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The universal goal of the Jewish people has frequently expressed itself in messianism—the idea of a universal, political realm of justice and peace.
Bible reports contemporary events and activities for essentially religious reasons.Moreover, the ancient Israelites’ entire mode of existence was affected by their belief that throughout history they stood in a unique relationship with the divine.The people of Israel believed that their response to the divine presence in history was central not only for themselves but for all humankind.Along universal lines, it has affirmed a God who created and rules the entire world and who at the end of history will redeem all Israel (the classical name for the Jewish people), all humankind, and indeed the whole world.The ultimate goal of all nature and history is an unending reign of cosmic intimacy with God, entailing universal justice and peace.This one and only God has been affirmed by virtually all professing Jews in a variety of ways throughout the ages.
Jewish monotheism has had both universalistic and particularistic features.
In the 19th century, biblical scholars moved the decisive division back to the period of the Babylonian Exile and the restoration of the Jews to the kingdom of Judah (6th–5th century ); indeed, he attributed an important role in shaping the emergent religion to Persian imperialism.
These theories, however, have been discarded by most scholars in the light of a more comprehensive knowledge of the ancient Middle East and the abandonment of a theory of gradual evolutionary development that was dominant at the beginning of the 20th century.
Although other ancient communities also perceived a divine presence in history, the understanding of the ancient Israelites proved to be the most lasting and influential.
It is this particular claim—to have experienced God’s presence in human events—and its subsequent development that is the differentiating factor in Jewish thought.
The biblical authors believed that the divine presence is encountered primarily within history.