Judaism (Hebrew: יַהֲדוּת), is the religion, philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people. A monotheistic religion originating in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh) and explored in later texts such as the Talmud, Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel. In modern times, liberal movements such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic. As an ethnoreligious group or nation, the Jewish people originate with the Israelites or Hebrews of the ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation. Converts to Judaism, whose status as Jews within the Jewish ethnos is equal to those born into it, have been absorbed into the Jewish people throughout millennia.
- See also:
- Listed alphabetically by author or source.
- The fundamental principle of the Hebraic commonwealth was that there are great moral laws not dependent on the will of monarch, oligarchy, aristocracy or public assembly.
- Lyman Abbott, Life and Literature of Ancient Hebrews (1910).
- I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe, or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.
- John Adams, in a letter to F. A. Vanderkemp (16 February 1809), as quoted in The Roots of American Order (1974) by Russel Kirk.
- Paraphrased variant: The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations.
- It doesn't matter what the world says about Israel; it doesn't matter what they say about us anywhere else. The only thing that matters is that we can exist here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the Arabs that there is a high price to pay for murdering Jews, we won't survive.
- From Jewish terrorism against Arabs it is a short step to Jewish terrorism against Jews.
- David Ben-Gurion, in "On Three Fronts" (3 August 1938) as quoted in Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (1954), p. 91.
- The Jews have played an all-important role in history. They are pre-eminently an historical people and their destiny reflects the indestructibility of the divine decrees. Their destiny is too imbued with the "metaphysical" to be explained either in material or positive historical terms. I remember how the materialist interpretation of history, when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destinies of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jew, where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint. And, indeed, according to the materialistic and positivist criterion, this people ought long ago to have perished. Its survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination, transcending the processes of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history. The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history; all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny... The historical not only represented man's external relations, but that it might also reveal the very noumenon and essence of his being. The peculiarity of Jewish destiny consists in its incommensurability with either the pre-Christian or the Christian era. Scientific criticism applied to traditional Biblical history can neither discredit the universal role played by the Jews nor offer a satisfactory explanation of their mysterious destiny. Nor does this criticism grapple with the absolutely peculiar tie existing between the Jews and the 'historical,' and their extraordinarily intense feeling for history.
- Nicholai Berdysev, The Meaning of History (1935), p. 86-87.
- The Jews started it all — and by "it" I mean so many of the things we care about, the underlying values that make all of us, Jew and Gentile, believer and atheist, tick. Without the Jews, we would see the world through different eyes, hear with different ears, even feel with different feelings … we would think with a different mind, interpret all our experience differently, draw different conclusions from the things that befall us. And we would set a different course for our lives.
- Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews : How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (1998).
- Well I do hate myself, but it has nothing to do with being Jewish.
- I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
- Deuteronomy 1:15 - 18.
- I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.
- Albert Einstein, in a letter to Alfred Kneser (7 June 1918); Doc. 560 in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein Vol. 8.
- By an application of the theory of relativity to the taste of readers, today in Germany I am called a German man of science, and in England I am represented as a Swiss Jew. If I come to be represented as a bête noire, the descriptions will be reversed, and I shall become a Swiss Jew for the Germans and a German man of science for the English!
- Albert Einstein, in a statement to The Times [London] (28 November 1919), quoted in The New Quotable Einstein (2005) by Alice Calaprice.
- I am neither a German citizen, nor do I believe in anything that can be described as a "Jewish faith." But I am a Jew and glad to belong to the Jewish people, though I do not regard it in any way as chosen.
- Albert Einstein, in a letter to Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith, 3 April 1920, as quoted in Alice Calaprice, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010), p. 195.
- In my opinion, condemning the Zionist movement as "nationalistic" is unjustified. Consider the path by which Herzl came to his mission. Initially he had been completely cosmopolitan. But during the Dreyfus trial in Paris he suddenly realized with great clarity how precarious was the situation of the Jews in the western world. And courageously he drew the conclusion that we are discriminated against or murdered not because we are Germans, Frenchmen, Americans, etc. of the "Jewish faith" but simply because we are Jews. Thus already our precarious situation forces us to stand together irrespective of our citizenship.
Zionism gave the German Jews no great protection against annihilation. But it did give the survivors the inner strength to endure the debacle with dignity and without losing their healthy self respect. Keep in mind that perhaps a similar fate could be lying in wait for your children.
- Albert Einstein, c. 1946, as quoted in Albert Einstein : The Human Side (1954), p. 63.
- The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them.
- Albert Einstein, Gutkind Letter (3 January 1954), "Childish superstition: Einstein's letter makes view of religion relatively clear". The Guardian. 13 May 2008.
- The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence, from Jerusalem, of a lunatic asylum.
- And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar dtreasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
- Exodus 19:3 - 6.
- Since Jesus came to the earth the first time 2,000 years ago as a Jewish male, many evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia.
- Jerry Falwell, quoted in "Religion, Politics a Potent Mix for Jerry Falwell" by Steve Inskeep in Morning Edition on NPR (30 June 2006).
- After all, Jews invented psychiatry to help other Jews become Gentiles.
- Morton Feldman, Give My Regards to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman (2000).
- It was … declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … avoiding all contact with that evil way. … who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. … a people so utterly depraved. … Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord. … no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews.
- First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, in which the Christian Church separates the calculation of the date of Easter from the Jewish Passover. See The Epistle of the Emperor Constantine, concerning the matters transacted at the Council, addressed to those Bishops who were not present and Life of Constantine Vol. III Ch. XVIII by Eusebius.
- Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province must be distinguished from the Christian by a difference of dress. On Passion Sunday and the last three days of Holy Week they may not appear in public.
- Jews are not to be given public offices. Anyone instrumental in doing this is to be punished. A Jewish official is to be denied all intercourse with Christians.
- Israel's great achievement, so apparent that mention of it is almost trite, was Monotheism. It was an achievement that transformed subsequent history....One may raise the question whether any other single contribution from whatever source since human culture emerged from the stone age has had the far reaching effect upon history that Israel in this regard has exerted both through the mediums of Christianity and Islam and directly through the world of Jewish thinkers themselves"
- H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild Jacobsen, William A. Irwin, The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (1946), p. 224.
- Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
- Saint Fulgentius (467–527), Enchriridion Patristicum.
- [Jews] remained what they had always been: that is to say an elite people, sure of itself and dominating.
- "Fucking Jews... Jews are responsible for all wars in the world."
- No ancient people have had a stranger history than the Jews. … The history of no ancient people should be so valuable, if we could only recover it and understand it. … Stranger still, the ancient religion of the Jews survives, when all the religions of every ancient race of the pre-Christian world have disappeared … Again it is strange that the living religions of the world all build on religious ideas derived from the Jews. …. The great matter is not “What happened?” but “Why did it happen?” Why does Judaism live?
- T.R. Glover, The Ancient World, p. 184-191.
- Mankind, East and West, Christian and Muslim, accepted the Jewish conviction that there is only one G-d. Today it is polytheism that is so difficult to understand, that is so unthinkable.
- T. R. Grover, The Ancient World, p. 186.
- The immemorial ingratitude of rulers and commonwealths is proverbial. Especially common is ingratitude to Israel — the People that has achieved so much of eternal worth, but has rarely succeeded in winning gratitude.
- Joseph H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs (One-volume edition), p. 206.
- Judaism has some advantages over Christianity in that, for example, it does not proselytise—except among Jews—and it does not make the cretinous mistake of saying that the Messiah has already made his appearance. … However, along with Islam and Christianity, it does insist that some turgid and contradictory and sometimes evil and mad texts, obviously written by fairly unexceptional humans, are in fact the word of god. I think that the indispensable condition of any intellectual liberty is the realisation that there is no such thing.
- Christopher Hitchens, Letter to a Young Contrarian (2001).
- The god of Moses would call for other tribes, including his favorite one, to suffer massacre and plague and even extirpation, but when the grave closed over his victims he was essentially finished with them unless he remembered to curse their succeeding progeny. Not until the advent of the Prince of Peace do we hear of the ghastly idea of further punishing and torturing the dead.
- This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth... [But] for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; [and] as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
- Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers.
- But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth.
- His [Jesus'] object was the reformation of some articles in the religion of the Jews, as taught by Moses. That sect had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.
- The dispersion of the Jews was both a boon and a bane; their nation was disjoined, but their culture was enormously enhanced. Whereas a unique omneitic outlook set the Jews apart from other peoples, a common language, literacy and learning bound the disparate Jewish communities together and provided a firm foundation for further creativity. The exercise of this multifaceted creative propensity rebounded to benefit not only the societies that harbored the Jews, but all humankind.
- Samuel Karlinsky, in The Eight Day — The Hidden History of the Jewish Contribution to Civilzation (1994).
- They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat.
- Of Jewish holidays. This aphorism (apparently an old joke) appears, e.g., in Alan King's Matzo Balls for Breakfast and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish (2007), p. 112.
- The evidence from anthropology concurs with history in refuting the popular belief in a Jewish race descended from the biblical tribe. From the anthropologist's point of view, two groups of facts militate against this belief: the wide diversity of Jews with regard to physical characteristics, and their similarity to the Gentile population amidst whom they live. Both are reflected in the statistics about bodily height, cranial index, blood-groups, hair and eye colour, etc. Whichever of these anthropological criteria is taken as an indicator, it shows a greater similarity between Jews and their Gentile host-nation than between Jews living in different countries. … The obvious biological explanation for both phenomena is miscegenation, which took different forms in different historical situations: intermarriage, large-scale proselytizing, rape as a constant (legalized or tolerated) accompaniment of war and pogrom
- Arthur Koestler, in "The Thirteenth Tribe" (1976).
- I do not for a moment hesitate to say it right here and in the face of the entire Jewish world that… circumcision is a barbarous cruelty which disfigures and disgraces our ancestral heirloom and our holy mission as priests among mankind. The rite is a national remnant of savage African life… Nor should children born of intermarriage be viewed any longer exclusively by the primitive national standard which determines the racial character of the child only by the blood of the mother… I can no longer accept the fanciful and twisted syllogisms of Talmudic law as binding for us… I think, if anywhere, here we ought to have the courage to emancipate ourselves from the thralldom of Rabbinical legality.
- Kaufman Kohler as quoted in Walter Jacob, ed., The Pittsburgh Platform in Retrospect: The Changing World of Reform Judaism, (Pittsburgh: Rodef Shalom Congregation Press, 1985)
- Far from having become 1900 years ago a stagnant or dried-up religion, as Christian theology declares, Judaism has ever remained "a river of God full of living waters," which, while running within the river-bed of a single nation, has continued to feed anew the great streams of human civilization.
- Next to God's unity the most essential and characteristic doctrine of Judaism is that concerning God's relation to man. Heathenism degraded man by making him kneel before brutes and the works of his hand: Judaism declared man to be made in the image of God, the crown and culmination of God's creation, the appointed ruler of the earth, and vicegerent of God
- Some fools in the desert
With nothing else to do
So scared of the dark
They didn't know if they were coming or going
So they invented me
And they invented You
And other fools keep it all going
- I am very troubled by this horrible issue of "who is a Jew?" I'm very simplistic about it. I ask, if Hitler were here, would he consider me a Jew? And of course he'd say yes, and that's the end of that. If we were all in line to go to Auschwitz, would the Orthodox pull us out of line and say, "You're not a Jew"?
- [A]ll churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, are simply human inventions. They use fear to enslave us. They are a monopoly for power and profit.
- Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
- This people are not eminent solely by their antiquity, but are also singular by their duration, which has always continued from their origin till now. For, whereas the nations of Greece and of Italy, of Lacedaemon, of Athens and of Rome, and others who came long after, have long since perished, these ever remain, and in spite of the endeavors of many powerful kings who have a hundred times tried to destroy them, as their historians testify, and as it is easy to conjecture from the natural order of things during so long a space of years, they have nevertheless been preserved (and this preservation has been foretold); and extending from the earliest times to the latest, their history comprehends in its duration all our histories (which it preceded by a long time).
- Blaise Pascal, Pensees (c. 1662), paragraph 620; translation by W.F. Trotter (1910), p. 205.
- In all of nature, a male belongs to a female that he fancies and who fancies him. And so among the animals there are no idiots. But with us!... I'm a Jew, so I musn't love a Christian woman... He's a merchant, so he's got no right to a countess... And you who've got no money, you've no rights to any woman at all...
- It is against their own insoluble problem of being human that the dull and base in humanity are in revolt in anti-Semitism. Judaism, nevertheless, together with Hellenism and Christianity is an inalienable component of our Christian Western civilization, the eternal "call to Sinai" against which humanity again and again rebels.
- Herman Rauschning, The Beast From the Abyss, pp. 155-56.
- The Antichrist is probably a Jew alive in Israel today.
- Throughout our history there have been weaker elements who have shirked the sacrifices which Judaism entailed. They have been swallowed, long since, in the great majority; only the more stalwart have carried on the traditions of their ancestors, and can now look back with pride upon their superb heritage. Are we to be numbered with the weak majority, or with the stalwart minority? It is for ourselves to decide.
- Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews (1961) p. 423.
- The preservation of the Jew was certainly not casual. He has endured through the power of a certain ideal, based on the recognition of a Higher Power in human affairs. Time after time in his history, moreover, he has been saved from disaster in a manner, which cannot be described excepting as 'providential.' The author has deliberately attempted to write this book in a secular spirit; he does not think that his readers can fail to see in it, on every page, a higher immanence.
- Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews (1961) p. 424.
- Having a ham sandwich on the afternoon of Yom Kippur doesn't make you less Jewish.
- Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, in "Who Is a Jew? Court Ruling in Britain Raises Question" in The New York Times (7 November 2009).
- Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
(For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.)
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog.
- I am a Jew: Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is?
- What is the Jew?...What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish. What is this Jew whom they have never succeeded in enticing with all the enticements in the world, whose oppressors and persecutors only suggested that he deny (and disown) his religion and cast aside the faithfulness of his ancestors?!
"The Jew — is the symbol of eternity. … He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear. The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity.
- Leo Tolstoy, in "What is the Jew?" (1908).
- Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well.
- Dalton Trumbo in The Remarkable Andrew (1942).
- If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
- Mark Twain, "Concerning The Jews".
- May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.
- George Washington, letter to the Hebrew congregation of Newport, Rhode Island (1790).
From "A Book of Jewish Thoughts" ed. J. H. Hertz (Oxford University Press, 1920)
- Judaism is something more than a badge, something more than a birth-mark; it is a life.
- Morris Joseph (1903), p. 21.
- Salvation is attained not by subscription to metaphysical dogmas, but solely by love of God that fulfils itself in action. This is a cardinal truth in Judaism.
- Chasdai Crescas (1410), p. 25.
- When sometimes our own unchristian prejudices flame out against the Jewish people, let us remember that all that we have and all that we are we owe, under God, to what Judaism gave us.
- Lyman Abbott, p. 131.
- Israel has given the world true humanitarianism, just as it has given the world the true God.
- C. H. Cornill (1895), p. 131.
- None of the resplendent names in history - Egypt, Athens, Rome - can compare in eternal grandeur with Jerusalem. For Israel has given to mankind the category of holiness. Israel alone has known the thirst for social justice, and that inner saintliness which is the source of justice.
- Charles Wagner (1918), p. 134.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 406.
- The Jews are among the aristocracy of every land; if a literature is called rich in the possession of a few classic tragedies, what shall we say to a national tragedy lasting for fifteen hundred years, in which the poets and the actors were also the heroes.
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876), Book VI, Chapter XLII.
- The Jews spend at Easter.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651). No. 244.
- A Hebrew knelt in the dying light,
His eye was dim and cold;
The hairs on his brow were silver white,
And his blood was thin and old.
- Thomas Kibble Hervey, The Devil's Progress.
- Who hateth me but for my happiness?
Or who is honored now but for his wealth?
Rather had I, a Jew, be hated thus,
Than pitied in a Christian poverty.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (c. 1592), Act I, scene 1.
- To undo a Jew is charity, and not sin.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (c. 1592), Act IV, scene 6.
- This is the Jew that Shakespeare drew.
- Attributed to Alexander Pope when Macklin was performing Shylock. Feb. 14, 1741. See Biographia Dramatica, Volume I, Part II, p. 469.