Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans: Primary Readings

Article excerpt

Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans: Primary Readings. Edited and introduced by L. H. Feldman and M. Reinhold. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1996, xliii + 436 pp., $48.00 paper.

In this collection Feldman (Yeshiva University) and Reinhold (Emeritus, Boston College) undertake to make available to a wide audience material drawn from literary, epigraphical, papyrological and numismatic sources from the 4th century BC to the 6th century AD. Although the publisher's comment on the back cover describes the book as a "comprehensive treasury," the editors' preface portrays the contents more accurately as "representative selections." The term "comprehensive" would more accurately describe the magisterial work edited by M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (3 vols., Jerusalem: Israel Academy, 1974-84), which presents the primary sources in their original languages with extended introductions and bibliographies.

The idea of the present volume is to show the relationships of the Jews to their neighbors, with emphasis on governments, intellectuals and the masses. To this end the selections are arranged topically and accompanied by brief introductions, bibliographies of English works and sparse explanatory notes. Since the book is aimed at nonspecialists, it includes prefatory methodological advice, a brief (perhaps too brief) description of each source and a glossary of recurring terms. …