chapter  5
12 Pages

Jewry in Palestine and Babylonia

In the first few decades of the third century AD the Romans faced numerous problems, including inflation, population decline and the absence of technological development to support the army. In time rival generals fought against one another for power, and the government became increasingly inefficient. During this period of chaos and decline, the Jewish community was beset with famine, epidemic and plunder. By the end of the century the emperor Diocletian (AD 284-305) instigated reforms to strengthen the empire. Under his leadership an absolutist structure replaced the republican veneer of Roman rule, and a complex system of prices, offices and occupations was inaugurated to arrest economic decline. Further, Diocletian instituted measures to halt the spread of the Christian faith, which had become a serious challenge to the official religion of the empire.