This work deals with the Jewish warfare in the Hellenistic and Roman Antiquity from the point of view of the religious rites which, for the Ancients, were a necessary part of all social activity. The author rejects the traditional concept of "Holy War" and prefers to emphasise the diversity of representations of war in the Judaism of the Second Temple. The book deals with questions linked to the status of warriors and priests who were involved in war with regard to purity laws. It analyses the rituals specific to military operations. It deals with the Sabbath, with the war oracle of the ourim and toummim as well as the different types of sacrifices associated with war. The book presents a comprehensive but diverse and contrasted portrait of the Jewish practises and representations of war in Ancient times.
Francis Schmidt's works in various fields of religious studies (mainly ancient Judaism), can be characterized by three words: historiography, anthropological history, and comparatism. In that respect he placed himself in the continuation of previous French scholars, such as Maurice Halbwachs or Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Francis Schmidt also played an essential role in transmitting to a new generation of scholars the complex issues and debates concerning the Dead Sea scrolls and Qumranic research.
The papers offered in this volume share all the same interest in ancient religions and the methodological devices previously mentioned. They offer a rare example of a large comparatism between Assyrian, Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian approaches of some essential social or intellectual issues, by some of the most competent specialists in each field.