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Reflections On Rutgers’ Attitudes To Judaism In The Greco-Roman Period

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Chapter Summary

Dr. Leonard V. Rutgers, in a recent article in the Jewish Quarterly Review, has done the world of scholarship a service in examining anew the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in antiquity. He proposes to review critically the literary, epigraphical, and archaeological evidence bearing on conversions to Judaism in antiquity. He stresses that the strength of the Jewish communities is evident from the ways in which Jews reacted to non-Jewish culture by continuously transforming it to express an identity that was unmistakably Jewish. Dr. Rutgers asserts that Josephus' account of the conversion of the royal family of Adiabene shows that the first-century conversions of non-Jews to Judaism, even among the upper classes, must have been the exception rather than the rule. Dr. Rutgers expresses skepticism as to the number of Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman period and specifically as to the number of converts among them.

Keywords: Dr. Leonard V. Rutgers; Greco-Roman period; Jewish Quarterly Review; Jews; Josephus; Judaism; non-Jews



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