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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses Jewish history from the rise of Hellenism to 70 CE. The Hellenistic and Roman periods belong to what is often referred to as the ‘Second Temple period’ – a self-contained historical era marked off by the Exile at one end and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE at the other. The Jews of the Second Temple period neither inhabited the world of the Israelite and Judean monarchies nor practised the religion of the rabbis. The Second Temple period began with the Persian Empire (c.539–331 BCE), which ended with the conquest of Alexander. It is often assumed that a major break came about in Judaism with the coming of the Greeks, but recent study shows that the situation is more complex than that. First, many of the innovations that characterized Second Temple Judaism had their origins in the Persian period (though often continuing to develop in the Greek and Roman periods). Second, the Greeks added a new element to the culture, but the native cultures continued to flourish.

Keywords: biblical history, Jewish history, Hellenistic period, Roman period, Second Temple period

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