Article

The Second Temple Period

Steven Weitzman and R. Timothy DeBold

in Jewish Studies

ISBN: 9780199840731
Published online August 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199840731-0005
The Second Temple Period

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Although it has its roots before the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 bce—that is, in the earlier pre-exilic period that is described in the Hebrew Bible—Jewish culture emerged in the so-called Second Temple period. This period begins when Jews in Judaea, Mesopotamia, and Egypt found themselves under Persian rule, and Jews were able to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The Second Temple period continues for six centuries, with Jews living under Persian, Greek, and Roman empires until the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 ce. It is during the intervening centuries that Jewish culture developed a number of characteristics that define Jewish religious experience to this day—engagement with the Bible, institutions such as the synagogue, the notion of Judaism itself as a voluntary religious identity—but Jewish culture in this period was also quite diverse and different in many ways from the Judaism that would develop in Late Antiquity in the wake of the Talmud and rabbinic interpretive activity. Because of its importance for the later development of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, this period has received a lot of attention from scholars, but knowledge is limited by the relative paucity of the sources and the religious biases of scholarship that sometimes anachronistically projects later conceptions of Judaism or Christianity onto this earlier period. The sections of this bibliography have been arranged so as to contain sources that examine the Second Temple period both chronologically and thematically. The chronological sections are valuable for research into what conditions were like for Jews living under the different empires, while the thematic sections contain works that trace their topics throughout the Second Temple period. Because this bibliography addresses a very broad topic, it has not always been possible to include specialized works such as critical editions of primary sources, monographs on very specific topics, or essays published in journals. Because its intended audience is English speaking, the bibliography also does not attempt to represent the extensive and foundational scholarship that exists in languages such as German, French, and Hebrew, except where a major work has been translated into English. For such scholarship, readers are directed to related bibliographies on more-specialized topics such as Josephus and Second Temple archaeology.

Article.  14334 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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