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    Ben Ezra, Daniel Stökl 2012. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History.

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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

21 - Jewish festivals in late antiquity

Summary
The late Roman rabbinic period may be considered the formative period of Jewish festivals. In the early part of this period some festivals were added to those of the Bible, while in the latter part only fast days were added to the calendar. The written sources for portraying the early history of the festivals are the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the writings of Philo at the beginning of the first century, and the writings of Josephus towards the end of that century. The first day of the month was an important day in the Jewish calendar and the Torah prescribed special sacrifices on that day. The earliest evidence of people gathering together on the Sabbath, found in the Synoptic Gospels, Josephus, and apocryphal sources, is from the time when the Temple still existed. Most of the special dates established in the Second Temple period were connected to the Maccabees and their victories over their enemies.
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The Cambridge History of Judaism
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055130
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521772488
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