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The Legal Status of the Jewish Communities in the Diaspora

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Chapter Summary

The legal status of the Jews of the Roman Empire in the first century C.E., prior to the destruction of the organized Jewish polity of Judaea and even to some extent after that date had developed out of their crystallized status in the Hellenistic kingdoms which ruled much of the eastern Mediterranean prior to the establishment of Roman rule. The Hellenistic Jewish community of Egypt, becomes available through the medium of historical sources and documents can be divided into three sections: military settlers and garrison troops; inhabitants of rural areas and villages; and inhabitants of urban centres. The status of the Jews of the Seleucid kingdom outside Judaea is more defective than that of the Jews of the Ptolemaic dominions. Rome followed the principle of the Hellenistic kings by confirming privileges, possessed by the Jews in the Diaspora, which enabled them to practise unmolested their ancestral religion.

Keywords: Diaspora; Egypt; first century C.E; Hellenistic Jewish community; Judaea; Roman Empire; Seleucid kingdom



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