The Hebrew University Jerusalem

Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period

Prof. Lee Levine


To familiarize the student with a broad spectrum of issues relating to Jerusalem in the Second Temple period. Topics will include political, social, religious, and cultural aspects of the city and will focus on primary as well as secondary material. There will be several fieldtrips.

Requirements: Regular attendance, preparation of readings, participation in class discussions, presentation and analysis of an issue (oral or written - 2-3 typewritten pages), Exam or paper (15-25 typewritten pages).

Grade components: Participation - 20%, Discussion of issue - 20% Exam or paper - 60%.

Background Reading: H. H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People.

I.Introduction : Jerusalem in the First Temple Period

S. Japhet, 'From the King's Sanctuary to the Chosen City', Jerusalem: Its Sanctity and Centrality to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, ed. L. Levine, 3-15

The Persian (Restoration) Period (539-332 B.C.E.)

II.The Period of Ezra and Nehemiah

1.Ezra 7:10

Nehemiah 8:10 (recommended: whole book)

2.J. Blenkinsopp, 'The Mission of Udjahorresnet and Those of Ezra and Nehemiah', JBL 106 (1987): 409-21

3.K. Koch, 'Ezra and the Origins of Judaism', Journal of Semitic Studies 19 (1974):173-97

4.M. Smith, Palestinian Parties and Politics that Shaped the Old Testament, 126-47 (Chap. VI)

Recommended: E. Bickerman, From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees, 3-31

To what degree was this period one of continuity or of radical innovation? To what extent was Jewish society isolated and insulated from its surroundings?

III. Archeology and Theology

1. Y. Meshorer, Ancient Jewish Coinage, I, 13-34

2. L. Grabbe, Judaism from Cyrus to Hadrian, I, 67-73, 103-12

3. S. Japhet, 'The Temple in the Restoration Period: Reality and Ideology', Union Seminary Quarterly Review (1991): 228-42

What can we learn from archeological material regarding social, religious, and cultural aspects of Jerusalem life in the later Persian period? How central was the Temple in Jewish life? Are Grabbe's reservations vis--vis the existence of Jewish sectarianism justified?

The Hellenistic-Hasmonean Period (332-63 B.C.E.)

IV Hellenization in Jewish Historical Study

1. L. Levine, Judaism and Hellenism: Conflict or Confluence?, 3-32

Early Hellenistic Jerusalem

1. M. Hengel, Jews, Greeks, and Barbarians, 110-26

2. F. Millar, 'The Background to the Maccabean Revolution: Reflections on Martin Hengel's - Judaism and Hellenism', JJS 29 (1978): 1-12

What is the status quaestiones regarding Hellenism generally, and in relation to Jerusalem in particular? What are the methodological and substantive differences between Hengel (a maximalist) and Millar (a minimalist) with respect to the Hellenization of Jerusalem?

V. Jerusalem under Hasmonean Rule

1.II Maccabees

2.The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, II, 724-29

What was the importance of Jerusalem and its Temple to the author of II Maccabees? Which of the two was more pivotal? What evidence do we have of the dramatic expansion of the city and what factors might account for this expansion?

VI. Judaism and Hellenism in Hasmonean Jerusalem

1.Bickerman, Ezra to the Maccabees, 153-82

2.L. Levine, 'Hasmonean Jerusalem: A Jewish City in a Hellenistic Orbit', Judaism 46/2 (1997): 140-46

3.R. A. Kraft and G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Early Judaism and Its Modern Interpreters, 259-67, 345-62

What were the different aspects of Jewish and Hellenistic expression in Jerusalem? Is it possible to determine which type of influence was predominant?

VII. Jerusalem as a Religious Center

1.P. Alexander, 'Jerusalem as the Omphalos of the World: On the History of a Geographical Concept', Jerusalem: Its Sanctity and Centrality, 104-10

2.D. Mendels, The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism, 137-51, 157-59

3.A. Baumgarten, 'City Lights: Urbanization and Sectarianism in Hasmonean Jerusalem', The Centrality of Jerusalem: Historical Perspectives, ed. M. Poorthuis and Ch. Safrai, 50-64

4.S. Safrai, 'The Heavenly Jerusalem', Ariel 23 (1969), 11-16

How was Jerusalem's centrality and sanctity expressed by different authors and groups? What tensions might have existed between various sects/classes in this regard?

The Roman and Herodian Era(63B.C.E.-70C.E.)

VIII. Jerusalem under Rome and Herod

1. Grabbe, Judaism, 349-66

What was the relationship between Herod and Rome, and how did the latter impact upon him? To what extent was Herod influenced by internal or external forces and factors?

IX. Jerusalem under Herod : Continuity and Change

1. M. Stern, 'Social and Political Realignments in Herodian Judaea', The Jerusalem nCathedra, II, ed. L. I. Levine, 40-62

2. M. Avi-Yonah, 'Jerusalem in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods', The World History of the Jewish People: The Herodian Period, ed. M. Avi-Yonah, 207-49

How did Herod change the face of the city? socially, demographically, religiously, culturally, and architecturally?

X. The Temple

1. Mendels, Rise and Fall, 277-331

2. M. Broshi, 'The Role of the Temple in Herodian Economy', JJS 38 (1987): 31-37

3. M. Goodman, 'The Pilgrimage Economy of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period', Jerusalem: Its Sanctity and Centrality, 69-76

What was the role of the Temple in Jewish society during this period? Did it change over time? How did this institution serve the purposes of Herod and of Jewish society generally?

XI. Opposition to the Temple and Its Leadership

1. C. A. Evans, 'Opposition to the Temple: Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls', Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. J. H. Charlesworth), 235-53

2. S. J. D. Cohen, 'The Significance of Yavneh: Pharisees, Rabbis, and the End of Jewish Sectarianism', HUCA 55 (1984):43-51

What was the nature of the opposition to the Temple? What groups in Jerusalem society spearheaded this opposition?

XII. Judaism and Hellenism in Jerusalem

1. Levine, Judaism and Hellenism, 33-95

In which areas was Greco-Roman influence felt the most, and in which areas the least? Can one distinguish between different strata of society in this regard? In which areas did earlier Jewish tradition find expression?

XIII. Summary and Conclusions

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