Impact of Hellenism

Topics: Judaism, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Israel Pages: 3 (781 words) Published: June 21, 2012
The impact of Hellenism on the jews can be traced chronogically from the time of Alexander,the great to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.This is because as a result of the conquests of Alexander, the history, culture, languages and civilizations of the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean and Asia were changed forever. Alexander,the great established Greek city-states and military strongholds throughout Asia Minor, Syria-Palestine, Egypt and Mesopotamia.Wherever he and his troops went in the world, such as Antioch in Syria, Philippi and Alexandria in Egypt, there were changes in culture which were introduced to promote Hellenism.Needless to say,Jewish culture was affected greatly by Hellenism in many ways.

After the death of Alexander, two Empires emerged in the Middle-East—the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria. Initially, the Jews were under the control of the Ptolemies. However, after the battle of Panias in 198 B.C., Israel came under the rule of king Antiochus IV .A possible impact of hellenism on jewish culture before 180 BC when the jews were under the Seleucids was that certain government practices were introduced, turning the Jewish way of life to be more Hellenistic .Many Jews had felt that their ways were becoming old-fashioned and were embarrassed by their religious practices in contrast to the sophisticated culture of the Greeks. Consequently, they enthusiastically embraced the Greek ways.

The Jewish communities of the Diaspora retained only the law and the worship of the synagogue.Many Diaspora Jews and even some dwelling in Hellenistic cities of Palestine grew up after a generation or two as Greek speakers and integrated members of communities governed by pagan practices and institutions. They did not confront daily decisions on the degree of assimilation. They had long since become part of a Hellenic environment that they could take as a given. Greek architecture had a major impact on the synagogues and in the governance of...
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