General 2nd Temple Judaism

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    Bercovitz, J. Peter

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    The History of Palestine in New Testament Times

    Bercovitz discusses the history of Palestine from 63 B.C.E. when Pompey marched on Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple, up until and after the Jewish War of 66-70 C.E. He briefly treats the rule of Herod the Great, the various sects within Judaism of this time period, and Judaism outside of Palestine.
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    Chancey, Mark A.

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    "Introduction" to The Myth of a Gentile Galilee

    "My primary goal in this study is to bridge the gap between textual studies and archaeology, combining both to provide a more detailed and accurate picture of first-century CE Galilee. By making use of Josephus and biblical sources as well as excavation reports, utilizing archaeological data from multiple sites, and differentiating early finds from later finds, this work demonstrates that most Galileans in the first century CE were Jews. Galilee’s earlier history explains how it became predominantly Jewish, and, in the first century CE, Josephus and the authors of the Gospels regarded it as a region where circumcision, Sabbath observance, loyalty to the Jerusalem temple, and purity were major concerns. Archaeological discoveries clearly attest to Jewish burial and purity practices at several sites."
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    Evans, Craig A.

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    "The Old Testament Apocrypha", Chapter 1 of Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature

    "Fifteen books make up the OT Apocrypha...The word 'apocrypha' is a Greek word literally meaning 'hidden away.' Why 'hidden'? Over the centuries those who appreciated and approved of these books as authoritative thought of them as hidden from the uninitiated and simple. They were reserved for the wise and learned. On the other hand, those who viewed these books as spurious and as possessing no authority have understood them as hidden because of perceived heretical tendencies. It is probably for this reason that the word 'apocrypha' has come tomean 'false.' For example, when a story about a well-known person is suspected of being untrue we say that it is 'apocryphal.'"
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    Evans, Craig A.

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    "Introduction" to Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature

    "There are two principal difficulties that those who aspire to NT exegesis must face: learning the biblical languages and becoming familiar with the myriad of cognate literatures. The first difficulty is overcome through the study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. But the second difficulty is not so easily dealt with. Because these cognate literatures are so diverse and involve numerous difficulties of their own, many students and even a surprising number of teachers and professors are acquainted with very few of them.Perhaps another factor is knowing that there are scholars who havemade it their lives’ work to master certain of these literatures. It is understandable then that a beginning NT interpreter often hesitates to plunge into the Talmud or the Dead Sea Scrolls or some other body of writings. Nevertheless, if one is to do competent NT exegesis, one must know something of these writings and of their relevance for the NT."
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    Illan, Tal

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    "Daughters", Chapter 1 of Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine: An Inquiry into Image and Status

    "In sum: every source views the birth of a daughter as a disappointment. Yet at the same time, we hear of no practical instruction or theory recommending steps to reduce the number of daughters in a family. In contrast to Hellenistic Roman sources, which abound with discussions about getting rid of unwanted infants, in particular daughters, the Jewish sources do not even raise this possibility. The only source which even mentions the matter is Josephus (CA2.202), who does so in order to clarify for his non-Jewish readers the extent to which the whole idea is foreign to Judaism. Non-Jewish sources as well confirm that Jews accepted and raised all children born to them, without exception."
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    Lameter, Christoph

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    The Graeco-Roman and Jewish Context of the New Testament

    "The context of the New Testament has always been under extreme scrutiny. The opinions about the influence of the Hellenistic and Hebrew culture and worldview on the New Testament have shifted back and forth over the last centuries. In nineteenth and the beginning of this century we had a very strong emphasis on the dominating presence of the elements of the Graeco-Roman worldview in the New Testament. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the fifties of this century opinions shifted to the other extreme by viewing the New Testament predominantly under the influence of Jewish ways of thinking. Lately there seems to be more balance in the views propagated and it is widely acknowledged that both cultures have in different ways affected the formation of the New Testament and its theology."
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    McCann, Vincent

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    In What Ways Does a Knowledge of Intertestamental History and Literature Shed Light on the New Testament Gospels, which a Knowledge of the Old Testament Books Alone Could Not?

    "In order to have a better understanding of the Gospels, one has to have more than a knowledge of the Old Testament record alone. In addition, there needs to be some understanding of the four hundred years that elapsed from the writings of the prophet Malachi to the coming of Jesus Christ, the duration known as the intertestamental period. During this period important historical events occurred, and a considerable amount of extra-biblical literature was written, both of which had a significant effect on the Mediterranean world and consequently influenced the religious thinking, customs, government, and lifestyle of those living in the first century era."
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    Millard, Alan

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    Reading and Writing In the Time of Jesus

    "...[T]here was much more writing in Palestine during the Gospel period than has been commonly allowed. When Luke says that he sought out the most reliable sources while compiling his Gospel, we may suppose that he could read notes made by eyewitnesses at the time Jesus spoke. None survive; their existence is a surmise, yet the common currency of writing makes it plausible. The shared material of the Synoptic Gospels ('Q') could well derive from a very early written text. The letters of Paul and others prove writing was current in the early decades of the Church’s existence, and the importance of written texts in the Church is evident from the number of papyrus fragments from the mid-second century onwards found in middle Egypt...Far more weight should be given to the role of writing than has been done hitherto in preserving knowledge of the words and deeds of Jesus."
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    Rowland, Christopher

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    The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity

    "Apocalyptic is as much involved in the attempt to understand things as they are now as to predict future events, a The mysteries of heaven and earth and the real significance of contemporary persons and events in history are also the dominant interests of the apocalypticists. There is thus a concern with the world above and its mysteries as a means of explaining human existence in the present. Apocalyptic has a vertical dimension which is just as important as any predictions made about the future."
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    Rowland, Christopher

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    Excerpts from Christian Origins: An Account of the Setting and Character of the Most Important Messianic Sect of Judaism

    "...[T]he issues which this study sets out to explore are as follows: (i) The nature of ancient Judaism before the fall of the Second Temple in AD 70, its practices and beliefs; (ii) The Character of the early Christian movement and its distinctive approach to the Jewish traditions; (iii) The reasons which led to a clash with other Jews and ultimately to the parting of the ways of the two principal Jewish movements, which survived the Fall of the Second Temple: rabbinic Judaism and the Christian Church; (iv) How early Christianity accommodated its distinctive beliefs to a world whose outlook was almost completely incongruous with it."
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    Sanders, E.P.

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    Jesus in Historical Context

    "These are exciting days to study Jesus in context. Archaeology is flourishing, and people are coming up with all kinds of interesting proposals. Many of the most recent proposals maintain, in effect, that Jesus was not very Jewish. He lived, they claim, in an urban, cosmopolitan world, and he was at least as influenced by Greek and Roman culture as by Jewish.... When all is said and done, though, it is clear Jesus lived in a Jewish context."
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    Tomasino, Anthony J.

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    Putting Together the Past

    "We can certainly understand most of the New Testament without a knowledge of the 'intertestamental period'—the time between the Testaments. We can understand the Old Testament too. But we can’t fully appreciate the way these two bodies of literature relate to one another without knowing something of what the Jews experienced between the time of the prophet Malachi and the time of Jesus...This is an exciting time for the study of intertestamental Judaism...[R]ecently discovered ancient texts as well as new archaeological methods have also given us a great deal of useful data. What has long been hidden can now be revealed and profitably applied to the study of the Scriptures by any interested minister or layperson. The new land is ready to be spied out; its fruit waits to be savored."
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    Wright, N.T.

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    Jerusalem in the New Testament

    "Jerusalem remained the focal point of everything that the Jews were and did. It is a measure of how far modern Western Christianity has forgotten its roots that most church people can read the psalms and the prophets and blithely spiritualize their meaning without feeling the resonances of geography and local culture throbbing through them. However far away from the Land a Jew might be, the regular reading of the psalms and prophets as part of the Diaspora synagogue liturgy (not to mention the regular prayers and benedictions) could not fail to remind him or her that Jewish identity was bound up with, and focused upon, a single city, and within that city a single shrine."