Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Is Judaism 3,300 years old?

Someone on Facebook, while making a point, claimed Judaism was 3,325 years old. Because it was relevant to his point, I felt the need to respond. Here is what I wrote:

Actually, what may have existed 3,000 years ago was a proto-Judaism, an Israelite sacrifice cult. YHVH had physical form and lived in various temples, which were eventually centralized in Jerusalem, mostly for political purposes. The Israelites descended from the hill-dwelling Canaanites. This way of life ("religion" wasn't a separate concept back then) was mostly concerned with ritual purity and sacrifice.

Judaism itself wasn't really its own thing till late in the 2nd temple period. (The Maccabees were most likely Sadducee). Rabbinic Judaism was a remarkable achievement, something that was built to serve the masses who lived outside the land of Israel, even while the beit hamikdash still stood. It continued to evolve after the temple's destruction, and it still evolves today. That's the Judaism I love and keep. I feel it's a conduit to spirituality & God, even if it is man-made.

But it's most certainly not 3,300 years old.

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