The Jews under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian : A Study in Political Relations

The Jews under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian : A Study in Political Relations

The Jews under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian : A Study in Political Relations

The Jews under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian : A Study in Political Relations


It is remarkable that Judaism could develop given the domination by Rome in Palestine over the centuries. Smallwood traces Judaism's constantly shifting political, religious, and geographical boundaries under Roman rule from Pompey to Diocletian, that is, from the first century BCE through the third century CE. From a long-standing nationalistic tradition that was a tolerated sect under a pagan ruler, Judaism becomes, over time, a threat that needs to be repressed and confined against a now-Christian empire. This work examines the galvanizing forces that shaped and defined Judaism as we have come to know it.

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This book was ready for the press in August, 1973, and there is little work published since that date of which I have been able to take account. Unfortunately, the financial difficulties which were then beginning to beset British publishers prevented the book from being put into immediate production. After long delay I approached my old friends Brill, who gave it a prompt and warm welcome to their series “Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity”, and have published it with their customary speed and efficiency. the care and accuracy of their compositors and proof-readers left little work to be done by me and by the noble team of friends and colleagues who gave me invaluable help with the reading of the first proof and whose patience and vigilance I here acknowledge with gratitude.

Much of the book was put into its final shape during a year of study-leave spent at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where the blessings bestowed on scholars include expert secretarial assistance. the immaculate typescript of the first sixteen chapters and the appendixes which I brought home was largely the work of Mrs. M. Van Sant.

I record here my gratitude to the Queen's University of Belfast for financial assistance with numerous visits to libraries in Cambridge in connection with the preparation of this book, and with a visit to Israel in the spring of 1973, where many scholars gave generously of their time to elucidate problems for me and to introduce me to recent work, written and archaeological, done in their country. To them and to the many scholars in Britain and America whom I consulted on various points this book owes much. For errors of fact or judgement I alone am responsible.

The index does not aim at being completely comprehensive. Casual references to persons, places, etc. included in the text are omitted, and likewise references to matters of purely Roman history which are mentioned for chronological and similar reasons only. Roman officials are indexed, with unashamed inconsistency, under the name by which they are most frequently referred to in the text; e.g., Porcius Festus is indexed under his cognomen, Tineius Rufus under his nomen, and Pontius Pilatus under the familiar anglicisation of his cognomen. Would the average reader look for Cicero under Tullius?

December, 1975

E. mary smallwood

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