Hasmonean Jerusalem FullText

Hasmonean Jerusalem FullText - AUTHOR: LEE I. LEVINE TITLE:...

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AUTHOR: LEE I. LEVINE TITLE: Hasmonean Jerusalem: A Jewish City in a Hellenistic Orbit SOURCE: Judaism 46 140-6 Spr '97 The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited. BY THE HASMONEAN PERIOD (CA. 160-63 B.C.E.), Jerusalem had been under Jewish hegemony for almost one thousand years. The city had come to be regarded, by Jew and non-Jew alike, as a quintessentially Jewish city. Its population was overwhelmingly Jewish, as were its leadership, calendar, and public institutions, first and foremost of which was the Temple. In the course of the First and Second Temple periods, Jerusalem had evolved into the central, sacred site of the Jewish people. This status was not created overnight, but resulted from an ongoing process spanning many centuries. Beginning with David's decision to conquer the city and transform it into his political and religious capital, it culminated in Josiah's decision to centralize Jewish sacrificial cult in the city. Whereas beforehand it had been permissible to offer sacrifices to the God of Israel anywhere in the country, now only those sacrifices brought to the Jerusalem Temple were recognized as legitimate and sanctioned. The centrality of the city became even more pronounced in the ensuing Second Temple period. Chronicles emphasizes God's choice of Jerusalem by relating that a fire descended from heaven onto the altar David built there (1 Chronicles 21:26; cf. 2 Samuel 24:25) and by explicitly identifying Moriah of the 'Aqedah story with the Temple Mount (2 Chronicles 3:1). Cyrus's recognition of the city by virtue of its holy Temple was to be repeated later on by Hellenistic and Roman conquerors. Antiochus III's edict on behalf of Jerusalem upon its capture ca. 200 B.C.E. is clear testimony to this status (Antiquities 12, 138-144). Moreover, the transformation of the city into the capital of a substantial political kingdom, first in the days of the Hasmoneans and later under Herod, further imbued Jerusalem with a status and importance heretofore unmatched. Parallel to this enhanced political status, Jerusalem also enjoyed a heightened religious standing. Isaiah, as noted, had already envisioned the city as a spiritual focus for all nations (2:1-4), and in the aftermath of the destruction Ezekiel describes the city as the center of the world and its name as "the Lord is there" (5:5, 48:35), while 2 Chronicles refers to the Lord as "the God of Jerusalem" (32:19). Deutero-Isaiah (48:2, 52:1) and Nehemiah (11:1) extend the realm of holiness beyond the Temple (Isaiah 27:13; Jeremiah 31:22) to embrace all of Jerusalem, while Zechariah takes this one step further and includes all of Judaea as well (2:14-17). Centuries later, these ideas were elaborated in the Letter of Aristeas (83), Jubilees (8:17-19), as well as by Josephus (War 3, 52) and Philo (Embassy 37, 281). During the Second
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2012 for the course PHYS 2D 2D taught by Professor Sinha during the Spring '10 term at UCSD.

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Hasmonean Jerusalem FullText - AUTHOR: LEE I. LEVINE TITLE:...

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