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Lecture 1: Political Backgrounds

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Lesson

Overview of the influences of the Persian, Greek and Roman Empires on the Jewish nation. Also, a summary of the Jewish political and religious rulers and movements, and the tensions that arose between the Jews and the occupying Roman authorities.

Outline

Backgrounds

Part 1

I. Political Backgrounds

A. Key Developments in Persian Period

1. Relative freedom of worship

2. Increased preoccupation with the Law

3. Earliest developments of oral law

4. Concept of synagogue

5. Use of Aramaic language

B. Alexander and his Aftermath

1. Numerous key results all unified under "bane and blessings of Hellenism"

2. Ptolemaic period comparatively peaceful; Seleucid period increasingly turbulent

3. The last straw: Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) desecrates temple

C. Maccabean Revolt and Hasmonean Dynasty

1. Ideals of revolution increasingly corrupted

2. Emergence of Pharisees vs. Sadducees

3. Key results:

a. Conservative backlash and hatred of foreigners

b. Messianic fervor but largely for political king

D. The Six Herods of the New Testament

1. Herod the Great: the first generation

2. Archelaus, Antipas and Philip: 3 of his sons

3. Agrippa I: a grandson

4. Agrippa II: a great-grandson

5. Tried to kill Jesus as a baby

6. Antipas the key Herod during Jesus' ministry

7. See Acts 12

8. Key ruler for much of 2nd of 1st century Israel (Paul has hearing before him)

E. The Jesus Movement and the Romans

1. Positive Period (AD 30-64)

a. Still viewed as Jews

b. Thus a religio licita

c. Oldest hostility from various other Jews

2. Negative Period (>AD 64)

a. Viewed as new religion

b. Persecution by Rome

c. Refusal to join Jewish rebellion; increased hostility there too