Jewish History In Conflict

Jewish History In Conflict

by Mitchell First


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Jewish History In Conflict by Mitchell First

The author writes:

“According to Seder Olam Rabbah, the work that forms the basis for almost all rabbinic chronology, the .period from the defeat of the Babylonians by the Medeo-Persians until the beginning of Greek rule, encompassed 52 years and spanned the reigns of three Persian kings. According to the chronology that is universally accepted by historians today (conventional chronology), this period of Persian rule over the land of Israel encompassed 207 years (539 to 332 BCE) and during this period more than ten Persian kings reigned.
“This discrepancy between the traditional Jewish chronology and conventional chronology has not gone unnoticed. The purpose of this study is to collect and categorize the variety of Jewish responses to this discrepancy, both by Jewish scholars and rabbinic authorities. Part I provides an introduction to the discrepancy. Part II contains the earliest Jewish responses to the discrepancy. In the major part of the study, Part III, the responses to the discrepancy from the time of Azariah de Rossi (16th century) to the present time are collected and categorized. This unified collection and categorization of the many responses will enable students and scholars to have easy access to what has been written by Jewish scholars and rabbinic authorities about the discrepancy and will facilitate scholarly evaluation of the responses.
“Part IV is an evaluation of the responses’ attempts to answer the fundamental question raised by the discrepancy. Part V presents observations on the rabbinic responses. Part VI is a summary and conclusion.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781568219707
Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.24(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

While working as an attorney, Mitchell First studied Jewish history at Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School, receiving his M.A. degree in Jewish History in 1995. He received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1979 and a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1982. He has written and lectured frequently on topics related to Jewish history and chronology, and has been a contributor to a variety of Jewish publications. He, and his wife, Sharon, reside in Teaneck, New Jersey, and are the proud parents of three children. Mitchell First has been an attorney in private practice in Manhattan since 1985.

Table of Contents

Statement of Purpose

Part I: Introduction to the Discrepancy
The SO Chronology
The Conventional Chronology
The Discrepancy

Part II: The Earliest Jewish Responses to the Discrepancy
1. Saadiah Gaon
2. Seder Malkhei Romi
3. Josippon
4. Isaac Abravanel
5. Abraham Zacuto

Part III: Collection and Categorization of Jewish Responses
From the Time of Azariah de Rossi through Modern Times

Category A – SO Chronology is Correct: Conventional Chronology is Error
1. David Ganz
2. Judah Loew
3. Isaac Cantarini
4. Jacob Emden
5. Wolf Pohrille
6. Abraham Yeshayahu Karelitz
7. David Shmidel
8. Shlomo Rotenberg
9. Saul Lustig
10. Abraham Zuartz
11. Hayyim Fov Rabinovitz
12. David Hayyim Ibn Shalosh
13. Hersh Goldwurm
14. Isaac Simon Feder
15. Chaim Heifetz
16. Brad Aaronson
17. Sholom Klass

Category B – Conventional Chronology is Correct: SO Chronology is in Error
1. Azariah de Rossi
2. Samuel Joseph Fuenn
3. Nachman Krochmal
4. Solomon Judah Rapoport
5. Morris Raphall
6. Levi Herzfeld
7. Joseph Derenbourg
8. Moses Zuckermandel
9. Isidore Loeb
10. Baer Ratner
11. Alexander Marx
12. Joseph Jacobs
13. Ahron Marcus
14. Max Seligsohn
15. Eduard Mahler
16. Hayyim Bornstein
17. Philip Biberfeld
18. Ephraim Urbach
19. Harold Ginsberg
20. Solomon Zeitlin
21. Pinkas Weis
22. Abraham Akavya
23. Yehezkel Kaufmann
24. Simon Schwab
25. Issachar Jacobson
26. Hayyim Shvilly
27. Elias Bickerman
28. Aryeh Neuman
29. Judah Rosenthal
30. Benny Isaacson
31. Mordechai Breuer
32. Elihu Schatz
33. Ben Zion Wacholder
34. Moses Herr
35. Jay Braverman
36. Hayyim Mantel
37. Samuel Kedar
38. Joseph Tabori
39. Berel Wein
40. Henry Guggenheimer
41. Samuel Hakohen

Category C- Both the Conventional Chronology and the SO Chronology are Correct
1. Azariah de Rossi
2. Anonymous
3. Ze’ev Jawitz
4. Samuel Krauss
5. Hayyim Hirscensohn
6. Henry Englander
7. Jonas Bondi
8. Jacob Gutkovski
9. Jacob Lauterbach
10. Hayyim Shvilly
11. Abraham Akavya
12. Charles Raddock
13. Adain Steinsaltz
14. Rahamin Sar-Shalom

Category D – Other Responses
DI Responses that Present Both the SO Chronology and the Conventional Chronology without Taking a Position as to which is Correct
1. Aryeh Kaplan
2. Jacob Meidan

DII Responses that Adopt the SO Chronology without Mentioning the Conventional Chronology
1. Meir Loeb ben Jehiel Michael
2. Moses Weinstock
3. Abraham Kurman
4. Avigdor Miller
5. Meir Zlotowitz
6. Zechariah Fendel
7. Yosef Rabinowitz
8. Eliezer Shulman
9. Mattis Kantor

DIII Repsonsed that Adopt the Conventional Chronology without Mentioning the SO Chronology
1. Heymann Kottek
2. Simon Glazer
3. Kalman Kahana
4. Joseph Hertz
5. Isaac Halevy
6. Gilbert Klaperman
7. Shelomoh Daziger
8. Meir Herskovics
9. Abraham Bloch
10. Abraham Rosenfeld
11. Irving Greenberg
12. Shlomo Riskin
13. Emanuel Rackman
14. Louis Bernstein
15. Haskel Lookstein

DIV Miscellaneous Responses
1. Jehiel Heilprin
2. Moses Auerbach

Part IV: Evaluation of the Responses

Part V: Some Observations Regarding the Rabbinic Responses

Part VI: Summary and Conclusion

Appendix A: The SO Chronology

Appendix B: The Conventional Chronology

Appendix C: Additional Note on the Identification of Ahashverosh with Xerxes

Appendix D: Early Jewish Authors who Adopt Chronologies of the Persian and Second Temple Periods that Differ from the SO Chronology
Appendix E: Note on a Passage in Nahmandies

Appendix F: Note on the Responses of Non-Jewish Scholars

Biographical Sketches

What People are Saying About This

Sid Z. Leiman

Mitchell First has produced a groundbreaking study in Jewish intellectual history. By examining Jewish responses to an obvious teaching and the results of classical and modern scholarship (regarding matters of chronology), First has opened a window on how knowledgeable Jews throughout the generations have responded to such discrepancies. His lucid and erudite analysis of the history of the controversy will become the point of departure for all future discussion of this issue, including any and all attempts to resolve it once and for all.”
- Sid Z. Leiman Professor of Jewish History and Literature Brooklyn College, CUNY

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