Judaism is historically significant to the development ofWestern Civilization and today for several reasons, including values found inpopular religions, court of law, and education. Judaism, founded over 3500 years ago, is theoldest monotheistic religion.
Abraham is recognized as the father of thereligion and Moses as the prophet, who introduced the Ten Commandments, which playeda fundamental role for Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish religion. Many of the major religions beliefs and values were we seehave today are adopted from the teachings of Judaism. The Jews introduced monotheism,which is the belief that one God created and rules the universe. This becamethe basis of Christianity and Islamic beliefs. The Torah also taught that everyperson was special and made in God’s image. This was very different than manyreligions before them which presented an angry God/Gods that required horribleand brutal things, such as human sacrifice. The teachings of respect for humanlife and the want for peace and harmony helped create a more civilized societyin the Western civilization for many generations.
Additionally, with the influence of the 10 commandments andother elements, Judaism helped formed our legal system today. They followed dueprocess and taught that everyone should be accountable for their crimes and receivea fair trial, regardless of race, sex, wealth, or power held. The Judea courtsystem was ran by a number of judges and allowed the accused to defend himself.The accuser must have two witnesses and could not convict on circumstantialevidence alone. Like today, the accused had the right to not self-incriminateand confessions were not admissible evidence in court. They did not have a juryhowever to determine the outcome of the case, that job rest solely on thejudge/judges handling the case.
Using a few of the Judaism methods we were ableto lay the foundation of the legal system we rely heavily on today.The Judaism people were the first people to acknowledge thatevery individual should receive a basic education. They wanted to ensure that all had afunctional literacy and was able to succeed within society. Every child 6 andup was encouraged to attend school, even if their parents could not afford tosend them. This created the first known instance in history where education wasfunded by the larger community. Created by Rabbi Yenoshua Ben Gamla in 64CE,many believe this inspired the Western Civilization, including the present dayUnited States to offer free public education.