A Contested Field: Half a Century of Study of Second Temple Judaism

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism

Abstract

There has been an explosion of interest in Second Temple Judaism over the last fifty years. In the first half of the period under review, the Pseudepigrapha were at the cutting edge. This period culminated in the publication of the new enlarged edition of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Beginning in the 1980s, interest shifted to the Dead Sea Scrolls, culminating in the rapid publication of the corpus under the editorship of Emanuel Tov. At the same time, new discoveries shed light on the encounter of Judaism with Hellenism, both in Judea in the Maccabean period and in the Egyptian diaspora. Few scholars would now defend an idea of “normative Judaism” in this period, but that idea still casts a shadow on the ongoing debates.

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