Better than the Greeks

Martin Goodman

  • The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. II: The Hellenistic Age edited by W.D. Davies and Louis Finkelstein
    Cambridge, 738 pp, £65.00, March 1990, ISBN 0 521 21929 9

As The Cambridge History of Judaism crawls ponderously towards the end of its huge task of charting the history of Judaism from 539 BC to circa AD 250, it continues to raise many questions. On a practical level the reader is left wondering about the wisdom of embarking on ambitious projects of this kind, in which the open-mindedness of the editors, commendable in other contexts, leaves unresolved such dramatic divergences between the different chapters that even the most intelligent neophyte will be left flummoxed. At a deeper level the Cambridge History brings to the surface interesting dilemmas about the best way to tackle the history of Judaism and the Jews.

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