Concepts of Development of Jewish Culture


Like any other people in the world, the Jewish people are an ethnoreligious society that has its own way of life in addition to religious confederacy. These people have their own practices and beliefs that form their way of life-culture.

Thus, it is very difficult to differentiate between traditional culture of the Jewish people and that of Jewish as a religion. These people live in every continent of the world; have witnessed the development of cultural phenomena, Jewish in nature and not exclusively religious.

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The Jewish culture incorporates factors from Judaism, and others from the interactions among the Jews. Additionally, the social and cultural dynamics of the Jewish communities are integral in forming this culture, rather than religion. Perhaps this is the reason why the Jewish culture varies from one community to another due to social and cultural backgrounds. History asserts that over the past 2000 years, there has been no unanimity of this culture among communities responsible.

Different types of Jewish people live all over the world due to dispersion. For instance, while the Ashkenazi Jews inhabited Europe, the Sephardi Jews live in regions of North Africa and Turkey. Additionally, there are also Mizrahi Jews mainly found in Arab countries. The paper examines the gradual development of the Jewish culture and the contract of the Jewish Culture among different Jewish communities (Tracey p.1).

Abraham and the Patriarchs

Many historians tell the story of the Jewish people from the religious viewpoint. It all started from the creation of humanity in what many scholars term, Biblical Judaism. After creation, God instituted succeeding covenants with humanity through Adam, Noah and then Abraham.

The fourth covenant involved the setting of the Ten Commandments through Moses aimed at separating the Hebrews from those who went contrary to God’s wish. Each time they went astray, God sent a warning to them through prophets and other invading agents aimed at bringing them back to His ordinance.

Different history writers have written numerous articles explaining the development of Judaism. One article that illustrates the origin of the Jewish culture and its development is the “geniza”.

The article describes the debate comprising of wise men from Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious backgrounds that took place over 1000 years ago. Notably, the three groups agree that the all-powerful God formed the world in seven days.

Nevertheless, they differed when it came to the idea on development of the Jewish culture. Many historians believe that Abraham was the father of Jewish culture. Although Abraham never discovered his creator, God Himself called him and made a covenant with him. God established a covenant with Abraham and his descendants of moving out of Egypt to enter the Promised Land of Canaan (Paul pp. 2-15).

Moses and the Covenant

According to historians, a great famine caused the migration of Hebrews into Egypt. Here, idolatry and all-manner despicable acts enslaved them hence separating them form their God. In order to reclaim the Hebrews back, God sent plagues and Moses to drive them out of Egypt. Earlier on, God had established a covenant with mosses on Mount Sinai and identified a new nation. This was just the beginning of the development of the Jewish culture. However, the history and development of this culture did not end at Mount Sinai.

Many historians assert that it all started from Mount Sinai. Through many successive years, the auditions and triumphs of the Jewish people led to the development of Jewish religion, a religion characterized by widespread philosophical workings and vast literature.

For instance, the gradual development of the Jewish culture saw incorporation of traditional experiences together with religious doctrines to create a stalwart religion. The development of the Jewish culture comprises of layers of laws and holidays.

To begin with, the first layer comprises of laws and holidays as written in the Pentateuch. These are the fundamental laws given by God Himself- Ten Commandments illustrating how the Jews observed and shall observe the Passover, the Sabbath and how they should be prepared for the Day of Atonement.

The second layer of holidays and laws involves those obtained or developed between two periods, that is, the first temple and the commencement of the second temple characterized by the observation of various laws from Sabbath to cleanliness to diet. Thus, laws were the basis of the development of the Jewish culture (Lendering p.1).


By the end of the second temple, the Jews at the diaspora had dispersed and written so much literature on the laws governing their culture.

Consequently, the Jews started observing a thrice format daily prayer, and the obliteration of the second temple ensued into the prime figure of worship. However, the dispersion of the Jews in different places around the world brought detachments and disconnections that led to variation of Jewish laws.

Some groups abrogated the laws to match their way of life. In addition, the ability of different customs and mentalities of people neighboring Jewish people to gain recognition is high, making it vulnerable to further sophistication and development. However, the Jewish people are currently reuniting their contradictory aspects in order to form a finer religion as opposed to culture.

Works Cited

Lendering, Jona. The Jewish diaspora: Rome. (n.d). Web. 23 Oct. 2010.

Paul, Johnson. A History of the Jews. New York: HarperCollins.1988. Print.

Tracey, Rich. Judaism 101. 2008. Web. 23 Oct. 2010.


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