Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism

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9780199928613: Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism

Though considered one of the most important informants about Judaism in the first century CE, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus's testimony is often overlooked or downplayed. Jonathan Klawans's Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism reexamines Josephus's descriptions of sectarian disagreements concerning determinism and free will, the afterlife, and scriptural authority. In each case, Josephus's testimony is analyzed in light of his works' general concerns as well as relevant biblical, rabbinic, and Dead Sea texts.

Many scholars today argue that ancient Jewish sectarian disputes revolved primarily or even exclusively around matters of ritual law, such as calendar, cultic practices, or priestly succession. Josephus, however, indicates that the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes disagreed about matters of theology, such as afterlife and determinism. Similarly, many scholars today argue that ancient Judaism was thrust into a theological crisis in the wake of the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE, yet Josephus's works indicate that Jews were readily able to make sense of the catastrophe in light of biblical precedents and contemporary beliefs.

Without denying the importance of Jewish law-and recognizing Josephus's embellishments and exaggerations- Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism calls for a renewed focus on Josephus's testimony, and models an approach to ancient Judaism that gives theological questions a deserved place alongside matters of legal concern. Ancient Jewish theology was indeed significant, diverse, and sufficiently robust to respond to the crisis of its day.

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About the Author:


Jonathan Klawans is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University. He is the author of Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism and Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple: Symbolism and Supersessionism in the Study of Ancient Judaism.

Review:


"As a work that 'is primarily addressed to those who engage in the work of reconstructing the history of ancient Judaism', it provides plenty of food for thought. The book includes very substantial endnotes, a fairly full bibliography, and helpful indices." --Journal of Semitic Studies


"As in his previous books, Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism and Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple, Professor Klawans displays his enviable skill in absorbing, digesting, and presenting with clarity a vast amount of material on a complicated subject: the theologies of ancient Judaism. Perhaps only a scholar who has already demonstrated his expertise in the area of Jewish law and observance could treat with complete credibility the tricky and touchy topic of 'theology' in ancient Judaism. His achievement is all the more admirable because he focuses upon that protean Talleyrand of first-century Judaism, Josephus."--John P. Meier, William K. Warren Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame


"Erudite, deeply thoughtful, and engagingly written... an important and largely persuasive book that should be read by anyone interested in the theological and religious landscape of first century Palestine." --Religious Studies Review


"This learned and engaging volume provides an expertly executed corrective to several common misconceptions about ancient Judaism and replaces them with a nuanced and convincing picture. It offers a much-needed defense of the importance of theology, clarifies our understanding of sectarian division, and counters the notion that after the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, Judaism went into eclipse, and the Jews into despondency. It illuminates ancient Judaism and Christian origins alike."--Jon D. Levenson, author of Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam


"Over the past couple of decades there has been an understandable move to put special emphasis on legal interpretation of second temple Jewish documents. But as Klawans shows in his latest book, this has come at the cost of taking seriously the theological commitments of the various Jewish groups themselves. This volume is a very sophisticated re-appraisal of the role such commitments played in the shaping of Jewish identity in this crucial period. As we have come to expect from the work of Klawans, he provides a necessary corrective to long held assumptions."--Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame


"A well-written work... Klawans's arguments are worth reading, whether they bring us to give up long-held opinons or only to re-examine their foundations." --Journal of Jewish Studies


"This volume will be a valuable addition to libraries with collections on the Roman world, Judaism, the New Testament, and early Christianity. Summing Up: Highly recommended." --CHOICE


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ISBN 10: 0199928614 ISBN 13: 9780199928613
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Jonathan Klawans s Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism cuts against the grain of rabbinic studies to establish the value of Flavius Josephus s descriptions of the religious ideas of various Jewish sects for reconstructing the world of ideas (the theologies) at play in early Judaism. It is intended as a response to the prevalent approach to the study of early Judaism, which focuses on legal or halakhic issues rather than matters of religious belief. Klawans illuminates Josephus s description of early Jewish sects (the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes) against distinct bodies of literature including Rabbinic sources, Qumran scrolls, and wisdom literature, especially Ben Sira. He is also concerned to show how various beliefs operate in connection with historical events, from the Hasmonean rebellion to after the destruction of the Temple. He demonstrates, for example, that beliefs about resurrection may have been less a reaction to social or historical circumstances than scholars have claimed and that the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE may not have created such a severe theological crises as previously thought.He provides alternative explanations for beliefs about the afterlife and shows that the reaction to the Temple s loss may have been more easily dealt with in terms of preexisting theological ideas and analogies. In each case, Klawans brings to the forefront Josephus s own views about these matters and shows how they are important for a more balanced assessment of the history of early Judaism. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780199928613

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Descrizione libro 2012. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Hardcover. Though considered one of the most important informants about Judaism in the first century CE, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus's testimony is often overlooked or dow.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 373 pages. 0.612. Codice libro della libreria 9780199928613

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, USA, 2012. Hardcover. Condizione libro: Brand New. 1st edition. 400 pages. 9.30x1.30x6.50 inches. In Stock. Codice libro della libreria 0199928614

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