Posts tagged ‘Judah’

The history of the Jews goes back thousands of years. Below are some important events in the years before the Common Era (B.C.E.). Use your knowledge of Judaism and the history of the region to determine their correct order. Number them 1-10, with 1 as the earliest event.

a. Cyrus, king of Persia, allows the Jews to return to Judah.
b. The kingdom of Israel splits in two. The northern kingdom continues to be called Israel. The southern kingdom is called Judah.
c. Abraham, to whom the Jews trace their ancestry, is told to leave Mesopotamia and settle in Canaan, which is now Israel.
d. When King Antiochus tries to force Jews to worship idols, a group of rebels overthrows the king.
e. The kingdom of Israel is founded.
f. Judah comes under the control of Alexander the Great.
g. Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and receives the laws of God.
h. The Babylonians conquer the southern kingdom of Judah.
i. Persia conquers Babylonia.
j. The Assyrians conquer the northern kingdom of Israel.

Prophets are people who have a special ability for listening to and speaking for God. The prophet Isaiah, who lived around the eighth century B.C.E., was an adviser to the king of Judah. At that time, the kingdom was under attack from Assyria, Isaiah told the king that god would protect the people if they had faith, but if they rejected god, they would be destroyed.

My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; he spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; . . . Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes . . . Now, I will let you know what I mean to do to my vineyard: Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his cherished plant. (Isaiah 5: 1-7))

In your own words, explain what Isaiah was saying here.

By 200 C.E., Jews had developed an extensive set of laws that dealt with everything from daily prayer to the judicial system to taxation. These laws were passed on orally, not in writing, because any written version was necessarily incomplete and thus subject to misinterpretation.

However, after the Jewish rebellion in 132 C.E., the Roman rulers prohibited Jews from living in Jerusalem. Jewish leaders realized that their expulsion from Jerusalem could leave them without teachers or temple to maintain this oral tradition. To keep the laws from being lost, they decided to write them down. In around 200 C.E., Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi prepared the first written version, The Mishnah.

What are the advantages of having a teaching in written form? What are the disadvantages? What can teachers do that books cannot?

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