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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Judaism \Ju"da*ism\, prop. n. [L. Juda["i]smus: cf. F. juda["i]sme.]

  1. The religious doctrines and rites of the Jews as enjoined in the laws of Moses, and for many adherents, in the Talmud.
    --J. S. Mill.

  2. Conformity to the Jewish rites and ceremonies; the practise of Judaism[1].

  3. The adherents of Judaism[1] collectively; jewry.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1400 (attested in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), from Old French Judaisme and directly from Late Latin Judaismus (Tertullian), from Greek Ioudaismos, from Ioudaios "Jew" (see Jew). The Anglo-Latin reference is from a special tax levied on the Jews of England. Earlier in same sense was Juhede "Jewish faith, Judaism," literally "Jew-hood" (early 14c.).


Judaism (from , derived from Greek , originally from Hebrew , Yehudah, " Judah"; in Hebrew: , Yahadut, the distinctive characteristics of the Judean ethnos) encompasses the religion, philosophy, culture and way of life of the Jewish people. Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship that God established with the Children of Israel.

Judaism includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. Within Judaism there are a variety of movements, most of which emerged from Rabbinic Judaism, which holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah. Historically, this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period; the Karaites and Sabbateans during the early and later medieval period; and among segments of the modern non-Orthodox denominations. Modern branches of Judaism such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. Today, the largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism ( Haredi Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism), Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. Major sources of difference between these groups are their approaches to Jewish law, the authority of the Rabbinic tradition, and the significance of the State of Israel. Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more "traditional" interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews. Historically, special courts enforced Jewish law; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary. Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and rabbis and scholars who interpret them.

The history of Judaism spans more than 3,000 years. Judaism has its roots as a structured religion in the Middle East during the Bronze Age. Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions. The Hebrews and Israelites were already referred to as "Jews" in later books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel". Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i Faith. Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law.

Jews are an ethnoreligious group and include those born Jewish and converts to Judaism. In 2015, the world Jewish population was estimated at about 14.3 million, or roughly 0.2% of the total world population. About 43% of all Jews reside in Israel and another 43% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe, and other minority groups spread throughout South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Usage examples of "judaism".

These schizophrenic percentages resolve themselves into the thesis of the rabbis that Judaism, Trotskyist Bolshevism, and Americanism are one and the same.

During the sixteenth century in that city there were no less than 803 processes for Lutheranism, 5 for Calvinism, 35 against Anabaptists, 43 for Judaism and 199 for sorcery.

Buddha emerged out of Brahmanism, which may also have given elements to early Judaism and thence to Christianity.

Sisterhood to put on a big campaign for a Chanukah gift for the temple, and he tells them that keeping Judaism in their hearts and a kosher home was more important for Jewish women than campaigning for gifts for the temple.

Zoroastrianism lies partly in its introduction of abstract concepts as gods, and partly in its other features, some of which find echoes in Buddhism and Confucianism, and some of which appear to have helped form Judaism, and therefore Christianity and Islam.

The Haredi community is at the forefront of the fight to delegitimize Reform and Conservative Judaism, just because they offer a less stringent interpretation of Torah.

Begin was ready to indulge messianic Jewish settlers and ultra-Orthodox rabbis who wanted to use the Israeli parliament to delegitimize the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism.

But what you say is correct insofar as this: After the deuteronomists had reformed Judaism, instead of making sacrifices, the Jews went to synagogue and read the Book.

There were few questions about Judaism I could answer easily, and no matter how many books I read, no text could illuminate the theological rain forest where the tenets of that complex and hairsplitting faith luxuriated and multiplied like papayas.

In the distant past, calamities were ascribed to evil demons and dark forces, whereas Judaism holds that these things come from Hashem, from God.

In his shorter tales an affinity may be felt with the parables of Hasidism, that pietist movement within Judaism which emphasized, over against the law of orthodoxy, mystic joy and divine immanence.

Today the Mandaean religion is, frankly, a hopelessly confused hotchpotch: various fragments of Old Testament Judaism, heretical Gnostic forms of Christianity and Iranian dualist beliefs are all mixed into their cosmology and theology.

Reform rabbi to give a nonsectarian invocation at a high school graduation ceremony on the perfectly plausible grounds that Rhode Island was trying to establish Reform Judaism as the official state religion.

The positive heathenish religions stand, to him, on a level with Judaism and Christianity.

In the midst of all this we have groups such as the Therapeutae working a mystical type of Judaism and the Temple of Onias maintaining the true Jewish Zadokite priesthood.