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Fitting a Square Peg into a Round Hole: Categorizing Works of Jewish Historiography of the Second Temple Period

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The categories of Jewish historiography of the Second Temple Period frame how scholars and their students approach crucial texts of this era and therefore shape our understanding of history. Yet, these categories are fraught with difficulties. This article explores this issue by examining Daniel R. Schwartz’s categorization of Second Temple historiography as either Palestinian or diasporan works. While these categories provide interesting insights, they also leave far too many exceptions. This article demonstrates that such efforts of categorization warp our understanding of Second Temple historiography. Rather than categorize Second Temple historiography I suggest that each work ought to be considered from the point of view of its author’s aims.

Affiliations: 1: Judaic Studies Department, University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OHUSA


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1. Amir Y."“Philo’s Version of Pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”" Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period: Abraham Schalit Memorial Volume Oppenheimer Aaron, Rappaport Uriel, Stern Menahem Jerusalem Yad Ben-Zvi 1980 154 165 Hebrew
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10. Gafni Isaiah M."“Josephus and I Maccabees.”" Josephus, the Bible, and History Feldman Louis H., Hata Gohei Detroit Wayne State University Press 1989 116 131
11. Gruen Erich S. Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans Cambridge Harvard University Press 2002 [Crossref]
12. Halpern-Amaru B."“Land Theology in Philo and Josephus.”" The Land of Israel: Jewish Perspectives Hoffman L.A. Notre Dame University of Notre Dame Press 1986 65 93
13. Hengel Martin Judaism and Hellenism Philadelphia Fortress 1974
14. Horbury William The Jewish War under Trajan and Hadrian Cambridge Cambridge University Press 2014 [Crossref]
15. Leonhardt-Balzer Jutta Jewish Worship in Philo of Alexandria Tübingen Mohr Siebeck 2001
16. Mason Steve"“Of Audience and Meaning: Reading Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum in the Context of a Flavian Audience.”" Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond Sievers Joseph, Lembi Gaia Leiden Brill 2005 75 100 [Crossref]
17. Mason Steve"“The Priest Josephus Away from the Temple: A Changed Man?”" Revue de QumranVol 103 2014 375 402
18. Mason Steve A History of the Jewish War A.D. 66–74 Cambridge Cambridge University Press 2016 [Crossref]
19. Pearce Sarah"“Jerusalem as ‘Mother-City’ in the Writings of Philo of Alexandria.”" Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire Barclay John M.G. London T&T Clark 2004 19 36
20. Philo Philo: in ten volumes Colson Francis H., Whitaker George Herbert, Marcus Ralph Cambridge Harvard University Press 1929 1962
21. Philo On the Life of Moses Colson Francis H. Cambridge Harvard University Press 1929
22. Philo Special Laws Colson Francis H. Cambridge Harvard University Press 1937 [Crossref]
23. Rajak Tessa"“The Against Apion and the Continuities in Josephus’ Political Thought.”" The Jewish Dialogue Between Greece and Rome: Studies in Cultural and Social Interaction Rajak Tessa Leiden Brill 2002 195 217
24. Schürer Emil Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi 2 vols. Leipzig Hinrichs 1886 1890
25. Schwartz Daniel R."“Temple or City: What did Hellenistic Jews See in Jerusalem?”" The Centrality of Jerusalem Poorthuis M., Safrai Ch Kampen Kok Pharos 1996 114 127
26. Schwartz Daniel R."“From the Maccabees to Masada: On Diasporan Historiography of the Second Temple Period.”" Jüdische Geschichte in hellenistisch-römischer Zeit: Schriften des historischen Kollegs, herausgegeben von der Stiftung Historisches Kolleg Oppenheimer Aharon, Müller-Luckner Elisabeth Munich Oldenbourg 1999 29 40 [Crossref]
27. Schwartz Daniel R."“The Jews of Egypt between the Temple of Onias, the Temple of Jerusalem, and Heaven.”" Center and Diaspora: The Land of Israel and the Diaspora in the Second Temple, Mishna and Talmud Periods Gafni Isaiah M. Jerusalem Zalman Shazar Center 2004 37 55 Hebrew
28. Schwartz Daniel R. The Second Book of Maccabees: Introduction, Hebrew Translation and Commentary Jerusalem Yad Ben-Zvi 2004 Hebrew
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30. Schwartz Daniel R. Reading the First Century: On Reading Josephus and Studying Jewish History of the First Century Tübingen Mohr Siebeck 2013
31. Sterling Gregory E. Historiography and Self-Definition: Josephos, Luke-Acts, and Apologetic Historiography Leiden Brill 1992 [Crossref]
32. Tuval Michael From Jerusalem Priest to Roman Jew: On Josephus and the Paradigms of Ancient Judaism Tübingen Mohr Siebeck 2013

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