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The Cambridge History of Judaism

Book description

This is the second of four volumes covering the history of Judaism from the Persian period, roughly 539–322 BCE, to the Tannaitic period, which culminated in the codification of the Mishnah around 250 CE. It deals with the encounter of Judaism with the Hellenistic culture spread throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond by Alexander the Great and his successors. The volume describes both the rejection and adoption of Hellenism by Judaism. Religiously the rejection provoked new developments and politically the Maccabaean Revolt, which resulted in the creation of the independent Hasmonean state, 142–63 BCE. Culturally, the adoption of Hellenistic forms by Judaism led to a significant Jewish-Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic literature. At the same time, the tensions in the religious, intellectual, social and political life of Jews spawned apocalyptic thought and literature. In the light of the interpenetration of Judaism and Hellenism in this period the volume questions some established dichotomies.

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