History and Historiography

When Did Judaism Emerge? Far Later Than Assumed, New Theory Suggests

By Ariel David, Haaretz

Vast review finds no evidence that the Torah laws were commonly observed before the second century B.C.E., says Prof. Yonatan Adler. Not all agree.

When was Judaism born? Tradition says it emerged more than 3,000 years ago at Mount Sinai, when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the rest of the laws contained in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

Most researchers have long dismissed the Exodus and the revelation at Mt. Sinai as foundation myths – leaving us with the question of how and when the first major monotheistic religion developed. And now a new theory springs a shock.

A broad review finds no historical or archaeological evidence that the ancient Judeans, whether in the Holy Land or in the diaspora, observed or were even aware of the laws of the Torah until the second century B.C.E., says Yonatan Adler, a professor of archaeology at Ariel University and author of the new book “The Origins of Judaism,” published Tuesday by Yale University Press.


Leave a Reply