Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire

Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire : The Poetics of Power in Late Antiquity


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In histories of ancient Jews and Judaism, the Roman Empire looms large. For all the attention to the Jewish Revolt and other conflicts, however, there has been less concern for situating Jews within Roman imperial contexts; just as Jews are frequently dismissed as atypical by scholars of Roman history, so Rome remains invisible in many studies of rabbinic and other Jewish sources written under Roman rule. Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire brings Jewish perspectives to bear on long-standing debates concerning Romanization, Christianization, and late antiquity. Focusing on the third to sixth centuries, it draws together specialists in Jewish and Christian history, law, literature, poetry, and art. Perspectives from rabbinic and patristic sources are juxtaposed with evidence from piyyutim, documentary papyri, and synagogue and church mosaics. Through these case studies, contributors highlight paradoxes, subtleties, and ironies of Romanness and imperial power. Contributors: William Adler, Beth A. Berkowitz, Ra'anan Boustan, Hannah M. Cotton, Natalie B. Dohrmann, Paula Fredriksen, Oded Irshai, Hayim Lapin, Joshua Levinson, Ophir Munz-Manor, Annette Yoshiko Reed, Hagith Sivan, Michael D. Swartz, Rina Talgam.

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  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 38.1mm | 703.06g
  • 11 Nov 2013
  • University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Pennsylvania
  • English
  • New.
  • 12 illus.
  • 0812245334
  • 9780812245332
  • 1,413,718

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Author Information

Natalie B. Dohrmann is Associate Director of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the coeditor of Jewish Biblical Interpretation and Cultural Exchange: Comparative Exegesis in Context, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press. Annette Yoshiko Reed is M. Mark and Esther K. Watkins Assistant Professor of Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, author of Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity, and coeditor of The Ways That Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity.

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Review quote

"Beginning with the editors' fundamental historiographical and programmatic essay, Jews, Christians, and the Roman Empire is the most important collection of studies on Jews in late antiquity I have ever seen. In fact, it is essential reading for all students of late antiquity. Especially admirable is the book's implicit argument that late antiquity was constituted not by a single seismic shift but by the slow accretion of small changes over time."-Seth Schwartz, Columbia University "This volume opens up important new intellectual avenues for students of ancient religion and empire and will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on multiple arenas of scholarly research. There is, simply, no work that tackles the intellectual question 'How do we integrate Judaism into the Roman Empire, and vice versa?' with such depth and breadth."-Andrew S. Jacobs, Scripps College

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