Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Destruction and the end - FITJ

A highly recommended podcast series has finished its subject. Michael Satlow's From Israelite to Jew (feed) has spent 22 shows of around half an hour in a most fascinating, informative and provocative reconstruction of Jewish history from around 500 BCE to 100 CE. As the title indicates, Satlow went to great depths and length in order to show how the Jews and their religion developed from a tribal, Israelite culture to an ethnic Jewish one.

Michael Satlow is professor of religious studies and Judaic Studies at Brown University and has developed this podcast series in his spare time just as so many other podcasters did and do. The podcast is offered for free, though Satlow facilitates making donations with a paypal button on the podcast's blog. In his last show he explicitly asks for donations and suggests that it depends on whether enough donations will come through if he is going to make a follow-up of the show. And this shows Satlow to be in exactly the same position as all the non-institutional podcasters whose work we enjoy so much: they voluntarily spent a lot of their time, effort and even money in order to bring us the podcast. And there are few indicators that this expense is being sufficiently compensated. It shows where podcasting the way it began, is going to disappear. Although I hope not.

From Israelite to Jew has described the Judaism of the second-temple period and even if it shows a lot of Jewish worship going on outside of the Temple, still, the religion continued to have at least some focal point at the Temple. When in 70 CE the Temple is definitively destroyed, Judaism continued to exist and developed the rabbinic style that we know until today. It would be fantastic to have Michael Satlow take up the gauntlet and teach us in a next podcast about the rise of rabbinical Judaism. If you agree, do not hesitate and send a contribution to this fine podcaster.

More FITJ:
Pharisees and Sadducees,
The Dead Sea Scrolls,
Herod the Ambiguous,
Jewish varieties,
Jews in the Hasmonean era.