The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism
A New Theory of People, Exile, and Israelite Identity
AUTHOR: Jason A. Staples, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
DATE PUBLISHED: May 2021
AVAILABILITY: In stock
In this book, Jason A. Staples proposes a new paradigm for how the biblical concept of Israel developed in Early Judaism and how that concept impacted Jewish apocalyptic hopes for restoration after the Babylonian Exile. Challenging conventional assumptions about Israelite identity in antiquity, his argument is based on a close analysis of a vast corpus of biblical and other early Jewish literature and material evidence. Staples demonstrates that continued aspirations for Israel's restoration in the context of diaspora and imperial domination remained central to Jewish conceptions of Israelite identity throughout the final centuries before Christianity and even into the early part of the Common Era. He also shows that Israelite identity was more diverse in antiquity than is typically appreciated in modern scholarship. His book lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the so-called 'parting of the ways' between Judaism and Christianity and how earliest Christianity itself grew out of hopes for Israel's restoration.
- Traces the development of the concept of 'Israel' from the Bible into the first century CE
- Offers a new paradigm for understanding the relationship between the terms 'Israelite' and 'Jew' in antiquity, explaining the connection between that terminology and the apocalyptic restoration hopes of many Jews in the Second Temple period
- Provides a close reading of a vast corpus of biblical and other early Jewish texts, integrating data and questions typically isolated or treated differently across the fields of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, New Testament, Jewish Apocrypha/Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Dead Sea Scrolls, and history of Judaism
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