Elective unit (Min. No. 8)

1st semester: Monday evening

Israel between 200 BCE and 70 CE was a complex society affected by the domination of empires past and present. Political, social, economic and religious aspects will be studied. People such as the Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees, the Dead Sea Sect (Essenes?), the Zealots, and the poor, will feature, as will attitudes to women, the main Jewish festivals, modes of worship and their institutions. Sources, which include some Biblical and apocalyptic books, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the works of the Jewish historian Josephus, and of Philo the Jewish philosopher, will be explored. Together these illuminate the world of Jesus.

PREREQUSITES: One foundational unit in BA, BN or BS

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:
1. demonstrate familiarity with the political, social, economic and religious history of the people of Israel from c.200 BCE to c.70 CE
2. incorporate archaeological data, where it is available, and use it critically in conjunction with the literary evidence
3. exegete passages from the primary texts with the aid of commentaries
4. assign a piece of literature to a genre and be aware of the methodologies used to interpret various genres
5. critically evaluate the ways in which, and why, theological ideas about how to live in accordance with God’s wishes were diverse
6. analyse how life in all its aspects in Judea and the diaspora were affected by other nations, cultures or religions

One 2000 word exegetical essay (40%); one 4000 word essay (60%)

BIBLIOGRAPHY *set texts recommended for purchase

Secondary Works
Collins, J.J., Between Athens and Jerusalem. Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000.

Heyler, L.R., Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 2002.

Sanders, E.P., ed., Jewish and Christian Self-Definition. Vol. 2. London, SCM, 1981.

Schürer, E., A History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ. Rev. ed. Vols 1, 2, 3, and 3.2. Oxford: OUP, 1979-1986.

Portier-Young, A.E., Apocalyptic Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014.

*Vanderkam, J.C., An Introduction to Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.


Primary Sources in addition to the Bible

Charlesworth, J.H., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Vols 1 and 2. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1983-85.

Garcia Martinez, F., The Dead Sea Scrolls, Translated: the Qumran Texts in English. Translated by W.G.E. Watson. Leiden: Brill, 1994.

Josephus, The Works of Josephus. Translated by W. Whiston, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1987.

Philo of Alexandria, Works. Translated by F.H. Colson, and G.H. Whittaker, Loeb Classical Library, London/Cambridge, Mass: Heinemann/Harvard University Press, various dates.