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Edited by Benedikt Eckhardt

The 300 years between the beginning of Maccabean resistance against Seleucid rule and the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt were formative for the development of Jewish identity in antiquity. The frequent political changes (from Seleucid to Hasmonean, Herodian and Roman rule) presented profound challenges to Jewish self-understanding. Political adjustments were coupled with internal reconfigurations. We witness the invention and reinterpretation of rituals, the emergence of new religious groups, and the use of scripture as argument. This volume brings together the perspectives of scholars of different background in order to make use of the multifaceted evidence. The interdisciplinary approach leads to a comprehensive picture of the interrelation between identity and politics in this crucial period of ancient Jewish history.

Benedikt Eckhardt

Abstract

The Psalms of Solomon are an important source for reconstructing Jewish attitudes towards the major political shift that occurred in 63 BCE. The end of the Hasmonean dynasty and the beginning of Roman rule are often said to have pleased at least some contemporary Jewish groups because they perceived the Hasmoneans as illegitimate rulers. The analysis seeks to show that the only contemporary evidence for this view is PsSol 17:1-10, and that this part of the PsSol does not speak of Pompey, but of Herod the Great. Some attitudes towards the Hasmonean dynasty assumed to be contemporary by scholars have to be seen against the background of the Herodian, not the Hasmonean period.

Benedikt Eckhardt

Abstract

The “Rule of the Community” (1QS) prescribes the organization of meals in a short and not very informative way, which has led to widespread speculations about the cultic significance and/or the political character of meals held in the Yaad. This analysis seeks to show that there is nothing in the Qumran texts which justifies the designation of the meal as either “holy” or “political” in the sense usually given to that term. No anti-Hellenistic attitude is apparent. The meals are political in a different sense, designed to visualize hierarchies and to inscribe them into daily practice. Strategies employed for securing the status of priests make the use of semantics potentially associated with the cult understandable as the attempt to create a frame of reference which makes acceptance of priestly status in the community unavoidable.