Series: Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum Section 1 - The Jewish people in the first century Historial geography, political history, social, cultural and religious life and institutions Edited by S. Safrai and M. Stern in cooperation with D. Flusser and W.C. van Unnik Section 2 - The Literature of the Jewish People in the Period of the Second Temple and the Talmud Section 3 - Jewish Traditions in Early Christian Literature
The book addresses critical issues of the formation and development of Jewish identity in the late Second Temple period. How could Jewish identity be defined? What about the status of women and the image of 'others'? And what about its ongoing influence in early Christianity?
Before the USSR collapsed, ethnic identities were imposed by the state. This book analyzes how and why Jews decided what being Jewish meant to them after the state dissolved and describes the historical evolution of Jewish identities. Surveys of more than 6,000 Jews in the early and late 1990s reveal that Russian and Ukrainian Jews have a deep sense of their Jewishness but are uncertain what it means. They see little connection between Judaism and being Jewish. Their attitudes toward Judaism, intermarriage and Jewish nationhood differ dramatically from those of Jews elsewhere. Many think Jews can believe in Christianity and do not condemn marrying non-Jews. This complicates their connections with other Jews, resettlement in Israel, the United States and Germany, and the rebuilding of public Jewish life in Russia and Ukraine. Post-Communist Jews, especially the young, are transforming religious-based practices into ethnic traditions and increasingly manifesting their Jewishness in public.
In the late eighteenth century, German Jews began entering the middle class with remarkable speed. That upward mobility, it has often been said, coincided with Jews' increasing alienation from religion and Jewish nationhood. In fact, Michah Gottlieb argues, this period was one of intense engagement with Jewish texts and traditions. One expression of this was the remarkable turn to Bible translation. In the century and a half beginning with Moses Mendelssohn's pioneering translation and the final one by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, German Jews produced sixteen different translations of at least the Pentateuch. Exploring Bible translations by Mendelssohn, Leopold Zunz, and Samson Raphael Hirsch, Michah Gottlieb argues that each translator sought a "reformation" of Judaism along bourgeois lines, which involved aligning Judaism with a Protestant concept of religion. Buber and Rosenzweig famously critiqued bourgeois German Judaism as a craven attempt to establish social respectability to facilitate Jews' entry into the middle class through a vapid, domesticated Judaism. But Mendelssohn, Zunz, and Hirsch saw in bourgeois values the best means to serve God and the authentic actualization of Jewish tradition. Through their learned, creative Bible translations, these scholars presented competing visions of middle-class Judaism that affirmed Jewish nationhood while lighting the path to a purposeful, emotionally-rich spiritual life grounded in ethical responsibility.
Faced with persecution, dispersal, and Hitler's Final Solution, the future of the Jewish people has never been secure. This book seeks to discover what has made survival possible. Leading scholars analyze the changing position of Jews throughout the centuries, contrasting the experience of Jews in Islamic lands and those in Christian Europe. 8 color plates. 40 illustrations. 12 map illustrations. Glossary. Chronology.