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Portrait of the City in the Second Temple Period (538 B.C.E. – 70 C.E.)

Authored by Lee I. Levine

Publication Year: 2002

Jerusalem in the Second Temple period experienced dramatic growth as it achieved unprecedented political, religious, and spiritual prominence. Lee Levine traces the development of Jerusalem during this time -- through its urban, demographic, topographical, and archaeological features, its political regimes, public institutions, and its cultural and religious life.

Published by: Jewish Publication Society

Front Matter

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-x

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pp. xi

This volume is a completely revised and greatly expanded version of a more popular presentation fIrst written in Hebrew that appeared in two editions, both titled Jerusalem in Its Glory: A History of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. The fIrst edition was published in 1996 (Jerusalem: Ariel, nos. 114-115) and the second, revised, version in 1998 (Tel Aviv: Modan). My thanks to Dr. Ellen Frankel, ...

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pp. xiii-xviii

Ancient Jerusalem was the capital of Judah and subsequently of the entire Jewish people for over one thousand years. Its history can be divided into two distinct periods: the First Temple period (ca. 1000-586 B.C.E.), when the city served as capital of the kingdom of Judah, and the Second Temple period (538 B.C.E.-70 C.E.), when Jerusalem functioned largely under foreign rule. Despite the subjection of the Jews ...

Part I: From Cyrus to the Hasmoneans

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Chapter 1: The Persion Era (539-332 B.C.E.)

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pp. 3-44

The Persian, or Restoration, era witnessed the renewal of Jewish life in Judaea following a hiatus of some fifty years.l The primary and almost exclusive sources for this era, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (henceforth Ezra-Nehemiah), inform us of the return of thousands of exiles from Babylonia who, despite innumerable obstacles, succeeded in rebuilding Jerusalem and its Temple.2 The fact ...

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Chapter 2: The Hellenistic Era (332-141 B.C.E.)

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pp. 45-90

Judaea was conquered time and again throughout antiquity. Change in rule often entailed massive destruction and ruin; on occasion, conquest proved much less devastating. As we have seen, by gaining control of Judaea following his subjugation of Babylon in 539 B.C.E., Cyrus adopted a policy far different from (and diametrically opposed to) that of his predecessors. Alexander the Great's ...

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Chapter 3: The Hasmonean Era (141-63 B.C.E.)

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pp. 91-148

With the establishment of Hasmonean rule (transformned in 104--103 B.C.E. into a kingdom), Jerusalem entered a new stage of history as the capital of an independent state. While the city had already enjoyed this status for some four hundred years during the First Temple period (ca 1000--586 B.C.E.), it had been reduced to a modest temple-city for the first four hundred years of the Second ...

Part II: Herodian Jerusalem

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Chapter 4: The Historical Dimension

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pp. 159-186

From the third to first centuries B.C.E., Rome embarked on a long series of conquests. Its wars often lasted decades, but invariably Rome was victorious. Spain to the west; Gaul and Germany to the north; Carthage and North Africa to the south; Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Judaea to the east-all succumbed...

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Chapter 5: The Urban Landscape

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pp. 187-217

Herod's building projects are notable for their vast scope, monumental character, and unique style and were to be found throughout his kingdom and far beyond it.I From Agrippias, Ascalon, and Hebron in the south to Panias in the north, and from Caesarea and Antipatris in the west to Jericho, the Judaean Desert (Herodium and Masada), and the Transjordanian region (Machaerus and ...

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Chapter 6: The Temple and Temple Mount

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pp. 219-253

The rebuilding of the Temple and Temple Mount was a project of unparalleled size and magnificence, constituting the crowning jewel of Herod's reign. All sources describing this complex agree that it was an extremely impressive edifice; Josephus concurs with Herod's assessment: "For he (Herod) believed that the accomplishment of this task would be the most notable of all the things ...

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Chapter 7: Jerusalem in the Greco-Roman Orbit: The Extent and Limitations of Cultural Fusion

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pp. 255-281

We have already had occasion to note the profound impact of the Greco-Roman world on Herod's building projects in Jerusalem as well as the influence of Hellenistic culture on his court life. Herod's non-Jewish advisers (some of whom were accomplished savants in their own right), the use of Greek names in his family, and the Greek education he gave his sons are only a few examples of his ...

Part III: The First Century C.E.

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Chapter 8: The Historical Dimension

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pp. 285-311

With the assumption of direct Roman rule over Judaea in 6 C.E., Jerusalem's status was bound to change as well.l As part of the process of inclusion within the Roman provincial system, Caesarea Maritima, built by Herod less than two decades earlier, was now designated the new capital of Judaea.2 How this affected Jerusalem is difficult to assess. On the one hand, it is clear that many...

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Chapter 9: The Urban Configuration

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pp. 313-350

Jerusalem reached an unprecedented size physically and demographically by the middle first century C.E. In fact, it was only at the end of the nineteenth century that the city again attained-and then surpassed-these dimensions.1 In the last two centuries of the Second Temple period, Jerusalem tripled in size, reflecting in no small measure the city's enhanced stature as the religious center of the Jews, ...

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Chapter 10: Social Stratification

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pp. 351-373

The social stratification of first-century Jerusalem was different from that of most Roman cities and towns where the urban-rural nexus at times predominated. The landed gentry often constituted the core of the ruling elite controlling Roman urban societies. Alternatively, business interests and professional tradesmen assumed a central role in municipal affairs in other urban frame ...

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Chapter 11: Religious Ambience

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pp. 375-400

Discussion of Jewish religious life in the first century usually revolves around the different sects, most of which were based in Jerusalem, and therefore focuses on the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Christians, and revolutionary factions (e.g., Sicarii, Zealots). The reasons for this are twofold. Most scholars have had a particularly keen interest in this religious dimension of this period, given the fact that ...

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Chapter 12: The Destruction of Jerusalem (66-70 C.E.)

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pp. 401-411

Ancient sources alone confirm that there is no dearth of speculation regarding the causes for the outbreak of the revolt against Rome in 66 C.E. Josephus reports that those fundamentally responsible were a small band of irresponsible zealots who perpetrated murders, robberies, arson, and other brutal acts.1 However, he also notes2 that the outbreak of the hostilities was linked to the long-standing tension between ...

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pp. 413-416

By the middle of the first century C.E., on the eve of its destruction, Jerusalem reached the peak of its physical growth and religious status. Over the six hundred years of the Second Temple period, the city had outgrown its modest site on the eastern ridge, expanding westward and northward; it increased fifteenfold, having at first occupied an area of some 30 acres and eventually encompassing...


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pp. 417-419


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pp. 420-422


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pp. 423-469

Illustration Credits

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pp. 470-471

Subject Index

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pp. 472-486

E-ISBN-13: 9780827609563
Print-ISBN-13: 9780827607507

Publication Year: 2002