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Topic 2 World of Jesus and NT. A. Jewish history (late OT – NT period) Oppression, persecution, and rebellion Babylonian period (587-39 BC ) – Jerusalem fell; Temple destroyed; Exile – “Babylonian captivity” Persian period (539-333 BC ) – Restoration - Temple rebuilt

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topic 2 world of jesus and nt
Topic 2 World of Jesus and NT

A. Jewish history (late OT – NT period)

Oppression, persecution, and rebellion

  • Babylonian period (587-39 BC) – Jerusalem fell; Temple destroyed; Exile – “Babylonian captivity”
  • Persian period (539-333 BC) – Restoration - Temple rebuilt
  • Hellenistic period (333-166 BC) - Greek influence.
    • Alexander the Great – spread Greek language/culture.
    • 167 BC - persecution by Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
      • Daniel – written about 165 BC as call to faithfulness.
      • 1 and 2 Maccabees – stories of persecution and resistance.
  • Maccabean/Hasmonean period (166-63 BC)
    • Maccabean Revolt – won Jewish independence
    • Hasmonean dynasty –provoked Jewish factionalism
slide2
Jewish History (cont.)
    • Roman period (63 BC – 135 AD) - NT period
      • Pax Romana - Augustus (27 BC)
      • Indirect rule of Palestine through the Herods – Jewish client rulers appointed by Rome
        • Herod the Great (37-4 BC)
          • “King of the Jews/Judea”
          • Great building campaign - rebuilt Temple
          • Brutal tyrant – ruthless
          • Birth of Jesus c. 6 BC (Mt. 2)
        • Three sons:
          • Herod Antipas (4 BC-39 AD) - Galilee and Perea

aCapital at Sepphoris (and Tiberias)

aBeheaded John the Baptist; suspicious of Jesus.

b) Philip (4 BC-34 AD) – NE districts

          • Archelaus (4 BC-6 AD) – Judea and Samaria

aRemoved in 6 AD; replaced by Roman procurator.

Herodian Palestine Pictures

Map

Sepphoris Pictures

slide3
A. Jewish History (cont.)
  • Roman period – cont.

c. The procurators (prefects) – 6 AD onward

      • Direct Roman rule of Judea; census; new tax.
      • Uprising of Judas the Galilean.
      • Pontius Pilate (26-36 AD) – crucified Jesus c. 30.

d. Jewish War (66-70 AD)

      • 70 AD – Jerusalem fell; Temple destroyed.
      • Josephus – Jewish historian.

e. Council (Academy) of Jamnia (90-100 AD)

      • Reorganized Judaism around Scripture, tradition, and synagogue.
      • Closed Hebrew canon.
      • Banned Christians from synagogue.

f. Second Jewish Revolt (132-135 AD)

      • Simon bar Kochba – alleged “messiah.”
      • Jerusalem demolished, rebuilt as Roman city.
slide4
Religious developments in Judaism
    • Scripture (Hebrew Bible)
      • Torah (400 BC)
      • Prophets (200 BC)
      • Writings (90 AD)
    • Oral law – Cumulative body of interpretations of Torah by scribes and rabbis.
    • Synagogues
      • Jewish centers of worship and study.
      • No animal sacrifices (as in Temple).
      • Reading/interpreting Scripture; recital of prayers.

4. Sanhedrin

      • Jewish ruling council (71 members).
      • Presided over by high priest (appointed by procurator).
      • Had limited authority under Roman rule.
slide5
5. Jewish Eschatology – doctrine of “last things”
  • Hope for Messiah
    • Ideal king to restore Israel; rule over Golden Age of peace and justice.
    • “Messiah” = Hebrew for “anointed one”
    • “Christ” = Greek for “anointed one”
    • NT claims that Jesus fulfills messianic hope – but in unexpected ways.
  • Apocalypticism
    • Apocalypses flourished c. 200 BC-200 ADin times of crisis.
    • Apocalypse = “revelation”
    • Symbolic visions of (near) end of world
    • Doctrine of two ages: “this age” and “age to come”
    • Expectations: tribulation; defeat of evil; resurrection of dead; final judgment; glorious new age/world.
    • Usually not a messiah; sometimes a heavenly “Son of Man” as cosmic judge.
    • New age is “Kingdom of God” –restoration of God’s sovereignty.
    • These themes pervade the NT.
slide7
Jewish Parties (Sects) Before 70, Judaism was quite diverse; many different forms. After 70, many parties disappeared; Judaism became more uniform.
    • Sadducees
      • Chief priests; wealthy aristocrats.
      • Controlled Temple, local government.
      • Compromised with Romans; maintained order.
      • Conservative: rejected oral law, resurrection.
      • Opposed Jesus as potential revolutionary.
      • After 70, disappeared.
    • Pharisees
      • Devoted to Torah: written and oral law.
      • Maintained ritual purity in daily life.
      • Rules for Sabbath, tithing, washings, fasting, etc.
      • Progressive: believed in resurrection; afterlife.
      • Neglect of Torah delays Messiah.
      • Challenged Jesus’ view of Torah.
      • After 70, Pharisaism survived, developed into Rabbinic Judaism.
slide8
C. Jewish Parties (cont.)
  • Essenes
    • Josephus (and others) describe as a sectarian group living on shore of Dead Sea.
    • Probably associated with Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.
    • Origin in Hasmonean period as Temple protest.
    • Apocalyptic: expected final war between good and evil (Sons of Light vs. Sons of Darkness); expected 2 messiahs.
    • Strict discipline and ritual purity – daily baths of ritual purification; sacred meals.
    • Not mentioned in NT; many parallels.
    • Destroyed in Jewish War.

4. Zealots

    • Militant revolutionaries; freedom fighters.
    • Not a single, continuous party.
    • Ideology of violent opposition to foreign rule and compromise of Jewish law; motivated by devotion to God and Torah.
    • Many wished Jesus to be Zealot type leader.
    • Zealot movements faded after 70 and 135.

Qumran Pictures

slide9
D. Hellenistic Judaism

1. Diaspora - “scattering/dispersion” of Jews outside Palestine.

2. Diaspora Judaism - more open to Hellenistic influence.

  • Septuagint (LXX) - Greek translation of Jewish scripture (OT).
    • Produced in Egypt, beginning c. 250 B.C.
    • Adopted by early Christians; influenced NT writers.
  • Philo of Alexandria
    • Jewish theologian; trained in Greek philosophy.
    • Combined Jewish theology and Greek philosophy.
  • Proselytes and God-fearers

a. Proselytes - Gentile converts to Judaism (see Acts 6:5):

      • Circumcision
      • Ritual immersion (“proselyte baptism”)
      • Sacrifice
    • God-fearers – Gentiles attached to synagogues; did not convert (see Acts 10:1-2).
slide10
E. Larger Greco-Roman World

1. Hellenistic culture

  • Greek culture dominant.
  • Pessimism: no confidence in human ability to cope.
  • Superstitious: fatalism, magic, astrology.

2. Religious ferment

  • Proliferation of new religions.
  • “Syncretism” – “blending together” different religions into new pattern.

3. Popular philosophies

  • Platonism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism.
  • Wandering philosophical teachers.
slide11
Larger Graeco-Roman World (cont.)

4. Mystery religions

      • Secret rituals bring rebirth to immortality.
      • Myth of dying and rising gods.
      • Influenced Christian sacraments (cf. Rom. 6:3-4).

5. Gnosticism

      • Dualism of spirit (good) and matter (evil).
      • Human being: good spirit trapped in evil body.
      • Salvation by secret gnosis (knowledge).
      • Ethics of asceticism or libertinism
        • Asceticism - rigorous discipline of fleshly appetites.
        • Libertinism - absence of moral restraint.
      • Interacted with early Christianity.