Between Rome and Jerusalem: 300 Years of Roman-Judaean Relations

Between Rome and Jerusalem: 300 Years of Roman-Judaean Relations

Between Rome and Jerusalem: 300 Years of Roman-Judaean Relations

Between Rome and Jerusalem: 300 Years of Roman-Judaean Relations

Synopsis

Sheds new light on the political circumstances surrounding the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.

Excerpt

Histories of ancient Israel during Roman times tend to be written, for the most part, from either of two perspectives. From a Jewish standpoint, the events of those centuries constitute nothing more than a series of troubling episodes, interspersed with some significant religious developments, in the unending history of the Jewish people that is already well into its fourth millennium. From a Christian perspective the period is of critical importance because it reflects the conditions and circumstances that mark the origins and emergence of the greatest of universal religions. in both cases, the focus is almost exclusively on developments within ancient Judaea. External factors tend to be brought into consideration only insofar as they contribute to an understanding of two major questions: What enabled the Jews to survive the destruction of their state and to create, out of its rubble, the seemingly indestructible edifice of Rabbinic Judaism; and what precipitated the crises that caused Christianity to arise at that particular time and facilitated its spread throughout the Roman world?

However, although there is historical value in both the typical Jewish and Christian approaches, neither alone contributes very much to an understanding of the political history of the period. a political history of ancient Israel in Roman times must try especially hard to avoid viewing events through an ideological prism. Thus, even though the primary subject of interest may be ancient Judaea, its history needs to be examined within the political context in which it existed. and that context is provided by the Hellenistic Ptolemaic and . . .

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