An Introduction to Early Judaism

An Introduction to Early Judaism

An Introduction to Early Judaism

An Introduction to Early Judaism

Synopsis

VanderKam, one of today's most respected scholars of biblical history, offers a superb new introduction to early Judaism. Based on the best, most recent archaeological research, this illustrated volume explores the history of Judaism during the Second Temple period, 516 B.C.PA.D. 70, describing the body of Jewish literature written during these centuries and the most important groups, institutions and practices of the time.

Excerpt

It has been my experience in teaching university classes and speaking to other groups that there is wide interest in knowing more about the part of Jewish history and literature covered by this book. Jewish people want more information about a formative stage in the long history of Judaism, and Christians wish to have a better understanding of what happened "between the testaments." a problem has been that the would-be student does not know where to turn in order to receive guidance into this vast field. Specialists will be familiar with the many excellent resources that are available to scholars today, but to the nonspecialist, for whom such weighty tomes may be too detailed and technical to be of practical value, the period of Early Judaism remains unfamiliar territory.

When Jon Pott and Dan Harlow of the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company invited me to prepare an introduction to Early Judaism along the same lines as my The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, it seemed a good opportunity to fill a need for an introduction that could be used in the classroom and could also serve as a point of entry into the field for any interested reader. I have attempted to prepare a book that provides a significant amount of information about the history, literature, and major archeological sites of the period but that presents it in a form clear and succinct enough so that it is accessible to readers with different levels of interest and varied goals.

In the course of preparing the book, a number of decisions about inclusion and exclusion had to be made. It has become customary in recent . . .

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