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Early Judaism, part 2

An overview from the first kings of a unified Judah and Israel to the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora with the destruction of the Second Temple.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] In the last video, we started with the story of the Patriarchs in Genesis. How Abraham settles his people in Canaan, but eventually they get enslaved in Egypt. According to the Old Testament, that enslavement lasts for over 500 years until we have the emergence of Moses whom we also spoke about in the last video. The next four books of the Hebrew Bible which are often given authorship to Moses. These really talk about Moses freeing the Jewish people from enslavement, getting the Commandments, the Law, from God, and eventually bringing the people so that they can resettle back in Canaan. As I mentioned in the last video, these first five books of the Hebrew Bible, also the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, they are referred to as the Torah, and they are given authorship to Moses although historians are doubtful of that. Even the historicity to the degree to which these are historical characters are significantly debated. We have the Jewish people, according to Biblical accounts, now in Canaan. As we go into the rest of this video, we're getting into more of a historical period with the first significant kings of the Israelites. Now we're getting into the first millennium BCE. The people, the Israelites, are settled in Canaan. In the 11th century, BCE you have King Saul comes to power. He's considered to be the first significant king, or the first king really of a united kingdom of Israel and Judah. This is King Saul. He is then succeeded by King David who is his son-in-law. It was a very continuous succession. David is considered a significant figure in Judaism and Christianity and Islam. He's considered a warrior, poet, philosopher. He really strengthens and really unifies the kingdom. He's succeeded by his son, King Solomon. King Solomon is famous in Biblical accounts for his wisdom. He's also known for creating the First Temple in Jerusalem. As we will see, this First Temple in Jerusalem, the way that I have marked it off on this timeline, the green is periods according to Biblical accounts, then later according to historical accounts as well. When the Jewish people were for the most part not in Canaan where they were in captivity, or they were being enslaved. They were in exile some place else. The white that I show here, this is the enslavement in Egypt, this is going to be the Babylonian captivity that we're going to talk about shortly. Then the white, this is when we have the existence of the temples in Jerusalem. The First Temple in Jerusalem, this is a depiction of it, was built by Solomon. Now the unified kingdoms Judah and Israel don't last beyond these three kings. Shortly thereafter, it gets fragmented into two kingdoms. The kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. The kingdom of Israel is going to be overrun by the Neo-Assyrians in 722 when they refuse to pay tribute to the Neo-Assyrian king. The kingdom of Judah essentially becomes a client-state of the Assyrians. It's important to keep in mind even though these are called kingdoms for most of this history, they are client-states to larger powers whether it's the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Seleucid. They keep being client-states. They also have some degree of autonomy which is why they are called kingdoms. In 722, you have the kingdom of Israel being overrun and many of the Jewish people having to go into exile and being held captive by the Neo-Assyrians. Then as we get into the 6th century BCE, you have the famous Babylonian Conquest, The Neo-Babylonian Conquest of Nebuchadnezzar the Second, who conquers Judah. Once again, this is really a side battle between the Neo-Babylonians and the Egyptians, and we talk about that in other videos. That takes us to the Babylonian captivates. This is a picture here of Jerusalem, and maybe as equally important, that First Temple of Solomon being destroyed and the Jewish people being taken into captivity where they are taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. They're held in captivity, a significant fraction of them are held in captivity, in Babylon from this period from around 597, 586 BCE until Babylon is conquered by Cyrus the Great, conquered by the Achaemenid Persians that we talk about in another video. Once again, the end of the captivity is really a side effect of larger battles and conquests going on. But Cyrus the Great frees the Jewish people in 538 BCE. This is the end of the Babylonian captivity. He resettles them back in Jerusalem, and he and his successors assist in the rebuilding of the temple. Then you have the Second Temple of Jerusalem. You often will hear Second Temple Judaism because this is the period now where the Jewish people are resettled in Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that Second Temple that a lot of the Old Testament takes its modern form. Now this is going to last for several hundred years. As I mentioned the kingdom of Judea is a client-state of all of these various empires. It eventually becomes a client-state of the Roman Empire as we get into the end of the first millennium BCE. As we get to 70 CE, so this is shortly after the time of Jesus, you have the first Jewish-Roman War sometimes referred to as the Jewish Revolt. In that, the Romans destroy the Second Temple. This is really significant, the Second Temple as we mentioned it starts getting rebuilt at the end of the captivity and famously gets really, nicely constructed as we get into the First Century BCE. Then in 70 CE, Jerusalem is destroyed again. This time by the Romans. This is the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora where they are exiled for, now we're talking thousands of years, from Rome. They spread through the Roman Empire and other empires, and we talk more about that in other videos. This is a significant thing because now the Jewish people are for the most part dispersed. They don't have a temple, and you don't see a significant resettlement of the Jewish people into this area until we get to the 20th century.