Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora

Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora

Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora

Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora

Synopsis

One of the most creative and consequential collisions in Western culture involved the encounter of Judaism with Hellenism. In his widely acclaimed study of the intellectual and moral relationship between "Athens and Jerusalem", John J. Collins examines the literature of Hellenistic Judaism, treating not only the introductory questions of date, authorship, and provenance, but also the larger question of Jewish identity in the Greco-Roman world.

First published in 1984, Between Athens and Jerusalem is now fully revised and updated to take into account the best of recent scholarship.

Excerpt

This study was undertaken as part of a research project on Normative SelfDefinition in Judaism and Christianity, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project was coordinated by Professor E. P. Sanders of McMaster University. Responsibility for the area of Hellenistic Judaism was shared by Professors David Winston of the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Professor Alan Mendelson of McMaster, and me. Professors Winston and Mendelson devoted their attention to the extensive corpus of Philo's writings, while I undertook to review the numerous minor authors of the Hellenistic Diaspora. This division of labor accounts for the most obvious lacuna in the present volume: the lack of a substantial discussion of Philo and his philosophical approach to Judaism. Such a discussion could scarcely have been incorporated in a single volume in any case. The lacuna will be filled by the forthcoming studies of Winston and Mendelson.

I should like to express my gratitude to Professor Sanders, McMaster University, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the support which made this book possible; to Professors Winston and Mendelson for their advice and cooperation at all stages of the project; and to Professor Thomas H. Tobin, S.J., of Loyola University, Chicago, for his helpful comments on the manuscript.

Professor John Strugnell first introduced me to the fragmentary Hellenistic Jewish writings in a memorable seminar at Harvard Divinity School in Spring 1970. This book is dedicated to him in gratitude and friendship.

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