Generations of scholars have debated the influence of Greco-Roman culture on Jewish society and the degree of its impact on Jewish material culture and religious practice in Palestine and the Diaspora of antiquity. Judaism and Hellenism in Antiquity examines this phenomenon from the aftermath of Alexander’s conquest to the Byzantine era, offering a balanced view of the literary, epigraphical, and archeological evidence attesting to the process of Hellenization in Jewish life and its impact on several aspects of Judaism as we know it today.
Lee Levine approaches this broad subject in three essays, each focusing on diverse issues in Jewish culture: Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period, rabbinic tradition, and the ancient synagogue. With his comprehensive and thorough knowledge of the intricate dynamics of the Jewish and Greco-Roman societies, the author demonstrates the complexities of Hellenization and its role in shaping many aspects of Jewish life―economic, social, political, cultural, and religious. He argues against oversimplification and encourages a more nuanced view, whereby the Jews of antiquity survived and prospered, despite the social and political upheavals of this era, emerging as perpetuators of their own Jewish traditions while open to change from the outside world.
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