The Jewish Belief System: Description, Elements & History

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has an M.A in instructional education.

This lesson will explore the ancient religion of Judaism, the faith of the Jewish people. In doing so, it will highlight the concept of monotheism, Yahweh's covenant with Abraham and the Jewish texts of law. Updated: 08/29/2021


Today's lesson will be a brief exploration of Judaism, one of the world's oldest religions. It is a faith system that has survived throughout the centuries—a belief structure that has shaped, and continues to shape, cultures around the globe.

For starters, Judaism is the ancient faith of the Jewish people and still has millions upon millions of followers throughout the world over. As a faith system, it sets itself apart from most ancient religions in that it is monotheistic, or believes in only one God.

There are four different denominations of Judaism, including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist, which all have the same foundational beliefs but have some differing traditions and rules.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Christian Antisemitism in Medieval Europe

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Monotheism
  • 0:48 Abraham
  • 1:57 Ancient Texts
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed


With its origins in the ancient cultures of Israel and Palestine, Judaism has its roots in the belief that God made a covenant with the man known to history as Abraham, the father of Judaism. This covenant was a promise that God would give Abraham's descendants the lands of Canaan, today parts of Israel and Palestine. It is this promise that has taken, and definitely still takes, center stage in the politics of the Middle East.

Adding to this land grant of sorts, the Jewish God, is believed to be a loving God who chose the Jewish people as his very own. This idea is found scattered throughout the pages of Judaism's ancient texts. For example, the Torah, or the Jewish law, reads:

''Not because you are more numerous than any people did the Lord delight in you and choose you, for you are the least of all the peoples. But because of the Lord's love for you, and because He keeps the oath He swore to your forefathers, the Lord took you out with a strong hand and redeemed you.''

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account