The impact of a change in political constitution on early Palestinian Judaism during the period 175-161 B.C.E.

Molyneaux, M. E. (2002-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study looks at a watershed period in the history of Judaism. In 175 B.C.E. a group of Jews sought to break Judaea out of the isolation in which it had stood since the Persian period. They wished to develop closer ties with their neighbours in Coele-Syria and Phoenicia and the Greek world in general. Since the Persian period the people of Judaea had been governed by high priests according to the 'ancestral laws' i.e. the Torah and its interpretation by Ezra. This 'ancestral law' had been confirmed as binding on all Jews by Antiochus III in his decree of 198 B.C.E. In order to move beyond the restrictions placed on contact between Jews and other peoples, it would be necessary to have the political status of Judaea changed. A change of political status could only be brought about by the king or one of his successors. In 175 B.C.E. a group of Jews requested Antiochus IV to permit them to transform Judaea from an ethnos into a polis. He agreed and the transformation was begun. It is these events of 175 B.C.E. that form the base of this study. The writer uses the model of Cultural Anthropology to form a framework in which these and subsequent events can be analysed. In this way we can get a better understanding of how events progressed. How a political reform ended in a religious suppression and persecution and finally a successful revolt against the Seleucid kingdom. The Torah and its interpretation stood at the center of Jewish life. Each group interpreted the law in their own way and understood events in relation to this interpretation. Therefore no analysis of this period can be undertaken without taking the law and its various interpretations into account. The law is the thread that holds all facets of this work together.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie handeloor 'n tydperk van waterskeiding in die geskiedenis van die Judaïsme. In 175 ve. wou 'n groep Jode in Palestina wegbreek uit die isolasie waarin hulle hulleself bevind het sedert die oorname deur die Persiese ryk. Hulle wou graag nouer bande met hulle buurstate en die Griekse wêreld aanknoop. Sedert die Persiese tydperk is die mense van Juda deur hëepriesters regeer, volgens die 'voorvaderlike wette', dws die Torah en sy vertolking volgens Esra. Alle Jode was gebind deur hierdie 'voorvaderlike wette' deur Antiogus III se dekreet van 198 ve. Indien die mense die beperkings teen kontak met ander volke sou wou ophef, sou dit nodig wees om die politieke status van Juda te verander. Net die koning of een van sy opvolgers kon die politieke status van Juda verander. In 175 ve. word Antiogus IV deur 'n groep Jode gevra om verlof om Jerusalem in 'n Griekse polis te omskep. Hy het ingestem en die omskepping het begin. Hierdie gebeurtenisse van 175 ve. vorm die basis van hierdie studie. Die skrywer gebruik die kutuur-antropologiese teoretiese model as raamwerk vir die ontleding van hierdie en opvolgende gebeurtenisse. Hierdie model stelons in staat om die ontwikkelinge in Juda beter te verstaan en meer spesifiek 'n antwoord op die volgende vraag te kry: "Hoekom het politieke hervorming tot godsdienstige verdrukking en vervolging aanleiding gegee en in die finale instansie tot 'n suksesvolle opstand teen die Seleukied koninkryk gelei?" Die Torah en sy vertolking het die sentrum van die Joodse lewe gevorm. Elke groep in Juda het die 'wet' op sy eie manier vertolk en ontwikkelinge in verband daarmee probeer verstaan. Daarom is dit nie moontlik om hierdie tydperk te bestudeer sonder 'n erkenning van die waarde van die 'wet' en sy verskillende vertolkings nie. Die 'wet' is die goue draad wat hierdie studie byeen hou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53121
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