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Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World: Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian [Paperback]

By Louis H. Feldman (Author)
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Item description for Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World: Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian by Louis H. Feldman...

This book began with a question: How can we explain why the Jews in antiquity--so bitterly hated, as so many scholars have insisted--succeeded in winning so many adherents, whether as 'sympathizers' who observed one or more Jewish practices or as full-fledged proselytes?

Publishers Description

Relations between Jews and non-Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman period were marked by suspicion and hate, maintain most studies of that topic. But if such conjectures are true, asks Louis Feldman, how did Jews succeed in winning so many adherents, whether full-fledged proselytes or "sympathizers" who adopted one or more Jewish practices? Systematically evaluating attitudes toward Jews from the time of Alexander the Great to the fifth century A.D., Feldman finds that Judaism elicited strongly positive and not merely unfavorable responses from the non-Jewish population. Jews were a vigorous presence in the ancient world, and Judaism was strengthened substantially by the development of the Talmud. Although Jews in the Diaspora were deeply Hellenized, those who remained in Israel were able to resist the cultural inroads of Hellenism and even to initiate intellectual counterattacks.

Feldman draws on a wide variety of material, from Philo, Josephus, and other Graeco-Jewish writers through the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, the Church Councils, Church Fathers, and imperial decrees to Talmudic and Midrashic writings and inscriptions and papyri. What emerges is a rich description of a long era to which conceptions of Jewish history as uninterrupted weakness and suffering do not apply.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Princeton University Press
Pages   692
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.16" Width: 6.03" Height: 1.42"
Weight:   2.07 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 3, 1996
Publisher   Princeton University Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  069102927X  
ISBN13  9780691029276  

Availability  113 units.
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More About Louis H. Feldman

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LOUIS H. FELDMAN is Wouk Family Professor of Classics and Literature Emeritus at Yeshiva University, where he has taught since 1955. Feldman s many publications include Josephus and Modern Scholarship; Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World; and Josephus s Interpretation of the Bible. A leading scholar of ancient Judaism and Hellenistic culture, Feldman is associate editor of Classical Weekly, managing editor of Classical World, and former editor of Hellenistic Literature for the Encyclopedia Judaica.

JAMES L. KUGEL is professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and the former Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University. Kugel specializes in the Hebrew Bible, the history of biblical exegesis, and the study of ancient Judaism. His many books include How to Read the Bible; The God of Old; and The Bible as It Was.

LAWRENCE H. SCHIFFMAN is professor of Judaic studies and vice provost of undergraduate education at Yeshiva University. Schiffman is former chair of New York University s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Schiffman is a leading scholar of ancient Judaism with special interest in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In addition to his many publications, he is the coeditor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls and editor of The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fifty Years after Their Discovery.

TheContributors: Patricia Ahearne-Kroll, Gary A. Anderson, Joseph L. Angel, Kenneth Atkinson, Harold W. Attridge, David E. Aune, John M. Barclay, Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Albert I. Baumgarten, Adam H. Becker, Ellen Birnbaum, Peder Borgen, Miryam T. Brand, George J. Brooke, Silvia Castelli, Esther G. Chazon, Naomi G. Cohen, John J. Collins, Sidnie White Crawford, David A. deSilva, Devorah Dimant, Lorenzo DiTommaso, Jean Duhaime, Peter Enns, Esther Eshel, Hanan Eshel, Daniel K. Falk, Louis H. Feldman, Michael V. Fox, Steven D. Fraade, David M. Goldenberg, Andrew D. Gross, Erich S. Gruen, Betsy Halpern-Amaru, Angela Kim Harkins, David M. Hay, Matthias Henze, Karina Martin Hogan, Howard Jacobson, Sara Japhet, Alex P. Jassen, Sara Raup Johnson, James L. Kugel, Alexander Kulik, Armin Lange, Matthew J. Morgenstern, Gohar Muradyan, George W. E. Nickelsburg, Maren R. Niehoff, Bilhah Nitzan, Sarah Judith Pearce, Annette Yoshiko Reed, David T. Runia, Lawrence H. Schiffman, Eileen Schuller, Daniel R. Schwartz, Michael Segal, Paul Spilsbury, Gregory E. Sterling, Michael E. Stone, Loren Theo Stuckenbruck, Michael D. Swartz, Aram Topchyan, Pablo Torijano, Emanuel Tov, Shani Berrin Tzoref, Pieter W. van der Horst, Walter T. Wilson, Benjamin G. Wright III, Miriam Zangi, and Yevgeniy Y. Zingerman .


Louis H. Feldman has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient
3Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece
5Books > Subjects > History > Jewish > General
6Books > Subjects > History > Jewish
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Archaeology
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > General
10Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism
11Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World?

Brilliant and Thoroush  Feb 26, 2003
Dr. Feldman accomplished many things with this book. For one, he gathered together an enormous amount of material that only someone as knowledgeable and as thorough as he could do. The sources cited in the text and the footnotes represent an overwhelming amount of material. His encyclopedic knowledge of ancient texts makes him the right man for this monumental task, one that he accomplished gloriously.

Additionally, he added some wisdom and restraint to some overly interpretive colleagues. How much can really be deduced from a particular text? Does this text represent the mainstream of its time or an aberration? Would the author know enough to state anything authoritative on this subject? These are some of the questions Dr. Feldman asks when not only citing ancient sources but analyzing them to extract what can be known about the ancient world.

This book is a difficult read but is well worth the effort.

Scholarly, thorough and readable.  Sep 19, 1998
I purchased this book originally to get insight into what scholarly material was available for this formative and terribly important period in Jewish and Western history. As it appears from the book, much is available, and much that is unexpected. Anyone believing first century jewish/gentile relationships to be nothing more than isolation and conflict are to be suprised. An aside is that much of the book validates Rabbinic Judaism as "a" source of history, but it only stands out if you have some background in the issues (attempts at cooberation are few). I highly recommend it. 4 stars because the authors religious "affiliation" is dangerously obvious from the hyphenation of G-d's name in the text; in narrow minds, this could cast doubt on his ability as an objective scholar.

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