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Old 07-15-2003, 04:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Were Adam & Eve Jewish?

In the Biblical sense, were Adam & Eve the proposed first people on earth Jewish? Where did Judaism emerge from?
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Old 07-15-2003, 05:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not Jewish but I was raised in a overwhelmingly Jewish community and learned a lot about the religion. It's actually a very interesting faith.

If you believe Adam & Eve existed, they could not have been Jews. Judaism is named for Judah, the head of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, which didn't exist yet and wouldn't for over 2000 years, according to the Old Testament. Here's info on Judaism and it's origins:

Quote:

Origins of Judaism

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, known as the Patriarchs, are both the physical and spiritual ancestors of Judaism. They founded the religion now known as Judaism, and their descendants are the Jewish people.

According to Jewish tradition, Abraham was born under the name Abram in the city of Ur in Babylonia in the year 1948 from Creation (circa 1800 BCE). He was the son of Terach, an idol merchant, but from his early childhood, he questioned the faith of his father and sought the truth. He came to believe that the entire universe was the work of a single Creator, and he began to teach this belief to others.

Abram, raised as a city-dweller, adopted a nomadic lifestyle, traveling through what is now the land of Israel for many years. God promised this land to Abram's descendants. Abram is referred to as a Hebrew (Ivri), possibly because he was descended from Eber or possibly because he came from the "other side" (eber) of the Euphrates River.

But Abram was concerned, because he had no children and he was growing old. Abram's beloved wife, Sarai, knew that she was past child-bearing years, so she offered her maidservant, Hagar, as a wife to Abram. This was a common practice in the region at the time. According to tradition, Hagar was a daughter of Pharaoh, given to Abram during his travels in Egypt. She bore Abram a son, Ishmael, who, according to both Muslim and Jewish tradition, is the ancestor of the Arabs.

When Abram was 100 and Sarai 90, God promised Abram a son by Sarai. God changed Abram's name to Abraham (father of many), and Sarai's to Sarah (from "my princess" to "princess"). Sarah bore Abraham a son, Isaac (in Hebrew, Yitzchak), a name derived from the word "laughter," expressing Abraham's joy at having a son in his old age. Isaac was the ancestor of the Jewish people. Thus, the conflict between Arabs and Jews can be seen as a form of sibling rivalry!

Isaac later married Rebecca (Rivka), who bore him fraternal twin sons: Jacob (Ya'akov) and Esau. Jacob (Israel) and his brother Esau were at war with each other even before they were born. They struggled within Rebecca's womb. Esau was Isaac's favorite, because he was a good hunter, but the more spiritually-minded Jacob was Rebecca's favorite. Esau had little regard for the spiritual heritage of his forefathers, and sold his birthright of spiritual leadership to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew. When Isaac was growing old, Rebecca tricked him into giving Jacob a blessing meant for Esau. Esau was angry about this, and about the birthright, so Jacob fled to live with his uncle, where he met his beloved Rachel. Jacob was deceived into marrying Rachel's older sister, Leah, but later married Rachel as well, and Rachel and Leah's maidservants, Bilhah and Zilphah. Between these four women, Jacob fathered 12 sons and one daughter.

After many years living with and working for his uncle/father-in-law, Jacob returned to his homeland and sought reconciliation with his brother Esau. He prayed to God and gave his brother gifts. The night before he went to meet his brother, he sent his wives, sons, and things across the river, and was alone with God. That night, he wrestled with a man until the break of day. As the dawn broke, Jacob demanded a blessing from the man, and the "man" revealed himself as an angel. He blessed Jacob and gave him the name "Israel" (Yisrael), meaning "the one who wrestled with God" or "the Champion of God." The Jewish people are generally referred to as the Children of Israel, signifying our descent from Jacob. The next day, Jacob met Esau and was welcomed by him.

The Promised Land:
The history of the Jewish people begins with Abraham, and the story of Abraham begins when God tells him to leave his homeland, promising Abraham and his descendants a new home in the land of Canaan. This is the land now known as Israel, named after Abraham's grandson, whose descendants are the Jewish people.


The land is often referred to as the Promised Land because of God's repeated promise to give the land to the descendants of Abraham. The land is described repeatedly in the Torah as a good land and "a land flowing with milk and honey". This description may not seem to fit well with the desert images we see on the nightly news, but let's keep in mind that the land was repeatedly abused by conquerors who were determined to make the land uninhabitable for the Jews.

In the few decades since the Jewish people regained control of the land, we have seen a tremendous improvement in its agriculture. Israeli agriculture today has a very high yield. Jews have lived in this land continuously from the time of its original conquest by Joshua more than 3200 years ago until the present day, though Jews were not always in political control of the land, and Jews were not always the majority of the land's population.

Jews were exiled from the land of Israel by the Romans in 135 C.E., after they defeated the Jews in a three-year war, and Jews did not have any control over the land again until 1948 C.E.

Origins of the Words "Jew" and "Judaism"
The original name for the people we now call Jews was Hebrews. The word "Hebrew" (in Hebrew, "Ivri") is first used in the Torah to describe Abraham (Gen. 14:13). The word is apparently derived from the name Eber, one of Abraham's ancestors. Another tradition teaches that the word comes from the word "eyver," which means "the other side," referring to the fact that Abraham came from the other side of the Euphrates, or referring to the fact Abraham was separated from the other nations morally and spiritually. Another name used for the people is Children of Israel or Israelites, which refers to the fact that the people are descendants of Jacob, who was also called Israel.

The word "Jew" (in Hebrew, "Yehudi") is derived from the name Judah, which was the name of one of Jacob's twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Likewise, the word Judaism literally means "Judah-ism," that is, the religion of the Yehudim.

Originally, the term Yehudi referred specifically to members of the tribe of Judah, as distinguished from the other tribes of Israel. However, after the death of King Solomon, the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms: the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel (I Kings 12; II Chronicles 10). After that time, the word Yehudi could properly be used to describe anyone from the kingdom of Judah, which included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, as well as scattered settlements from other tribes. The most obvious biblical example of this usage is in Esther 2:5, where Mordecai is referred to as both a Yehudi and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

In the 6th century B.C.E., the kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria and the ten tribes were exiled from the land (II Kings 17), leaving only the tribes in the kingdom of Judah remaining to carry on Abraham's heritage. These people of the kingdom of Judah were generally known to themselves and to other nations as Yehudim (Jews), and that name continues to be used today.

In common speech, the word "Jew" is used to refer to all of the physical and spiritual descendants of Jacob/Israel, as well as to the patriarchs Abraham and Isaac and their wives, and the word "Judaism" is used to refer to their beliefs. Technically, this usage is inaccurate, just as it is technically inaccurate to use the word "Indian" to refer to the original inhabitants of the Americas. However, this technically inaccurate usage is common both within the Jewish community and outside of it, and is therefore used throughout this site.

Judaism has no dogma, no formal set of beliefs that one must hold to be a Jew. In Judaism, actions are far more important than beliefs, although there is certainly a place for belief within Judaism. The closest that anyone has ever come to creating a widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs is Rambam's thirteen principles of faith. Rambam's thirteen principles of faith, which he thought were the minimum requirements of Jewish belief, are:

God exists
God is one and unique
God is incorporeal
God is eternal
Prayer is to be directed to God alone and to no other
The words of the prophets are true
Moses's prophecies are true, and Moses was the greatest of the prophets
The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (teachings now contained in the Talmud and other writings) were given to Moses
There will be no other Torah
God knows the thoughts and deeds of men
God will reward the good and punish the wicked
The Messiah will come
The dead will be resurrected
-Mikey
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Old 07-15-2003, 05:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Balls-on accurate, Mikey.
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Old 07-15-2003, 05:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hah...already my day's not been a total waste. I've learned a lot from that...go MikeyChalupa!
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Old 07-15-2003, 08:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Mike just about covered it.
 
Old 07-15-2003, 10:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Excellent summary.
Thank you.
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Old 07-15-2003, 10:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm just all for understanding and knowledge. The more we know, the more tolerant and accepting we are.

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Old 07-15-2003, 11:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Go Mikey!
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Old 07-15-2003, 11:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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mikey summed it up pretty good.

things are (almost always) up to discussion (thats the Oral Torah part), but thats part of Judaism.

"live long and prosper", NOT from Star Trek, from the Torah
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Old 07-15-2003, 11:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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mikey hit the nail on the head, however, if you look to the father and ultimate grandfather of judaism, you see jacob and abraham, and abraham is stated to be the origin for the majority of the jewish faith. he was one of the first to speak with god concerning faith, and his faith in god, with his willingness to sacrifice isaac at god's word, were what began the growth of the jewish faith. that's if you take the bible literally. I've read it cover to cover twice, and it has many wonderful points and stories, but the misconstruing of its words for the intent of social control is something i can not square with.
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