The Influence Of Greek Ideas On Jewish Culture Essay

The Influence Of Greek Ideas On Jewish Culture Essay

Length: 839 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


During the Hellenistic Period, the Jewish people were introduced to ideas from Greek culture, and the degree to which Greek ideas should influence Jewish culture was debated for centuries to come. In the subsequent Hasmonean period, disputes over the adoption of Hellenism, along with corrupt leadership, caused the creation of clearly divided Jewish sects that each held claim of exclusive truth. Although all sects remained under the umbrella of Judaism, they took contrary stances on unclear issues in the Torah and represented different socioeconomic standings. The unique features of each of the most important sects, namely the Pharisees, the Essenes and the Sadducees, are described in the writings of Flavius Josephus. As a Roman court historian from a Jewish family, Josephus was not objective in his analyses of the sects. In an effort to balance his Jewish roots with his Roman allegiance, Josephus wrote about the Jews “in ways that would be sympathetic to Roman rulers” (Segal, 49). Josephus attempted to evaluate the Jews while advocating for Roman rule in order to satisfy the Roman audience that he wrote for. Consequently, Josephus went as far to dismiss one Jewish group, the Zealots, as illegitimate for its anti-Roman sentiments (Josephus, 60-61). Josephus’s writing revealed how he and each of the sects had distinct reactions to the various ruling empires of the Second Temple Period and how these responses divided the Jewish people.
Josephus first displayed bias in his writing by admiring the most popular Jewish sect, the Pharisees. He showed great respect for the Pharisees and acknowledges them as “extremely influential among the townsfolk” due to their belief in both fate and human will, as well as their belief in resurrection...


... middle of paper ...


...er and protégé of the Flavian dynasty (Segal, 49). Josephus’s dismissal of the anti-Roman Zealots was consistent with his role as a Roman court historian and as an opponent to the Great Revolt, but it undermines Josephus’s credibility as a historical writer.
Josephus’s biases revealed that, just like the sects he writes about, the prevailing rulers during the Second Temple Period influenced his view of Judaism. Because Hellenism provided the Jewish people to learn about and blend with another culture and the Hasmonean dynasty’s corrupt leaders failed to unify the Jewish people, sects formed to accommodate for the each sect’s unique interpretation of the Torah and Judaism. Although the sects emerged during the Hasmonean period, Josephus’s subjective judgment of the sects indicates that Judaism continued to lack cohesiveness in the first century under Roman authority.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Jewish Religion And The Jewish Culture Of Judah And Israel

- Jews are people of Semitic origin tracing their habitats in Israel. They are said to have descended from the Israelite society of Judah and Israel. The historical and Biblical beings such as Abraham, Joseph, Sarah, Mary, Jacob, Rebecca, Rachael and Leah among others are said to form the Jewish ancestry. Religion and culture are among the aspects that have been used in the definition of a Jew. In general, in the current situation, a Jew can be defined by three main groups of concern. These include, those people who have found their birth place as being the Jewish land and family without concern that they follow the Jewish traditions or not, those that do not have any connection to the Jewish...   [tags: Judaism, Israel, Jews, Hebrew language]

Better Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

Religion And The Greek World Essays

- Religion in the Greek world has had an interesting history. Like many other ancient religions, the ancient Greek mythology began as a simple animistic faith. The elemental gods were soon perverted into anthropomorphized powers that controlled the mortal world on their own terms. Swayed by their very human whims, the Greek gods ruled over a world of chaos and war, peppered with extravagant arts and luxurious periods of peace. Such was the age of the poets. But soon came the age of the philosophers....   [tags: Judaism, Religion, Talmud, Pharisees]

Better Essays
1102 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on The Development of Europe and Western Culture

- The Development of Europe and Western Culture The development of Europe and Western Culture are highlighted by five key dates. The main four key dates and there are as follows: 500 B.C. is known as the Height of Greece. This is the time frame when distinctive European culture had emerged in Greece. It is also known as the Axis Date because the fundamental's of the great world cultures are being defined. During this period of time, Alexander the Great conquered the Persia and became the Great King of Persiah Empire....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
2725 words (7.8 pages)

Greek Culture as Exhibited in "The Odyssey" Essay

- Many diverse cultures are found in every corner of the world. Every culture is defined by its traditions and values. The film “The Odyssey,” depicts the culture of the ancient Greeks where it illustrates the life of a man, Odysseus, who has gone on a journey just to get back to his kingdom. Many values and traditions could be identified through the path of the journey. Some elements that are found important to the Greeks are the music, the religion, and the duty to the kingdom. One important feature found in ancient Greek culture is the music....   [tags: Greek Culture]

Better Essays
580 words (1.7 pages)

Factors that Contributed to the Decline of Spanish-Jewish Culture Essay

- A combination of factors contributed to the decline of Spanish-Jewish culture. Many of the sophisticated peoples of the Jewish community had already begun to doubt there Judaistic faith simply by adopting intellectually philosophical beliefs that had discredited their religion. As it was said in this article, “Those who read a few columns in a book of Greek philosophy will soon tear to shreds the scroll of the Torah.” (Alami, pg. 117) Although ancient philosophy was a contributor to the decline of Judaism, it was not as common as others which had appealed to the general masses....   [tags: Jewish expulsion]

Better Essays
716 words (2 pages)

Description of Humanism Greek Culture Essays

- During the Hellenic Age which is sometimes known as the classical period for the Greeks and is dated c.500-300 B.C. In this time period the Greek culture flourish philosophy developed, sculpturing became more sophisticated, and the greatest of them all was the birth of humanism. Humanism is described as being “any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate” (“Humanism n.pag.). Humanism meant making men superior over all things and that men were supreme even over the Gods....   [tags: greek culture, hellenic age, humanism]

Better Essays
671 words (1.9 pages)

The Jewish Culture And Heritage Essay example

- A popular composer, Irving Berlin, was from Jewish descent that wrote well-known songs like “White Christmas,” “God Bless America,” and “Blue Skies” (Kamp, 2015). Many individuals are oblivious to the reality of how each separate culture is different but also has similarities. Judaism is a complex culture and heritage that has been practiced by a large quantity of people for centuries. Experiencing the variety of cultures that are part of the world benefits everyone by expanding their knowledge and increasing acceptancy....   [tags: Judaism, Torah, Culture, Persian Jews]

Better Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

Greek Mythology And The Greek Culture Essay

- In the Hellenic era from 500 to 338 BCE, the Greeks had many major values. These values include Greek mythology, social roles, war, agriculture, and government. Some of the values are still present today. Greek mythology is still prevalent in the modern Greek society and western society because it is still studied today. The Greeks’ view on social roles is one of the ideas that are not shared in modern society but were widespread in past culture. The Greek agricultural and political values are used in modern society because like the Greeks our society revolves around agriculture and trade and both of our governments are both democratic....   [tags: Ancient Greece, Greece, Sparta, 5th century BC]

Better Essays
797 words (2.3 pages)

Jewish Culture and Jewish Americans Essays

- Jewish Culture Paper “When I was a little girl my family moved to Tallahassee, Florida. We were the only Jewish family in the neighborhood. So as most kids do when they move to a new neighborhood, they tend to try and make new friends. I remember going over to one of my new friend’s house and her mother felt my scalp for horns” Julianne Jacques MCC-Penn Valley Counselor. Jewish Americans learn from a young age about the importance of knowing their history. Knowing the history is for the sake of the future of their past....   [tags: freedom, yiddish, judaism]

Better Essays
1410 words (4 pages)

The Non-Jewish Individual Essay

- The Non-Jewish Individual Jewish history is a study of a people in exile. Since the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, the experience of the Jewish individual in relation to non-Jewish society has often been that of an outsider looking in. In addition, the distinct Jewish culture, religion, and philosophy identifiably marked the Jews as a separate people. Although this demarcation exposed the Jews to many negative ideological trends, Isaac Deutscher’s “The Non-Jewish Jew” argues that this marginalization enabled the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries to revolutionize the European continent....   [tags: Jewish History, Kafka]

Better Essays
1754 words (5 pages)