meaning of some parts of it.

Denominations of judaism

World Judaism includes several denominations that were formed in the 19th and 20th centuries. Orthodox Judaism, conservative and reformist (liberal) movements are the largest of these.

Orthodox Judaism is characterized by its classical form with obligatory adherence to all canons and traditions of religious law in the unchanged form as they are given in the holy books.

Reform Judaism appeared in the early 19th century. Followers observe only basic commandments but reject the rules, which can be called “rituals”. Followers of this movement believe that, alongside with the development of society, the religious component of people’s lives should also be changed and updated.

Conservative Judaism, which was originally a branch of the reformist denomination, appeared in the early 20th century. The formation of this movement was provoked by the mass immigration of Jews to the United States. They did not fully support the reformist direction in its minimalism and brought some of the traditional rituals back to life.

In Russia, Judaism is represented by the “Lithuanian School” which is related to the orthodox denomination.

Relationship with christianity and islam

Christianity originated in the context of Judaism, but the personality of Jesus in Judaism has no religious significance. In the study of the sacred texts of Judaism, it is impossible to find and correlate any individual who could be identified with the personality of Jesus.

The interaction between Judaism and Islam can be attributed to the 7th century — the time of the birth and spread of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. The two religions are based on similar ancient traditions, and there are many common aspects between them. Islam is recognized by Jews, but it should be noted that during the “golden age” (712-1066) non-Muslims, during their stay in Muslim countries, were obliged to recognize the total domination of Islam.

Although Judaism today has a very long history of existence, it is still considered one of the most influential and well-known of world religions and it enjoys the spiritual support of the entire Jewish people.