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How Much Hellenism In The Land Of Israel?

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Chapter Summary

If the culture of Hellenism did not penetrate into Jewish Palestine as deeply as Hengel and his many followers, it is not due to the immunity of the Jews to foreign influence, because they had often succumbed to it during the biblical period. However, during the Hellenistic Period, except for the brief episode of the Hellenized high priests Jason and Menelaus, we hear of no instances where Jews worshipped Greek gods. Apparently, it was the Samaritans who were more deeply influenced by Hellenism; and the fact that the Jews had so little contact with the Samaritans meant that a minimum of Greek culture came to the Jews from the Samaritans. Letters, contracts, documents, Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinic works - all indicate that the predominant language of the Jews of Palestine throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods was not Greek but Aramaic, though Hebrew continued to be spoken certainly through the Mishnaic period.

Keywords: biblical period; dead sea scrolls; Greek gods; Hebrew; Hellenism; Israel; Jewish; Martin Hengel; Palestine; Samaritans



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