Jewish History in Conflict: A Study of the Major Discrepancy between Rabbinic and Conventional Chronology

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Jason Aronson, Incorporated, Jun 1, 1997 - History - 256 pages
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The author writes:

“According to Seder Olam Rabbah, the work that forms the basis for almost all rabbinic chronology, the .period from the defeat of the Babylonians by the Medeo-Persians until the beginning of Greek rule, encompassed 52 years and spanned the reigns of three Persian kings. According to the chronology that is universally accepted by historians today (conventional chronology), this period of Persian rule over the land of Israel encompassed 207 years (539 to 332 BCE) and during this period more than ten Persian kings reigned.
“This discrepancy between the traditional Jewish chronology and conventional chronology has not gone unnoticed. The purpose of this study is to collect and categorize the variety of Jewish responses to this discrepancy, both by Jewish scholars and rabbinic authorities. Part I provides an introduction to the discrepancy. Part II contains the earliest Jewish responses to the discrepancy. In the major part of the study, Part III, the responses to the discrepancy from the time of Azariah de Rossi (16th century) to the present time are collected and categorized. This unified collection and categorization of the many responses will enable students and scholars to have easy access to what has been written by Jewish scholars and rabbinic authorities about the discrepancy and will facilitate scholarly evaluation of the responses.
“Part IV is an evaluation of the responses’ attempts to answer the fundamental question raised by the discrepancy. Part V presents observations on the rabbinic responses. Part VI is a summary and conclusion.”
 

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Contents

The Earliest Jewish Responses to the Discrepancy
9
Collection and Categorization of Jewish Responses from the Time of Azariah de Rossi through Modern Times ...
21
Evaluation of the Responses
113
Some Observations Regarding the Rabbinic Responses
139
Summary and Conclusion
147
The SO Chronology
153
The Conventional Chronology
161
Additional Note on the Identification of Ahashverosh with Xerxes
175
Note on a Passage in Nahmanides
199
Note on the Responses of NonJewish Scholars
203
Addenda
207
Biographical Sketches
211
Bibliography
219
Index
229
About the Author
234
Copyright

Early Jewish Authors who Adopt Chronologies of the Persian and Second Temple Periods that Differ from the SO Chronology
181

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About the author (1997)

While working as an attorney, Mitchell First studied Jewish history at Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School, receiving his M.A. degree in Jewish History in 1995. He received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1979 and a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1982. He has written and lectured frequently on topics related to Jewish history and chronology, and has been a contributor to a variety of Jewish publications. He, and his wife, Sharon, reside in Teaneck, New Jersey, and are the proud parents of three children. Mitchell First has been an attorney in private practice in Manhattan since 1985.

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