Beginnings: According to Jewish tradition, the history of Israel begins with the patriarchs. Abraham moves from his homeland to the land that is to be given to him and his descendants (Genesis 12: 1–3; 13: 14–18). God makes a covenant with him with circumcision as a covenant sign (Genesis 17: 9-14). The experience of his son Isaac is that of the danger of death on the sacrificial altar (Genesis 22). The third patriarch Jacob was given the name Israel (Genesis 32:29). With his 12 sons (Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Juda, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Aser, Issakar, Zabulon, Joseph, Benjamin) – the fathers of the twelve Israelite tribes – the story of the family group begins, who lived temporarily in Egypt and at People became. Under the leadership of Moses, these people leave Egypt (Exodus). On Sinai, God makes a covenant with the people and gives them the Torah. The fathers of the Mishnah name Joshua, the elders (presbyters), the prophets and the great assembly as further narrators of the Torah (Mishnah, Tractate Avot 1, 1). Moses’ successor, Joshua, divided the land into the tribes. The kingship of David, who is promised to last forever (2 Samuel 7, 16), the Solomonic temple with its priesthood and the Babylonian exile are ignored in this representation. Among the returnees from exile, the rabbinical tradition particularly provides the scribe Esra and a “great assembly” set up by him – later that Synedrion (Hebrew: Sanhedrin, “High Council”) – out. The tendency among Christian scholars of the 20th century was to restrict Judaism to the time of the Second Temple and to divide it into early and late Judaism. Following on from this, other scholars have described the history of the Second Temple as the history of early Judaism, which replaced the (old) history of Israel and which was followed by rabbinic Judaism after the destruction of the temple by the Romans (70 AD). – On the historically reconstructable history of Israel of the period “Beginnings”: Israel; Judah.
Time of the 2nd Temple: After the victory of the Persian king Cyrus the Great over the Babylonians (539 BC), the Jews had been from 538 BC Allowed to return from exile. Many of those deported under Nebuchadnezzar II had, however, made their home in the strange surroundings. Those who came back (especially since 520 BC) saw themselves as bearers of the Jewish tradition and subsequently determined the character of Judaism. The cultic center was the rebuilt and 515 BC. BC completed the (second) temple in Jerusalem. Politically, Judea was initially still assigned to the Persian province of Samaria; 445 BC Then the governor Nehemiah could enforce the independence of Judea over Samaria. At the same time, Nehemiah and the Jewish lawyer Esra carried out a reform of the cult in the sense of the strictly orthodox piety in exile, whereby the Samaritans Religious margins were also excluded: mixed marriages had to be dissolved, the isolation from the “idolatry” of the environment was emphasized by the regulation of keeping the Sabbath and circumcision as well as by numerous ritual food and purity laws. In addition to the temple service, there was also the service in the synagogue, which had become customary in exile; the study of the Torah became generally compulsory. Judea became a theocracy administered according to the order of the Torah, with a high priest and the Synedrion (high council) at the head. Despite the political dependence, the conquerors granted him extensive internal autonomy.
After a favorable development in the early Hellenistic period under the Ptolemies and Seleucids, a serious conflict arose at the time of the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC). Hellenizing Jews in Jerusalem sought, with the support of the king, a reform and the recognition of Jerusalem as a Hellenistic polis; the devout Jews resisted it. According to aviationopedia.com, the crisis came to a head when Antiochus after a campaign in Egypt used part of the temple treasures to clean up the state finances and also demanded further Hellenization from the Jews. He made observance of the Torah a punishable offense, desecrated the temple by allowing Syrian-Hellenistic cults there, and demanded that the Jews participate in this syncretistic cult. For them it meant idolatry. Before his death, Antiochus revoked the religious edicts, but the Maccabees, the leading family of the uprising, continued the fight and eventually even achieved the political independence of Judea. The brothers Judas Makkabi, Jonatan and Simon played a special role: 164 BC. Conquered Judas Makkabi Jerusalem and rededicated the temple, Jonathan achieved the appointment as high priest and regent of Judea, Simon finally won in 141 BC. The sovereignty. The late Maccabees (Hasmoneans) ruled as high priests and kings. During this period the exclusive character of Judaism emerged both in the defense of Hellenism and in internal conflicts. This led to the formation of various religious parties that subsequently determined the self-image of Judaism: the Sadducees as representatives of the priestly-aristocratic ruling class; Groups with apocalyptic and revolutionary tendencies, including the Essenes and the congregation of Qumran, then also the militant Zealots and Sicarians; finally the moderate Pharisees, v. a. Laypeople from the middle class with an educational ideal taught by the thorax and a more realistic political sense, who were heavily criticized by the extreme groups.