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THE ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST
Levant is a geographical term that refers to a large area in Southwest Asia, south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Arabian Desert in the south, and Mesopotamia in the east. It stretched 400 miles north to south from the Taurus Mountains to the Sinai desert, and to 100 miles to the west between the sea and the Arabian desert.
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Many religions of the ancient near East and their offshoots can be traced to Proto-Semitic religion. Other religions in the ancient Near East include Ancient Egyptian religion, the Luwain and Hittite religions of Asia Minor and the Sumerian religion of ancient Mesopotamia.
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RELIGIONS OF TODAY'S
Three major religious groups, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, originated in the Middle East. Smaller minority religions, such as the Baha’i Faith, Druze, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Gnosticism, Yarsanism, Samaritanism, Shabakism, Ishikism, Ali-Illahism, Kakai, and Zoroastrianism, are also present in today’s Middle East.
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There are over 40 denominations in the religion of Islam, with Sunni (80 percent to 90 percent) and Shi’a (10 to 15 percent) being the two largest denominations.
DATE LAST EDITED: 07-2019