Religion, Jewish

MODERN JUDAISM IS the direct descendant of the Pharisees mentioned so frequently in the New Testament of the Bible. The emphasis of the tradition of the religion has been on ethical purity, from before the beginning of the Diaspora (the dispersion of the Jewish people out of their lands by conquerors, from about the 8th-6th centuries b.c.e.).

Jewish ethics developed principally from the Torah, which is the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures, called the Old Testament by Christians. These are the books of the law (or teachings) and are often called the books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). In both Exodus and Deuteronomy are found the statements of the core of the ethical—religious law, namely, the Ten Commandments. These contain ...

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