The shifting image of the Hasmoneans in the eyes of their contemporaries and later generations is a compelling issue in the history of the Maccabean revolt and the Hasmonean commonwealth. Based on a series of six Jewish folktales from the Second Temple period that describe the Hasmonean dynasty and its history from its legendary founders, through achievement of full sovereignty, to downfall, this volume examines the Hasmoneans through the lens of reception history.
On the one hand, these brief, colorful legends are embedded in the narrative of the historian of the age, Flavius Josephus; on the other hand, they are scattered throughout the extensive halakhic-exegetical compositions known as rabbinic literature, redacted and compiled centuries later.
Each set of parallel stories is examined for the motivation underlying its creation, its original message, language, and the historical context. This analysis is followed by exploration of the nature of the relationship between the Josephan and the rabbinic versions, in an attempt to reconstruct the adaptation of the putative original traditions in the two corpora, and to decipher the disparities, different emphases, reworking, and unique orientations typical of each. These adaptations reflect
the reception of the pristine tales and thus disclose the shifting images of the Hasmoneans in later generations and within distinct contexts. The compilation and characterization of these sources which were preserved by means of two such different conduits of transmission brings us closer to
reconstruction of a lost literary continent, a hidden Jewish "Atlantis" of early pseudo-historical legends and facilitates examination of the relationship between the substantially different libraries and worlds of Josephus and rabbinic literature.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 278
Weight: 588 g
Dimensions: 242 x 164 x 23 mm
Shifting Images of the Hasmoneans gives readers of English a chance to learn about some of this research through a study focused on the Hasmoneans, the Judean dynasty established by the leaders of the Maccabean Revolt that ruled until it was displaced by the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE... Beyond what it tells us about the public image of the Hasmoneans, Noam's study is important as a model for how to understand the relationship between parallel traditions in
Josephus and rabbinic literature. * Steven Weitzman, Reading Religion *