Ancient Religions

Western Civ         Joseph Hall
The Ancient Eastern Mediterranean
Thousands of years ago civilizations like the Egyptians, Persians and Hebrews began to form belief systems which are the roots of most modern day religions. Zoroastrianism, the Egyptian belief in Osiris and Isis, and the Hebrew faith were three of the most prevalent belief systems during the ancient Mediterranean times. These religions of course had their similarities and differences such as polytheism and monotheism. These religions, in particular the Hebrews; evolved their religion over the many years which their culture thrived through many tough times.
Modern day Judaism is of course monotheistic with the worship of the single deity; Yaweh. But it was not always like this. In the early stages of Judaism, when it was still evolving and was comparable to most ancient religions being practiced throughout the Mediterranean. Aspects in the Hebrew faith such as polytheism, traditional cult-like practices such as sacrifice and magic all fit in well with most other faiths of the time. Early Hebrew history was full of embarrassments such as the evidence of Twelfth century Hebrews worshiping gods other than Yahweh (WestCiv pg.63). This very early Judaism therefore can be compared to faiths of the time such as Egyptian faith, which contained the worship of several gods (Osiris Isis) and also the Assyrians who had gods for every city state in their empire and one all powerful god dubbed, Assur (WestCiv pg. 57). But Judaism evolved and eventually would come to no longer resemble polytheistic views of the Egyptians or Assyrians. Hebrew society eventually began to embrace a single deity named Yahweh through the persistence of the Levites who wished to enhance their own power and prestige by exalting Yahweh above the other gods (WestCiv pg. 63). This turned Hebrew faith into more of a Monolatry due to the fact that the worship of other gods within the Hebrews was still persistent. This continued...