Judaism was the religion of the Jewish people that worshipped the one-true God, Yahweh, that arose during and after the exile, that is distinct from historical Yahwism. Judaism carried on the belief in a single sovereign God in contrast to the polytheist and even pantheistic ideas of their peers. As a result of the exile and the widespread syncretism of their Hebrew ancestors, the Jewish people advocated for a very strict religious code in the worship of Yahweh. Following the Law and the Prophets to the letter, the Jews practiced sacrifices in a newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem after returning from the exile from their homeland in Babylon and then Persia. In addition to the Tanak, stern laws and traditions were created governing daily life and rituals in an effort to please God. Unique to the Jewish people from their predecessors was the creation of synagogues- public gathering places of worship throughout the land of Judea. Several sects emerged in Judaism such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, Zealots and Essenes (not mentioned in Scripture).

While an authentic worship of God was commendable, Jesus criticized the Jewish leadership's legalist philosophy as a front for self-promotion and control.

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