Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B.C.E. to 640 C.E. Paperback – Feb 1 2004
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Winner of the National Scholarly Jewish Book Award, Jewish Book Council
"Schwartz has presented nothing less than a learned and bold bombshell with this important, groundbreaking book. His thesis is that to make sense of the remains of ancient Judaism, one must consider the effects of shifting types of imperial domination and that there is a direct connection between the rise of the synagogue and the religious ideology that justified its construction and the rise of Christianity. This is the most original and the most provocative book on this period that has appeared in many years. It will, and deservedly, be the subject of debate for a long time to come."--Louis H. Feldman, The Forward
"Important. . . . Schwartz challenges many long-held ideas about Jews in antiquity. . . . This work is recommended as fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of the Jews and Judaism."--James E. Seaver, History: Reviews of New Books
"Schwartz is a leading expert on the Jews in the Roman Empire. Using scholarly publications, he has produced a new synthesis that will provoke much debate among scholars. . . . [His] carefully argued positions must be taken seriously."--Choice
"A bold feat of reinterpretation that is certain to stir up controversy in scholarly circles."--Stuart Schoffman, Jerusalem Report
"This is a brilliant and provocative book, which will undoubtedly stimulate much debate among historians of Judaism and of the ancient world. But it deserves, as well, a wide audience among all those interested in the impact of imperial power on regional cultures."--J. B. Rives, International History Review
"Schwartz's study is wide-ranging, rich, well-informed, polemical, creative, unconventional."--Jonathan J. Price, Religious Studies Review
"An invaluable piece of current scholarship on ancient Judaism. . . . This book represents a fresh and unique look at a familiar subject, and it should be required reading for any serious scholar of ancient Judaism, early Christianity, or ancient Mediterranean religions."--Daniel Bernard, Journal of Religion and Culture
From the Inside Flap
"Seth Schwartz's work is a much more complex assessment of ancient Jewish society and culture than that which the one-sided traditional accounts present: it is the first consistent and comprehensive attempt to view Jewish society of Hellenistic and Roman-Byzantine times in the context of the broader socio-political, economic, and religious developments of the ancient eastern Mediterranean world. This allows him to interpret the sparse evidence from Roman Palestine in a much more convincing way than has formerly been done." (Catherine Hezser, Trinity College, Dublin)
"Imperialism and Jewish Society comprises a highly ambitious discussion of a very wide sweep of Jewish history, with novel insights into major issues of the general interpretation of that history and into numerous minor matters of a widely disparate nature. There are interesting observations on every page. Nothing quite like it has ever been attempted before." (Martin Goodman, Oxford University) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is extensively footnoted and the bibliography is 23 pages long. But most of this consists of the extensive secondary literature. The actual primary evidence which exists is unavoidably scarce.Read more ›
Nevertheless, this book is overall well worth reading for students/scholars of the period and provides an update/counter for the works of Gedalia Alon (sadly never completed) and his subsequent students.
This book is not for "novices" when it comes to Jewish history. It was written for an informed academic audience. It is heavily footnoted, makes ongoing references to debates within scholarly circles, and presents an impressive bibliography spanning many different disciplines.
My personal copy barely has two pages go by without my notes and underlining. I personally feel that this is one of the most important books in the field to emerge in years.
Most recent customer reviews
Seth's favorite letter is Q, by the way. He especially likes words like Qedem and Qerovah where the Q doesn't have a U after it.Published on June 19 2003
I had the priviledge of taking a course on Ancient Jewish History from Seth Schwartz. This was actually the same course taken by the previous reviewer, sbelect2. I hardly went. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2002 by firstname.lastname@example.org