Middle East

Essay by kharUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2004

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Religion has always been an important factor in the history of the Middle East. Jerusalem is sacred to the three largest monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Control over the region has shifted from one religious affiliation to another over the years, bringing battles both political and religious that continue to this day. Since the time of the biblical, Abraham, the leading religions of the Middle East have changed from polytheistic to monotheistic. With their similar backgrounds, the followers of these monotheistic faiths have come to view G-d with some attributes that are common to all of them, to some degree or another.

Judaism was the first of the three monotheistic religions to dominate the area. Judaism was founded around the thirteenth century B.C.E. in the area of Palestine or Canaan, currently known as Israel. According to the Torah, the holy book of Judaism, this area was promised to the Hebrews by G-d.

Jews colonized the region for many centuries until the year 70 C.E. when the Romans under General Vespasian and his son Titus captured Jerusalem and drove out the Jews. This began the diffusion, of the Jewish people, which lasted until the creation of the state of Israel May 14, 1948. One of the most readily apparent examples of this is the idea that G-d is anthropomorphic in these monotheistic religions. While this is certainly not a new concept in the arena of religion, its application has been unique in regards to monotheistic faiths. In Judaism, the most ancient of these religions, the books of the Old Testament are a set of compositions describing G-ds actions in our world, both openly and not openly. The Jewish name for there G-d is known to be Yahweh. Jews believe that Yahweh has chosen them as "His...