Jubilees and the Hellenistic Reform

Source: George W.E. Nickelsburg, “The Bible Rewritten and Expanded,” Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period, ed. Michael E. Stone (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984) 103.

“…many of Jubilees’ additions to the biblical text of Genesis and Exodus have the Jew-gentile situation in focus. In addition to the strictures against nakedness and uncircumcision mentioned above (3:31; 15:34), are the following items. Observance of the lunar calendar is construed as following ‘the feasts of the gentiles’ (sic!) (6:35). Marriage to a gentile is strictly and repeatedly forbidden (20:4; 22:20; 25:1; 27:10; 30:1-15). Warnings are issued against idolatry and consuming blood (6:12-41; 7:30; 21:6). The author stresses Israel’s unique covenantal relationship to God and qualitative difference from the gentiles (cf. also 2:31 on the Sabbath). His stringent prohibitions against contact with the gentiles suggest that such contact was not infrequent in the Israel of his time.”

This quote is relevant to my paper on IV Maccabees, which asks what II and IV Maccabees mean when they say that the Hellenistic reform challenged Israel’s poiliteia (constitution). Here, I see what one Jewish party had against Hellenistic incursions into the nation. At the same time, II and IV Maccabees may not agree with Jubilees on everything, since the Hasmoneans (whom the Maccabees books endorse) supported the lunar calendar, which Jubilees opposed.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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