Friday, November 14, 2014

Anxious revolutionary years

PHILIP JENKINS has two posts up at the Anxious Bench on the second and third centuries BCE as revolutionary years for ancient Judaism:

Revolutionary Years 1
In the third and second centuries BC, the Jewish world changed very rapidly, and we see the development of many themes and debates that would shape both Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism – the Last Judgment and eschatology, angels and demons, afterlife and apocalypse. In that process, one very short period of thirty or so years demands our attention, as the centerpiece of a wide-ranging spiritual revolution.

Revolutionary Years 2
In a very short period in the second century BC – mainly between 170 and 140 – Jewish thought and religion changed swiftly and fundamentally, creating a world that is familiar to later historians from Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. I have already described some of the scriptures that emerge from this world, but let me here explore some of the religious themes that now rose to central significance.