Introduction

In the 3000 year history of the Jewish people, with the exception of a few relatively brief periods, Jews have been the often-persecuted minority in nations ruled by others. Despite these tenuous circumstances, Jews have survived as a people longer than empires and regimes that in their time were thought to be ....

1000 BCE – 500 BCE

The Hebrew-speaking Israelites controlled most of the area equivalent to modern Israel plus the West Bank from approximately 950 BCE. Following the death of Solomon (about 930), two kingdoms developed: the northern kingdom, Israel, dominated by the Ephraimite (Joseph) tribe, and the southern kingdom, Judah. The Temple in Jerusalem....

500 BCE - 0

The Jewish community that returned to Jerusalem was vulnerable because the city walls had been destroyed in 586, and the neighboring tribes, including the Samaritans, were hostile to the idea of a rival power arising again in Jerusalem. The situation was stabilized with the arrival of Nehemiah, who supervised construction of the....

0 – 500 CE

During the first half of the 1st Century, Jewish Diaspora communities throughout the Roman Empire grew, prospered, and proselytized. The availability of the Bible in Greek (the Septuagint) was a major factor in the influence of Judaism among the pagans, as well as maintaining the cohesion of the Jewish Diaspora, since most of the Jews in the....

500 – 1000

In Babylonia under the Sassanid Empire, the Talmud was completed about 600, the academies were flourishing, and the Exilarch was recognized as governor of the semi-autonomous Jewish community. A Yemenite tribe adopted Judaism. From 502 to 630 the Sassanid Empire fought a series of mutually devastating wars with....

1000 – 1500

From 1000 to about 1100 the Jewish Diaspora communities in Moslem lands and in western Europe were relatively peaceful and prosperous. In Spain under the Cordova Caliphate (929-1031), the Jewish, Moslem, and Christian communities coexisted peacefully, with fruitful cultural exchanges. This brief period was....

1500 – 1800

  • Major trends at the start of the 16th century that influenced the development of modern Europe and the course of Jewish history:
    • The Renaissance was spreading rapidly from Italy to the rest of....

1800 – 1925

The French Revolution and subsequent Napoleonic wars (1789-1815) completely changed the political organization of Europe, while the social landscape was shaken by the revolutionary appeal of the Rights of Man. Although the Congress of Vienna (1815) attempted to restore....

GLOSSARY

Ashkenazim
Originally descendants of Medieval Rhineland Jews; later referring to all Central and Eastern European Jews

Blood Libel
The claim that Jews murder Christian children for the purpose of using the blood in baking matzos

Conversos
Spanish Jews who converted to Catholicism

Diaspora
Greek origin word referring to the dispersion of an ethnic people....

Bibliography

Bach, H.I., The German Jew
Berlinerblau, J., “Official Religion and Popular Religion in Pre-Exilic Ancient Israel”
Bickerman, E. J., The Jews in the Greek Age
Blumberg, H.M., Weizmann: His Life and Times
Carroll, J., Constantine’s Sword
Chazan, R., Raphael, M.L. (ed), Modern Jewish History
Cohen, S. J. C., From Maccabees to the Mishnah
Cohen, Y., Small Nations in Times of Crisis and Confrontation
Farrokh, Dr. K., Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War