The Jews of Egypt: From Rameses II to Emperor Hadrian

Overview

Hellenistic Egypt was the setting for perhaps the first Jewish Golden Age, a time "golden" in Jewish memory as an era of vibrant cultural interaction between the Jews and their gentile hosts. This is the story of the adventures and misadventures of the people of Israel in the land of Egypt the years shrouded in the mists of biblical history under the Pharaohs; the strange intermezzo of the Jewish mercenary detachment on the island of Elephantine on the upper Nile; the apogee of Jewish culture under Ptolemies; and...

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Overview

Hellenistic Egypt was the setting for perhaps the first Jewish Golden Age, a time "golden" in Jewish memory as an era of vibrant cultural interaction between the Jews and their gentile hosts. This is the story of the adventures and misadventures of the people of Israel in the land of Egypt the years shrouded in the mists of biblical history under the Pharaohs; the strange intermezzo of the Jewish mercenary detachment on the island of Elephantine on the upper Nile; the apogee of Jewish culture under Ptolemies; and finally, the Jewish community's rapid decline and catastrophic disappearance under Roman rule. Joseph Mélèze Modrzejewski uses scientific analysis to illuminate the reality underlying our image of the past. The biblical accounts and Jewish and pagan literary texts are juxtaposed with discoveries of a century of archaeological and papyrological research that has unearthed the edicts of emperors as well as the humble correspondence of common people. In a tantalizing epilogue, Modrzejewski probes a turning point in Western civilization: the brief but crucial episode when budding Christianity and the Alexandrian Jews parted company.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Urbane, intelligent, and well-researched . . . more than ample for a well-rounded view of Jewish history in ancient Egypt."—Library Journal
Jewish Book World
Using biblical, Jewish and pagan literary sources, the author, a noted French Professor of Ancient History, traces the daily life experience of the Jews of Egypt in the period from the pharoahs to the Greek domination.
Booknews
Chronicles the fortunes of the Jewish people in Egypt from the time of the Pharaohs to Roman rule, drawing on biblical accounts and Jewish and pagan literary texts as well as archaeological and papyrological research. Periods covered include the Judean colony of Elephantine in Egypt, Ptolemaic Egypt, Alexandrian Judaism, and the brief but crucial episode when Christianity and Alexandrian Jews parted company. Amply illustrated with b&w photos, drawings, and maps. Available from The Jewish Publication Society, 1930 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691015750
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 301
  • Product dimensions: 6.93 (w) x 9.81 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Shaye J. D. Cohen
Introduction
Note to the Princeton Paperback Edition
THE DAWN: Pharaohs and Great Kings
1 Biblical Egypt
Joseph and His Brothers
Moses and the Pharaoh
The Desert Road
2 The Stronghold of Elephantine
A Judean Colony in Egypt
Mibtahiah and Her Husbands: A Family of
Note during the Reign of Artaxerxes
"God of Heaven" and God of the Floods
THE ZENITH: Ptolemaic Egypt
3 Alexandrian Judaism and Its Problems
Alexander and the Jews
Can One Be Both Jewish and Greek?
A Love Story
4 A New Diaspora
Among the "Hellenes"
Soldiers of the Ptolemies
"God the Most High" and "Splendor of Israel"
5 A Law for the Jews of Egypt
The Greek Torah and the Demotic Case Book
The Law of Moses and the Justice of the King
"The Law of the Land Is Law"
6 A Jewish Temple in Ptolemaic Egypt
The Echoes of the Maccabean Crisis
"An Altar of the Lord in the Midst of the
Land of Egypt"
Images of the "Land of Onias"
7 At the Wellsprings of Pagan Anti-Semitism
Modern Fantasies and Ancient Myths
The Miracle at the Hippodrome
"They Loathe the Jews"
THE TWILIGHT: Egypt in the Roman Empire
8 The "Jewish Question" in Alexandria
The Decline
The Vile Deeds of Flaccus the Prefect
Jews, Alexandrians, and Claudius the Emperor
9 The Time of Misfortunes
The Service Record of a Brilliant Alexandrian
A Miracle in Rome
"A Spirit of Rebellion"
10 The Remembrance
Who Destroyed the Great Synagogue of Alexandria?
"Jewish Tax," "Jewish Accounts": The Tale of the Imperial Tax Records
A Day of Rejoicings in Oxyrhynchos
Epilogue
Chronological Table
Calendar
Monetary Units and Units of Measure
Glossary
Bibliography
Maps
Index of Persons and Places
Index of Sources

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