The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties

Front Cover
University of California Press, Feb 1, 1999 - History - 458 pages
0 Reviews
In modern times, various Jewish groups have argued whether Jewishness is a function of ethnicity, of nationality, of religion, or of all three. These fundamental conceptions were already in place in antiquity. The peculiar combination of ethnicity, nationality, and religion that would characterize Jewishness through the centuries first took shape in the second century B.C.E. This brilliantly argued, accessible book unravels one of the most complex issues of late antiquity by showing how these elements were understood and applied in the construction of Jewish identity—by Jews, by gentiles, and by the state.

Beginning with the intriguing case of Herod the Great's Jewishness, Cohen moves on to discuss what made or did not make Jewish identity during the period, the question of conversion, the prohibition of intermarriage, matrilineal descent, and the place of the convert in the Jewish and non-Jewish worlds. His superb study is unique in that it draws on a wide range of sources: Jewish literature written in Greek, classical sources, and rabbinic texts, both ancient and medieval. It also features a detailed discussion of many of the central rabbinic texts dealing with conversion to Judaism.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

JEWS AND OTHERS
1
WHO WAS A JEW?
11
Was Herod Jewish?
13
Those Who Say They Are Jews and Are Not How Do You Know a Jew in Antiquity When You See One?
25
Ioudaios Iudaeus Judaean Jew
69
THE BOUNDARY CROSSED BECOMING A JEW
107
From Ethnos to Ethnoreligion
109
Crossing the Boundary and Becoming a Jew
140
Israelite Mothers Israelite Fathers Matrilineal Deseent and the Inequality of the Convert
308
JEWS JUDAISM AND JEWISHNESS US AND THEM
341
WAS MARTIALS SLAVE SLAVE JEWISH?
351
WAS MENOPHILUS JEWISH?
358
WAS TROPHIMUS JEWISH?
360
WAS TIMOTHY JEWISH?
363
GLOSSARY OF SOME HEBREW TERMS
379
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND ABBREVIATIONS
381

Ioudaizein to Judaize
175
The Rabbinic Conversion Ceremony
198
THE BOUNDARY VIOLATED THE UNION OF DIVERSE KINDS
239
The Prohibition of Intermarriage
241
The Matrilineal Principle
263

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 1 - Some one has said that there are two kinds of people in the world : those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who do not.
Page 7 - Two men are of the same nation if and only if they share the same culture, where culture in turn means a system of ideas and signs and associations and ways of behaving and communicating.
Page 5 - The cultural features that signal the boundary may change, and the cultural characteristics of the members may likewise be transformed, indeed, even the organizational form of the group may change - yet the fact of continuing dichotomization between members and outsiders allows us to specify the nature of continuity, and investigate the changing cultural form and content. 2 Socially relevant factors alone become diagnostic for membership, not the overt, 'objective' differences which are generated...

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Shaye J. D. Cohen is Ungerleider Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University. His earlier books include Josephus in Galilee and Rome: His Vita and Development as a Historian (1979) and From the Maccabees to the Mishnah: A Profile of Judaism (1987).

Bibliographic information