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Gain a better understanding of the religion of Judaism, the oldest of the three primary monotheistic religions (including Christianity and Islam), or religions that believe there is one God. As of 2020, Judaism was practiced by approximately 14 million people, primarily concentrated in the United States and Israel. Judaism is central to the identity of the Jewish people, having originated with the Jewish ancestors known as the Hebrews, and later known as the Israelites, nearly four thousand years ago.

According to Jewish scriptures, God first revealed himself to the patriarch Abraham and established the covenant on which Judaism is based. The covenant was based on the idea that the Hebrews (later known as the Israelites) would forever be God’s “chosen people,” the physical sign of which was male circumcision. They would enjoy God’s blessing as long as they kept God’s law and worshipped only God, rejecting false gods or idols of non-Jews, known as Gentiles. The covenant also included the promise that the Hebrews would have a homeland in the area encompassed by present-day Israel.

The history of the Jews, along with the words of their prophets and descriptions of their laws, are captured in one of Judaism’s most sacred texts, the Tanakh, which is comprised of the Torah, the Navi, and the Ketuvim. Another important text in the religion is the collection of teachings and commentaries on Jewish law collected in the Talmud between 200 and 500 CE. Jewish teachers known as rabbis were entrusted with studying and communicating Jewish Law (halakha) to the people through literature and in sacred buildings known as synagogues.

Three important branches of Judaism developed, starting in the nineteenth century. Orthodox Judaism adheres to a strict interpretation of traditional Jewish laws and rituals; the most well-known sect within the Orthodox faith is that of the Hasidic Jews. Reform Judaism, by contrast, is a more liberal sect that values ethics over strict observance of the Jewish law; this is the primary branch followed by Jews in the United States. Conservative Judaism developed as a middle ground between Orthodox and Reform practices, honoring the traditions of Judaism while allowing for some modernization. Many Jews, however, do not adhere to a particular denomination of Judaism.

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Judaism Resources

Gale resources guide interdisciplinary research in Jewish studies. Gale's collections of databases and eBooks provide articles, books, archives, literature, and more to library users, K-12 students, and university researchers.


Gale databases include collections of publications comprising newspapers, journals, periodical articles, archives of primary source documents, and multimedia, images, audio, and videos that support users’ interest and research in Judaic studies.

Gale eBooks

Gale’s eBook collection offers a variety of books online that support Jewish studies. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized library and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible

    A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible

    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company  |   2019   |   ISBN-13: 9781467457095

    In this meticulously researched study, the author offers a historical clarification of the concept of theology. He then examines the theologies of the three constituent parts of the Hebrew Bible—the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings—before tracing how these theological concepts developed throughout the history of ancient Israel and early Judaism. He not only explores the theology of the biblical books in isolation, but he also offers unifying principles and links between the distinct units that make up the Hebrew Bible. By focusing on both the theology of the whole Hebrew Bible as well as its individual pieces, this title provides a comprehensive discussion and brings recent developments in literary and historical criticism that will be of interest to scholars in biblical studies.

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  • Jewish Studies Bundle

    Jewish Studies Bundle

    Oxford University Press  |   1992   |   ISBN-13: 9780195319781

    Sold as a set, these eighteen eBooks present a detailed analysis of Jewish culture—past, present, and future—providing a solid basis for the student and researcher to study and understand the spiritual and scholarly aspects of Jewish philosophy and the history of the Jewish people. Included in this set are the following titles:

    • Admitting the Holocaust: Collected Essays
    • Antisemitism in America
    • Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany
    • Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey
    • Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak
    • Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context
    • Elijah's Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales
    • Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust
    • Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich
    • Jewish Cultural Tapestry: International Jewish Folk Traditions
    • Joys of Hebrew
    • Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction
    • King David: A Biography
    • Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women
    • Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra
    • Scars of War, Wounds of Peace
    • Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism
    • Why Should Jews Survive: Looking Past the Holocaust toward a Jewish Future

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