Judaism I -  - E-Book

Judaism I E-Book



Judaism, the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, is one of the pillars of modern civilization. A collective of internationally renowned experts cooperated in a singular academic enterprise to portray Judaism from its transformation as a Temple cult to its broad contemporary varieties. In three volumes the long-running book series "Die Religionen der Menschheit" (Religions of Humanity) presents for the first time a complete and compelling view on Jewish life now and then - a fascinating portrait of the Jewish people with its ability to adapt itself to most different cultural settings, always maintaining its strong and unique identity. Volume I provides a global view on Jewish history from antiquity, the middle ages, to contemporary history.

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Die Religionen der Menschheit

Begründet von Christel Matthias Schröder

Fortgeführt und herausgegeben vonPeter Antes, Manfred Hutter, Jörg Rüpke und Bettina Schmidt

Band Band 27,1

Cover: The Duke of Sussex’ Italian Pentateuch (British Library MS15423 f35v) Italy, ca. 1441–1467.

Michael Tilly/Burton L. Visotzky (Eds.)

Judaism I


Verlag W. Kohlhammer

Translations: David E. Orton, Blandford Forum, Dorset, England.

1. Auflage 2021

Alle Rechte vorbehalten

© W. Kohlhammer GmbH, Stuttgart

Gesamtherstellung: W. Kohlhammer GmbH, Stuttgart


ISBN 978-3-17-032579-1


pdf: ISBN 978-3-17-032580-7

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All rights reserved. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, microfilm/microfiche or otherwise—without prior written permission of W. Kohlhammer GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany.

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Judaism, the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, is one of the pillars of modern civilization. A collective of internationally renowned experts cooperated in a singular academic enterprise to portray Judaism from its transformation as a Temple cult to its broad contemporary varieties. In three volumes the long-running book series "Die Religionen der Menschheit" (Religions of Humanity) presents for the first time a complete and compelling view on Jewish life now and then - a fascinating portrait of the Jewish people with its ability to adapt itself to most different cultural settings, always maintaining its strong and unique identity. Volume I provides a global view on Jewish history from antiquity, the middle ages, to contemporary history.

Prof. Dr. Michael Tilly is head of the Institute for Ancient Judaism and Hellenistic Religions at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at Tübingen University.

Prof. Dr. Burton L. Visotzky serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (NYC).


Editors’ Introduction

Burton L. VisotzkyMichael Tilly

1  Die Wissenschaft des Judentums

2  World War II and Vatican II

3  Jacob Neusner resets the agenda

4  Martin Hengel, (Judaism and Hellenism)

5  The New Academy

6  Kohlhammer’s

7  What is not featured in these volumes

8  What is in these volumes

8.1  Judaism I: History

1  Judaism, Hellenism, and the Maccabees

2  Jews in the West: From Herod to Constantine the Great

3  The Resilience of Jews and Judaism in Late Roman-Byzantine Eretz Israel

4  Judaism in Babylonia

5  Jews and/under Islam, 650–1000 CE

6  Judaism in the Middle Ages 1000–1500

7  Judaism During and After the Expulsions 1492–1750

8  Modern Judaism 1750–1930

9  The Holocaust and Antisemitism

10  Zionism and the State of Israel

11  Judaism in America

12  Judaism in Europe after the Second World War

8.2  Judaism II: Literature

13  The Jewish Bible: Traditions and Translations

14  Jewish Literature in the Hellenistic-Roman Period (350 B.C.E. –150 C.E.)

15  Tannaitic Literature

16  Amoraic Literature (ca 250–650 CE): Talmud and Midrash

17  Rabbinic-Gaonic and Karaite Literatures (ca. 650–1050 CE)

18  Legal Commentary, Responsa, and Codes Literature

19  Medieval Biblical Commentary and Aggadic Literature

20  Piyyut

21  Jewish Liturgy

22  Jewish Mysticism

8.3  Judaism III: Culture and Modernity

23  Jewish Philosophy and Thought

24  Judaism, Feminism, and Gender

25  Halakhah (Jewish Law) in Contemporary Judaism

26  Jewish engagement(s) with Modern Culture

27  Languages of the Jews

28  Modern Jewish Literature

29  Judaism and Inter-faith Relations since World War II

9  Conclusion

Judaism, Hellenism, and the Maccabees

Hermann Lichtenberger

1  The Hellenization of Ancient Judaism—Preliminary Notes

2  Judaism and Hellenism in the Land of Israel/Judea—»Palestinian Judaism« as »Hellenistic Judaism«

2.1  The reception of Greek/Hellenistic culture in Judea

Greek language

Greek education and training

Greek literature and philosophy in Jewish Palestine

Greek translations of Jewish Hebrew works, taking Jesus ben Sirach as an example: The prologue of the grandson as a translator

3  The LXX as a Translation

3.1  The special features of the LXX as a translation

3.2  On the origins of the LXX—legend and history

Letter of (Pseudo-)Aristeas



The Torah for King Talmai

4  The Temple Conflict under Antiochus IV and the Maccabean Revolt

4.1  Preliminary remarks

4.2  History of research

4.3  The events

4.4  Reception of the martyrdom of the mother and her seven sons

Ancient Judaism

5  The Samaritans

5.1  On the history of the Samaritans

5.2  Basic features of Samaritan theology in Antiquity

6  The Temple in Jerusalem, Other Jewish Temples, and Communities without a Temple

6.1  The temple in Jerusalem and other Jewish temples

6.2  Judaism without a temple

The of Qumran

Atonement for the land

Polemic against the »Wicked Priest«: date of the Day of Atonement

Distance from sacrifices among the Essenes

6.3  Guide to a Judaism without a temple—the Pharisees

6.4  The followers of Jesus of Nazareth

7  The synagogue—History and Significance

7.1  The emergence of the synagogue

7.2  The functions of the synagogue

7.3  Synagogues in the Diaspora




8  Sacred Writings in Judaism of the Hellenistic-Roman Period

9  The Emergence of the Canon of Biblical Writings in Alexandria and Judea—Concluding Remarks

10  Final Reflections on Judaism and Hellenism

For further reading

Jews in the West: From Herod to Constantine the Great

Natalie B. Dohrmann

1  Introduction

2  Herod (37–4 BCE)

3  Herodian Dynasty (4 BCE–66 CE)

4  Flavius Josephus

5  Roman Administration and the Run-up to the War

6  Jewish Identity and Jewish Extremism

7  The Jewish War (66–73 CE)

8  The Interbellum and Bar Kokhbah (73–136 CE)

9  The Legal Status of Jews under Roman Rule

9.1  Jews in the Roman Diaspora

9.2  Diaspora Uprising 115–117 CE

9.3  Jewish Alexandria

9.4  Jews of Rome

10  Pagan Perspectives on Jews and Judaism

11  The Jesus Movement and Early Christianity

12  The Rabbinic Movement

13  Conclusion

For further reading

Primary sources in English Translation

Secondary Reading

The Resilience of Jews and Judaism in Late Roman-Byzantine Eretz Israel

Lee I. Levine

1  Introduction

2  Developments in the History of Palestine in the Late Roman Era (Second and Third Centuries)

3  Within the Byzantine-Christian Orbit

4  Synagogues

4.1  Capernaum

4.2  Ḥammat Tiberias

4.3  Sepphoris

4.4  Ḥuqoq

5  Remains from the Cairo Genizah

6  The Flourishing of Jewish Culture in Late Antiquity

6.1  Burgeoning synagogue Construction

6.2  The Appearance of in Jewish Liturgy

6.3  Aggadic Midrashim: A New Creation

6.4  Jewish Art in Late Antiquity

7  Jewish »Late Antiquity« in its wider Cultural Context

8  Conclusions

For further reading

Judaism in Babylonia: 226–650 CE

Geoffrey Herman

1  Jewish settlement, community, and daily life

2  Under the Arsacid and Sasanian Empires

3  Jews and Persians

4  The Babylonian Legacy

5  Rabbis and Rabbinic Schools

6  The Exilarchate

For further reading

Jews and/under Islam: 650–1000 CE

Phillip Issac Liebermann

1  General Conditions

2  The Pact of ʿUmar

3  Communal Organization

4  Daily Life

5  The Karaite Schism

6  Religious Life

7  Regional Life

For further reading

Judaism in the Middle Ages: 1000–1500

Robert Chazan

1  Introduction

2  Northern Europe Jewry: Beginnings

3  Northern European Jewry: Maturation

4  Northern European Jewry: Accelerating Pressures

5  Southern European Jewry

6  Conclusions

For further reading

Judaism During and After the Expulsions: 1492–1750

Joseph M. Davis

1  The »Early Modern« Period

2  The Catastrophe: Expulsion from Spain

3  The Recovery of Judaism 1492–1618

4  Early Modern Judaism

4.1  The Formation of Early Modern Judaism

4.2  Printing and Literacy

4.3  Kabbalah

5  The Seventeenth Century

5.1  The Jews in the Global Crisis of the Seventeenth Century (1618–1676)

5.2  The Spiritual Crisis of the Mid-Seventeenth Century: Baruch Spinoza and Shabbetai Tsvi

5.3  New Centers and New Peripheries 1675–1750

6  Hasidism and its Opponents: 1740–the Present

For further reading

Modern Judaism: 1750–1930

Dominique Bourel

1  When did »Modern Judaism« begin?

2  Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish Enlightenment (

3  Jewish Enlightenment in Europe

4  The Birth and Solidification of Hasidism



7  The Debate between Orthodoxy and Reform

8  Modern American Judaism

9  The Emergence of Zionism

For further reading

The Holocaust and Anti-Semitism

Michael Berenbaum

1  The Rise of the Nazi Movement

1.1  Adolf Hitler—Evolution of an Anti-Semite

1.2  Roots of Anti-Semitism

1.3  Nazi Rise to Power

1.4  The Fragility of Democracy

1.5  Nazis in Power

1.6  German Jewish Reaction

1.7  The 1936 Olympics

2  1938—The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End

2.1  The »Anschluss« of Austria

2.2  Evian and the Refugee Crisis

2.3  The Kristallnacht Reich’s Pogrom, the Night of Broken Glass

2.4  The American Reaction

3  The Beginning of World War II

3.1  German Conquests

3.2  The Ghettos

3.3  Resistance in the Ghettos

3.4  Jewish Life in Western Europe

3.5  Theresienstadt

4  The Final Solution

4.1  The Killers

4.2  Situation in the Baltics

4.3  The Wannsee Conference

4.4  »Liquidation« of the Ghettos

4.5  Deportation by Rail

4.6  Death Camps

4.7  Death Marches

5  The Aftermath of World War II

5.1  Liberation

5.2  Return to Life

5.3  Nuremberg Trials

5.4  Genocide: The Word and the Crime

6  Anti-Semitism after World War II

6.1  Eroding the Foundations of Christian Anti-Semitism

The Catholic Church

The Protestant Churches

6.2  Jewish Life in Israel

6.3  Anti-Semitism in North America

6.4  Anti-Semitism in Europe

Eastern Europe

7  Survivors and Memory

7.1  Survival and Survivors

7.2  Holocaust Memory in the Contemporary World

For further reading

Zionism and the State of Israel

Martin Kloke

1  »By the Rivers of Babylon«: The Early History of Zionism

2  Jewish Palestine before the First World War

3  The First World War and the Balfour Declaration, 1917

4  Consolidation and Advances: The Zionist Project under the British Mandate

5  In the Shadow of the Shoah: Jewish Mass Immigration, the Arab Uprising and, the Second World War

6  Partition Plans in Context: En Route to the State of Israel

7  War and Terrorism: Signs of a Violent Relationship between Israel and Palestine

8  The Founding of the State of Israel

9  Foundations of State and Society

10  The Israelis: A Migrant Society in Flux

11  Israel in the Middle East: Between War and Peace-Process

12  Democracy under Stress

13  The Israeli Economic Miracle and the Nuclear Nightmare

14  Israel’s Image in the World

15  Future Prospects: Looking Ahead

For further reading

Judaism in America

Deborah Dash Moore

1  A Revolution in American Judaism

2  Conflict and Competition

3  Americanizing Jewish Culture: Capitalism and Gender

4  Jewish Communal Organizations

5  New Religious Movements

6  Postwar Religion and Politics

7  American Jews with American Values

8  Diversity and Dissent

For further reading

Judaism in Europe after the Second World War

Kerstin Armborst-Weihs

1  Displaced Persons

2  The Soviet Union and Successor States

2.1  The Situation of the Jewish Population in the Post-War Decades

2.2  Jewish Emigration from the Soviet Union

2.3  Developments since

3  Poland and Hungary

4  Germany

5  Great Britain

6  France

7  Southern Europe

7.1  Italy

7.2  Spain

7.3  Greece

8  Judaism in Europe: Organizations, Plans, and Discussions

For further reading


1  Sources

1  Hebrew Bible





2 Kings








1.1  New Testament

1.2  Deuterocanonical Works and Septuagint

1.3  Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

1.4  Dead Sea Scrolls

1.5  Philo of Alexandria

1.6  Flavius Josephus

1.7  Rabbinical Sources

1.8  Classical and Ancient Christian Writings

2  Names

3  Keywords


Editors’ Introduction

Burton L. VisotzkyMichael Tilly

In the beginning, the Hebrew Bible was formed as an anthology of Jewish texts, each shaping an aspect of Jewish identity. As the Israelite community and its various tribes became two parts: a Diaspora and its complement, the community in the Land of Israel—competing interests formed a canon that represented their various concerns. Over time, the communities grew, interacted, and focused on local religious needs, all the while ostensibly proclaiming fealty to the Jerusalem Temple. Even so, some communities rejected the central shrine that the Torah’s book of Deuteronomy proclaimed to be »the place where the Lord chose for His name to dwell« (Deut. 12:5, et passim). Still other Jewish communities had their own competing shrines. Yet for all their dissentions, disagreements, and local politics, there was a common yet unarticulated core of beliefs and practices that unified the early Jewish communities across the ancient world.1 As the most important prerequisites and foundations of all areas of their lives—and irrespective of all pluriformity or heterogeneity—strict monotheism and the central importance of the Torah, which was considered to be directly inspired by God, shaped the contours of what can be perceived in manifold forms as »Judaism«. As the Second Temple period (516 BCE—70 CE) drew to a close, the biblical canon took its final shape, and a world-wide Jewish community emerged as a moral and spiritual power.2

That canon, by definition, excluded certain Jewish texts, even as it codified others. And the political processes of the Persian and Hellenistic empires confined and defined the polities of their local Jews. From east to west, at the very moment in 70 CE when the centralized Jerusalem cult was reduced to ashes, Judaism, like the mythical phoenix, emerged. Across the oikumene, with each locale finding its own expressions, communities that had formed around the study of the biblical canon produced commentaries, codes, chronicles, commemorations, and compendia about Judaism. Some of these were inscribed on stone, others on parchment and paper, while still others were committed to memory. The devotion to this varied literature helped shape a Jewish culture and history that has persisted for two millennia.

This three-volume compendium, Judaism: I. History, II. Literature, and III. Culture and Modernity, considers various aspects of Jewish expressions over these past two millennia. In this introduction we the editors: an American rabbi-professor and an ordained German Protestant university professor, will discuss what is to be found in these three volumes, as well as what is not found here, or what is minimized. Obviously three volumes, even a thousand pages, cannot include consideration of all aspects of a rich and robustly evolving two-thousand-year-old Jewish civilization. And so, we will assay to lay bare our own biases as editors and acknowledge our own shortcomings and those of these volumes, where they are visible to us. To do this we need to have a sense of perspective on the scholarly study of Judaism over the past two centuries.

1  Die Wissenschaft des Judentums

Dr. Leopold Zunz (1794–1886) began the modern study of Judaism by convening his Verein für Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden (the Society for the Culture and Critical Study of the Jews) exactly two hundred years ago, in late 1819 in Berlin.3 Although the Verein was small and lasted but five years before disbanding, it included such luminaries as co-founder Eduard Gans, a disciple of Hegel, as well as the poet Heinrich Heine.4 The scholarly Verein failed to gain traction in the larger Jewish community. None-the-less, Zunz and his German Reform colleagues introduced an academic study of Judaism based upon comparative research and use of non-Jewish sources. Their historical-critical approach to Jewish learning allowed for what had previously been confined to the Jewish orthodox Yeshiva world to eventually find an academic foothold in the university.

In that era, history was often seen as the stories of great men. Spiritual and political biographies held sway. Zunz accepted the challenge with his groundbreaking biography of the great medieval French exegete, »Salomon ben Isaac, genannt Raschi.« The work marked the end of the Verein and was published in the short-lived Zeitschrift für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums.5 The monographic length of the article and its use of what were then cutting-edge methods ironically helped assure the journal’s demise. Further, the attempt to write a biography that might assay to peek behind the myth of the towering medieval figure, assured that the orthodox yeshiva scholars who passionately cared about Rashi would find the work anathema. Nevertheless, the study was a programmatic introduction not only to Rashi, but to the philological and comparative methods of Wissenschaft des Judentums. It would set a curriculum for critical study of Judaism for the next century and a half.

Zunz solidified his methods and his agenda in 1832, when he published Die gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der Juden, historisch entwickelt (The Sermons of the Jews in their Historic Development).6 Here, Zunz surveyed rabbinic exegetical and homiletical literature, and by focusing on this literature, he conspicuously avoided both the study of the Talmud and Jewish mysticism. Zunz began his survey in the late books of the Hebrew Bible and continued to review the form and content of the genre up to German Reform preaching of his own day. His work was not without bias. Zunz separated what he imagined should be the academic study of Judaism from both the Yeshiva curriculum—primarily Talmud and legal codes—and from the Chassidic world, which had a strong dose of mysticism.

Zunz’s acknowledgement of the mystic’s yearning for God came in his masterful survey of medieval liturgical poetry, Die Synagogale Poesie des Mittelalters.7 Indeed, Jewish mysticism only finally came to be acknowledged in academic circles a century later by the efforts of Gershom Gerhard Scholem (1897–1982). Leopold Zunz essentially set the curriculum for the academic study of Judaism until the horrible events of World War II irreparably changed the course of Jewish history and learning. Even so, Zunz’s agenda still affects Jewish studies to this day and has influenced the content choices of these volumes.

2  World War II and Vatican II

The world of Jewish academic study had its ups and downs in the century following Zunz. A year after his death, the Jewish Theological Seminary was founded in New York. It continues to be a beacon of Jewish scholarship in the western world. But the shift to America was prescient, as European Jewry as a whole suffered first from the predations of Czarist Russia, then from the decimation of World War I, and finally from the Holocaust of World War II. These moments are described in detail in the following chapters of this work.

The absolute destruction that the Holocaust wrought upon European Jewry cannot be exaggerated. Much of what is described in these volumes came to an abrupt and tragic end. Yet following World War II, two particular events had a dramatic effect on the future of Judaism. Both have some relationship to the attempted destruction of Jewry in Germany during the war, yet each has its own dynamic that brought it to full flowering. We refer to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the declaration of the Second Vatican Council’s Nostra Aetate document in 1965. The former has been a continual midwife for the rebirth of Jewish culture and literature both within and outside the Diaspora. Of course, there is an entire chapter of this compendium devoted to Israel. The Vatican II document, which revolutionized the Catholic Church’s approach to Jews and Judaism, is reckoned with in the final chapter of this work, describing interreligious dialogue in the past seventy years. There will be a bit more description of these historical monuments in the paragraphs below.

3  Jacob Neusner resets the agenda

A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s rabbinical school, Jacob Neusner (1932–2016) earned his doctorate with Prof. Morton Smith, who was a former Anglican cleric and professor of ancient history at Columbia University.8 Although they broke bitterly in later years, Neusner imbibed Smith’s methodology, which served to undermine the very foundations of Zunz’s Wissenschaft curriculum. Neusner was exceedingly prolific and succeeded in publishing over 900 books before his death.

Among these was his A Life of Yohanan ben Zakkai: 1–80 CE.9 This work was a conventional biography of one of the founding-fathers of rabbinic Judaism, not unlike Zunz’s much earlier work on Rashi. Yet eight years after the publication of the Yohanan biography, Neusner recanted this work and embraced Smith’s »hermeneutic of suspicion,« publishing The Development of a Legend: Studies in the Traditions Concerning Yohanan ben Zakkai.10 With this latter work, Neusner upended the notion of Jewish history as the stories of great men and treated those tales instead as ideological-didactic legends which exhibited a strong religious bias. He and his students continued to publish in this vein until they put a virtual end to the writing of positivist Jewish history.

This revolution came just as Jewish studies was being established as a discipline on American university campuses. For the past half-century, scholars have been writing instead the history of the ancient literature itself, and carefully limning what could and could not be asserted about the Jewish past. Due to Neusner’s polemical nature, there has been a fault line between Israeli scholars and those in the European and American Diasporas regarding the reliability of rabbinic sources as evidence for the history of the ancient period, describing the very foundations of rabbinic Judaism.

4  Martin Hengel, Judentum und Hellenismus (Judaism and Hellenism)

Even as this monumental shift in the scholarly agenda was taking place, another significant change affected our understanding of Judaism. This transformation followed from the theological shift evinced by Vatican II and was apposite to the ending of what has been characterized as the Church’s millennial »teaching of contempt« for Judaism.11 European-Christian scholarship had, from the time of the separation of Church and synagogue,12 characterized Christianity as the direct inheritor of Greco-Roman Hellenism while Judaism, often derogated as Spätjudentum, was portrayed as primitive or even barbarian. In 1969, Martin Hengel (1926–2009) wrote a pathbreaking work of heterodox scholarship exploring the Hellenistic background of Judaism and how it was a seedbed for subsequent Christian Hellenism.13

Hengel himself was relying in part on Jewish scholars such as Saul Lieberman, who wrote in the decades before him of Greek and Hellenism in Jewish Palestine.14 Lieberman, however, wrote particularly of influences on the literature of the ancient rabbis and targeted his work to scholars of Talmudic literature. Hengel, a German Protestant scholar, wrote for scholars of New Testament, and achieved a much broader reach and influence. Finally, one hundred fifty years after Zunz gathered his Berlin Verein, Hengel granted Jewish studies and Judaism itself a seat at the table of Christian faculties, even as he felt that Jewish theology of the ancient period erred in rejecting Jesus.

5  The New Academy

Since Hengel, there has been a vast expansion of Jewish Studies in universities in North America and throughout the world. Today, there is nary a university without Jewish Studies. In part this waxing of Judaica was due to the theological shifts in the Catholic Church and Protestant academy. In part, especially in the US, the explosion of Jewish studies departments was due to a general move towards identity studies that began with women’s studies and African-American studies, expanded to include Jewish studies, and other ethnic and religious departments, majors, or concentrations. In almost every university community in North America, fund-raisers were able to find willing partners in the local Jewish communities to endow a chair of Jewish learning. Thus, Jewish Studies persists even as many ethnic and religious studies programs wither with the general contraction of the humanities.

But Jewish Studies itself has changed in many profound ways. To wit, Christian scholars have also excelled in the field. At the time of this writing, the president of the Association for Jewish Studies, Prof. Christine Hayes of Yale University, is the first non-Jew to lead the organization in its 51–year history. Similarly, Peter Schäfer served as Perelman professor of Judaic Studies at Princeton University for fifteen years, having previously served as professor for Jewish Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin (1983–2008). Both Schäfer and Hayes specialize in Talmud scholarship. By this focus, we highlight not so much the anomaly of a gentile studying Talmud, as it is a sign of the integration of Jewish Studies into the broader academy. Indeed, as early as 1961, the late Rabbi Samuel Sandmel served as president of the otherwise overwhelmingly Christian membership of the Society for Biblical Literature. Today, the field has been leveled in both directions. Unfortunately, this apex has been reached just as Jewish studies, like the rest of the humanities, is contracting and diminishing not only in the United States, but even in Israel.

6  Kohlhammer’s Die Religionen der Menschheit

Since 1960, Kohlhammer in Stuttgart has published the prestigious series Die Religionen der Menschheit (The Religions of Humanity). While the series was originally conceived of as thirty-six volumes almost 60 years ago, today it extends to fifty plus volumes, covering virtually all aspects of world-religions. That said, a disproportionate number of the volumes (often made up of multi-book publications) are devoted to Christianity. This is unsurprising, given Kohlhammer’s location in a German-Lutheran orbit.

In the earliest round of publication, Kohlhammer brought out a one-volume Israelitische Religion (1963, second edition: 1982), which covered Old Testament religion. This also demonstrated Kohlhammer’s essentially Christian worldview. By separating Israelite religion from Judaism, it implies that Israelite religion might lead the way to Christianity; viz. that the Old Testament would be replaced by the New. Its author was Christian biblical theologian Helmer Ringgren.

In 1994, though, Kohlhammer began to address the appearance of bias with its publication of a one-volume (526 pp) work Das Judentum, Judaism. Although it was edited by German Christian scholar Günter Mayer, (who specialized in rabbinic literature), and had contributions by Hermann Greive, who was also a non-Jew; the work featured contributions by three notable rabbis: Jacob Petuchowski, Phillip Sigal, and especially Leo Trepp. German born, Rabbi Trepp was renown as the last surviving rabbi to lead a congregation in Germany. Trepp was arrested on Kristallnacht (Nov. 9, 1938) and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Post-World War II, Rabbi Trepp was a leader in restoring Jewish life in Germany.15 Thus, his participation in the Judentum volume made clear Kohlhammer’s bona fides in publishing the volume.

In its current iteration, twenty-five years later, this edition of Judaism is a three-volume, 1000-page compendium with contributions by thirty experts in all areas of Judaism, from the destruction of the Second Temple and the advent of rabbinic Judaism, until today. We, the co-editors, are Dr. Burton L. Visotzky, Ph.D., a rabbi who serves as the Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary. The other co-editor is Dr. Michael Tilly, a Protestant minister, Professor of New Testament and head of the Institute of Ancient Judaism and Hellenistic Religions at Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen.

Further, the individual chapter authors are a mix, albeit uneven, of men and women (our initial invitations were to the same number of women as men, but as will be apparent, the final number favors men over women). And there are more Jews than Christians writing for these three volumes, although we confess to not actually knowing the religion of each individual participant. Scholars from seven countries make up the mix, with a preponderance of North-Americans; there are also many Germans, Israelis and then, scholars from England, France, Austria, and Poland. We are not entirely sure what this distribution means, except perhaps that the publisher and one of the editors is German, the other editor is American, and the largest number of Jewish studies scholars are located in America and Israel. The relative paucity of Europeans indicates the slow recovery from World War II, even as we celebrate the reinvigoration of Jewish Studies in Europe.

7  What is not featured in these volumes

Even given the diversity and number of exceptional scholars writing for this three-volume compendium—we will detail their contributions below—there are areas of Judaism that are less thoroughly covered than we might have wished, had we neither time nor word limits. An example would be a section on modern Jews of Color, who are gaining significance in both the U. S. and Israel. We recognize the rise in awareness and importance of non-white Jewish communities and look forward to there being a significant body of scholarship on their social and historical experiences as »a minority of a minority« in the years ahead, enough that it will become recognized as an academic specialization.

Half a century after the advent of feminist scholarship in Jewish studies, we still struggle to chart women’s normative experiences in every era. While our chapters, particularly those devoted to history, are no longer the stories of great men, there remains an insufficiency of both primary evidence and current history writing to address this lack. The abundance of feminist scholarship is addressed in a chapter by Prof. Gwynn Kessler that focusses on the literature on Jewish women, feminism, and gender studies in the past half-century. But the absence of women throughout these volumes remains a problem in addressing the entirety of Judaism while still ignoring half the Jewish population, even if less so than before. We do not wish to commit the error of what is archly called, »add women and stir,« as though by simply dedicating one chapter out of thirty, the issue is then addressed. But we recognize that even with the wonderful scholarly works that Kessler records, there is yet much work to be done to have adequately redressed this problem.

The worldview of the editors has also skewed these volumes towards what is today labeled »Ashkenormativity.« That is to say that while there certainly is in these volumes some consideration of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry—viz. the recognition of Jews from Arab or Muslim majority countries—the work as a whole tends to be Eurocentric. This perhaps is to be expected in a work published in Germany post-Holocaust. But given the concomitant exodus of modern Jewry from Muslim majority countries following World War II and given their political power (albeit exercised as a minority in coalition governments) in modern Israel, our lack of scholar-authors from and explicit chapters on those communities only exacerbates the lacuna. We hope this »nostra culpa« is accepted as a step in recognizing our omission, on the way to repairing it in any subsequent editions.

Other areas where scholarship is beginning to have sufficient depth to merit inclusion in any subsequent iteration of this work, while not yet being sufficiently mainstream for entire chapters now, might be: studies of the various Jewish disability communities, the recognition of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) Jews, the phenomenon of intermarriage (which, while much studied statistically, has no consensus of opinion across either Jewish scholarship or in Jewish communities at large).

As a final issue in our study of Judaism, we have neglected the persistence of poverty in the global Jewish community. This latter issue is dispiriting, for one might have hoped that as the Jewish community recovered from the depredations of the Second World War and that as there was substantial regrowth of the Jewish communities in America and Israel, poverty might have receded. But as the Bible itself prophesies, »the poor will never cease from the land« (Deuteronomy 15:11). Sadly, the disparity between rich and poor in the modern State of Israel is disturbingly high. But the poor are further disenfranchised by the fact that it is the wealthy and the well-educated who write the histories and the sociological studies. Thus, the poor remain largely invisible within the broader world of Jews and Judaism.

8  What is in these volumes

We turn now to examine what is in these three volumes, briefly epitomizing each chapter in its author’s words. This overview will show the groupings of essays into Jewish history, literature, and culture. Here it is helpful to note that for this three-volume compendium, »Judaism« is essentially Rabbinic Judaism. This will include Rabbinic Judaism’s immediate forebears, opponents, and even modern cultural manifestations. Thus we begin with »Judaism, Hellenism, and the Maccabees.«

8.1  Judaism I: History

1  Judaism, Hellenism, and the Maccabees

In this chapter Dr. Hermann Lichtenberger of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, covers many aspects of the history of the period from the onset of Hellenism in the fourth century BCE and continues up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. He begins by invoking the landmark research of Martin Hengel, already fifty years ago, which proved that Palestinian Judaism of the ancient period is, in fact, Hellenistic Judaism. Dr. Lichtenberger then surveys Greek language usage and education within the Jewish community, along with an overview of Greek philosophy and literature in Jewish Palestine.

The chapter considers Greek translations of Jewish works, such as the Bible, with particular attention to traditions regarding the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Torah into Greek. Lichtenberger then turns to the history of the Maccabean revolt, and how historiography of the period has changed in the half-century since the work of Elias Bickermann. The events of Hasmonean history are reexamined in detail. The debate regarding the internecine conflict over Hellenization is considered. Finally, there is a section of this part of the discussion dedicated to the various narratives of the »mother and her seven martyred sons.«

Lichtenberger reviews the place of the Samaritans during this period and their relations with the Jewish community. He then turns to the place of the Jerusalem Temple in Jewish life and contrasts it with those Jewish communities—among them the Samaritans—that did not share the Jerusalem cult as constitutive of their Jewish identity. This sets the stage not only for the Dead Sea Scroll community of Qumran, but also for post-70 CE (rabbinic) Judaism. The community of Qumran and its leadership is discussed along with the role of the biblical and non-biblical writings discovered there.

Lichtenberger then turns to the early synagogue and its various roles in Jewish practice. He concludes with an overview of Sacred Writings in Judaism of the Hellenistic-Roman Period, and the emergence of the biblical canon as an anchor of Judaism.

2  Jews in the West: From Herod to Constantine the Great

The story of the Jews from the Herodian kings until the advent of Constantine is explored by Dr. Natalie Dohrmann of the University of Pennsylvania. She looks at the rise of Judea as a Roman client kingdom under Herod the Great and the loss of Jewish political autonomy under the procurators, culminating in two devastating wars against Rome. She traces Jewish responses to the loss of the Jerusalem Temple, the priestly aristocracy, and the cult.

The chapter also examines the Jewish diaspora, parts of which fared poorly in this era. The Jewish community of Alexandria was destroyed in the early 2nd century—along with several other diaspora communities—when a wave of revolts in Jewish Mediterranean communities failed to defeat Trajan’s forces. Yet Jews continue to live and fare well in Rome, Antioch, and elsewhere. In Palestine, scholars are divided about the nature of the relationship between rabbinic Judaism and the Roman world. For the remainder of events described in this chapter, we do not have access to any Jewish source comparable to Josephus. Dohrmann reconstructs events from other people’s history, fragmentary material remains, documents, polemical materials by non-Jews, and religious, legal, liturgical, and other genres of literature never meant to tell history.

Dohrmann takes up the events between the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE and the Bar Kokhbah revolt of 132–135, considering the legal status of the Jews under Roman rule thereafter. She considers the role of Jews in the western Diaspora, describes the great Jewish centers in Alexandria and in Rome, and offers pagan perspectives on Jews and Judaism. She shares an aside on the Jesus movement and early Christianity, but then sharpens her narrative with the emergence of the rabbinic movement. Dr. Dohrmann concludes that Jewish history under pagan Rome represents perhaps the most radically transformative period in the history of the faith. Judaism shifted from a temple-based nation ruled by client kings and priests to a religion based on a sacred text, beginning to reorganize itself around a lay leadership in the form of the nascent rabbinic movement.

3  The Resilience of Jews and Judaism in Late Roman-Byzantine Eretz Israel

Prof. Dr. Lee I. Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discusses the rabbinic movement and the Jews in the Land of Israel, challenging the traditional view of decline with an exposition of the vibrance of Judaism, as Christianity emerges in the Byzantine Empire. Levine explains that two phenomena from the Late Roman period have gained wide acceptance over the past generation and have revised our understanding of Jewish history. The first is a reassessment of the economic, political, and cultural situation in the province generally and of the Jews in particular. The second and third centuries—the Judea-based Bar-Kokhbah revolt notwithstanding—were a period of peace and stability throughout the province. Not only did the Jewish cities of Tiberias and Sepphoris expand in this era, but synagogue buildings were constructed in the third century following a hiatus of several centuries.

The second phenomenon that has revolutionized our understanding was the establishment of the Jewish Patriarchate, a new political-communal office recognized by Rome and intended to instill a sense of autonomy and confidence within the Jewish community. Rome, for its part, welcomed Jews into the municipal curiae with the provision that nothing was to interfere with their religious observance. Traditions reflecting sympathetic relations between Severan emperors on the one hand and the Jews and Judaism on the other are noted in the fourth century.

The third century also marked a new stage in the development of art as a form of religious expression, appearing on mosaic floors, walls, and architectural elements in pagan and Jewish contexts. Literary activity among the rabbis found expression in the compilation of tannaitic halakhic and midrashic treatises, including at least one that was influenced by a genre known in the Roman world. The archaeological finds from more than one hundred synagogues in ancient Palestine, almost all in the Galilee and Golan dating to Late Antiquity, in addition to the rich variety of artistic and epigraphic remains, demonstrate the multifaceted cultural and religious components within these communities. The construction of monumental synagogue buildings points to political standing and economic means of these Jewish communities.

4  Judaism in Babylonia

Dr. Geoffrey Herman, of the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, surveys Judaism in Babylonia from 226–650 CE. Our foremost source is the Babylonian Talmud. Indirect sources are classical authors, Persian epigraphic sources, or Syriac-Christian literature.

Jewish communities were found from the southern boundary of Mesene to Anbar in the North and were dotted along the Euphrates and Tigris, and beside the canals that crossed between the two rivers. The Jews were an agrarian society. Others worked in linen, flax, or silk, in live-stock, or vegetable gardening.

Jews maintained synagogues where they gathered on Sabbath mornings. Women had a subordinate role in public society. Most of the occupations of women were not different than in other ancient societies. Family structure was traditional. A young age for marriage was encouraged.

Jews encountered the Persian administration through the occasional billeting of soldiers or the presence of Persian nobles and overseers. Taxation also brought the Jews into direct contact with the administration. As inhabitants of a Persian empire, Jews in Babylonia came into regular contact with Persian language and culture, which left its mark on Jewish thought. The dominant religion in the Sasanian Empire was Zoroastrianism, and some of its more pronounced features were known to the Jews. Magical practice was known to all. The Talmud is brimming with material of a magical nature. The biblical legacy was of greatest importance for the identity of Babylonian Jews.

The Rabbis emerged as the major intellectual force, transforming not only the lives of Babylonian Jews, but Jewish religion and culture until today. The Rabbinic revolution was achieved through education. The Rabbis maintained the supreme value of the study of the Torah, and Rabbinic students were expected to subordinate themselves to a master and dedicate themselves to study.

There are signs of friction between Rabbis and other Jews. Leadership known as the resh galuta or Exilarch emerged, who professed to be the scion of the House of David. The Exilarchate could function as a source of immense prestige. As Babylonian Jewry grew in importance, a dynamic of regional rivalry developed between it and the Jews of Palestine. The Exilarch symbolically embodied Babylonia’s alleged ascendancy over the Jewish center in Palestine and the rest of the Jewish world.

5  Jews and/under Islam, 650–1000 CE

Dr. Phillip Lieberman of Vanderbilt University writes that with the rise of Islam in the early 7th century CE, Jews were concentrated in oases such as Yathrib (later called Medina) and Khaybar. Some, like their brethren in Babylonia and the Land of Israel, were involved in agriculture. Others were involved in trading and crafts. Islamic histories may have set up Jews as mighty imagined enemies even where the actual number of Jews may have been small. The Jewish population in North Africa is known from Roman history and the presence of Jews is well-attested across the southern Mediterranean.

The Pact of ʿUmar served as a contract between Muslim rulers and subject peoples. This agreement offered dhimmī peoples relative stability and security, even if its provisions might have hampered their upward mobility. Rabbinic academies of Babylonia and the Land of Israel provided succor to the Jews of the Mediterranean Basin and the Iberian Peninsula, offering legal opinions on all aspects of daily life. There was competition between the academies of Babylonia and the Land of Israel for the loyalty of communities in the Diaspora. Jewish courts adjudicated matters, although Jews also had the ability to seek recourse in Islamic courts.

The Cairo Genizah provides much detail about urban life in Fusṭāṭ and other cities. Genizah documents suggest a population well integrated socially and economically into Islamic society. There is evidence of prominent women who served at the hub of trading networks, yet much of women’s economic and social activity was centered on the home. In contrast with Christian Europe, the practice of poly­gyny persisted in the Jewish community.

A dispute concerning the succession of the Jewish Exilarch in 760 CE led to a schism by Anan b. David. The rejection of rabbanite exegesis and a scripturalist approach to the Bible of these »Karaites« was part of a long-standing internal dispute. Religious and communal life was organized around the synagogue. In Fusṭāṭ, there were distinct synagogues for those adhering to the rabbis’ Palestinian rite, the Babylonian rite, and the synagogue of the Karaites.

6  Judaism in the Middle Ages 1000–1500

Dr. Robert Chazan of New York University covers Judaism’s shift from its Mediterranean orbit to Europe. The small Jewish community in Northern Europe around the year 1000 became a vigorous branch of the Jewish people. Christian rulers perceived Jews as useful for economic improvement. Anti-Jewish animosity and violence was manifest. In 1095, Pope Urban II announced an undertaking to recapture the sites of Christianity in the Holy Land. Anti-Jewish crusading violence reflected popular resistance to Jewish settlement in northern Europe. Yet French Jewry produced the first major classics of literature to emerge in Europe.

The Church prohibited Christians taking interest from other Christians, so finance became a Jewish specialty. Allegations of Jewish murder of Christian youngsters began to spread during the twelfth century. King Philip Augustus of France instituted a new policy toward his Jews: confiscation of Jewish goods; a remission of debts owed to Jews; and finally, expulsion.

In the 1230’s, Pope Gregory IX sent letters to the authorities of Christendom with the allegation that the Talmud contained demeaning references to Christianity. King Louis IX of France convened a court where Rabbi Yehiel of Paris defended the Talmud, while scholars from the university of Paris constituted the jury. They found the Talmud guilty and its manuscripts were burned. The Jews expelled from northwestern Europe proceeded eastward to economically less developed areas.

By the end of the first Christian millennium, the Jewish communities of Southern Europe were well rooted, especially on the Iberian Peninsula. Jews immigrated to Christian Spain and southern France as a result of the twelfth century invasion of the Almohade Muslims of North Africa. Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, who was born and studied in Muslim Spain left as a result. He was one of the towering intellects of all Jewish history. Major stimuli for Jewish creativity across medieval southern Europe came from the Islamic sphere.

In the thirteenth century, inquisitorial courts played a significant role in the Roman Church. The claim of heresy among the New Christians was a major factor in the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Jews made their way eastward into the Ottoman Empire.

7  Judaism During and After the Expulsions 1492–1750

Dr. Joseph Davis of Gratz College in Philadelphia writes that between 1492 and about 1750, when Moses Mendelssohn began the Jewish Enlightenment, Jews and Judaism remained in some ways »medieval,« while in other ways, they became cautiously and even precociously »modern.«

As expulsions of Jews from European countries continued, Jewish life in 1570 was at its lowest ebb in Western Europe. Recovery in the sixteenth century was remarkable. Ottoman authorities were eager to repopulate Istanbul, which eventually had a community of 40,000 Jews. The emigration of Jews from Western Europe also helped repopulate the Jewish communities of the land of Israel. In Istanbul, Salonika, Safed, and throughout the Mediterranean, the new Jewish communities were divided into ethnic subgroups of Jews.

In Poland, Jews also found policies of religious toleration. The Protestant Reformation, and the failure of Protestants and Catholics to convince one another, made Jewish »stubbornness« seem less exceptional. The expulsions from Western Europe ran their course, and about 1570 the tide of migration began to shift.

The sixteenth and early seventeenth century was an era of rabbis who adapted Jewish law to new circumstances, publishing responsa, commentaries, and codes of Jewish law. Poland and the Ottoman Empire stood out as major centers of Talmud study and halakhic creativity. Jewish mystics and Kabbalists immigrated to the land of Israel and settled in Safed. It and Jerusalem continued to attract great scholars in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Alongside of halakhah and rabbinic literature, and sometimes in tension with it, kabbalah was the second great pillar of early modern Judaism.

Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov (»Master of the Good Name«) preached a new, spiritually democratic version of Judaism. He had a religious insight of enormous importance, »No place is empty of [God].« Besides its theology of radical Divine immanence, Hasidism introduced a variety of changes into Jewish life. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were a period of crisis in Jewish theology. However, the period was also one of increased political stability, compared to the war-filled mid-seventeenth century.

8  Modern Judaism 1750–1930

In this chapter, Dr. Dominique Bourel of the Centre Roland Mousnier at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (Sorbonne), considers Jewish modernity from the time of Spinoza (1632–77) until the post-World War I period. He writes of five changes of paradigm after the cultural revolution of the Eighteenth Century in Europe: 1) Moses Mendelssohn and the Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah), 2) the birth and solidification of Hasidism, 3) Wissenschaft des Judentums (Jewish studies), 4) the debate between Orthodoxy and Reform, and 5) the emergence of Zionism. These paradigms also operated in cultures of the Jews in the East, in Poland and in Russia. They were a new attempt to negotiate entry into European modernity.

Bourel sees a strong cultural hegemony in German-Jewish institutions and leadership. He describes how they navigated from an inner-focus on Judaism to a post-Enlightenment movement toward the non-Jewish world. Although these attempts at modernity did not succeed in integration into the German milieu (witness the Shoah), nevertheless, the five paradigmatic shifts sufficed to bring Judaism into modernity in the United States and the State of Israel. Bourel also briefly considers the role of Jewish women in advancing the community to modernity.

9  The Holocaust and Antisemitism

Dr. Michael Berenbaum of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles surveys the years before and during the Holocaust. Economic, social, populist, religious, and governmental conditions facilitated Hitler’s rise. Enmity toward the Jews was expressed by the church’s teachings of contempt. The Nazis’ racial definition meant Jews were persecuted not just for their religious practices, but because of their so-called racial identity. The Nazi Party destroyed democracy from within. By the time emigration was prohibited, more than six in ten German Jews had fled into exile.

In March 1938, German troops entered Austria. The persecution of Jews began the night of 9‒10 November 1938, known as Kristallnacht. More than a thousand synagogues, their Torah scrolls, bibles, and prayer books were burned. 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps in Germany. In 1940, Germany attacked Belgium, France, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway. With each conquest, more Jews came under German control. With the exception of Amsterdam, ghettos were not present in Western Europe. Further east, after June 1941, ghettos were imposed after the Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing units, had done their murderous work. Except for Denmark, western Jews were persecuted, rounded up, incarcerated in transit camps, and sent to death camps in occupied Poland.

The Final Solution became policy in 1941. Six »death factories« allowed the Nazis and their collaborators to murder Jews, confiscate their goods, and dispose of the bodies to hide their crimes. The final stage was an attempt by the perpetrators to evacuate the Jews from the most horrific concentration camps—where German troops and their collaborators could be caught in war crimes. In the waning days of World War II American troops discovered the concentration camps of Ohrdruf, Mauthausen, Nordhausen, Buchenwald, and Dachau.

The Nuremberg Trials, convened by President Harry S. Truman, were undertaken by the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish émigré to the United States and international lawyer, wrote of the need to name and outlaw the crime. The word he chose was »genocide«—the murder of a people. He pushed The Convention on Genocide through the United Nations in December 1948.

10  Zionism and the State of Israel

Dr. Martin Kloke of Cornelsen Publishing, Berlin, notes the biblical roots of Zion before considering nineteenth-century Zionism and Herzl’s vision. Between 1882 and 1903, twenty- to thirty-thousand Jews came to Palestine. This number doubled between 1904 and 1914. Ottoman pressures radicalized Jews. Chaim Weizmann lobbied for British recognition. Following World War I, in which the Ottomans aligned with Germany, the Zionist-friendly Balfour declaration was promulgated.

The British invasion of Palestine in 1918 ended the four-hundred-year reign of the Turks. In 1919, Emir Feisal of Mecca accepted Jewish immigration to Palestine. But by 1928, the economic recovery of the Jewish Yishuv caused fear among the Arabs. Muslims and Jews engaged in street battles, while the authorities stood aside. Organized labor was important for the socio-economic development of the Yishuv. When in 1933, the Nazis began systematic discrimination against Jews, around 38,000 new immigrants came to Palestine. They were followed by 197,000 refugees from Poland. Zionists intensified efforts to smuggle Jewish refugees. World opinion could no longer overlook the murder of six million European Jews.

On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly partitioned the land into Jewish and Arab states. Immediately after the resolution, an Arab uprising tried to prevent the Jewish state. The Haganah fought to secure the areas that the UN allocated to the Jews. When the Palestine Mandate expired without an agreement, on 14 May 1948, the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel.

The declaration resulted in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948–49, in which between 600,000 and 750,000 Arabs fled or were driven from their homes. In the face of hostilities in Palestine between 1945 and 1952, more than 600,000 Jews fled from Arab countries to the Jewish state. The so-called law of return allowed all Jews and their non-Jewish partners or children to immigrate to Israel as citizens.

In 70 years, Israel’s population multiplied from approximately 800,000 to 9 million. Although Israel defines itself as »Jewish and democratic,« the Jewish majority accounts for 75 percent of the population, while the Arab minority constitutes 20 percent. Integration of the territories conquered in 1967 will either lead to Jewish minority rule over a majority Palestinian population or to a binational community.

11  Judaism in America

University of Michigan Professor Deborah Dash Moore begins in 1654, when Governor Peter Stuyvesant received orders from the Dutch West India Company to allow Jews in the colony. Before the century ended, New York Jews created the first synagogue. During the early republic, Charleston, South Carolina attracted the largest concentration of Jews. In 1824, a group of young Jews there petitioned for shorter services, explanations of Hebrew prayers, and a sermon in English. When the leaders rejected their requests, the young men and women established a Reformed Society of Israelites. They introduced female voices, instrumental accompaniment, and revised the prayer book.

After the Civil War, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise established the Hebrew Union College to train Reform rabbis. But at the 1883 banquet honoring the first graduates, non-kosher shellfish was served, infuriating several rabbis. They guided congregants away to establish the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), which shaped Conservative Judaism.

As a generation of American Jewish women matured, they initiated activism. Occupying pews with their husbands, women began synagogue attendance. Hannah Greenberg Solomon organized Jewish women for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. She recruited for a Jewish Women’s Congress. The National Council of Jewish Women embodied a politicized conscience.

The American Jewish Committee was formed to »prevent infringement of the civil and religious rights of Jews …« Mordecai Kaplan organized Friday night lectures on the Lower East Side that attracted modern Orthodox Jews. Within a year that congregation became Young Israel. It received guidance from Rabbi Bernard Revel, who came to lead immigrant religious educational institutions, which reorganized as Yeshiva College. Kaplan also established the Society for the Advancement of Judaism and its movement, Reconstructionism. He had already introduced the Bat Mitzvah to mark the equality of Jewish girls.

American Jews emerging from World War II created »a culture of commemoration« memorializing the six million Jewish victims of the Nazis and turned to Zionism, partly in response to the suffering of survivors. They integrated Israel into their consciousness. The three Jewish movements all included youth groups, summer camps, and sisterhoods. By the end of the postwar period, over five and a half million American Jews had transformed Judaism.

12  Judaism in Europe after the Second World War

Dr. Kerstin Armborst-Weihs of the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Education (Pädagogische Hochschule) Karlsruhe writes on Judaism in Europe and the former Soviet Union post-World War II. She charts the after-effects of the murder and deportations of Jews that took place.

Many survivors could scarcely imagine rebuilding Jewish life. Zionism was attractive to a large proportion of those who had been uprooted. Those who stayed in Europe faced reintegration into society depending on national contexts. The immigration of Jews from North Africa and the Soviet Union changed European Jewish communities fundamentally.

Armborst-Weihs considers displaced persons in the years following the war. She turns to the exodus of Jews from the former Soviet Union, that unfolded in the 1960s through the 1970s. Much of the emigration was directed to settling in the State of Israel, changing its social and political complexion.

In Poland, the effects of the Holocaust continue to stunt the small Polish Jewish population—once a community of 3.5 million Jews. Today, there is an appreciation of the legacy of Polish Jewry, with a museum, kosher restaurants, and klezmer music concerts—but not very many Jews. Hungarian Jewry was similarly annihilated. Its slow recovery has recently been checked by rising anti-Semitism and government opposition.

Germany slowly began a resurgence of Jewish life, buttressed by a huge influx of Soviet Jews. It recently opened both liberal and orthodox rabbinical schools to provide leadership for the burgeoning Jewish population. The German government has been supportive of this renaissance.

Great Britain’s Jewish population was not appreciably affected by the Holocaust. In the post-war decades, British Jewry was characterized by social mobility. Contrary to pessimistic forecasts of demography of British Judaism for the late 20th century, recent figures indicate a growth in population.

Zionism found widespread approval in French Jewish society. Despite some emigration from France to Israel in recent years, the Jewish community in France is the third largest in the world. This is in part due to an influx of North African Jewish immigration, which changed the social make-up.

Armborst-Weihs concludes with surveys of the Italian, Spanish, and Greek Jewish communities. Owing to the diversity of traditions and interests within Judaism in Europe, many different Jewish identities have developed.

8.2  Judaism II: Literature

13  The Jewish Bible: Traditions and Translations

Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Emanuel Tov describes the TaNaKh, Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi’im (Prophets), Ketuvim (Writings) as Jewish Scripture that has come down from antiquity in complex ways. The traditional Jewish Bible, or Masoretic Text (MT) represents only one of the early text traditions, but is accepted by all streams of Judaism since the first century CE. The oldest source of MT is the Aleppo Codex, ca. 925 CE. All the printed editions of the Hebrew Bible and most of its modern translations present a form of MT.

The main site of ancient biblical manuscripts is in the Judean Desert near Khirbet Qumran, south of Jericho near the Dead Sea. There, remnants of some 950 biblical and non-biblical scrolls were found in eleven caves. Twenty-five texts found in the Judean Desert at sites other than Qumran display almost complete identity with the medieval texts. The Qumran biblical texts themselves, however, depart from MT. In view of this disparity, we conclude that for the Qumran community, the various Scripture texts were equally authoritative. Most likely, the biblical text was known in different ways not only in Qumran, but throughout Israel.

Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars were not aware that MT existed in the same consonantal form as early as the last centuries BCE. The Hebrew and translated texts used within rabbinic Judaism only reflect MT. Most scholars are now of the opinion that LXX manuscripts derive from a single translation into Greek that was repeatedly revised to conform to the proto-MT. In the first century CE, when the Christian New Testament writers quoted the earlier scripture, they used the wording of the LXX, since the NT was written in Greek.

Skilled persons have been translating the Bible for more than two millennia. Except for the LXX translation, some version of the MT has been the basis of virtually every translation of the Hebrew Bible. Of the ancient translations, the Aramaic Targumim reflect the views of the rabbis.

14  Jewish Literature in the Hellenistic-Roman Period (350 B.C.E. –150 C.E.)

Dr. Michael Tilly of Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen surveys Jewish literature from the close of the Hebrew Bible up to rabbinic literature. Koine Greek was the lingua franca throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Jewish writings from Hellenistic-Roman times comprise different genres, styles, and linguistic levels. These texts were composed primarily in the three centers of ancient Judaism: the Land of Israel, Egypt, and Babylonia (Iraq). The rabbis did not hand down Hellenistic-Jewish literature. Rather, Greek Jewish literature was handed down, translated, revised, and supplemented exclusively by Christianity.

Historical and legendary texts are considered, such as: 3 Ezra, 1–3 Maccabees, Judith, Greek Esther, the Greek Daniel traditions: Susanna; Bel and the Dragon; Prayer of Azariah; the three men in the fiery furnace. Dr. Tilly also surveys: the Paraleipomena Jeremiou and Vitae Prophetarum, Hellenistic-Jewish historians, whose work is often fragmentary including Eupolemus, Artapanos, and the works in Hecataeus of Abdera.

Dr. Tilly turns next to teachings in narrative form such as: Tobit, the Letter of Aristeas, which recounts the legend of the commission and translation of the LXX, the Book of Jubilees, Ascensio Isaiae, as well as a Life of Adam and Eve (in Latin) or Apocalypse of Moses (Greek). The Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum was falsely attributed to Philo in the Middle Ages. The Hellenistic novel Joseph and Asenath is also reviewed.

Other works such as the Teachings of Ben Sirach, the Wisdom of Solomon, Book of Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, 4 Maccabees, the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Testament of Job are included. The thoroughness of the survey is indicated by Dr. Tilly’s inclusion of the Hellenistic-Jewish exegetes Demetrios, Aristobulus, and another exegete called Aristeas (not the one already mentioned).

A section follows on poetry: Psalm 151, the Psalms of Solomon, Pseudo-Phocylides, and Ezekiel the Tragedian’s Exagogé. The chapter continues with Greek Apocalyptic works such as the Greek and the Syriac Apocalypses of Baruch, the Ascension of Moses, 4 Ezra, the Apocalypse of Abraham, 1–2 Enoch, and the Sibylline Oracles. Dr. Tilly briefly surveys the various non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls, before concluding with the works of Philo and Josephus.

15  Tannaitic Literature

Professor Emeritus at the University of Vienna, Günter Stemberger writes that the first generations of the rabbis, from 70 CE to the early third century, are called tannaim (plural), derived from Aramaic tanna