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An Introduction to Early Judaism

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PAPERBACK; Published: 11/14/2000
ISBN: 978-0-8028-4641-9
Price: $ 25.00
246 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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One of today's most respected scholars of biblical history and the Dead Sea Scrolls, James C. VanderKam here offers a superb new introduction to early Judaism.

Based on the best, most recent archaeological research, this illustrated volume explores the history of Judaism during the Second Temple period (516 B.C.E. - 70 C.E.), describing the body of Jewish literature written during these centuries and the most important groups, institutions, and practices of the time. Particularly interesting are VanderKam's depiction of events associated with Masada and the Kokhba revolt, and his commentary on texts unearthed in places like Elephantine, Egypt, and Qumran.

Written in the same accessible style as VanderKam's widely praised Dead Sea Scrolls Today, this volume provides the finest classroom introduction to early Judaism available.

Alan J. Avery-Peck
"A scholar at the forefront of today's flourishing interest in the study of ancient Judaism, James VanderKam clearly explains Second Temple history and religion, including the period's main groups and institutions and the entire range of literature they produced, from the Apocrypha to the Dead Sea Scrolls. The period VanderKam covers is vital to understanding all subsequent Jewish and Christian history, and his introduction to it is complete, accessible, and overall top-notch."
Amy-Jill Levine
"Combining meticulous historical reconstruction with detailed commentary on literary productions and archaeological remains, James VanderKam here offers a comprehensive introduction to early Judaism that places texts within their proper contexts. His accessible, engaging style and helpful organization make this volume ideal for classroom use."
Frank Moore Cross
"James VanderKam has written a superb introduction to early Judaism, including its history, literature, and religious institutions—a handbook that will be useful to every student or scholar who is interested in this period. VanderKam's sketch of the history and literature of the period is written simply and precisely, unencumbered by footnotes. His book, however, reveals a full, critical knowledge of the field. His epitomes of the literature of the period are particularly well done—brief, generally conservative in discussing debated issues, leaving out little of importance. New lore from the Dead Sea Scrolls and data from recent excavations are also well treated. I recommend this volume without qualification."
Publishers Weekly
"VanderKam offers a fine and accessible introduction to early Judaism. . . Elementary but elegant, this primer is perfect for classroom or individual use."
Journal for the Study of Judaism
"One of the best-written exemplars of its genre. Both its didactic structure and enjoyable style make it capable of being a widely read scholarly best-seller."