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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of archaeological discoveries relevant to ancient Judean life in the postexilic or Second Temple period (late sixth century bce–70 ce). It seeks to provide background information on the main cultural developments that would have impacted the authors and audience of the Writings, both in Judea and Samaria. One such development is Persian provincialization, which had only modest impact on the local economy and culture. Another consists of processes of acculturation to foreign customs in the Hellenistic period, which would remain slow and largely limited to elite circles. Jerusalem’s rise to international status as a Jewish pilgrimage center under Herodian auspices likely impacted the dissemination of local literatures and sacred texts, the Writings among them. Contemporaneous architecture and artifacts from the domestic sphere can speak to religious diversity and local identity politics as the region began to shift its orientation to the West and the economy grew.

Keywords: archaeology, Judea, Samaria, Second Temple period, Hellenization, Herod, Jerusalem

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