Discovering Second Temple Judaism

The Scriptures and Stories That Shaped Early Judaism

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Malika Z. Simkovich
  • Philadelphia, PA: 
    Jewish Publication Society
    , January
     2018.
     384 pages.
     $29.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780827612655.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Kacie Klamm forthcoming.

Description

Exploring the world of the Second Temple period (539 BCE–70 CE), in particular the vastly diverse stories, commentaries, and other documents written by Jews during the last three centuries of this period, Malka Z. Simkovich takes us to Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, to the Jewish sectarians and the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, to the Cairo genizah, and to the ancient caves that kept the secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls. As she recounts Jewish history during this vibrant, formative era, Simkovich analyzes some of the period’s most important works for both familiar and possible meanings.

This volume interweaves past and present in four parts. Part 1 tells modern stories of discovery of Second Temple literature. Part 2 describes the Jewish communities that flourished both in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora. Part 3 explores the lives, worldviews, and significant writings of Second Temple authors. Part 4 examines how authors of the time introduced novel, rewritten, and expanded versions of Bible stories in hopes of imparting messages to the people.

Simkovich’s popular style will engage readers in understanding the sometimes surprisingly creative ways Jews at this time chose to practice their religion and interpret its scriptures in light of a cultural setting so unlike that of their Israelite forefathers. Like many modern Jews today, they made an ancient religion meaningful in an ever-changing world.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Malka Z. Simkovich is the Crown-Ryan Chair of Jewish Studies and Director of Catholic-Jewish Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is the author of The Making of Jewish Universalism: From Exile to Alexandria and has published widely on the topic of Early Judaism.

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