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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Judaism

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the religious doctrines and rites of the Jews, the descendants of Abraham. With Abraham Judaism may be said in some sense, to have begun; but it was not till the promulgation of the law upon Mount Sinai, that the Jewish economy was established, and that to his posterity was committed a dispensation which was to distinguish them ever after from every other people on earth. The Mosiac dispensation consisted of three parts; the religious faith and worship of the Jews, their civil polity, and precepts for the regulation of their moral conduct. Their civil government, as well as their sacred polity, was of divine institution; and, on all important occasions, their public affairs were conducted by the Deity himself, or by persons bearing his commission. The laws of the Jews, religious and moral, civil, political, and ritual, that is, a complete system of pure Judaism, are contained in the books of the Old Testament, and chiefly in the five books of Moses .

The religion of the ancestors of the Jews, before the time of Moses, consisted in the worship of the one living and true God, under whose immediate direction they were; in the hope of a Redeemer; in a firm reliance on his promises under all difficulties and dangers; and in a thankful acknowledgment for all his blessings and deliverances. In that early age, we read of altars, pillars, and monuments raised, and sacrifices offered to God. They used circumcision as a seal of the covenant which God had made with Abraham. As to the mode and circumstances of divine worship, they were much at liberty till the time of Moses; but that legislator, by the direction and appointment of God himself, prescribed an instituted form of religion, and regulated ceremonies, feasts, days, priests, and sacrifices, with the utmost exactness. The rites and observances of their religion under the law were numerous, and its sanctions severe. Notwithstanding God's prophets, and oracles, and ordinances, and the symbol of his presence, were among them, the Jews were ever very prone to idolatry, till the Babylonish furnace served to purify them from that corruption. After their seventy years' captivity, many among them gave too much place to the Greek idolatries, but as a nation they were never again guilty of the crime. Their religious worship and character in our Saviour's time had become formal and superstitious; and such it still continues to be, in a greater or less degree, at the present day. Ancient Judaism, compared with all religions except the Christian, was distinguished for its superior purity and spirituality; and the whole Mosaic ritual was of a typical nature. See JEWS .


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Judaism'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/j/judaism.html. 1831-2.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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