Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Cohen, ShayeJ. D. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah / Shaye J.D. Cohen.— 2nd ed. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah has ratings and 31 reviews. Tsun said: REVIEW AND CRITIQUE Shaye J. D. Cohen, S. From the Maccabees to the. In this new edition of a best-selling classic, Shaye Cohen offers a thorough analysis of Judaism’s development from the early years of the.

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There seems to be several concepts involved in canonization: Tye me on this computer. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. And he is not so much self-aware of his own hermeneutic assumptions as the contemporary scholars. Part maccabres this was that various sects were ambivalent about the temple; they had seen the combination of corruption and power.

It is perhaps more surprising that the Jews of antiquity, in some contexts at least, saw themselves as citizens of one nation and one religion, unaware of, or oblivious to, the fact that they were separated from each other by their diverse languages, practices, ideologies, and political loyalties. Cohen argues that the benediction against heretics was actually a curse against sectarianism.

Cohen’s suggestions for further reading p. This is great brief account of Jewish history from the early years of misnhah Roman empire to formative period of rabbinic Judaism.

Some synagogues may have been publicly owned, but most seem to have been privately controlled, another point favoring doctrinal diversity.

Their self-perception as Jews, according to Cohen, allows them to be considered as one. But the existence of a benediction against heretics testifies to some nishnah of self-definition, of drawing lines and ostracizing others – sectarian activities. This diversity provided a religious environment in which Christianity could grow. He lists various differences between them, but does not demonstrate that misshnah evolved into the other.

The only reason I give it mishnaj instead of five stars is because the book seemed to lag in generalities at parts which could have been cut short to focus on more meaty substance such as determining whether or not to use the term orthodox, or normative. I think that anti-Judaism is a better term, for both modern and ancient animosities, simply because it identifies which Semitic group is the target of animosity.


He argues that this is appropriate in a work of history rather than theology, and would probably not agree that this in itself demonstrates a certain philosophical if not theological orientation. Cohen’s synthesis of religion, literature, and history offers deep insight into the nature of Judaism at this key period, including the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, the function of Jewish religion in the larger community, and the development of normative Judaism and other Jewish sects.

It was interesting that not all priests and aristocrats were Sadducee; some were Pharisee or nonsectarian. The new regimen of study, prayer, ritual, and ethics was incumbent not upon some The Dead Sea Scrolls, Volume 7.

The Library of Early Christianity is a series of eight outstanding books exploring the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts in which the New Testament developed. Refresh and try again. View all 3 comments.

A line between normative Judaism and Hellenistic Judaism would be arbitrary. Cohen remains to be a Jewish Rabbis and historian rather than an interpreter and philosopher. Since Judaism was a book religion, translations and paraphrases were important. But they did give a stamp of approval to certain books, an approval that was influential among those people who were involved in copying and preserving Scripture.

Since it wasn’t always true in this life, there had mishnau be another. Interestingly enough, the book is part of a series on the history of early Christianity, although it is written and engagingly so from a Jewish perspective.

From the Maccabees to the Mishnah by Shaye J.D. Cohen

He notes that esoteric texts were not canonized since canonization requires recognition of authority by the communitybut in the end he concludes that we do not know why some books were canonized and others were not. I always thought that the synagogue was a diasporan invention!

I appreciated the distinction between Sicarii and Zealots; I already suspected that brigands were nonreligious highway robbers. This telos, in retrospect, governs his prior account of Jewish practice, social organization, and belief.

Rather, one replaced the other. A classic, not without it’s flaws, but worth reading for anyone who wants a basic understanding of the Second Temple period. I am of the former persuasion. Cohen emphasizes the important role that the influential but corrupt temple played in sectarianism: I agree, but I’d like to add that most Jews continued to view themselves in terms of nationality first.


This is a shame, because as a reader, I much prefer this to the textbook that I am using for that class. No trivia or quizzes yet. Privacy Policy Terms of Use.

Open Preview See a Problem? The author, Shaye J. This is such a vivid example of how a Jewish historian is not able to reproduce Wright’s reconstruction of historical early Judaism.

From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Third Edition (Paper)

Temple, however, is listed on the next page as an area of law. This work covers the span of about years, during which time Judaism gradually morphed into a “book” religion – its previous incarnation was a Temple-based faith utilizing animal sacrifice as the major form of worship. Christianity ceased to be a Jewish sect when the majority of the Church was gentile and did not observe Jewish practices.

This conclusion has relevance to the authority of the Jamnia conference. We do not understand why the schools of Hillel and Shammai did not separate from one another; this fact suggests that we do not know enough about sectarian psychology or doctrine to enable us to explain the dynamics of what happened after the destruction of the temple.

From the Maccabees to the Mishnah

The primary constituency for a course in “Second Temple Judaism” let alone “The Jewish Background to the New Testament” is, if not Christian, then at least conditioned by prior interest in the New Testament or Christian origins.

The most frustrating decision must be the omission of footnotes. It is a great textbook for us on learning much more about the nation of Israel and what happened to them and brought them to the place that they are today.