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

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
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  • 1 Judaic Studies Department, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA
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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.

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