The Hebrew Scriptures known as the Torah have formed the basis for any number of societies. While the initial dates for the creation of each book are not precisely known, it is certain that both the Torah and the Haftorah(the prophets) were already existent in nearly their present form by no later than 100 BCE. They began as the Sacred Writings of a people caught in the crossfire of competing empires. And around 587 BCE they served as the basis for a continuing identity for a people that had been taken from its land of origin and exiled elsewhere.
That they should have survived such a disaster was fairly unusual, if not unique. Losing gods usually cease to exist in the face of winning, hence superior, gods. But the religion of Torah was unique, not only in the sense of having written laws, but of describing a monotheistic GOD. Elsewhere, only Pharaoh Akhenaton had tried to preach that and his efforts had been in vain. Another difference, is that while most gods have tended to be rooted in place, the Judaic God of Torah was not. Indeed, God was so infinite as to have no image.
And finally, the deportation was seen not as a failure on the part of the Judean God. Rather it was the result of the failure of the Judean people to follow the teachings of their God, and thus was their punishment. And within those teachings were the lessons of Exodus.
Consequently, when fifty plus years later they were able to return to the land of Judah, not only did they still exist as a viable people, they were even more cohesive than before.
Table of Contents
Consisting of five books, it begins with the early creation and history of the Earth. It tells of a great flood, and relates the story of the early founders of the original Jewish people from Abraham to Moses. And then it tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt, leading to the Ten Commandments.
From there, the Torah proceeds with the laws and rules for living, interspersed with stories of events following the original Exodus from Egypt.
The flood story is currently believed to be some kind of early memory and is a story that is told in many early traditions of the area. There are many who suspect that it relates to an early disaster in the Georgian & Caspian Region.
The Historical Books
A biblical relating of the early post-exodus Jewish history. Covers the period from the conquest of Canaan and the formation of Judah and Israel. It examines both the times of the Judges and the Kings. And finally covers the Captivity of the Jewish nation in Babylon, followed by its return to Judah.
The Poetical Books
The Book of Job is probably the most significant of the collection, as it represents something of a debate on the value of obedience and loyalty. Other than that, they are mostly a collection of verse and wisdom.
These are the books of the Prophets and their histories and exhortation to those who would follow the teachings of Torah.
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