The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties / Edition 1

The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties / Edition 1

by Shaye J. D. Cohen
     
 


In modern times, various Jewish groups have argued whether Jewishness is a function of ethnicity, of nationality, of religion, or of all three. These fundamental conceptions were already in place in antiquity. The peculiar combination of ethnicity, nationality, and religion that would characterize Jewishness through the centuries first took shape in the second… See more details below

Overview


In modern times, various Jewish groups have argued whether Jewishness is a function of ethnicity, of nationality, of religion, or of all three. These fundamental conceptions were already in place in antiquity. The peculiar combination of ethnicity, nationality, and religion that would characterize Jewishness through the centuries first took shape in the second century B.C.E. This brilliantly argued, accessible book unravels one of the most complex issues of late antiquity by showing how these elements were understood and applied in the construction of Jewish identity—by Jews, by gentiles, and by the state.

Beginning with the intriguing case of Herod the Great's Jewishness, Cohen moves on to discuss what made or did not make Jewish identity during the period, the question of conversion, the prohibition of intermarriage, matrilineal descent, and the place of the convert in the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. His superb study is unique in that it draws on a wide range of sources: Jewish literature written in Greek, classical sources, and rabbinic texts, both ancient and medieval. It also features a detailed discussion of many of the central rabbinic texts dealing with conversion to Judaism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520226937
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
01/17/2001
Series:
Hellenistic Culture and Society Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
441
Sales rank:
1,342,705
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Note on God and Parentheses
Prologue: Jews and Others1
Pt. IWho was a Jew?11
1Was Herod Jewish?13
2"Those Who Say They Are Jews and Are Not": How Do You Know a Jew in Antiquity When You See One?25
3Ioudaios, Iudaeus, Judaean, Jew69
Pt. IIThe Boundary Crossed: Becoming a Jew107
4From Ethnos to Ethno-religion109
5Crossing the Boundary and Becoming a Jew140
6Ioudaizein, "to Judaize"175
7The Rabbinic Conversion Ceremony198
Pt. IIIThe Boundary Violated: The Union of Diverse Kinds239
8The Prohibition of Intermarriage241
9The Matrilineal Principle263
10Israelite Mothers, Israelite Fathers: Matrilineal Descent and the Inequality of the Convert308
Epilogue: Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness: Us and them341
App. AWas Martial's Slave Jewish?351
App. BWas Menophilus Jewish?358
App. CWas Trophimus Jewish?360
App. DWas Timothy Jewish?363
Glossary of Some Hebrew Terms379
Bibliography and Abbreviations381
General Index393
Index of Premodern Sources411
Index of Modern Scholars419

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