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As archaeological discovery relies upon researchers and scholars from diverse disciplines, the goal is to interpret all of the factual data, focusing on the most consistent theory.The prehistory and ethnogenesis of the Jews are closely intertwined with archaeology, biology, and historical textual records, as well as religious literature and mythology.Orthodox Judaism bases Jewishness on matrilineal descent.According to Jewish law (halacha), all those born of a Jewish mother are considered Jewish, regardless of personal beliefs or level of observance of Jewish law. While the absolute majority of people with this identity are of Jewish ethnicity, people of a mixed Jewish and non-Jewish background or gentiles of Jewish ancestry may still have a sense of Jewish self-identity.However, Jewish identity is firmly intertwined with Jewish ancestry dating back to the historical Kingdom of Israel, which was largely depopulated by the Roman Empire c.first century CE, leading to what is known as today as the Jewish Diaspora.Jewish identity can be cultural, religious, and/or through ancestry.
In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council, which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun.
Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population.
The modern State of Israel was established as a Jewish state and defines itself as such in its Declaration of Independence and Basic Laws.
as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.
Jews originated as an ethnic and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE, consolidated their hold with the emergence of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah.
Historical definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral Torah into the Babylonian Talmud, around 200 CE. Cohen, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally in the Bible.