For thousands of years, Jews have looked to the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament by Christians, for their origins, and have located in them the tenets of their faith. However, much of what is recognized today as Judaism does not appear in the Bible. How did Judaism develop from its biblical roots to the highly developed system we know today? What has changed - and what has remained constant? In this series of 24 spirited and provocative lectures, Professor Gafni investigates how the Jewish faith struggled to continually redefine itself during the first thousand years after the completion of the last books of the Hebrew Bible, tenaciously clinging to existence through circumstances that might well have torn it asunder.
The two landmark events that altered Jewish history forever were the two destructions of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This sacred place was first destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., and, after having been rebuilt 70 years later, was razed once again by the Romans in 70 C.E., after the Jews waged a fierce uprising against Roman rule in the province of Judea.
The events surrounding these destructions lie at the heart of understanding Judaism. As you explore the evolution of an ancient faith into a system of beliefs, practices, and laws recognizable today as Judaism, you'll discover a tradition of vigorous and joyous debate - where reinterpretation coexists with profound acceptance of the original instructions from God regarding the practice of faith.
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