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date: 27 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A survey of the Writings shows surprisingly little contact with the religious environment of the Ancient Near East, in which Jews lived in the late first millennium bce. The reasons for this lack do not derive from lack of opportunity but from the self-confidence of the Jewish tradition in the face of polytheism. This finding seems to show that the sense of Judaism as all-sufficient and convincingly monotheistic had been established at least in the minds of the people who brought together the Writings. Although Jews in the late first century bce were exposed to a cacophony of other religious traditions, their interactions do not show up in the Writings, except as critiques or mocking of other traditions.

Keywords: Writings, wisdom, individualism, populism, polytheism, intermarriage, conversion, Axial Age, personal names, Judaism

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