This comprehensive and authoritative volume is the first reference work devoted exclusively to Second Temple Judaism. A striking and innovative project, it combines the best features of a survey and a reference work:
The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism is ecumenical and international in character, bringing together the contributions of a superb group of Jewish, Christian, and other scholars. With equal attention paid to literary and nonliterary (archaeological and epigraphic) evidence, this substantial volume will prove to be an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and general readers alike.
The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism was awarded an honorable mention by the 2011 AJL Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards
“The other end of the spectrum from Sanders is occupied by Jacob Neusner, who insists on speaking of ‘Judaisms’ rather than ‘Judaism’” (Page 6)
“In May/June 66 c.e., some of the young priests, incited and led by the captain of the Temple, Eleazer ben Ananias, terminated the sacrifices offered daily at the Temple on behalf of the emperor. In essence, this served as an open proclamation of revolution and war.” (Page 46)
“Its importance lies rather in the contrast it draws between two visions of early Judaism: the ideal temple-community, governed by the Torah and presided over by a high priest; and the historical contingencies of a sovereign state, struggling to maintain its independence amidst the successor-kingdoms of Alexander the Great. In 63 b.c.e., both the Hasmonean princes and their aristocratic opponents viewed Rome as the key to preserving their vision.” (Page 39)
“Excluded from office by the upheavals of the Seleucid-backed high priesthood, Onias IV, son of the murdered high priest of the same name, fled to Egypt. There he obtained a land grant and permission from the reigning monarchs (Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II) to erect a temple modeled on that of Jerusalem in the eastern Nile Delta.” (Page 37)
This dictionary, containing an immense amount of useful information presented with great clarity by an impressive range of scholars including many leading experts in the field, will be an essential resource for all those interested in studying the late Second Temple period and the Jewish background to the origins of Christianity.
—Martin Goodman, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
A welcome, handy reference tool for students of early Judaism. . . . Presented in an easily accessible format, it is usable for general readers as well.
—Eric M. Meyers, Center for Jewish Studies, Duke University
The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism is an outstanding reference work that not only introduces this important era but also serves as a status report for scholarly activity in this area over the past few decades. Highly recommended for theological, research, and large public libraries.
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John J. Collins is Holmes professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School and has served as president of both the Society of Biblical Literature and the Catholic Biblical Association. His many books include Beyond the Qumran Community, King and Messiah as Son of God, The Bible after Babel, and The Apocalyptic Imagination.
Daniel C. Harlow is professor of biblical, early Jewish, and early Christian studies at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.