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Articles of faith

Articles of faith (ikkarim, Heb., ‘roots’). Formulations of Jewish belief. These are not as important as are creeds in Christianity, since every person born of a Jewish mother is automatically a Jew irrespective of religious conviction. The Shemaʿ, recited twice daily, is the fundamental Jewish article of faith. Philo spoke of eight basic principles, Hananel b. Hushiʾel isolated four articles, and Maimonides set down thirteen principles. These became the basis of later formulations, including ani maʾamin of the Prayer Book, the ‘ikkarim’ of David Kokhavi, Hasdai Crescasʾ ʾOr Adonai (Light of the Lord), and Joseph Albo's Sefer haIkkarim (Book of Roots). In the 12th cent., the Karaite Judah Hadassi produced ten articles of faith, and in the 19th cent., Moses Mendelssohn, the pioneer of modernism within Judaism, identified three essential principles.

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