Outline of Judaism

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Judaism:


Pre-monarchic period[edit]

  • Ugaritic mythology – The Levant region was inhabited by people who themselves referred to the land as "ca-na-na-um" as early as the mid-third millennium BCE
  • Ancient semitic religions – The term ancient Semitic religion encompasses the polytheistic religions of the Semitic speaking peoples of the ancient Near East and Northeast Africa. Its origins are intertwined with Mesopotamian mythology.
  • El (deity) – the supreme god of the Canaanite religion and the supreme god of the Mesopotamian Semites in the pre-Sargonic period.
  • Elyon – "God Most High"
  • El Shaddai – "God Almighty"
  • Elohim – a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language.
  • Asherah – a Semitic mother goddess, the wife or consort of the Sumerian Anu or Ugaritic El, the oldest deities of their pantheons
  • Baal – a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord" that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor
  • Yahweh – the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah.[1]
  • Tetragrammaton – YHWH

Monarchic period[edit]

United monarchy[edit]

  • King Saul – the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel.
  • Ish-bosheth – the second king of the united Kingdom
  • King David – the third king of the United Kingdom of Israel
  • King Solomon – the final king before the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah
  • Solomon's Temple – the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount (also known as Mount Zion), before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE.

Further information:

  • Tel Dan Stele – a stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993/94 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel.
  • Mesha Stele – a black basalt stone bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC ruler Mesha of Moab in Jordan.

Divided monarchy[edit]

Return from captivity[edit]

Development of Rabbinic Judaism[edit]

Sacred texts[edit]

Written Torah[edit]

Oral Torah[edit]

  • Oral Torah
    • Talmud (as encompassing the main Oral Law)
      • Jerusalem Talmud
      • Babylonian Talmud
        • Mishnah, the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions known as the "Oral Torah".
          • Gemara, rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah
          • Aggadah, a compendium of rabbinic texts that incorporates folklore, historical anecdotes, moral exhortations, and practical advice in various spheres, from business to medicine.
    • Tosefta, a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the late 2nd century, the period of the Mishnah
    • Midrash, the genre of rabbinic literature which contains early interpretations and commentaries on the Written Torah and Oral Torah (spoken law and sermons), as well as non-legalistic rabbinic literature (aggadah) and occasionally the Jewish religious laws (halakha), which usually form a running commentary on specific passages in the Hebrew Scripture (Tanakh).[2]
  • Midrash halakha
  • Mussar
  • Geonim, presidents of the two great Babylonian, Talmudic Academies of Sura and Pumbedita, in the Abbasid Caliphate, and generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community worldwide in the early medieval era
  • Rishonim, the leading rabbis and poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, "Set Table", a common printed code of Jewish law, 1563 CE) and following the Geonim (589–1038 CE)
  • Acharonim, the leading rabbis and poskim (Jewish legal decisors) living from roughly the 16th century to the present, and more specifically since the writing of the Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך, "Set Table", a code of Jewish law) in 1563 CE.

Rabbinic literature[edit]

Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. But the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (ספרות חז"ל; "Literature [of our] sages [of] blessed memory", where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the Talmudic era). This more specific sense of "Rabbinic literature"—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of Rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts.

Mishnaic literature[edit]

The Mishnah and the Tosefta (compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic literature, expounding and developing Judaism's Oral Law, as well as ethical teachings. Following these came the two Talmuds:

The Midrash[edit]

The midrash[2] is the genre of rabbinic literature which contains early interpretations and commentaries on the Written Torah and Oral Torah, as well as non-legalistic rabbinic literature (aggadah) and occasionally the Jewish religious laws (halakha), which usually form a running commentary on specific passages in the Tanakh.[3] The term midrash also can refer to a compilation of Midrashic teachings, in the form of legal, exegetical, homiletical, or narrative writing, often configured as a commentary on the Bible or Mishnah.

Later works by category[edit]

Major codes of Jewish law[edit]


Jewish thought, mysticism and ethics[edit]


Later rabbinic works by historical period[edit]

Works of the Geonim[edit]

The Geonim are the rabbis of Sura and Pumbeditha, in Babylon (650–1250) :

Works of the Rishonim (the "early" rabbinical commentators)[edit]

The Rishonim are the rabbis of the early medieval period (1000–1550), such as the following main examples:

Works of the Acharonim (the "later" rabbinical commentators)[edit]

The Acharonim are the rabbis from 1550 to the present day, such as the following main examples:


Meforshim is a Hebrew word meaning "(classical rabbinical) commentators" (or roughly meaning "exegetes"), and is used as a substitute for the correct word perushim which means "commentaries". In Judaism this term refers to commentaries on the Torah (five books of Moses), Tanakh, the Mishnah, the Talmud, responsa, even the siddur (Jewish prayerbook), and more.

Classic Torah and Talmud commentaries[edit]

Classic Torah and/or Talmud commentaries have been written by the following individuals:

Classical Talmudic commentaries were written by Rashi. After Rashi the Tosafot were written, which was an omnibus commentary on the Talmud by the disciples and descendants of Rashi; this commentary was based on discussions done in the rabbinic academies of Germany and France.

Branches and denominations[edit]

Behavior and experience[edit]

Holy days and observances[edit]



Fast days

Belief and doctrine[edit]


Major legal codes and works[edit]

Examples of legal principles[edit]

Examples of Biblical punishments[edit]

Dietary laws and customs[edit]

Names of God[edit]

Mysticism and the esoteric[edit]

Religious articles and prayers[edit]


Return to Judaism[edit]



Interactions with other religions and cultures[edit]


  1. ^ Miller 1986, p. 110.
  2. ^ "midrash". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 14, pg 182, Moshe David Herr

External links[edit]