What are the contributions of Judaism to society?
1st monotheistic religion
other religions stemmed from it (Christianity and Islam)
Other religions read portions of the Jewish sacred texts
- Answer 2:
Judaism has contributed:
2. the concept of individual rights
3. public education
4. ethical treatment of animals
5. the concept of a day of rest from work
6. the idea that all countries should have just and ethical laws
and judicial systems
7. the concept that there should be a limitation of punishment
for crimes committed
There are many more contributions.
- Answer 3
"I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than
any other nation ... fate had ordained the Jews to be the most
essential instrument for civilizing the nations" (John Adams, 2nd
President of the United States).
"Certainly, the world without the Jews would have been a radically
different place. Humanity might have eventually stumbled upon all
the Jewish insights, but we cannot be sure. All the great
conceptual discoveries of the human intellect seem obvious and
inescapable once they had been revealed, but it requires a special
genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this
gift. To them we owe the idea of equality before the law, both
Divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of human
person; of the individual conscience and of collective conscience,
and social responsibility" (Paul Johnson, Christian historian,
author of A History of the Jews and A History of Christianity).
The long, rich history of Judaism gives the Western world much
of its shape today. Many of the laws, traditions, culture and
values are directly attributable to Judaism. "http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_some_of_Judaism's_historical_events" target="_blank">Link: History of Judaism
target="_blank">Link: History of Judaism
- The Jews' monotheistic religious tradition (Deuteronomy 6:4)
shaped the Western beliefs about God.
- The 7-day week (Exodus ch.20), including a day of rest for
everyone. This weekly rest was a concept unique to the
- The concept of morality
target="_blank">(Leviticus ch.18-19) was also the work of the
Hebrews, including the dignity (Genesis 5:1) and value of a person
(unlike idolatry, which had no moral character whatsoever; with
worship of the gods accompanied by practices such as human
sacrifice, "sacred" prostitution, and animal worship).
- Women's rights were carefully maintained in Judaism. Israelite
women could own property, could initiate court cases, could have
their own servants, and could own fields and businesses; and the
Torah specifies marital rights for women (Exodus 21:10).
- Under Israelite law, everyone had recourse to the courts. A
child, widow, wife, poor person, etc., could initiate legal action
against any citizen to redress perpetrated harm. Compare this to
those societies in which only mature, land-owning males had any
- The Western diet reflects some of the Judaic dietary law. With
the exception of the pig, Western society does not eat species not
contained in kosher law (Deuteronomy ch.14). Owls, mice, insects,
rats, snakes, cats and dogs are not eaten by most Westerners and it
is a direct result of Jewish culture.
- Parents are responsible for teaching children (Deuteronomy
ch.11). Illiteracy among Israelites, in every generation, was rare.
Universal education in the Western world is taken for granted
today, yet this is a recent development. In Judaism, however, it
goes back for more than 3300 years. Judaism has always maintained
that education is the highest goal of man in his pursuit of
godliness. This tradition has now been passed on to Western
- Infants are to be cherished, protected and cared for, whether
or not they turned out to be the gender you were hoping for.
Compare this to societies in which unhealthy babies, or females,
- Cruelty to animals is not acceptable.
- Government is accountable to a higher authority. In other
ancient societies, the monarch was all-powerful. Among the
Israelites, however, the king was under the constant scrutiny of
the Divinely-informed prophets, who didn't hesitate to castigate
him publicly for any misstep in the sight of God. And, other than
for the crime of rebellion, the king couldn't punish any citizen by
his own decision. He was obligated by the Torah-procedures like
everyone else (Talmud, Sanhedrin 19a).
- A robber repays double to his victim (Exodus 22:3), or works it
off. Cutting off the hands of a robber is a punishable crime.
Debtors are not imprisoned or harmed. They are made to sell
property and/or work to repay what they owe. Compare this to the
Roman practice by which anyone could accuse a man of owing them
money and the debtor could be killed (Roman "Twelve Tables of Law"
- Western jurisprudence in general is based in part upon Judaic
Torah-observance. A quick look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)
and the laws that follow (Exodus ch.21-23) gives a summary of most
- It is the responsibility of the community to support the poor
(Deuteronomy ch.15), the widow, the orphan, and the stranger
passing through (Exodus 22:20-21).
- It is important to note that all of the above were instituted
among the Hebrews (a.k.a. the Israelites) thousands of years
earlier than in other nations. Here's one example: Infanticide was
target="_blank">among classical European nations until it was
stopped by the influence of Judaism and its daughter-religions.
Professor and former President of the American Historical
Association, William L. Langer (in The History of Childhood):
"Children, being physically unable to resist aggression, were the
victims of forces over which they had no control, and they were
abused in almost unimaginable ways."
- See also other the other Related Links.