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Between Athens and Jerusalem

ISBN: 9780802843722

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One of the most creative and consequential collisions in Western culture involved the encounter of Judaism with Hellenism. In this widely acclaimed study of the Jews who lived in Hellenistic Egypt, “between Athens and Jerusalem,” John J. Collins examines the literature of Hellenistic Judaism, treating not only the introductory questions of date, authorship, and provenance but also the larger question of Jewish identity in the Graeco-Roman world. First published in 1984, this landmark study by one of the world’s leading experts in Hellenistic Judaism is now fully revised and updated to take into account the best of recent scholarship.

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Top Highlights

“The attitude of 2 Maccabees to the Gentiles is ambiguous” (Page 79)

“The social tensions between Jews and Gentiles in Egypt were exacerbated by the nature of the Jewish religion itself” (Page 12)

“The majority sought ways to reduce the dissonance while remaining Jewish but without rejecting Hellenistic culture” (Page 15)

“when the actual Jewish scriptures became available in Greek translation, they were ignored.25” (Page 6)

“affinities with the Greeks and differences from the Egyptians, and were resented by both.” (Page 12)

Scholars and students who have benefited immensely from this work will. . . be delighted to see it re-emerge in a second edition. . . . Collins’s mastery of the range of material treated in this book is awesome, and his close engagement with these Diaspora texts and their cultural meaning is a model for all. Minor Diaspora authors who have long been neglected, or even generally unknown, are here again brought to the attention of the scholarly world in a way that should ensure their recognition in future debates about Second Temple Judaism. . . . Students and scholars will be immensely grateful for this guide, which will play a central role in future discussion of the Diaspora.

—Martin Goodman in Journal of Jewish Studies

A remarkable book. . . . Collins has provided us with an exceptionally well-crafted discussion of the variety of religious self-definitions that characterized Egyptian diaspora Judaism.

—David E. Aune in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

This important work is fresh and suggestive. . . . An impressive display of insight and careful scholarship. . . . Exemplary in both its design and its execution.

Journal of Biblical Literature

As an introduction and an exegetical tool, this book is indispensable for study of the ancient literature and especially of the fragmentary material. It provides us with an innovative perspective on Jewish religion, theology, and culture in the Graeco-Roman period.

Religious Studies Review

This is a very useful and reliable introduction to those Second Temple Jewish writings in Greek…. All students of Second Temple Judaism and related areas will be pleased to have an updated edition in a handy and affordable form.

Society for Old Testament Study Booklist

This book should be in libraries of all colleges and universities where the Bible, ancient Israel, Christian origins, formative Judaism, or classical culture are taught to upper-level undergraduates.


  • Title: Between Athens and Jerusalem
  • Author: John J. Collins
  • Series: Eerdmans Biblical Resources Series
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 343

John J. Collins was a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Chicago from 1991 until his arrival at Yale Divinity School in 2000. He has published widely on the subjects of apocalypticism, wisdom, Hellenistic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. His books include the commentary on Daniel in theHermeneia seriesThe Apocalyptic Imagination, and Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. He has served as editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature and as president of both the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature.


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Digital list price: $28.99
Save $6.00 (20%)