Non-Hellenized Jews in the Semi-Hellenized East For Nathan Spiegel in his ninetieth year

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Abraham Wasserstein


This article makes the case for a re-evaluation of the evidence for Hellenistic influence on Jewish society in Palestine, which must be distinguished from Hellenistic Jewry in the diaspora. The partial Hellenization of the former does not necessarily point to direct contact with Hellenism, but may well have been mediated by Aramaic culture, whose roots in the region ran deep. Hellenistic elements in non-hellenized Palestinian Judaism can, paradoxically, be seen not as deliberate and conscious adoption of foreign, Greek, ways, but, on the contrary, as a sign of belonging to the home-grown culture of the Aramaic East within the Empire as well as outside its borders. 

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