History crash course #3: The world of Abraham

Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History_Part_3_The_World_of_Abraham_(medium)_(english)By understanding the character of Abraham, the “proto-Jew”, one can understand what Jews are all about.
by Rabbi Ken Spiro

Jewish history doesn’t happen in a vacuum. No people’s history happens in a vacuum. So before we take a closer look at Abraham, we must first zoom out and get a little understanding of where Abraham fits in the world of his time.
Abraham appears at a period of time commonly known as the Middle Bronze period, around the 18th century BCE. (Early civilization is characterized by the metals they predominantly used and the Middle Bronze period of the Near East covers the period of time from 2200 BCE until 1550 BCE.)
Whereas most anthropologists believe that hominids, forerunners of human beings physically, originated in Africa, human civilization begins in the Near East in the Fertile Crescent, which is where Abraham was born. 

When we say civilization, we are talking about sophisticated arrangements of people living together, not hunter/gatherers or simple agrarian settlements, not just a few people living in a few huts. About 5,500 years ago in the Near East, there was a dramatic evolution of humanity from mostly nomadic hunter/gatherers — people who spend their whole day looking for food — to people who were able to domesticate livestock and crops. This meant they could raise animals to eat them or to use them for their milk and their hides, and to plow the land to grow crops.

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