Home  >  An Introduction to Early Judaism, 2nd ed.
Share |
An Introduction to Early Judaism, 2nd ed.
PAPERBACK; Coming Soon: 1/6/2022
ISBN: 978-0-8028-8016-1
Price: $ 28.99
288 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
Add To Cart

Based on the best archaeological research, this volume explores the history of Judaism during the Second Temple period (516 BCE–70 CE), 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, more briefly, the Bar Kokhba revolt—as well as his commentary on texts unearthed in places like Elephantine and Qumran.

Now in its second edition, with additional material and updated throughout, this book remains the preeminent guide to early Judaism for anyone looking for a text that is concise and accessible while still comprehensive—and written by one of the foremost experts in the field.

Table of Contents

1. The Time of the Second Temple
          The Persian Period (538–332 BCE)
          The Hellenistic Age (323–63 BCE)
          The Roman Period (63 BCE and Beyond)
          Appendix on Egyptian Judaism
2. Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period
          Second Temple Texts in the Hebrew Bible
          The Classification of Second Temple Literature
          Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period
3. Great Archaeological Discoveries
          The Elephantine Papyri
          The Dead Sea Scrolls
4. Synthesis: Leaders, Groups, and Institutions
          Rulers and Leaders

“A fine and accessible introduction to early Judaism. . . . Elementary but elegant, this primer is perfect for classroom or individual use.”
— Publishers Weekly
“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.”
— Journal for the Study of Judaism
“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.”
— Amy-Jill Levine
Vanderbilt University
“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.”
— Alan J. Avery-Peck
College of the Holy Cross