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Reading Guide

  1. How was Judaism similar to other Greco-Roman religions?

  2. What is meant by the term “diaspora” and what did it involve for early Judaism?

  3. What is the Septuagint? Why was it created, and how is it relevant for early Christianity?

  4. What were the distinctive features of Judaism among the religions of the Greco-Roman world? In particular, be able to explain the following aspects of Judaism: monotheism, covenant, law, temple, and synagogue.

  5. How did the Jewish temple differ from other temples in the Greco-Roman world?

  6. What happened during the political history of Palestine for the five centuries before Jesus? In particular, what were the events surrounding the Maccabean revolt and the Roman conquest of Palestine?

  7. What were the Jewish groups that formed in response to the political crisis of the Maccabean revolt, and what were the primary characteristics of each?

  8. How did the Pharisees get a reputation for hypocrisy? Is this a fair assessment of them? Why or why not?

  9. What were the political, social, and religious effects of Hellenization on Judaism?

  10. Who is Josephus, and why is he important for our understanding of early Judaism?

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