Designation of the religion of the Hebrew (or Israelite) people after the exile. From this point the people are called Jews. It is common to speak of their religion before the exile as Yahwism. The experience of exile was a time of intense and major change in the understanding and expression of this people's religion, so it seems appropriate to use two different words to mark this distinction, Although we use different words Yahwism (for the religion before the exile) and Judaism (afterwards), there was also continuity of both culture and ideas between the two periods, and figures like Ezekiel stand on the fulcrum where one becomes the other.
The degree of this continuity or distinction is the subject of considerable debate. Currently scholars who claim almost complete rupture, with an essentially new culture and religion appearing in the Persian period (often referred to as "minimalists") argue with others affirming that the biblical account is essentially reliable.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.