Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. / Edition 1

Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. / Edition 1

by Seth Schwartz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691117810

ISBN-13: 9780691117812

Pub. Date: 01/12/2004

Publisher: Princeton University Press

This provocative new history of Palestinian Jewish society in antiquity marks the first comprehensive effort to gauge the effects of imperial domination on this people. Probing more than eight centuries of Persian, Greek, and Roman rule, Seth Schwartz reaches some startling conclusions—foremost among them that the Christianization of the Roman Empire generated

Overview

This provocative new history of Palestinian Jewish society in antiquity marks the first comprehensive effort to gauge the effects of imperial domination on this people. Probing more than eight centuries of Persian, Greek, and Roman rule, Seth Schwartz reaches some startling conclusions—foremost among them that the Christianization of the Roman Empire generated the most fundamental features of medieval and modern Jewish life.

Schwartz begins by arguing that the distinctiveness of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and early Roman periods was the product of generally prevailing imperial tolerance. From around 70 C.E. to the mid-fourth century, with failed revolts and the alluring cultural norms of the High Roman Empire, Judaism all but disintegrated. However, late in the Roman Empire, the Christianized state played a decisive role in ''re-Judaizing'' the Jews. The state gradually excluded them from society while supporting their leaders and recognizing their local communities. It was thus in Late Antiquity that the synagogue-centered community became prevalent among the Jews, that there re-emerged a distinctively Jewish art and literature—laying the foundations for Judaism as we know it today.

Through masterful scholarship set in rich detail, this book challenges traditional views rooted in romantic notions about Jewish fortitude. Integrating material relics and literature while setting the Jews in their eastern Mediterranean context, it addresses the complex and varied consequences of imperialism on this vast period of Jewish history more ambitiously than ever before. Imperialism in Jewish Society will be widely read and much debated.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691117812
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
01/12/2004
Series:
Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the Modern World Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
939,785
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.74(d)

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS vii
ABREVIATIONS ix
Introduction 1
PART I: THE JEWS OF PALESTINE TO 70 C.E. 17
ONE: Politics and Society 19
TWO: Religion and Society before 70 C.E. 49
PART II: JEWS IN PALESTINE FROM 135 TO 350 101
THREE: Rabbis and Patriarchs on the Margins 103
FOUR: Jews or Pagans? The Jews and the Greco-Roman Cities of Palestine 129
FIVE: The Rabbis and Urban Culture 162
PART III: SYNAGOGUE AND COMMUNITY FROM 350 TO 640 177
SIX: Christianization 179
SEVEN: A Landscape Transformed 203
EIGHT: Origins and Diffusion of the Synagogue 215
NINE: Judaization 240
TEN: The Synagogue and the Ideology of Community 275
Conclusion 291
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 293
INDEX 317

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