Friday, April 29, 2022

Hellenistic Judaism in 19th-century Germany

MARGINALIA ESSAY: What’s So Jewish about Hellenistic Judaism? Paul Michael Kurtz on the Complexities of Jewish Identity (Paul Michael Kurtz).
Two German Jewish scholars showed the way in the late nineteenth century. Together Jacob Bernays and Jacob Freudenthal forged the modern study of Hellenistic Judaism. Both were active in Breslau, Prussia (Wrocław, Poland), at the Jewish Theological Seminary, also called the Fraenkel Foundation. There, Bernays and Freudenthal worked in one of the leading centers of the flourishing “Science of Judaism” as well as a burgeoning Reform Judaism. In doing so, each made grand discoveries: Jewish authors of Greek works previously thought to be pagan or Christian. Beyond the specific results themselves, their meticulous philological studies exhibited the instability of determining Jewishness in antiquity. At the same time, they displayed the concerns and resonances of ancient Greek Jews for modern German Jews.
Some PaleoJudaica posts on Pseudo-Phocylides are here, here, here, and here.

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