Biblical Studies Hellenistic Judaism
by
Lester L. Grabbe
  • LAST MODIFIED: 13 September 2010
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0052

Introduction

The term “Hellenistic Judaism” is a conventional one, long used, but a misnomer according to many contemporary scholars. Traditionally, “Hellenistic Judaism” was a designation for Judaism in the Greek-speaking world, including those Jews who spoke Greek and adopted (to some extent) a Greek way of life. It has been argued, however, that all Judaism after the conquests of Alexander was Hellenistic Judaism. The Hellenistic period begins with the conquests of Alexander, but when did it end? In one sense, it continued under the Romans and even encompassed the Byzantine period, ending only with the Islamic conquest. For practical purposes, however, the bibliography given here covers primarily the period from Alexander to the Roman conquest under Pompey, circa 335 to 65 BCE, a period of almost three centuries. From the point of view of the region or province of Judah, it takes in first Ptolemaic, then Seleucid, and finally Hasmonean rule. The last is very important as almost a century of rule by a native Jewish dynasty of priest-kings. Although many have seen the Maccabean revolt as opposing Hellenistic culture, this is to be very much doubted. Hellenistic Judaism is part of a wider historical period and phenomenon known as “Second Temple Judaism,” which refers to Judaism from Cyrus’s conquest of Babylon to the fall of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE, or the Persian, Greek, and early Roman periods. Many of the major developments of Judaism during this time actually began in the Persian period, but they sometimes accelerated under Greek rule, and Greek rule brought its own influences and contributions to the Jewish people. This has been most discussed with regard to Hellenization and the so-called Hellenistic reform preceding the Maccabean revolt. See Hellenism and Hellenization and Maccabean Revolt and Hasmonean Rule.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Although there is no encyclopedia or dictionary specifically on Hellenistic Judaism, a number of reference works include Hellenistic Judaism among their entries. The standard classics references (Hornblower and Spawforth 1996, Cancik and Schneider 1996–2003) often have references relating to Hellenistic Judaism or its background. The Encyclopaedia Judaica (Skolnik 2007) has entries on various aspects of the history, literature, and major figures of Hellenistic Judaism. The Anchor Bible Dictionary (Freedman 1992) and New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Sakenfield 2006–2009) include information on Second Temple Judaism (including Hellenistic Judaism), along with their primary biblical data. Neusner and Green 1996 and Neusner, et al. 1999–2004 give a great deal of information on Hellenistic Judaism, as well as other phases and periods of Judaism. See also Archaeology for other encyclopedic works.

  • Cancik, Hubert, and Helmuth Schneider, eds. Der Neue Pauly: Enzyklopädie der Antike. 16 vols. Stuttgart, Germany: J. B. Metzler, 1996–2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Recent classics encyclopedia, with many entries on the eastern Mediterranean and some on Hellenistic Judaism. Many entries do not cover the Hellenistic period as well as one would like.

    Find this resource:

  • Freedman, David Noel, ed. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. 6 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A major reference work including entries on the wider Mediterranean world, among which are some on the Jews, Judaism, and Jewish literature. Many of the entries are no more recent than the 1980s but often have good bibliographies.

    Find this resource:

  • Hornblower, Simon, and Antony Spawforth, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3d ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Standard quick reference on the Greek and Roman period, with some entries on Hellenistic Judaism. Bibliographies tend to be brief.

    Find this resource:

  • Neusner, Jacob, and William Scott Green, eds. Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period: 450 BCE to 600 CE. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This covers the Second Temple and rabbinic periods, with short entries on a variety of topics. Meant as a quick reference, it does not give bibliographies.

    Find this resource:

  • Neusner, Jacob, Alan J. Avery-Peck, and William Scott Green, eds. The Encyclopedia of Judaism. 5 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1999–2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Longer entries on a variety of topics from the biblical period to the present. Very good on the rabbinic period but also some good entries on the prerabbinic period, including Hellenistic Judaism. Many entries give a historical survey from antiquity to more recent times. Some bibliographies for further reading.

    Find this resource:

  • Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob, ed. The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. 5 vols. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2006–2009.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Similar to Freedman 1992; more up to date but slightly shorter. Includes articles on some Jewish literature other than the Bible, Jewish history, Jewish religion, and aspects of the Greek and Roman world. Some bibliographies.

    Find this resource:

  • Skolnik, Fred, ed. Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2d ed. 22 vols. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Attempts to cover all aspects of Judaism and its history, including the history and major figures of Hellenistic Judaism. Unfortunately, some of its entries on the prerabbinic period can best be characterized as eccentric, yet there are some very good individual entries.

    Find this resource:

  • Werblowsky, R. J. Zwi, and Geoffrey Wigoder, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Note that an updated edition is now in production. Very useful general, one-volume encyclopedia of Judaism with pertinent entries on the Hellenistic period.

    Find this resource:

Journals

A variety of journals may have occasional articles relating to Jews, including classics-studies journals and biblical-studies journals. These are too extensive to survey here. Most of the journals listed below are more directly related to Judea, Jewish history, or Jewish literature. Année philologique provides a guide to journals in the classics. Journals specifically in the area of Second Temple Judaism are the Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period, Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, and the Studia Philonica Annual. General journals that include Hellenistic Judaism along with other periods of history include Hebrew Union College Annual, Jewish Quarterly Review, and Journal of Jewish Studies. For additional journals, see Dead Sea Scrolls, Coins, and Archaeology.

General Background

The Jews were part of the wider Hellenistic world, along with the other peoples of the Hellenistic Near East. In order to understand the history, culture, and religion of the Jews, it is necessary to understand their context—their place in the Hellenistic world. This section provides necessary background information by discussing significant works on general Hellenistic history, the Hellenistic empires, the process of Hellenization, and Hellenistic administration and economy.

Hellenistic History

General histories of the Hellenistic period are relatively abundant, from Cary 1951 to more recent ones, such as the Walbank 1984 (see also Green 1990, cited under Hellenism and Hellenization). Some of the more recent detailed histories are, unfortunately, not in English, including Sartre 2001, Will 1979, and Will 1982. Gruen 1984 addresses the transition from Hellenistic to Roman domination. Cohen 1995 and Cohen 2005 are valuable for discussing cities, towns, and settlements based on up-to-date information.

  • Cary, M. A History of the Greek World, from 323 to 146 BC. 2d ed. London: Methuen, 1951.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Brief history of the Greek world in the early Hellenistic period, now getting somewhat out of date. Reprinted in 1972.

    Find this resource:

    • Cohen, Getzel M. The Hellenistic Settlements in Europe, the Islands, and Asia Minor. Hellenistic Culture and Society 17. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Full information is given on the major Hellenistic sites, whether from literary or archaeological sources.

      Find this resource:

    • Cohen, Getzel M. The Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, the Red Sea Basin, and North Africa. Hellenistic Culture and Society 46. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Literary and archaeological information on Hellenistic sites, including those in Palestine.

      Find this resource:

    • Gruen, Erich S. The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome. 2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      A major work relating Hellenistic history to the coming of the Romans.

      Find this resource:

    • Sartre, Maurice. D’Alexandre à Zénobie: Histoire du Levant antique; IVe siècle avant J.-C.–IIIe siècle après J.-C. Paris: Fayard, 2001.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      An important history of the eastern Mediterranean from Alexander to the 3rd century CE.

      Find this resource:

    • Walbank, Frank W., ed. Cambridge Ancient History. Vol. 7, part 1, The Hellenistic Age. 2d ed. Cambridge University Press, 1984.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Gives a historical survey of the Hellenistic kingdoms, but its main value is in the social, economic, and cultural survey.

      Find this resource:

    • Will, Édouard. Histoire politique du monde hellénistique (323–30 av. J.-C.). Vol. 1, De la mort d’Alexandre aux avènements d’Antiochos III et de Philippe V. 2d ed. Annales de l’Est, Mémoire 30. Nancy, France: Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 1979.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      This volume and Will 1982 still make up the best history of the Hellenistic period, with a good discussion of original sources. This first volume covers the period from the death of Alexander to succession of Antiochus III around 225 BCE.

      Find this resource:

    • Will, Édouard. Histoire politique du monde hellénistique (323–30 av. J.-C.). Vol. 2, Des avènements d’Antiochos III et de Philippe V à la fin des Lagides. 2d ed. Annales de l’Est, Mémoire 32. Nancy, France: Presses Universitaires de Nancy, 1982.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      This second volume covers from about 225 BCE to end of the Ptolemaic dynasty with the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BCE.

      Find this resource:

    Specific Works on the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Empires

    Palestine was contested between the Ptolemaic empire (based in Egypt) and the Seleucid empire (with its headquarters in Antioch in Syria) until the coming of the Romans (that is, about 300 to 70 BCE). This section concentrates primarily on the Ptolemaic empire, with the older works Bevan 1985 and Bouché-Leclercq 1903–1907, and the recent studies Hölbl 2001 and Huss 2001. For the Seleucid empire, there is the older work Bevan 1966, and the recent study Sherwin-White and Kuhrt 1993 (cited under Hellenism and Hellenization).

    Hellenism and Hellenization

    “Hellenism” refers to Greek culture, often with reference to the classical period. “Hellenistic” culture was the culture developed in the ancient Near East, especially after the conquest of Alexander the Great. “Hellenization” was the process of creating a new culture in the wake of Alexander’s conquests (see Green 1990, Tarn 1952, and Walbank 1993 for further discussion). The old view was that the various cultural elements “melted together” (the German word Verschmelzung is often used for this alleged process). It was sometimes assumed that Greek cultural elements displaced the native ones. More recently it has come to be recognized that native cultures of the various parts of the Near East remained and were not submerged or displaced; however, a new component was added: the Greek. Initially, this did not constitute a blending; rather, Greek cultural elements took their place alongside the original Near Eastern ones (see especially the discussion in Kuhrt and Sherwin-White 1987 as well as Sherwin-White and Kuhrt 1993). As Samuel 1983 notes, the Egyptian language continued to be used not only by many ordinary people, but Demotic was also used for documents at the lower levels of administration. The traditional Egyptian legal system continued to operate for native Egyptians, most of whom were Demotic speakers; and its proceedings were in Demotic. Sherwin-White and Kuhrt 1993 shows that cuneiform continued to be used as part of the Babylonian administration long after the Greek conquest. Walbank 1984 (cited under Hellenistic History) also includes useful information on Hellenization. Fraser 1972 examines Alexandria, one of the most important cities of the Hellenistic world.

    • Fraser, P. M. Ptolemaic Alexandria. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1972.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      A study of one of the leading cities of the Hellenistic world. Because of the large Jewish population in Alexandria, important information on Hellenistic Judaism is included.

      Find this resource:

    • Green, Peter. Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      A comprehensive study of the Hellenistic period, including history, literature, and society.

      Find this resource:

    • Kuhrt, Amélie, and Susan Sherwin-White, eds. Hellenism in the East: The Interaction of Greek and Non-Greek Civilizations from Syria to Central Asia after Alexander. London: Duckworth, 1987.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      A seminal collection of essays that shows the extent to which the Hellenistic world retained its Near Eastern character and how the Greek elements fitted with native ones to produce a new synthesis.

      Find this resource:

    • Samuel, Alan E. From Athens to Alexandria: Hellenism and Social Goals in Ptolemaic Egypt. Studia Hellenistica 26. Louvain, Belgium: Imprimerie Orientaliste, 1983.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      This study makes clear the extent to which native Egyptian elements contributed to the culture of Hellenistic Egypt.

      Find this resource:

      • Sherwin-White, Susan, and Amélie Kuhrt. From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire. London: Duckworth, 1993.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        A landmark work on seeing the Seleucid Empire from an ancient Near Eastern perspective rather than a Greek one.

        Find this resource:

      • Tarn, W. W. Hellenistic Civilisation. 3d ed. London: Arnold, 1952.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        A classic work on Hellenization that covers all aspects of the subject in brief compass, including a chapter on Hellenistic Judaism.

        Find this resource:

        • Walbank, Frank W. The Hellenistic World. Rev. ed. Fontana History of the Ancient World 5. London: Fontana, 1993.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          A brief but good overview by a leading scholar of the Hellenistic period.

          Find this resource:

        Hellenistic Administration

        Much of the administration of the Greek kingdoms involved finance, which means that administration and the economy are not easily separated; thus, some of the following works could be cited under Hellenistic Economy and vice versa. Treatments of the administration include Bickerman 1938 on the Seleucids and Bagnall 1976 on the Ptolemaic territories (including Judea). Walbank 1984 (cited under Hellenistic History) also includes useful information on the Hellenistic economy and society. The classic work Rostovtzeff 1941 deals with the administration, as well as the society and economy, of the entire Hellenistic world. Clarysse and Thompson 2006 provides primary data on Ptolemaic demography. Cohen 1978 focuses on Seleucid settlements that formed colonies.

        • Bagnall, Roger S. The Administration of the Ptolemaic Possessions outside Egypt. Columbia Studies in Classical Tradition 4. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1976.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          A study of the administration of Ptolemaic territories in Syro-Palestine and Asia Minor, including Judah.

          Find this resource:

        • Bickerman, E. J. Institutions des Séleucides. Paris: P. Geuthner, 1938.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          A classic study of the Seleucid administration that has not been superseded.

          Find this resource:

          • Clarysse, Willy, and Dorothy J. Thompson. Counting the People in Hellenistic Egypt. 2 vols. Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            A collection and analysis of primary data on the demography of Egypt in the Hellenistic period. Volume 1, Population Registers (P. Count). Volume 2, Historical Studies.

            Find this resource:

          • Cohen, Getzel M. The Seleucid Colonies: Studies in Founding, Administration, and Organization. Historia Einzelschrift 30. Wiesbaden, West Germany: Steiner, 1978.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            A study of the colonies founded by the Seleucid rulers, including some allegedly of Jewish settlers.

            Find this resource:

          • Rostovtzeff, M. The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1941.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            A classic work that gives a historical perspective on the society and developing economies in the Macedonian, Egyptian, and Seleucid realms. The third volume gives extensive documentation in the notes.

            Find this resource:

            Hellenistic Economy

            Interest in the Hellenistic economy has increased greatly in recent years, and a number of new studies have appeared as a result. Finley 1999 provides the foundation of much modern work, but some aspects of it have been controversial. Two recent studies are fundamental for understanding Ptolemaic Egypt (Manning 2003) and the Seleucid kingdom (Aperghis 2004). Pastor 1997 treats Palestine specifically, including the Hellenistic period. Several volumes of collected essays explore aspects of the Hellenistic economy (Archibald, et al. 2001, Archibald, et al. 2005, Manning and Morris 2005, Scheidel and von Reden 2002), including an evaluation of Finley’s contribution (Scheidel and von Reden 2002).

            • Aperghis, G. G. The Seleukid Royal Economy: The Finances and Financial Administration of the Seleukid Empire. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A comprehensive study of finances in the Seleucid Empire, with many comments relating to the general administration of the kingdom.

              Find this resource:

            • Archibald, Zofia H., John Davies, Vincent Gabrielsen, and G. J. Oliver, eds. Hellenistic Economies. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Important collection of essays, including one on the “post-Finley era” and one on the Hellenistic city Maresha in Palestine.

              Find this resource:

            • Archibald, Zofia H., John K. Davies, and Vincent Gabrielsen, eds. Making, Moving and Managing: The New World of Ancient Economies, 323–31 BC. Oxford: Oxbow, 2005.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Recent collection of essays that supplements Archibald, et al. 2001.

              Find this resource:

            • Finley, M. I. The Ancient Economy. Rev. ed. Sather Classical Lectures 43. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A pioneering work on the economy in the Greek and Roman world, though some aspects of it have been much debated and criticized since its first appearance in 1973.

              Find this resource:

            • Manning, J. G. Land and Power in Ptolemaic Egypt: The Structure of Land Tenure. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              This gives a helpful perspective on the Ptolemaic economy in general, though focusing on land, its exploitation, and its ownership.

              Find this resource:

            • Manning, J. G., and Ian Morris, eds. The Ancient Economy: Evidence and Models. Social Science History. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Very useful collection of recent essays, especially the introduction by the editors.

              Find this resource:

            • Pastor, Jack. Land and Economy in Ancient Palestine. London and New York: Routledge, 1997.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Covers the biblical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Sometimes the chapters are rather brief and can be supplemented usefully by work on the broader economy of the Hellenistic kingdoms.

              Find this resource:

            • Scheidel, Walter, and Sitta von Reden, eds. The Ancient Economy. Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Collection of essays that includes a useful retrospective of Finley’s work.

              Find this resource:

            Hellenistic Judaism and Jewish History

            This section deals primarily with the historical aspect of Judaism and the Jewish people, while another section focuses on Jewish Literature. Naturally, the literature is an important source for the history of people and religion, which means that a neat division cannot be made. That is why the writings of Josephus are included in this section given his importance for history. We begin with a section on General Surveys of Judaism and Jewish History, followed by a section on Specialized Histories and Studies, and then a section specifically on the important event of the Maccabean Revolt and Hasmonean Rule.

            General Surveys of Judaism and Jewish History

            Short introductions include Cohen 2006, Schäfer 1995, and VanderKam 2001; VanderKam is particularly good on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grabbe 1992 gives a medium-length history of the Second Temple period, supplemented by the author’s survey of Judaic religion (see Grabbe 2000, cited under Specialized Histories and Studies). Barclay 1996 focuses specifically on the Jews in the diaspora, and Modrzejewski 1995 does the same for the Jews of Egypt.

            • Barclay, John M. G. Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE–117 CE). Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A reliable history of the Jews in Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor during the Greek and early Roman periods.

              Find this resource:

            • Cohen, Shaye J. D. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. 2d ed. Library Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2006.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A useful short history, though it begins only with the Maccabean period and omits the period of Ptolemaic and Seleucid rule.

              Find this resource:

            • Grabbe, Lester L. Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian. 2 vols. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A medium-length history of Second Temple Judaism, with several chapters covering Hellenism/Hellenization, Ptolemaic and Seleucid rule, the Hasmonean kingdom, and the Roman conquest. Volume 1, Persian and Greek Periods. Volume 2, The Roman Period. British edition is printed in one volume (London: SCM, 1994).

              Find this resource:

            • Modrzejewski, Joseph Mélèze. The Jews of Egypt: From Rameses II to Emperor Hadrian. Translated by Robert Cornman. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1995.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Valuable for tracing the Jewish settlement in Egypt over a long period but also includes a useful overview of Jews in Hellenistic Egypt.

              Find this resource:

            • Schäfer, Peter. The History of the Jews in Antiquity: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest. Translated by David Chowcat. Luxembourg: Harwood Academic, 1995.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A short history that covers the Greek period, reliable but brief.

              Find this resource:

            • VanderKam, James C. An Introduction to Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A short treatment of Judaism in the Second Temple period, with special emphasis on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

              Find this resource:

            Specialized Histories and Studies

            Probably the main reference work on Jews and Judaism of the Hellenistic period is Schürer 1973–1987, though the history section (Volume 1) is seriously out of date. Volume 2 of Grabbe 2004–2008 is a comprehensive treatment of the Jews and Judaism in the Ptolemaic and early Seleucid periods (a volume on the Hasmonean period is in preparation). The second volume of the Cambridge History of Judaism (Davies and Finkelstein 1989) has a variety of relevant essays, mostly by well-known scholars, though there is no overview or attempt to integrate the essays. Hengel 1974 is a seminal work on the Jewish interaction with the Hellenistic world, including Jewish history leading up to the Maccabean revolt, though the author was partially anticipated by Tcherikover 1959 (cited under Maccabean Revolt and Hasmonean Rule). Freyne 1980 writes on the Jews of Galilee, Gera 1998 on the period of the late third and first part of the 2nd century BCE, Grabbe 2000 on Judaic religion, and VanderKam 2004 on the Jewish high priests.

            • Davies, W. D., and Louis Finkelstein, eds. The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 2, The Hellenistic Age. Cambridge University Press, 1989.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Essays on a variety of topics, including the archaeology, languages, diaspora, literature, and other aspects of the history of the Jews in the Hellenistic period. Some unevenness in the quality of the essays, but the main weakness is lack of an overview.

              Find this resource:

            • Freyne, Seán. Galilee, from Alexander the Great to Hadrian, 323 BCE to 135 CE: A Study of Second Temple Judaism. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 1980.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              History of Judaism in one specific region, the Galilee, including the Greek period.

              Find this resource:

            • Gera, Dov. Judaea and Mediterranean Politics, 219 to 161 BCE. Brill’s Series in Jewish Studies 8. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1998.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A study of the history of Judah in a key transition period from the end of Ptolemaic rule to the beginnings of Hasmonean rule.

              Find this resource:

            • Grabbe, Lester L. Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period: Belief and Practice from the Exile to Yavneh. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Written to supplement Grabbe 1992 (under General Surveys of Judaism and Jewish History) by focusing on religion rather than history.

              Find this resource:

            • Grabbe, Lester L. A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period. 2 vols. Library of Second Temple Studies 47 and 68. London and New York: T & T Clark, 2004–2008.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Projected four-volume work to cover both Jewish history and Jewish religion. Two volumes have appeared, on the Persian period (2004) and the early Greek period to 175 BCE (2008). Volume 3 is planned to be on Seleucid and Hasmonean rule, and volume 4 will cover the Roman period to 70 CE (though a brief survey is also planned for the period from 70 to the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–135 CE).

              Find this resource:

            • Hengel, Martin. Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period. Translated by John Bowden. 2 vols. London: SCM, 1974.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A detailed examination of the Jewish interaction with Hellenistic culture and rule from the early Greek period to the Maccabean revolt. A seminal work, but his espousal of Bickerman’s theory about the cause of the Seleucid persecution of Judaism is not widely accepted today.

              Find this resource:

            • Schürer, Emil. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 BC–AD 135). 3 vols. Rev. ed. Translated by T. A. Burkill. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1973–1987.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A major study of the Jews and Judaism in the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Hasmonean, and Roman periods, originally published in the late 19th century but translated and revised in the 1970s and 1980s. Volume 1, on the history, was not thoroughly revised and is strongly in need of updating. Volume 2, on the Hellenistic world and the Jews in the diaspora, and Volume 3 (in 2 parts), on the literature, are solid and reliable studies.

              Find this resource:

            • VanderKam, James C. From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests after the Exile. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2004.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A study of the high priests of the Jewish temple in the Second Temple period.

              Find this resource:

            Maccabean Revolt and Hasmonean Rule

            A number of the works in the previous section cover this period, but because of its importance, many individual studies have been produced. Some of the key ones are given here, including some commentaries. The deuterocanonical biblical books 1 and 2 Maccabees are central to any history of this period (Goldstein 1976, Goldstein 1983, Schwartz 2008), as is the book of Daniel (Collins 1993). Bickerman 1979 presents an influential thesis, though the more recent work Bringmann 1983 gives other interpretations. Eshel 2008 considers the Hasmonean background to many of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Tcherikover 1959 discusses the period and factors leading up to the Maccabean revolt, as well as the revolt itself (as does Hengel 1974, cited under Specialized Histories and Studies).

            • Bickerman, Elias J. The God of the Maccabees: Studies on the Meaning and Origin of the Maccabean Revolt. Translated by Horst R. Moehring. Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity 32. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1979.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A valuable study, but the author’s explanation for the Seleucid persecution is mainly rejected today.

              Find this resource:

            • Bringmann, Klaus. Hellenistische Reform und Religionsverfolgung in Judäa: Eine Untersuchung zur jüdisch-hellenistischen Geschichte. Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen, Philologisch-Historische Klasse, 3. Folge, 132. Göttingen, West Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1983.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A solid study of the causes of the persecution of Judaism and the Maccabean revolt, with the author’s own suggested solution.

              Find this resource:

            • Collins, John J. Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel. Hermeneia. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1993.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              The most detailed recent commentary on Daniel which has oblique references to the persecution of Judaism and the Maccabean revolt.

              Find this resource:

            • Eshel, Hanan. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hasmonean State. Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              An analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls for their references and allusions to historical figures and events.

              Find this resource:

            • Goldstein, Jonathan A., ed. I Maccabees: A New Translation, with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible 41. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Includes not only a full introduction and commentary but also presents a new theory as to why Antiochus IV persecuted Judaism.

              Find this resource:

            • Goldstein, Jonathan A. II Maccabees: A New Translation, with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible 41A. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              On a par with Goldstein 1976, but with a revised thesis as to why Antiochus persecuted the Jews.

              Find this resource:

            • Schwartz, Daniel R. 2 Maccabees. Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A solid commentary by a leading scholar of Judaism in this period.

              Find this resource:

            • Tcherikover, Victor A. Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews. Translated by S. Applebaum. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1959.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A classic study of the Jews in the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, and Hasmonean periods, with many insights.

              Find this resource:

              Josephus

              Although Josephus is from the Roman period, he is important because (a) he is a major source for the Jews and Judaism in the Hellenistic period, and (b) he himself wrote in Greek and had absorbed a great deal from Greek culture. For an introduction to Josephus, see especially Bilde 1988 and Rajak 2002. An important critique of Josephus as a historian is given by Cohen 1979. The standard working text is the Loeb Classical Library edition, with Greek text and English translation (Thackeray, et al. 1926–1965). Steve Mason is editing a series of English translations (Mason 2000) with extensive commentary, of which several of the approximately ten projected volumes have appeared. Schreckenberg 1968 and Schreckenberg 1979 give a chronological bibliography, while Feldman 1984 gives an annotated bibliography.

              • Bilde, Per. Flavius Josephus between Jerusalem and Rome: His Life, His Works, and Their Importance. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha Supplement 2; Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1988.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Provides a detailed overview of Josephus and his writings, including an important survey of current scholarship.

                Find this resource:

              • Cohen, Shaye J. D. Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development as a Historian. Columbia Studies in Classical Texts 8. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1979.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                A detailed examination and evaluation of Josephus as a historian.

                Find this resource:

              • Feldman, Louis H. Josephus and Modern Scholarship, 1937–1980. Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 1984.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                An annotated classified bibliography. Very useful, though other specialists would not always agree with the views expressed.

                Find this resource:

              • Mason, Steve, ed. Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 2000–.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                This fills a gap in that no detailed commentary on all of Josephus’s works has previously been available.

                Find this resource:

                • Rajak, Tessa. Josephus: The Historian and His Society. 2d ed. London: Duckworth, 2002.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Summarizes the main aspects of Josephus’s life, his works, and his value as a historian.

                  Find this resource:

                • Schreckenberg, Heinz. Bibliographie zu Flavius Josephus. Arbeiten zur Literatur und Geschichte des Hellenistischen Judentums 1. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1968.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  A chronological list of Josephus studies, from 1470.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Schreckenberg, Heinz. Bibliographie zu Flavius Josephus: Supplementband mit Gesamtregister. Arbeiten zur Literatur und Geschichte des Hellenistischen Judentums 14. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1979.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    A supplement to Schreckenberg 1968, bringing it up to date and filling in items omitted from the previous volume.

                    Find this resource:

                  • Thackeray, Henry St. John, Ralph Marcus, and Louis H. Feldman, eds. Josephus. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926–1965.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    A pocket edition of the Greek text, with an English translation. This is the standard working edition and is widely used in scholarship, especially when quoting Josephus in English.

                    Find this resource:

                    Jewish Literature

                    A number of different categories are used for the Jewish literature of this period, though these divisions are often artificial ones, imposed by historical development and accidents of history. Some of the biblical literature arises from the Hellenistic period. The fact that a writing happens to occur in the canon of a religious community (Jewish, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Protestant) does not, by itself, distinguish it from other Jewish writings in matters of genre, history, or value. But some important commentaries on biblical and other Jewish writings are very useful helps in analyzing key writings, and some of the main Commentary Series are looked at here. The significance of the Greek Bible in the development of Judaism (and its later offshoot, Christianity) is often overlooked but is considered here. Two large collections of literature, the Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls, are considered separately. Philo’s writings are mainly on the biblical text and one of the largest single-authored bodies of Jewish writings from Hellenistic Judaism. (For another extensive set of writings, by Josephus, see the works cited under Josephus).

                    Commentary Series

                    The relevant biblical books from this period, such as Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), will be found in Bible commentaries, such as the Anchor Bible and the Hermeneia series. The Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des Urchristentums series contains commentaries on several Jewish writings, such as 1 Enoch and Testament of Abraham, while the Commentaries on Early Jewish Literature should prove to be a major contribution as more volumes appear. For those who read German, many writings have appeared in the Jüdische Schriften aus Hellenistisch-Römischer Zeit series; on this, see the works cited under Apocrypha and Psepigrapha.

                    The Bible in Greek (Septuagint Translation)

                    The Pentateuch seems to have been translated into Greek around the middle of the 3rd century BCE, probably by the Jewish community in Alexandria. The rest of the biblical books followed over the next 150 years. As time went on, parts of the Greek text were periodically revised. For basic introductions to study of the Greek Bible, see Dines 2004, Fernández Marcos 2000, and Jobes and Silva 2000. Jellicoe 1968 provides a detailed scholarly discussion, though much has been done since it was published. Brock, et al. 1973 and Dogniez 1995 give detailed bibliography from the 19th century to 1993. See Pietersma and Wright 2007 for a recent English translation. For a discussion of text-critical matters and the relationship between the various versions of the Hebrew Bible, see Tov 2001.

                    Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

                    Terminology for Jewish literature is not fully agreed on, but most of the literature (apart from the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, and Philo of Alexandria) can be included in the collections known as the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. An introduction to much of this literature is given by Nickelsburg 2005 and Stone 1984, while Collins 2000 addresses some of the main writings in Greek. The actual writings themselves can be found in the collections Charlesworth 1983–1985, Sparks 1984, and the Jüdische Schriften aus Hellenistisch-Römischer Zeit series, as well as the older collection Charles 1913.

                    • Charles, R. H., ed. Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1913.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      An older collection of Jewish writings in translation, with brief commentary, that still has value.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983–1985.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        The standard collection of these Jewish writings in English translation, with useful introductions and bibliography. Does not include most of the Apocrypha or the Qumran texts, although some of the writings are rather later than the Second Temple period.

                        Find this resource:

                      • Collins, John J. Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. 2d ed. Biblical Resource Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        A good survey of much of the Jewish literature in Greek, except (inexplicably) Josephus and Philo of Alexandria.

                        Find this resource:

                      • Jüdische Schriften aus Hellenistisch-Römischer Zeit. Gütersloh, Germany: Gerd Mohn. 1973–.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        German translations, with introduction and brief notes, of some of the main Second Temple Jewish writings, including many of those originating or transmitted in Greek.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Nickelsburg, George W. E. Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah: A Historical and Literary Introduction. 2d ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2005.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          An introduction to much of the noncanonical Jewish literature from the Second Temple period (except for most of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, and Philo of Alexandria). With CD-ROM.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Sparks, H. F. D., ed. The Apocryphal Old Testament. Oxford: Clarendon, 1984.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          In spite of the title, this does not include the books of the Apocrypha but some of the main writings of the Pseudepigrapha.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Stone, Michael E., ed. Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period: Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Qumran Sectarian Writings, Philo, Josephus. Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum 2/2; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          An introduction to much of the Jewish literature by a variety of specialists.

                          Find this resource:

                        Dead Sea Scrolls

                        There is an enormous bibliography on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which cannot be given here. The main publication of the Scrolls themselves is found in the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series. A handy edition with both original text and English translation is given by García Martínez and Tigchelaar 1997–1998 (also published in some other languages). An edition with commentary, Charlesworth 1994–, is in process. The concordance Abegg, et al. 2003 is a useful tool for researching the Scrolls. Two of the main journals devoted to the Scrolls are Dead Sea Discoveries and Revue de Qumran.

                        Inscriptions, Papyri, Coins, and Seals

                        Although many of the items under this heading contain writing and may even represent literature in some instances, the data in most cases comes from the work of archaeology. Inscriptions tend to provide a different sort of data from literature and appear in several important collections, some of which are discussed under General Collections of Inscriptions. Similarly, some of the main collections of papyri relating to Jews have a section (Jewish Inscriptions and Papyri and References to Jews). Coins provide a variety of data, including not only inscriptions but also iconography; Seals are related to coins and, like them, are also useful for dating archaeological strata.

                        General Collections of Inscriptions

                        General collections of some of the main inscriptions of relevance for Hellenistic history are found in Austin 2006, Bagnall and Derow 2004, and Burstein 1985. Dittenberger 1960 is still the main collection of Greek inscriptions from the Near East. Welles 1934 brings together the correspondence issued by Hellenistic kings, while Lenger 1980 catalogues some of the main decrees of the Ptolemaic rulers.

                        • Austin, M. M. The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest: A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          An extensive collection of texts and documents important for Hellenistic history and society.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Bagnall, Roger S., and Peter Derow, eds. The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation, 2d ed. Blackwell Sourcebooks in Ancient History 1. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A collection of documents in translation, a good supplement to Austin but not as extensive.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Burstein, Stanley M. The Hellenistic Age from the Battle of Ipsos to the Death of Kleopatra VII. Translated Documents of Greece and Rome 3. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 1985.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A collection of documents in translation, overlapping with Austin and Bagnall/Derow.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Dittenberger, Wilhelm, ed. Orientis graeci inscriptiones selectae: Supplementum Sylloges inscriptionum graecarum. 2 vols. Hildesheim, West Germany: G. Olms, 1960.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A standard collection of Greek inscriptions in the Near East. First published 1903–1905.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Lenger, Marie-Thérèse, ed. Corpus des Ordonnances des Ptolémées. 2d ed. Académie Royale de Belgique, Classe des Lettres, Mémoires, 2d ser., 56/5. Brussels: Academie Royale de Belgique, 1980.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            A collection of some of the main Ptolemaic decrees.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Welles, C. Bradford. Royal Correspondence in the Hellenistic Period: A Study in Greek Epigraphy. Studia Historica 28. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1934.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              A standard collection of correspondence with and from Hellenistic kings. Reprinted in 1974 (Chicago: Ares).

                              Find this resource:

                              Jewish Inscriptions and Papyri and References to Jews

                              A number of collections are listed here, the contents of which are normally clear from the titles. Especially important are the Zenon papyri, which have a number of references to Jews (Durand 1997, Tcherikover 1937). The Zenon correspondence specifically relating to Jews is given in Tcherikover, et al. 1957–1964, along with many other papyri mentioning Jews during the Ptolemaic (and Roman) period, to be supplemented by the archive published in Cowley and Maresch 2001. Some of the Elephantine papyri date from the Hellenistic period, though most are from the Persian period (Porten 1996). Aramaic inscriptions and manuscripts (including the Dead Sea Scrolls) are given in Fitzmyer and Harrington 1978. Horbury and Noy 1992 collects inscriptions relating to Jews in Egypt, and Stern 1974–1984 brings together the passages referring to Jews in Greek and Roman writings.

                              • Cowey, James M. S., and Klaus Maresch, eds. Urkunden des Politeuma der Juden von Herakleopolis (144/3–133/2 v. Chr.). Abhandlungen der Nordrhein-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Papyrologica Coloniensia 29. Wiesbaden, Germany: Westdeutscher, 2001.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                An important archive relating to Jews in Egypt.

                                Find this resource:

                              • Durand, Xavier. Des Grecs en Palestine au IIIe siècle avant Jésus-Christ: Le dossier syrien des archives de Zénon de Caunos, 261–252. Cahiers de la Revue Biblique 38. Paris: J. Gabalda, 1997.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                A good coverage of the Zenon papyri, based on recent study, with text, translation, and commentary on many of the key documents.

                                Find this resource:

                              • Fitzmyer, Joseph A., and Daniel J. Harrington. A Manual of Palestinian Aramaic Texts (Second Century B.C.–Second Century A.D. Biblica et Orientalia 34. Rome: Biblical Institute, 1978.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                A collection of all the available Palestinian texts in the Aramaic language from about 200 BCE to 135 CE, including not only inscriptions but also manuscripts such as the Aramaic texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Horbury, William, and David Noy, eds. Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco-Roman Egypt: With an Index of the Jewish Inscriptions of Egypt and Cyrenaica. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  The standard collection of Jewish inscriptions in Egypt.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Porten, Bezalel, ed. The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change. Documenta et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui 22; Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1996.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Not only the Aramaic papyri but also some of the Egyptian papyri are given in translation, some from the post-Alexander period.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Stern, Menahem, ed. Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. 3 vols. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1974–1984.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Most of the references to Jews in classical literature: texts, translation, and commentary.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Tcherikover, Victor A. “Palestine under the Ptolemies (A Contribution to the Study of the Zenon Papyri).” Mizraim 4–5 (1937): 9–90.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  A summary of the main economic and administrative data from the Zenon papyri.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Tcherikover, Victor A., Aleksander Fuks, and Menahem Stern, eds. Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum. 3 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957–1964.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    A collection of all the papyri referring to Jews.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    Coins

                                    The main work on Jewish coins in English is Meshorer 1982, a two-volume work. In addition, two journals supplement it: the Israel Numismatic Journal and the Israel Numismatic Review.

                                    Seals

                                    The main collection of Jewish seals is Avigad and Sass 1997. Lipschits and Vanderhooft are directing a project on the Yehud stamp impressions, and summarize some of their work in Lipschits and Vanderhooft 2007a and Lipschits and Vanderhooft 2007b.

                                    Archaeology

                                    The archaeology of the Hellenistic period has not reached the same level of certainty and clarity as in some other periods. Dating is also a particular problem. A good archaeological treatment of Hellenistic Palestine remains a desideratum, but several works help to fill the gap, especially the books Arav 1989 and Kuhnen 1990, as well as the article Berlin 1997. The main reference work for archaeological sites is Stern 1993–2006 (to be supplemented by Cohen 1995 and Cohen 2005, cited under Hellenistic History). Meyers 1997 includes entries on sites but also some regional surveys and individual types of artifacts (such as ceramics) and other general topics (such as demography, synagogues). Useful archaeological journals are the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Israel Exploration Journal, Palestine Exploration Quarterly, and Tel Aviv.

                                    back to top

                                    Article

                                    Up

                                    Down