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The Jews among the Greeks and Romans: A Diasporan Sourcebook

Williams, Margaret

Editore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 0801859387 / ISBN 13: 9780801859380
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Titolo: The Jews among the Greeks and Romans: A ...

Casa editrice: Johns Hopkins University Press

Data di pubblicazione: 1998

Legatura: Soft cover

Condizione libro: New


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As one of the few groups in the Greco-Roman world to resist cultural assimilation, the Jews remained an object of fascination throughout antiquity. Greek and Roman writers devoted much space to them, but few bothered to learn the facts about Jews, preferring to report stereotypes and rumor. Evidence does exist, however, to show what real Jews were like in antiquity and how they interacted with the Greeks and Romans, both pagan and Christian.

In The Jews among the Greeks and Romans, Margaret Williams assembles, assesses, and contextualizes literary and archaeological evidence relating to Jewish communities outside the land of Israel. The sourcebook covers the period beginning with the Diaspora that resulted from the chaos of Alexander the Great's death in 323 BCE and concluding with the demise of the Jewish Patriarchate around 420 CE. This was a time which saw, first, the rapid opening up of opportunities for Jews and then, in the century after Constantine, the gradual but inexorable raising of barriers against them.

Newly translated from the Greek and Latin, the documents cover a broad array of topics, including religion, customs, festivals, repression, citizenship, military service, economics, intermarriage, and conversion from Jew to Gentile and Gentile to Jew. While previous collections have concentrated on literary texts, the present volume gives prominence to papyrological and epigraphic source material. Composed in accordance with Greco-Roman epigraphic conventions but written by Jews, these texts?some only recently discovered?constitute an extraordinarily rich source of information about the values and practices of Jews in antiquity.

Recensione: In the aftermath of Alexander the Great's death in 323 B.C. and the resultant civil war among claimants to his throne, writes historian Margaret Williams, many Jews left Judea and settled in the Hellenistic cities of the eastern Mediterranean. During the Pax Romana and the various campaigns in Judea in the 1st century A.D., the Diaspora spread even further--to Spain, the Crimea, and the interior of Europe. They recorded their travels; so, too, did various chroniclers of the Roman Empire. Williams gathers their testimonies in this primary-source reference work, which touches on matters such as the establishment of synagogues in Jewish townships, Jewish interaction with Greek and Roman authorities, and funerary customs, among many other topics. --Gregory McNamee

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Indirizzo: Lewiston, NY, U.S.A.

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