Jewishness as Genealogy in the Late Second Temple Period

Matthew Thiessen

in Contesting Conversion

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199793563
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914456 | DOI:
Jewishness as Genealogy in the Late Second Temple Period

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This chapter argues that while there is little explicit evidence that some Jews in the late Second Temple period continued to define Jewishness in genealogical terms, the early Jewish reception of Idumeans who underwent conversion to Judaism demonstrates that a genealogical definition of Jewishness persisted into the first century c.e. The Animal Apocalypse and 1 Esdras clearly portray the Idumeans as genealogically distinct from Jews and therefore unable to bridge the gap via circumcision. Psalm of Solomon 17 and Josephus demonstrate that some Jews rejected the Herodians, ethnic Idumeans who converted to Judaism, on the basis of the fact that they were not Jews, despite their circumcision.

Keywords: Josephus; Idumeans; Herod; conversion; circumcision; Animal Apocalypse; 1 Esdras; Psalm of Solomon 17

Chapter.  11762 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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