An exploration of the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism drawing on primary sources and new methods
Over the past generation, several major findings and methodological innovations have led scholars to reevaluate the foundation of Judaism. The Dead Sea Scrolls were the most famous, but other materials have further altered our understanding of Judaism’s development after the Biblical era.
This volume explores some of the latest clues into how early Judaism took shape, from the invention of rabbis to the parting of Judaism and Christianity, to whether ancient Jews considered themselves a nation. Rather than having simply evolved, “normative” Judaism is now understood to be the result of one approach having achieved prominence over many others, competing for acceptance in the wake of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in the year 70 CE. This new understanding has implications for how we think about Judaism today, as the collapse of rabbinic authority is leading to the return of the kind of diversity that prevailed during late antiquity. This volume puts familiar aspects of Judaism in a new light, exposing readers to the most current understanding of the origins of normative Judaism.
This book is a must for anyone interested in the study of Judaism and its formation. It is the most current review of the scholarship surrounding this rich history and what is next for the field at large.
About the Author
Frederick E. Greenspahn is Gimelstob Eminent Scholar of Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is the editor of The Hebrew Bible, Women in Judaism, Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and Contemporary Israel, as well as author/editor of numerous other titles, including When Brothers Dwell Together.
E. Greenspahn is Gimelstob Eminent Scholar of Judaic Studies at Florida Atlantic University.
He is the editor of The Hebrew Bible, Women in Judaism, Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and Contemporary Israel, as well as author/editor of numerous other titles, including When Brothers Dwell Together.
Table of Contents
Introduction Frederick E. Greenspahn 1
Part I Early Diversity
1 The Dead Sea Scrolls James VanderKam 11
2 Second Temple Literature outside the Canon Martha Himmelfarb 29
3 Diaspora and the "Assimilated" Jew Erich S. Gruen 52
4 Were the Ancient Jews a Nation? Seth Schwartz 71
5 How Christianity Parted from Judaism Adele Reinhartz 97
Part II Emerging Normativity
6 The Emergence of the Synagogue Steven Fine 123
7 New Directions in Understanding Jewish Liturgy Ruth Langer 147
8 Ancient Jewish Gender Elizabeth Shanks Alexander 174
9 Inventing Rabbis Christine Hayes 199
Conclusion: "In My Beginning Is My End" Robert Goldenberg 227
About the Contributors 237