A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism: 3rd Century BCE – 7th Century CE

A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism: 3rd Century BCE - 7th Century CE

Editors: Gwynn Kessler, Naomi Koltun-Fromm

An innovative approach to the study of ten centuries of Jewish culture and history

A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism explores the Jewish people, their communities, and various manifestations of their religious and cultural expressions from the third century BCE to the seventh century CE. Presenting a collection of 30 original essays written by noted scholars in the field, this companion provides an expansive examination of ancient Jewish life, identity, gender, sacred and domestic spaces, literature, language, and theological questions throughout late ancient Jewish history and historiography.

Editors Gwynn Kessler and Naomi Koltun-Fromm situate the volume within Late Antiquity, enabling readers to rethink traditional chronological, geographic, and political boundaries. The Companion incorporates a broad methodology, drawing from social history, material history and culture, and literary studies to consider the diverse forms and facets of Jews and Judaism within multiple contexts of place, culture, and history. Divided into five parts, thematically-organized essays discuss topics including the spaces where Jews lived, worked, and worshiped, Jewish languages and literatures, ethnicities and identities, and questions about gender and the body central to Jewish culture and Judaism. Offering original scholarship and fresh insights on late ancient Jewish history and culture, this unique volume: 

  • Offers a one-volume exploration of “second temple,” “Greco-Roman,” and “rabbinic” periods and sources
  • Explores Jewish life across most of the geographic places where Jews or Judaeans were known to have lived
  • Features original maps of areas cited in every essay, including maps of Jewish settlement throughout Late Antiquity
  • Includes an outline of major historical events, further readings, and full references

A Companion to Late Ancient Jews and Judaism: 3rd Century BCE – 7th Century CE is a valuable resource for students, instructors, and scholars of Jewish studies, religion, literature, and ethnic identity, as well as general readers with interest in Jewish history, world religions, Classics, and Late Antiquity.

Year first published: 2020

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