Understanding Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism
UNDERSTANDING SECOND TEMPLE AND RABBINIC JUDAISM examines the history of Judaism as it developed from the religion of biblical Israel to the Judaism of the talmudic rabbis. Each step in this process is discussed from historical, literary, and religious points of view in the context of the political history of the Jews. The book starts with an overview of the biblical heritage and moves into the Persian period followed by the confrontation of Judaism with Hellenism. It discusses the writings of Second Temple times including the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, and Dead Sea Scrolls, the sects of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, the rise of Christianity, the Jewish revolts against Rome, and the consolidation of rabbinic Judaism in the Mishnah and Talmud. One of the book's major theses is that the various approaches to Judaism shared sufficient common ground as to be classified as one, albeit variegated, religious tradition. Diverging trends are traced during this period, as is the question of therole of interpretation, the impact of external influences, and the process by which the competing approaches were eventually supplanted by the rabbinic tradition, which became the basis for medieval and modern Judaism. In this way, Judaism is shown to have traveled the long road from the textual heritage of the Hebrew Bible to the oral tradition of the rabbis. It is highly readable, illustrated with maps and photographs, and each chapter concludes with a selection of primary source material in English translation to elucidate the narrative.
- 2003 Lawrence H
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