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From the Maccabees to the Mishnah

by Shaye J. D. Cohen

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525540,002 (3.5)7
In this new edition of a best-selling classic, Shaye Cohen offers a thorough analysis of Judaism's development from the early years of the Roman Empire to the formative period of rabbinic Judaism. Cohen's synthesis of religion, literature, and history offers deep insight into the nature of Judaism at this key period, including the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, the function of Jewish religion in the larger community, and the development of normative Judaism and other Jewish sects. In addition, Cohen provides clear explanations concerning the formation of the biblical canon and the roots of rabbinic Judaism. Now completely updated and revised, this book remains the clearest introduction to the era that shaped Judaism and provided the context for early Christianity.The Library of Early Christianity is a series of eight outstanding books exploring the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts in which the New Testament developed.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
A comprehensive analysis of Judaism and its experiences in the Second Temple Period and the transition into the Rabbinic period.

The author begins by establishing definitions and a basic description of the history of the times. He explores the relationship between Jews and Gentiles and their cultural connections and separations, the range of Gentile reactions to Jews, the practices and beliefs of the "religion" of the Jews throughout the period; the community of the people and its institutions; the existence and nature of the sects (or lack thereof); text and canon; development of rabbinic Judaism; he concludes with the separation of Judaism and Christianity.

Throughout the author is in conversation with fellow scholars. I appreciated his insistence that Second Temple Judaism (and Gentile paganism, for that matter) were not creedal, based on belief, as Christianity and Islam would be, but orthopraxic in nature. He challenges assessments of the reasons for the separation of Judaism and Christianity and is far more sanguine about the "dominance" of the rabbis in Judaism during the Roman and early Byzantine periods.

It seems at times that the author is a little too overbearing with the reassessments (dare I say deconstruction?) of some previously commonly held views, especially about the relationship between "Judaism" and "Christianity"; it assuredly was a bit more fluid than a stark dichotomy but in the reassessment Jewish people conveniently seem much less specifically anti-Christian. Perhaps meager evidence is evidence in and of itself; perhaps it is only an indication of how much has been lost.

Nevertheless, overall, an important work for understanding the developments within Judaism through the Second Temple Period into the Rabbinic era.

**--galley received as part of early review program ( )
  deusvitae | Mar 30, 2015 |
NO OF PAGES: 251 SUB CAT I: Intertestament Studies SUB CAT II: First Century Judaism SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: This book explores the extraordinary period of Jewish history that gave rise to rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. It begins with an examination of the period from the 160s B.C.E. to 63 B.C.E., when the Maccabees ruled the Jews.NOTES: SUBTITLE:
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
NO OF PAGES: 251 SUB CAT I: Intertestament Studies SUB CAT II: First Century Judaism SUB CAT III: DESCRIPTION: This book explores the extraordinary period of Jewish history that gave rise to rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. It begins with an examination of the period from the 160s B.C.E. to 63 B.C.E., when the Maccabees ruled the Jews.NOTES: SUBTITLE:
  BeitHallel | Feb 18, 2011 |
A very informative book, well-written and present a survey of one of the more rarely discussed aspect of Roman empire and its relationship with Judaism.
  furius | Oct 21, 2009 |
A comprehensive analysis of Judaism's development from the early years of the Roman Empire to the period of rabbinic Judaism, describing the religion, literature, and history of the period, the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, formation of the biblical canon, and the roots of rabbinic Judaism.
  lifespringworc | Aug 30, 2009 |
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In this new edition of a best-selling classic, Shaye Cohen offers a thorough analysis of Judaism's development from the early years of the Roman Empire to the formative period of rabbinic Judaism. Cohen's synthesis of religion, literature, and history offers deep insight into the nature of Judaism at this key period, including the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, the function of Jewish religion in the larger community, and the development of normative Judaism and other Jewish sects. In addition, Cohen provides clear explanations concerning the formation of the biblical canon and the roots of rabbinic Judaism. Now completely updated and revised, this book remains the clearest introduction to the era that shaped Judaism and provided the context for early Christianity.The Library of Early Christianity is a series of eight outstanding books exploring the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts in which the New Testament developed.

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