Ancient Israel: the Hellenistic Period
University of Minnesota
Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies
Ancient Near Eastern and Jewish Studies 3505
Ancient Israel: The Hellenistic Period
Professor Tzvee Zahavy
Visiting lecturers: Professor Phil Sellew, Professor Steve Derfler
Kitty Millet, Teaching Assistant
Office hours: Friday, 10-12 or by appointment.
This course traces the history and religion of the Jews and of Judaism from the sixth century BCE to the first century CE, an era commonly called the second Temple Period or the Intertestamental Period.
Topics of course:
I. Pre-Hellenistic history: Persian rule of Israel, 538-332 BCE
Israel: Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles
Egypt: The colony at Elephantine
II. The Hellenistic Period. Early: 332-167 BCE
Alexander and Israel
Wisdom Literature: Proverbs, Qoheleth, Ben Sira
Egypt: The Septuagint transition
Impact of Hellenism to 167 BCE
III. Maccabeen rule in Israel, 167-29 BCE
History of the Maccabees
Literature, especially apocalyptic: Daniel, Enoch
Impact of Hellenism
IV. Later Hel. period: Herod the Great to the fall Jerusalem, 29 BCE - 70 CE
Impact of Hellenism: Egypt: Philo Judaeus of Alexandria
Israel: History and religion: Samaritans, Pharisees, Sadducees,
Dead Sea sect, Zealots, Sicarii, Scribes, Early Christians.
One mid-term essay assignment based on both readings and lectures. In the 9thweek students will submit an outline of the final paper. The final paper (10 pages max.), will synthesize a major aspect of the course. There will be no examinations. All assignments must be typed and double-spaced.
Books, Readings, Office Hours, Grades
Textbooks available at the Minnesota Book Center.
Reserve: Additional reading materials will be on reserve at the Wilson reserve readings room and in 178 Klaeber Court and at Kinkos copy center, if possible.
Handouts: Short handouts will be distributed in class.
Office Hours: The instructor and teaching assistant are accessible during office hours by appointment. See the instructor or TA for an appointment or call the department office (624-0060).
Grades: Based on written work and on classroom participation. A grade of "S" is equivalent to a "C" or better. No grade of "I" will be assigned unless prearranged with instructor.
Changes of schedule: If you cannot attend this class please notify the instructor or teaching assistant in advance.
Textbooks and Information
J. Bickerman, From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees
D.S. Russel, Between the Testaments
G.W.E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah.
Oxford Annotated Bible and Apocrypha
R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
L. Feldman and G. Hata, Josephus, Judaism and Christianity
M. Hadas, Hellenistic Culture: Fusion and Diffusion
M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism
R. Horsley, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence
B. Porten, The Archives of Elephantine
M. Smith, Palestinian Parties and Politics that Shaped the Old Testament
W. Tarn, Hellenistic Civilization, 3rd ed.
V. Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews
G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls
Abba Eban, Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, tapes 1, 2, 3
Tzvee Zahavy, Ancient Synagogues Explored, tape
ANEJ 3505 Syllabus
Week Readings: Chapters from:
March 30 Introduction Heritage, Ancient Synagogues, tapes
April 6 (Professor Derfler) Archaeology, late Persian
*Bickerman, 3-31 Ezra, Nehemiah,
Smith, 82-147 Chronicles
April 13 (Professor Sellew) Hellenism and its main
*Bickerman, 32-40 trends and impacts
April 20 (Professor Sellew) The Septuagint and the
*Bickerman, 72-87 Letter of Aristeas
*Russel, 13-25, 58-63
April 27 *Bickerman, 54-86 Proverbs, Qoheleth,
*Russel, 75-86 Ben Sira
Mid-term take-home essay exam distributed to students.
May 4 *Bickerman, 93-152 I and II Maccabees
and the Jews, tapes 2,3
Mid-term exam due.
May 11 *Russel, 25-35, 41-48 Maccabees, continued
Mid-term exam returned to students.
May 18 *Russel, 93-162 Daniel, Enoch
Final paper assignments discussed.
May 25 *Bickerman, 153-182 Philo of Alexandria
Outlines of final papers due.
June 1 Russel, 35-40, 48-57, Josephus, Mishnah, NT
Vermes, 95-117, 235-43
June 8 Concluding lecture The social history of the 1st century
(Attendance optional) and any remaining topics.
Final Assignment Due.