Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society?: Reciprocity and Solidarity in Ancient Judaism

Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society?: Reciprocity and Solidarity in Ancient Judaism

by Seth Schwartz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691140545

ISBN-13: 9780691140544

Pub. Date: 09/21/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

How well integrated were Jews in the Mediterranean society controlled by ancient Rome? The Torah's laws seem to constitute a rejection of the reciprocity-based social dependency and emphasis on honor that were customary in the ancient Mediterranean world. But were Jews really a people apart, and outside of this broadly shared culture? Were the Jews a

Overview

How well integrated were Jews in the Mediterranean society controlled by ancient Rome? The Torah's laws seem to constitute a rejection of the reciprocity-based social dependency and emphasis on honor that were customary in the ancient Mediterranean world. But were Jews really a people apart, and outside of this broadly shared culture? Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society? argues that Jewish social relations in antiquity were animated by a core tension between biblical solidarity and exchange-based social values such as patronage, vassalage, formal friendship, and debt slavery.

Seth Schwartz's examinations of the Wisdom of Ben Sira, the writings of Josephus, and the Palestinian Talmud reveal that Jews were more deeply implicated in Roman and Mediterranean bonds of reciprocity and honor than is commonly assumed. Schwartz demonstrates how Ben Sira juxtaposes exhortations to biblical piety with hard-headed and seemingly contradictory advice about coping with the dangers of social relations with non-Jews; how Josephus describes Jews as essentially countercultural; yet how the Talmudic rabbis assume Jews have completely internalized Roman norms at the same time as the rabbis seek to arouse resistance to those norms, even if it is only symbolic.

Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society? is the first comprehensive exploration of Jewish social integration in the Roman world, one that poses challenging new questions about the very nature of Mediterranean culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691140544
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/21/2009
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................ix
CHAPTER ONE Reciprocity and Solidarity....................1
CHAPTER TWO The Problem with Mediterraneanism....................21
CHAPTER THREE A God of Reciprocity: Torah and Social Relations in the Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira....................45
CHAPTER FOUR Josephus: Honor, Memory, Benefaction....................80
CHAPTER FIVE Roman Values and the Palestinian Rabbis....................110
CHAPTER SIX Conclusion: Were the Ancient Jews a Mediterranean Society?....................166
APPENDIX ONE Ben Sira on the Social Hierarchy....................179
APPENDIX TWO Josephus on Memory and Benefaction....................185
ABBREVIATIONS....................191
BIBLIOGRAPHY....................193
INDEX....................209

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >