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Rome and Judea in Transition

Hasmonean Relations with the Roman Republic and the Evolution of the High Priesthood

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Chris Seeman

Rome and Judea in Transition is the first English-language book to study exclusively the first century and a half of Roman-Judean political relations (164–37 B.C.). It presents a comprehensive reassessment of the Late Republic's involvement in the Levant, the motives of Hasmonean diplomacy, and the development of the Jewish high priesthood. Therefore, it is of interest to classicists, ancient historians, biblical scholars, and students of Judaica alike.
Previous studies have often mischaracterized this period as a consistent unfolding of Rome’s hegemonic will at Jewish expense. By contrast, this book argues that the Republic harbored no imperial designs on Judea prior to Pompey’s opportunistic intervention in 63 B.C., and that Rome’s subsequent intermittent meddling in the region’s governance did not significantly alter the dynamics of the Hasmonean state. Only with the Parthian invasion of Syria in 40 B.C. – and because of it – did the Republic unilaterally reshape Judean politics by its elevation of Herod the Great as «King of the Jews.»
Judea’s alliance with Rome began in the context of Judas Maccabeus’ revolt against Seleucid rule. Scholars have therefore understandably assumed that the primary hope of Judas’ successors was that Roman recognition would secure and extend Judean sovereignty. This book argues that the main motive for Hasmonean diplomacy was domestic: to advertise the legitimacy of the Maccabees against their Jewish rivals. For this reason, the documentary record of relations with the Republic is of great value for studying the ideology and institutional growth of high priestly power during this period.

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Abbreviations Aem. Aemilius Paullus (Plutarch) Ag. Ap. Against Apion (Josephus) Anab. Anabasis (Arrian) Ann. Annals (Tacitus) Ant. Jewish Antiquities (Josephus) Ant. Mark Antony (Plutarch) App. Appian Arr. Arrian Athen. Athenaeus Att. Letters to Atticus (Cicero) Bell. Afr. African War (Caesar) Bell. Alex. Alexandrian War (Caesar) Bell. civ. Civil War (Appian) Bell. Hisp. Spanish War (Caesar) Brut. Brutus (Plutarch) Brut. To Brutus (Cicero) BT Babylonian Talmud Cato Min. Cato the Younger (Plutarch) Caes. Caesar (Plutarch) Cic. Cicero Cic. Cicero (Plutarch) Chron. Chronicon (Eusebius) Crass. Crassus (Plutarch) Curt. Ruf. Curtius Rufus Dan. Commentary on Daniel (Jerome) Dem. Demetrius (Plutarch) Diod. Diodorus Dom. On his House (Cicero) Ep. Epitome (Livy) Eus. Eusebius Eum. Eumenes (Plutarch) FGH Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (Jacoby) Fam. Letters to his Friends (Cicero) Flam. Flamininus (Plutarch) Flor. Florus 384 Rome and Judea in Transition Geog. Geography (Strabo) Har. On the Responses of the Haruspices (Cicero) IG Inscriptiones Graecae Iul. Iulius Caesar (Suetonius) Jos. Josephus LSJ A Greek-English Lexicon 9 th edition (Liddell and Scott) LXX Septuagint Luc. Lucullus (Plutarch) Mac. Macedonian Wars (Appian) Man. On the Command of Gnaeus Pompey (Cicero) Mil. For Milo (Cicero) Mith. Mithridatic Wars (Appian) Nat. Hist. Natural History (Pliny) OGIS Orientis Graeci inscriptiones selectae (Dittenberger) P. Teb. Tebtunis Papyri P. Zen. Zenon Papyri Phil. Philippics (Cicero) Pis. Against Piso (Cicero) Plut. Plutarch Polyb. Polybius Pomp. Pompey (Plutarch) Prol. Prologue (Pompeius Trogus) Prov. On the Consular Provinces (Cicero) SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum Sest. For Sestius (Cicero) Suet. Suetonius Syll 3 Sylloge inscriptionum Graecarum 3...

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