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Hebrewism is the religion of the ancient Hebrew race, or, alternately defined, it is the religion based on the Old Testament. Not Talmudic Judaism, which is the continuation of Pharisaism, a heresy from Hebrewism. Jesus Christ was an outspoken opponent of the Pharisees, and other various heretical Jewish sects of his time.
Antiquities of Judeans Book 1, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4 - "Sala was the son of Arphaxad; and his son was Heber, from whom they originally called the Judeans Hebrews."
Note - "Jews" is often a mistranslation, instead of "Judeans" as mentioned below.
Abraham was a Hebrew (Genesis 14:13). Apostle Paul was a Hebrew, who in regard to the law was a Pharisee (Philippians 3:4-6). Josephus also considered himself as Hebrew.
Josephus' Judeans Wars (Book 1, Preface, Paragraph 1): "I have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians. Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, [am the author of this work]."
Judeans (or later mistranslated as Jews) became synonymous with Hebrews after returning from Babylonian captivity.
Josephus' Antiquities of Judeans Book 11:5:7 - "So the Judeans prepared for the work: That is the name they are called by from the day that they came up from Babylon, which is taken from the tribe of Judah, which came first to these places, and thence both they and the country gained that appellation."
Rabbis and Jewish Society mention that Hebrewism and Judaism are totally different. Rabbis and some of Jewish society say Hebrewism among ancient racial Jews (or Judeans) completely ended when Babylonian Talmud was adopted and the beginning of Judaism was the adoption of Babylonian Talmud.
Jewish Rabbi Stephen Wise (Formerly Chief Rabbi of United States) said, "The return from Babylon and the adoption of the Babylonian Talmud, marks the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism." (Source - Book "The F.O.J. Syndrome in America: Bamboozled Americans and their vile brainwashers", Page 253-254, American Mercury, Volume 6).
On page 59 of “Judaism and The Christian Predicament,” Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser says: “This is not an uncommon impression and one finds it sometimes among Jews as well as Christians; that Judaism is the religion of the Hebrew Bible. It is, of course, a fallacious impression. Judaism is not the religion of the Bible."
"The Bavli [Babylonian Talmud] has formed the definitive statement of Judaism from the time of its closure to the present day." — Rabbi Dr. Neusner (Source - Rabbi Dr. Jacob Neusner, quoted by Norman F. Cantor, The Sacred Chain (A History of the Jews), page 112).
According to Rabbi Michael Rodkinson, "The Talmud, then, is the written form of that which, in the time of Jesus, was called the Traditions of the Elders, and to which he makes frequent allusions" (Source - The History of the Talmud, Vol. II, page 70, Chapter IX).
Jesus Christ's opposition towards Traditions of the Elders can be seen in Mark 7 and Matthew 15 where Jesus Christ criticizes the Pharisees and the scribes for breaking the commands of God for the sake of their traditions.
The London Jewish World of March 15, 1923 declared: "Fundamentally, Judaism is anti-Christian."
The Jewish Almanac also says that Jews and Hebrews/Israelites are not the same.
"Strictly speaking it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an Israelite or a Hebrew." -- under the heading of "A Brief History of the Terms for Jew", The Jewish Almanac, October, 1980, page 3, Bantam Books, Inc.
"When the word 'Judaism' was born, there was no longer a Hebrew-Israelite State. The people who embraced the creed of Judaism were already a mixture of many nations, races, and strains, and this diversification was rapidly growing..." [Source -The Zionist Connection II, Alfred M. Lilienthal, pp. 759-768].
Unlike Today's Jews whose spoken language is Hebrew in Israel, the spoken language of Hebrews (or Judeans) in first century Israel and early second century AD was Aramaic. Hebrew was revived by Simon Bar Kokhba during Bar Kokhba revolt (132-135 AD) and Bar Kokhba tried to make Hebrew the official language of the state [Source - Book "A Roadmap to the Heavens: An Anthropological Study of Hegemony among Priests, Sages, and Laymen (Judaism and Jewish Life)" by Sigalit Ben-Zion (Page 155) & Book "Bar Kokhba: The rediscovery of the legendary hero of the last Jewish Revolt Against Imperial Rome" by Yigael Yadin (Page 181)].
In Ancient Israel
The Israelite religion (also known as the religion of ancient Israel) describes a monotheistic religion, the continuation of Hebrewism, which is held to have originated in the Near East during antiquity, principally centered around the worship of God; Yahweh. Much of the evidence for the origins of the religion exists in the Old Testament, which claims that Yahweh (the God of Israel), through the person of Moses after The Exodus, made a covenant with the "children of Israel" and favoured various prophets such as Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon, Isaiah and many more. The core moral teachings of the religion are said to have been handed down to Moses at Mount Siani in the form of the Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue. This law prohibited worship of false gods, murder, adultery, stealing, lying and coveting, amongst other things.
A hereditary priesthood was established and it is known that by 1000 BC the followers of the religion were united under king David in a Kingdom of Israel and Judah. His son Solomon is said to have built Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, making it the religious and political centre of the kingdom. In the period following his death, the kingdom and observance of the religion went into decline, areas of worship were then destroyed under the Assyrians (722 BC) and the Babylonians (586 BC), including the temple. Many from Judah were forced to resettle in Babylon, where alternative practicises developed. Some returned when a Second Temple was built under Cyrus the Great, as Judea became a province of the Persian Empire.
During Persian, then Greek and Roman rule, within the Israelite religion various divisions between sects emerged, influenced by traditions adopted during the Babylonian captivity. These rival sects were represented by movements such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots. Prophesies of a messiah had been foretold especially by Isaiah, in which a saviour descended from king David, would come to establish a kingdom of justice and peace. Messianic expectation loomed large during the Roman period and a figure emerged whom his followers held to be such a messiah; Jesus Christ. According to the New Testament, Jesus Christ established a new covenant, within which the Christian Church became the exclusive and orthodox representative of spiritual Israel. The Pharisees rejected this and created a schism which became rabbinic Judaism, based on the Talmud, developed from the oral tradition of the elders during the Babylonian captivity.
As mentioned above, Ancient Israelite religion is also known as Hebrewism since Hebrews followed the religion of Old Testament. But Hebrews who didn't follow the religion of Old Testament were excluded from being considered as (spiritual) Hebrews. Edomites are also Hebrews, because they are the descendants of Esau who was the grandson of Abraham the Hebrew. But since they didn't follow the religion of the Old Testament, they were excluded from being considered as Hebrews. They officially became Hebrews only after they converted into the religion of Old Testament under the rule of John Hyrcanus (135 BC to 104 BC).
After Persian Empire, the Greek Empire rose. From Greek Empire, Seleucid Dynasty originated and the Seleucid Dynasty under Antiochus Epiphanes had huge conflicts with Hebrews in Israel which led to Maccabean revolt which is recorded in 1 Maccabees.
Maccabean Victory and Feast of rededication in 1 Maccabees 4 came as a result of the strong determination of Mattathias and his five sons in obeying the laws of God and Mattathias told his sons to obey the laws of God before his death.
After the death of Mattathias and Judas Maccabeus, Jonathan (the brother of Judas Maccabeus) took over the leadership position of Judas Maccabeus.
During the high priesthood of Jonathan, Jonathan failed to keep the words of his father Mattathias on obeying the laws of God and this led to the establishment of the sects like the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.
It was Pharisees who introduced Traditions of the Elders (aka Traditions of the forefathers) which was opposed by Jesus Christ in first century Israel due to the fact that Traditions of the Elders nullified the word of God.
- University of Cumbria (1 June 2011). "Ancient Israelite Religion". External link in
- Some contemporary external evidence for such a people exists. For instance the name "Israel" is mentioned on the Merneptah Stele, from Egypt in 1230 BC.
- A small sect known as the Karaites, rejected both Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Talmudism of the Pharisees, instead focusing exclusively on an Old Testament sans Messiah. This is usually what rabbinic Judaism is spuriously presented as to gentiles.
- 1 Maccabees 2:20-27, 1 Maccabees 2:49-68
- 1 Maccabees 9:31
- Josephus' Antiquities of Judeans XIII.V.IX.
- Antiquities of Judeans Book XIII.X.VI, Antiquities of Judeans XIII.XVI.II, Matthew 15, Mark 7