|Title||:||An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus|
|Number of Pages||:||176 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus Reviews
Grabbe inserts himself in a very crowded field of books discussing the same topic. The main claim to fame he has over Schiffman, Sandmel, Nickelsburg, Cohen, Bickerman, Radin, or Tcherikover is his brevity, but he also loses some nuance and topical areas due to this fact. It would be very useful in a short survey, as it does hit most of the necessary issues and has short chapters, but this is definitely not what I'd buy if I only wanted a single volume in the understanding of 2TP Judaism.
This book receives the oh-so-undaring score of three stars because it was such a middle of the road kind of textbook. Since it's been awhile since I read this book (having saved the final chapter to read until just now), I'm going to do this review based upon my memory.This book is a, and I stress this, cursory look at pre-70 CE Judaism following the building of the second temple. It is certainly an introduction and many references in its annotated bibliography will lead you further into study. Furthermore, the book's thesis is middle of the road: Judaism in this period was more varied than you can unite into a single stereotype, so don't. The author doesn't. It investigates the many currents that push up against modern Judaism (again varied so this statement is naturally flawed) and go with modern Judaism. Apocalypticism, gnosticism, messiahism, and revolutary notions all go into the strange mix in Palestine during this period. Add to it Romans, Persians, and those weird folks out by the Dead Sea at Qumran and you've got a real mix. So pick up this book but do not expect much to stick outside of the "we don't have conclusive evidence nor will we ever that this or that was the prevading case in Judaism." And so you get a middle of the road grade.
Grabbe's book was a disappointment to me. It came highly recommended, but fell short of expectations that naturally should accompany the reading of a leading historian and my experience with the works of other leading historians on the subjects of his book. There is, in Grabbe's work much for future reference, but the experience of reading it was far from inspiring. The work is astute, but dry and not a little given to the state of and uncertainty of what we can know with historical assurance--minimalist to a high degree and protectionist, in my opinion, to the point of withering my interest in reading of anything new apart from be warned away from the excesses of others.
Read this one for a class - it's well-organized and to the point but there are a surprising number of typos. Not really a book you would pick up outside of a class.