Baker Academic

Monday, June 30, 2014

More on 2nd Temp Jewish Identity

The always interesting Krista Dalton introduces the work of Seth Schwartz. His book, as can be seen from the title, covers more than the Second Temple period.



  1. What were Jesus, and the Jews of his time, really like? Many today try to argue that Jesus was wholly Jewish. On the other hand, I note 1) constant collaborations between Jews like Herod, with Greco-Roman occupiers. There were huge communities of Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria Egypt and elsewhere.

    Then too 2) Alex the Great had conquered Israel in 300 BC; this meant strong Greek influence in Jerusalem for centuries. Then 3) when the Hasmonean/Maccabean revolt collapsed, in 64 BC Pompey took over Jerusalem.

    So 4) in the time of Jesus, Jerusalem was occupied by Roman soldiers, and had a Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

    So? There was lots more Greco-Roman influence and collaboration in the Jewish community than many scholars have thought, I conclude.

    - Griffin

  2. Griffin,

    The relationship between Greek culture and Jewish identity has been heavily researched.

    I would recommend this book as a good place to start:

    Also, be careful about assuming that being "wholly Jewish" was something distinct from Greek culture.