The rabbis of the 2nd century C.E. created Jewish culture by reunifying a fractured Judean community following the period of Israelite religion and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Jewish identity was originally constructed out of an ongoing interaction with the cultures of the ancient near east—including Canaanite, Hittite, Babylonian, Hellenistic, and ultimately Christian.
While Judaism is historically associated with the rabbis of the 2nd century C.E., one may trace its foundations to the sage Hillel, a Pharisee, and his fundamental school of thought.
Jewish scriptures are grounded in Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, but the revelation of Torah extends indefinitely through the history of Jewish literature as commentary.
There is a contemporary shift away from the modern, essentialist study of Judaism toward a Jewish cultural history uncovering the historical construction of multiple Jewish identities through intercultural negotiation.