Jewish History: Part 3

The history of the Jews goes back thousands of years. Below are some important evens in that history between 1000 and 1900. Use your knowledge of Judaism and the history of the region to determine their correct order. Number them 1-8, with 1 as the earliest event.

a. Jews from Eastern Europe begin to emigrate to Israel, then called Palestine.
b. One hundred thousand Jews are massacred in Poland.
c. The Crusades, intended to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule, begin; they result in the deaths of many Jews.
d. A series of massacres of Jews, called pogroms, begins in Russia.
e. Much of Europe blames the Black Plague on Jews; hundreds of Jewish communities destroyed.
f. French Jews are granted full citizenship for the first time since the Roman Empire.
g. Russia requires thirty-one years of military service for Jews, beginning at age twelve.
h. Jews of Vienna are forced to move into a ghetto called Leoplodstadt.

Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots

When Jesus, whose teachings form the basis of Christianity, was born, Palestine was under Roman rule. Jews were treated badly and had to pay high taxes. Different groups responded to this situation in different ways.

One group, the Sadducees, tried to make the best of things. They accepted Roman rule and tried to fit in with Roman society.

Another group, The Essenes, thought the situation in Palestine came about because the world was corrupt. They withdrew from the world into their own independent communities and devoted themselves to a life of piety.

A third group, the Pharisees, wanted to change society. They remained within society but tried to make Judaism strong again by sticking strictly to the Jewish code of holiness.

A fourth group, the Zealots, also wanted change. They tried to use force to overthrow Roman rule.

Based on what you know about the teachings of Jesus, which of these four groups do you think he had most in common with?

The Imagery of Jesus

In his teaching, Jesus used everyday language. His lessons were based on things his listeners were familiar with. He spoke of shepherds and sheep, of rocky soil and mustard seed. These were all part of daily life in Palestine at that time.

Do you think Jesus’ message would have affected people as much if he had spoken in terms of heaven and angels, not rocks and farmers?