Biblical Archaeology Review 36:1, January/February 2010

Under the Influence

Hellenism in ancient Jewish life

By Martin Goodman

How and why and to what extent Greek culture was absorbed into the ancient Jewish world is not always clear, but that it was is undeniable.

To some extent, the answers depend on whether we study Judaism primarily as a separate culture, developed from its Biblical roots in an unbroken line, or whether we study it primarily as part of the wider cultural and religious history of the Mediterranean and the Near Eastern world. Scholars will naturally respond that both approaches are important. Nevertheless decisions taken at the start of any investigation about which aspect deserves more attention will inevitably color our conclusions. How can the right balance be achieved?

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