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I.                 Judaism

A.   Background

1.    Hebrews-later called Jews

2.    Hebrew Scriptures: the Torah; Old Testament to Christians

3.    Abraham “father” moved people to Canaan (Palestine)

4.    Monotheistic; all-knowing, all-powerful; eternal

B.   Creation

1.    in God’s image with divine spark

2.    moral freedom—capacity to choose between good and evil

C.   Morality

1.    Bible: code of law

2.    Hebrew Code: Ten Commandments; focus- morality and ethics

a      rules of social and religious behavior

3.    prophets: messengers from God; attacked war, oppression, greed

II.             Christianity

A.   Background

1.    Jesus of Nazareth; born 6-4 BC; Jew and Roman subject

a      teachings: monotheism; principles of the Ten Commandments

b      stressed: importance of love

c       Executed: political threat; increased membership

B.   Spread: Roman Empire initially hostile yet spread ideas

1.    exiled Jews from homeland (AD 70): Diaspora

2.    becomes official religion of empire AD 380

III.         Islam

1.    Background

a      monotheistic; taught equally of all persons and individual worth

b      Muhammad: prophet; based on his teachings

i          emphasized dignity of all human beings; brotherhood of all people; bond on community

IV.           Impact of Monotheistic Religion

a      duty of the individual and the community to combat oppression

b      worth of the individual

c   equality of people before God