The Jews in Late Antiquity
Rodrigo Laham Cohen Arc Humanities Press, 2018 Library of Congress DS123.5.L35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 956.9402
The lack of source material makes it challenging, but this short book uses the available evidence to present facts and debates around Jews in late antiquity and to provide a first step towards the understanding of this little-known period in Jewish history. It focuses on seven different regions: Italy, North Africa (except Egypt), Gaul, Spain, Egypt, the Land of Israel, and Babylonia.
This is a masterly narrative of the land of Israel from 70 to 640 C.E. by an eminent Israeli historian. It is a comprehensive record of Jewish life under Roman rule: economic conditions and social welfare; Jewish law and courts; political repression and resistance; religious controversies; the Diaspora and relations between the national center in Palestine and the communities abroad. Alon describes the rebuilding of national life after the defeat in 70; the emergence of the Sages as community leaders; the extent of autonomy under the Roman Empire; the towns and cities of Jewish Palestine; armed uprisings and the Bar Kokhba Revolt; the decades of decline and large-scale emigration; the traditions of learning that produced the Mishnah and Talmud. It is a rich, vividly told story. This paperback reproduces in one volume the two-volume translation of Alon's classic work published in Jerusalem in 1980 and 1984.
Reviews of this book: "Gedaliah Alon's study is the magnum opus of one of the very few scholars whose command of both rabbinic and classical literature provided him with the tools to approach an unusually challenging, almost forbidding field of historical inquiry...Alon's stimulating history...will take its place among the standard studies of an obscure but pivotal age."
--David Berger, New York Times Book Review
"No one before Alon--and only a handful after him--possessed the erudition to handle the rabbinic and Greek sources with subtlety...[and] Alon's views reflect a mind that was secular but could fully appreciate the religious component of Jewish history...The book deserves an honorable place on the shelves of every serious student of Judaica."
--Ben Zion Wacholder, Hadassah Magazine
"Gedaliah Alon was a most original, distinguished historian. His erudition in rabbinic sources as well as classical literature, supported by absolute clarity of thought, intuition, and imaginativeness, enabled him to produce historical writing of the highest order."
"Gedaliah Alon was a most original, distinguished historian. His erudition in rabbinic sources as well as classical literature, supported by absolute clarity of thought, intuition, and imaginativeness, enabled him to produce historical writing of the highest order." --Isadore Twersky
Investigate a relatively neglected but momentous period in Judean history
Nadav Sharon closely examines a critical period in Judean history, which saw the end of the Hasmonean dynasty and the beginning of Roman domination of Judea leading up to the kingship of Herod (67-37 BCE). In this period renowned Roman figures such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Gaius Cassius (a conspirator against Caesar), and Mark Anthony, led the Roman Republic on the eve of its transformation into an Empire, each having his own dealings with—and holding sway over—Judea at different times. This volume explores the impact of the Roman conquest on the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, enhances the understanding of later Judean-Roman relations and the roots of the Great Revolt, and examines how this early period of Roman domination had on impact on later developments in Judean society and religion.
Part one dedicating to reconstructing Judean history from the death of Alexander to the reign of King Herod
Part two examining the effects of Roman domination on Judean society
Wishing to ingratiate himself with Rome, Herod the Great built theaters, amphitheaters, and hippodromes to bring pagan entertainments of all sorts to Palestine. Zeev Weiss explores how the indigenous Jewish and Christian populations responded, as both spectators and performers, to these cultural imports, which left a lasting imprint on the region.