I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations ... They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.- John Adams, Letter to F.A. Van der Kemp, dated Feb. 16, 1808.
Of the three pillars supporting western civilization -- Greco-Roman culture, the legacy of Judaism, and the prudential insights of the Enlightenment -- the most important is the legacy of Judaism.