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In one form or another, messianism has permeated Jewish thinking and action throughout the ages, and it has strongly influenced the outlook of many secular-minded Jews ().Law embraces practically all domains of Jewish life, and it became the principle means by which Judaism was to bring about the reign of God on earth.From Canaan the Hebrew ancestors of the people of Israel (named after the patriarch Jacob, also called Israel) migrated to Egypt, where they lived in servitude; a few generations later they returned to occupy part of Canaan.Israelite culture initially resembled that of its surroundings; it was neither wholly original nor wholly primitive.
According to Judaic belief, this divine guidance is manifested through the history of the Jewish people, which will culminate in the messianic age.
Even the chosen community failed in its obligation and had to be summoned back, time and again, to its responsibility by the prophets—the divinely called spokespersons who warned of retribution within history and argued and reargued the case for affirmative human response.
Israel’s role in the divine economy and thus Israel’s particular culpability were dominant themes sounded against the motif of fulfillment, the ultimate triumph of the divine purpose, and the establishment of divine sovereignty over all humankind.
The first section of this article treats the history of Judaism in the broadest and most complete sense, from the early ancestral beginnings of the Jewish people to contemporary times.
In the second section the beliefs, practices, and culture of Judaism are discussed. God’s presence is also experienced within the natural realm, but the more immediate or intimate disclosure occurs in human actions.