A framework for an exploration of Jewish influences on Jesus; being a Jew in the ancient world; Jewish temples; similarities between Judaism and other ancient religions.
There is little distinction between religion and politics in ancient Judaism; the importance of the law in Jewish religion; the connections between the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount.
A look at the kingdoms of David and Solomon; the transformation of 12 Israelite tribes into a monarchy; how it is crumbling over tensions regarding how to properly worship the God of Israel; probing controversies.
The end of the First Temple Period; examining the reign of King Josiah; his popular religious reforms reassert the importance of Jerusalem's Temple; the Temple's traumatic destruction; its relationship to Gospel accounts and the Second Temple.
The Babylonian exile ends; the returning exiles begun to re-establish themselves in Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah; this leads to a dramatic schism between Jews and Samaritans; encounters with Samaritans.
Insights into the ancient Jewish diaspora communities; close readings of the Book of Tobit and the Book of Esther; insights into the directions from books about holiness and the treatment of other people; a historical literary debate.
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