Monday, June 29, 2009

Jews in the Hasmonean era - FITJ

From Israelite to Jew is a podcast series by Michael Satlow, which attempts to lay out the history of the Jewish people in the Second Temple period ( about 500 BCE - 100 CE) and their cultural and religious development during that time. The name of the podcast already gives an insight in what is to be learned: the tribes of Israel turned into a ethnicity of Jews. On the resolution at which Satlow has chosen there is a fascinating history that should be interesting to many.

In the previous review we spoke of the Maccabee Uprising and since there were two new installments of the podcast, Hasmonean Kings and Jewish Sectarianism. These are part of a longer stretch that are meant to make us familiar with the intricacies of the Hasmonean and Roman period. The first part is a complicated history of the dynasty and its relationship with both the Hellenist empires and the with the old Israelite traditions.

The second digs deeper into the developments in the religious and cultural divides. The main sects that are treated are the Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes, but one should keep in mind that these are not necessarily religious sects. They could also be seen as political parties. Also, more sects are at play; Zealots and the followers of Jesus are to be considered. The latter goes to show how interesting this Jewish history could be for Christians: the groundwork is revealed of the cultural setting in which Christianity arose. By all means an exciting part of World History.

More FITJ:
The Maccabee Uprising,
Jews of the Persian Empire,
The fox and the hedgehog,
Looking for a Persian History podcast.