Compare and contrast religious traditions between Judaism and ancient religions.

The main difference between Judaism and most of the ancient religions and traditions is the fact that Judaism is a monotheistic religion. Judaism shares some similarities with some religious traditions of the ancient religions, such as the ancient Egyptian religion, the ancient Mesopotamian religion, and the ancient Canaanite religion.

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Differences

Judaism is regarded as the first monotheistic religion. The belief in one God or one deity (Yahweh or YHWH) is what separates Judaism from the rest of the ancient traditions and religions, which were mainly polytheistic in nature. Another difference between Judaism and most of the ancient traditions is that in Judaism, immortality and eternity are not popular concepts; Yahweh is the only immortal and eternal being.

In the ancient Egyptian religion, for example, it was a common religious tradition to worship the god of the dead, resurrection, and the afterlife, Osiris. After their deaths, the Pharaohs were buried in tombs (in the ancient Egyptian pyramids) that were prepared to provide comfort for the Egyptian rulers in their afterlife. This is not the case with Judaism, where the concept of the afterlife is not exactly relevant that much.

Interestingly enough, there is also no clear mention of the afterlife in the Torah (the Hebrew Bible). That isn't to say that the afterlife isn't discussed in Judaism—there's still belief in the afterlife or a world where the soul goes after death; however, it is not something that is worshiped or mentioned that often.

The Egyptians also worshiped many animals and shaved their heads, which is not a religious tradition in Judaism.

In Hellenism, gods and goddesses were deities that often behaved like human beings—they can feel jealousy, rage, lust, etc.—while in Judaism, God is just, omnipresent and omniscient and therefore has no need to engage in human passions. He sees all and hears all, and knows exactly what he's doing. The concept of beauty was also was also worshiped in Hellenism and the Hellenists celebrated the physical body in various ways; in Judaism, true beauty is a combination of both the body and the soul—one can be beautiful physically, but they lose all beauty if their soul is tainted.

Similarities

It is sometimes argued that Judaism might've been influenced by the ancient Egyptian monotheistic religion practiced by the pharaoh Akhenaten. Akhenaten was the first monotheist in the Ancient world, who believed in one God (Aton or Aten the sun god). After his death, however, the Egyptians continued to practice their polytheistic religion and traditions. It is true that Akhenaten was the first man in ancient Egypt to worship one God and that Judaism is the first monotheistic religion; however, there is no historical evidence that supports the claim that Atenism influenced the creation of Judaism.

Zoroastrianism, or the ancient Iranian religion, is also commonly regarded as the ancient religion that influenced Judaism, as well as Christianity and Islam. Judaism is similar to Zoroastrianism in the sense that it accepts the concepts of universality (God is universal) and duality (good vs. evil), as well the concepts of fate and destiny.

Judaism and the ancient Mesopotamian religion and traditions also share some similarities; for example, many stories described in the Torah can be found in the ancient Sumerian writings and texts, such as the story of the Great Flood.

It is also argued that there are many similarities between Judaism and the ancient Canaanite religion and their religious traditions, as well as the ancient Israelite and Judean Religion. According to several historians and theologists, Judaism borrowed many traditions and religious rituals from the Canaanites, such as the offering of sacrifices, as well as revelation; many of the Holy Days and Holy places in Judaism have been influenced by the Holy Days celebrated by the Canaanites and the Holy Places they used as sanctuaries and places to worship the Gods. You can read more about these similarities here.

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