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Whereas Judaism represents a highly distinctive phenomenon, especially in the history of religions, in several phases of its evolution it was exposed to outside influences. Already in earlier eras the geographical position of Syria and Palestine meant that the area was very open to commercial and cultural penetration from the direction of both Mesopotamia and Egypt, and of this there is abundant archaeological evidence. The early Israelite experience of Egypt is reflected in the traditions concerning Abraham's sojourn in that country and Joseph's splendid career there, however shadowy the historical background may seem, as well as in the much more fundamental impact of the tradition concerning Moses and the Exodus. Judaism belongs to a period of increasingly intimate contacts with other peoples. During the Persian period Jewish soldiers served their Persian masters in many areas, and their garrison at Elephantine on Egypt's southern border has well illustrated the tendencies which were apparent in the Diaspora. When Persian power yielded to Alexander and his successors, an era of quickened converse between nations ensued; and under Rome and Byzantium the process gathered still further momentum.
SOME EQYPTIAN RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS
It was in religion that Egypt exercised her most potent attraction. For close on three thousand years the religion of Pharaonic Egypt was preeminently a national religion. Theologically it was firmly linked to kingship, for each Pharaoh was in life equated with the national god Horus, while in death he became Osiris, the father of Horus; he was also called the son of Rê.