Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview

Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview

Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview

Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview

Synopsis

Culled from The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, a monumental, groundbreaking reference work published in late 2010, Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview contains fifteen first-rate essays from a diverse group of internationally renowned scholars. This volume provides the most comprehensive and authoritative overview available of Judaism in the Hellenistic and early Roman periods.

Excerpt

The last fifty years or so have witnessed a burgeoning interest in the field of Second Temple Jewish Studies. This interest has been prompted in large part by the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but there has also been renewed interest in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha and in the Greco-Jewish writings from the Diaspora. the Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, published in 2010, was a first attempt to provide a comprehensive reference work for this expanding field.

Naming and delimiting the field have posed, and continue to pose, a problem. the old German label Spätjudentum (Late Judaism) had derogatory connotations, and in any case was largely based on the rabbinic literature, from a later period. the Second Temple period, strictly defined, includes most of the Hebrew Bible, while several major nonbiblical, nonrabbinic works (Josephus, some apocalypses), were composed after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. “Early Judaism” has been the accepted name for the Judaism of the Hellenistic and early Roman period in the Society of Biblical Literature, and this is the name we have adopted here. the boundaries of the period are admittedly fuzzy. the primary focus falls on the period between Alexander the Great in the late fourth century B.C.E. and the emperor Hadrian and the Bar Kokhba Revolt in the early second century C.E. It is impossible to study this period, however, without taking some account of the Persian period and the postexilic biblical books, on the one hand, and of the subsequent development of rabbinic Judaism on the other.

The present volume reprints the thirteen major essays that constituted the first part of the Dictionary. We have made corrections and other emendations, and added some recent works to the bibliographies, but the essays . . .

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