This book contains studies of the social, cultural, and religious history of the Jews in the Graeco-Roman world. Some of the sixteen contributors are specialists in Jewish history, others in classics. They tackle from different angles the extent to which Jews in this period differed from other peoples in the Mediterranean region, and how much Jewish evidence can be used for the history of the wider classical world. The authors make extensive use not only of types of evidence familiar to classicists, such as inscriptions and the writing of Josephus, but also Jewish religious literature, including rabbinic texts. The various studies demonstrate that, although Jews lived to some extent apart from others and with distinctive customs, in many ways this showed the cultural presuppositions and preoccupations of their gentile contemporaries. The book aims to encourage wider use of the Jewish evidence by classicists and will be important for all students of the classical world.
In this in-depth exploration of holiness in the context of rabbinic Judaism, Hannah K. Harrington places the rabbinic concept of holiness alongside other notions of the sacred in the Graeco-Roman world. Holistic and yet detailed, this volume provides a much-needed comparative view of this subject during a key period in the development of the Jewish religion.
'I am a Christian' is the confession of the martyrs of early Christian texts and, no doubt, of many others; but what did this confession mean, and how was early Christian identity constructed? This book is a highly original exploration of how a sense of being 'a Christian', or of 'Christian identity', was shaped within the setting of the Jewish and Graeco-Roman world. Contemporary discussions of identity provide the background to a careful study of early Christian texts from the first two centuries. Judith Lieu shows that there were similarities and differences in the ways Jews and others were thinking about themselves, and asks what made early Christianity distinctive.
Margaret H. Williams presents a selection of studies, most of them epigraphically based, on the Jewish Diaspora in Graeco-Roman antiquity. Those collected in the first part deal with problems connected with the Jewish community in Rome, its history, organisation and burial practices. The papers in the second part are mainly concerned with other Jewish settlements in the Roman Empire, most notably those of Aphrodisias and Corycus in Asia Minor and Venusia in Italy. The third part focuses entirely on Jewish naming practices such as the use of alternative names, the formation of festal names and the increasing preference in Late Antiquity for Hebrew names. The reception of these studies, previously dispersed over a variety of publications, forms the subject of the over-arching introductory essay. Since the original articles were written, many of the inscriptions have been re-edited in new corpora. References to these are systematically included in this volume.
The ten studies in this book explore the phenomenon of public memory in societies of the Graeco-Roman period. Mendels begins with a concise discussion of the historical canon that emerged in Late Antiquity and brought with it the (distorted) memory of ancient history in Western culture. The following nine chapters each focus on a different source of collective memory in order to demonstrate the patchy and incomplete associations ancient societies had with their past, including discussions of Plato’s Politeia, a site of memory of the early church, and the dichotomy existing between the reality of the land of Israel in the Second Temple period and memories of it.Throughout the book, Mendels shows that since the societies of Antiquity had associations with only bits and pieces of their past, these associations could be slippery and problematic, constantly changing, multiplying and submerging. Memories, true and false, oral and inscribed, provide good evidence for this fluidity.
Covering almost 1,000 years of history, this survey of the history of the Jewish peoples is based upon accessible source material that has been translated in a straightforward manner to bring the period to life for the non-specialist student of post-Biblical Judaism.
Asceticism was practised in every religious tradition in antiquity: pagan, Jewish, Christian and Manichean. This book presents for the first time a combined study of ancient ascetic traditions, which have been previously misunderstood by being studied separately.
This volume focuses on a wide range of topics such as gender studies, aspects of everyday life, Roman festivals, magic, etc., hereby reflecting on the methodological problems inherent in intercultural studies.
The Book of Acts in Its Graeco-Roman Setting locates the Book of Acts within various regional and cultural settings in the eastern Mediterranean. These studies draw on recent archaeological fieldwork and epigraphic discoveries to describe the key cities and provinces within the Roman Empire. The relevant societal aspects of these regions, such as the Roman legal system, Roman religion, and the problem of transport and travel, all help contextualize the book of Acts.
By engaging with recent developments in the study of empires, this book examines how inhabitants of Roman imperial Syria reinvented expressions and experiences of Greek, Roman and Syrian identification. It demonstrates how the organization of Greek communities and a peer polity network extending citizenship to ethnic Syrians generated new semiotic frameworks for the performance of Greekness and Syrianness. Within these, Syria's inhabitants reoriented and interwove idioms of diverse cultural origins, including those from the Near East, to express Greek, Roman and Syrian identifications in innovative and complex ways. While exploring a vast array of written and material sources, the book thus posits that Greekness and Syrianness were constantly shifting and transforming categories, and it critiques many assumptions that govern how scholars of antiquity often conceive of Roman imperial Greek identity, ethnicity and culture in the Roman Near East, and processes of 'hybridity' or similar concepts.
David W. Chapman examines the range of ancient Jewish perceptions about crucifixion in classical antiquity. Early Christianity betrays awareness of these various perceptions by seeking to rejection or transform negative stereotypes, or by embracing some of the more positive associations.
The quality of contributions in this volume reflects the eminence of Sandy Wedderburn, who taught at St Andrews before moving to Durham and finally to Munich to succeed Ferdinard Hahn. The topics addressed reflect Wedderburn's interests and include a comparison of the Lord's Supper with cultic meals in Qumran and in Hellenistic cults, glossolalia in Acts, the Lukan prologue, 'new creation' in Paul, and Adam and Christ in Romans. The contributors include David Aune, Richard Bauckham, Richard Bell, James Dunn, Ferdinand Hahn, Christina Hoegen-Rohls, Robert Jewett, Hans Klein, H.-W. Kuhn, David Moessner, Stanley Porter, Heikki Raisanen, Margaret Thrall, Oda Wischmeyer and Chrisitian Wolff. This is volume 217 in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement series.
The Letter of Aristeas tells the story of how Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt commissioned seventy scholars to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Long accepted as a straightforward historical account of a cultural enterprise in Ptolemaic Alexandria, the Letter nevertheless poses serious interpretative problems. Sylvie Honigman argues that the Letter should not be regarded as history, but as a charter myth for diaspora Judaism. She expounds its generic affinities with other works on Jewish history from Ptolemaic Alexandria, and argues that the process of translation was simultaneously a process of establishing an authoritative text, comparable to the work on the text of Homer being carried out by contemporary Greek scholars. The Letter of Aristeas is among the most intriguing literary productions of Ptolemaic Alexandria, and this is the first book-length study to be devoted to it.
During the Principate (roughly from 27 BC to AD 235), when the empire reached its maximum extent, Roman society and culture were radically transformed. But how was the vast territory of the empire controlled? Did the demands of central government stimulate economic growth or endanger survival? What forces of cohesion operated to balance the social and economic inequalities and high mortality rates? How did the official religion react in the face of the diffusion of alien cults and the emergence of Christianity? These are some of the many questions posed here, in an expanded edition of the original, pathbreaking account of the society, economy and culture of the Roman empire. As an integrated study of the life and outlook of the ordinary inhabitants of the Roman world, it deepens our understanding of the underlying factors in this important formative period of world history. Additions to the second edition include an introductory chapter which sets the scene and explores the consequences for government and the governing classes of the replacement of the Republic by the rule of emperors. A second extra chapter assesses how far Rome's subjects resisted her hegemony. Addenda to the chapters throughout offer up-to-date bibliography and point to new evidence and approaches which have enlivened Roman history in recent decades.
This volume of essays explores the broad theme of the relationship between Jewish identity and patriotism in the period between the destruction of the First Temple and late antiquity, with special attention to the Graeco-Roman period. The authors focus on Jewish local identification with particular lands, including the Land of Israel, and the existence of local forms of patriotism. The approaches represented are interdisciplinary in nature and draw on a wide range of sources, including archaeological remains, literary material, and inscriptions. These essays share a comparative perspective on the diverse social and historical contexts in which the Jews of antiquity lived.
Jews, Christians and Muslims describe elements of their origins with close reference to the narrative of Abraham, including the complex story of Abraham's relations with Hagar. This volume sketches the significance of this narrative in the three traditions.
"From ancient records, Dr. Angus reconstructs a vivid picture of that magnificent civilization contemporaneous with the founding of the Christian church, with the result that a more significant conception of the faith we know today emerges from his study of the rich intellectual and spiritual currents of the pagan world as they aided or opposed or modified the struggling young religion from the East."--Publisher's note.