Over thousands of years, Judaism has evolved a series of precepts intended to govern the Jewish community and to keep it in internal harmony and in harmony with other peoples and the Earth. Twice in Jewish history, profound changes in society have required changes in the content of these precepts in order to achieve a new harmony in the new situation. One of those times was 2,000 years ago, when Hellenism swept across the Mediterranean basin, greatly increasing the ability of human beings to control their own history and the forces of nature, and dispersed the Jewish people into many lands.