Was 70 CE a Watershed in Jewish History?

On Jews and Judaism before and after the Destruction of the Second Temple


The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 CE, which put an end to sacrificial worship in Israel, is usually assumed to constitute a major caesura in Jewish history. But how important was it? What really changed due to 70? What, in contrast, was already changing before 70 or remained basically – or “virtually” -- unchanged despite it? How do the Diaspora, which was long used to Temple-less Judaism, and early Christianity, which was born around the same time, fit in? This Scholion Library volume presents twenty papers given at an international conference in Jerusalem in which scholars assessed the significance of 70 for their respective fields of specialization, including Jewish liturgy, law, literature, magic, art, institutional history, and early Christianity.

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Daniel R. Schwartz, Ph.D. (1980), professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, works primarily in the fields of ancient Judaism and historiography, especially Josephus and 1-2 Maccabees. His most recent volume is 2 Maccabees (De Gruyter, 2008).

Zeev Weiss, Ph.D. (1995), professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has published extensively on Roman and Byzantine art and architecture in Palestine, including The Sepphoris Synagogue: Deciphering an Ancient Message through Its Archaeological and Socio-Historical Contexts (Israel Exploration Society, 2005).
"Den Herausgebern [...] ist für die Herausgabe einer gehaltvollen und hochinteressanten Publikation zu danken, mit deren Hilfe bedeutsame Einblicke in die Dynamiken der antik-jüdischen Religionsgeschichte gewonnen werden können und die wichtige Anstöße zu weiteren Forschungsarbeiten gibt." – Beate Ego, Bochum, in: Theologische Literaturzeitung 140 (2015)
"valuable contributions to the debate about the significance of the destruction [...] will interest scholars of Jewish and Roman history as well as scholars of early Christianity." – Catherine Heszer, SOAS, University of London, in: Journal for the Study of Judaism 45 (2014)
Daniel R. Schwartz, Introduction;

I. Sons of Aaron and Disciples of Aaron: Priests and Rabbis before and after 70;

Martha Himmelfarb, “Found Written in the Book of Moses”: Priests in the Era of Torah.
Gideon Aran, The Other Side of Israelite Priesthood: A Sociological-Anthropological Perspective.
Hannan Birenboim, “A Kingdom of Priests”: Did the Pharisees Try to Live Like Priests?
Jodi Magness, Sectarianism before and after 70 CE.
Zeev Weiss, Were Priests Communal Leaders in Late Antique Palestine? The Archaeological Evidence.

II. “The Place” and Other Places;

Ori Schwarz, Place beyond Place: On Artifacts, Religious Technologies, and the Mediation of Sacred Place.
Jutta Leonhardt-Balzer, Priests and Priesthood in Philo: Could He Have Done without Them?
Noah Hacham, Sanctity and the Attitude towards the Temple in Hellenistic Judaism.
Michael Tuval, Doing without the Temple: Paradigms in Judaic Literature of the Diaspora;

III. Art and Magic;

Naama Vilozny, The Rising Power of the Image: On Jewish Magic Art from the Second Temple Period to Late Antiquity.
Gideon Bohak, Jewish Exorcism Before and After the Destruction of the Second Temple.
Lee I. Levine, The Emergence of Jewish Art;

IV. Sacred Texts: Exegesis and Liturgy;

Paul Mandel, Legal Midrash between Hillel and Rabbi Akiva: Did 70 CE Make a Difference?
Esther G. Chazon, Liturgy Before and After the Temple’s Destruction: Change or Continuity?
Michael D. Swartz, Liturgy, Poetry, and the Persistence of Sacrifice;

V. Communal Definition – Pompey, Jesus, or Titus: Who Made the Difference?

Nadav Sharon, Setting the Stage: The Effects of the Roman Conquest and the Loss of Sovereignty.
Jörg Frey, Temple and Identity in Early Christianity and in the Johannine Community: Reflections on the “Parting of the Ways”.
Martin Goodman, Religious Reactions to 70: The Limitations of the Evidence.
Ruth A. Clements, Epilogue: 70 CE After 135 CE—The Making of a Watershed?

Those interested in the development of Judaism and Jewish culture in antiquity in the wake of the destruction of the Second Temple and parallel to the rise of Christianity.
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