chapter  4
The archaeology of Judaism
Pages 27

The archaeology of Judaism is the term meaning art, archaeology and material culture created specifically for the Jewish community. Its form and content were determined by the desires of all classes. It was executed in accordance with the spiritual and secular requirements of local congregations and was employed to satisfy both functional and recreational needs. The archaeology of Judaism, from the Second Temple period to the end of Late Antiquity (late second century BCE-seventh century CE), the period under consideration here, reflects a culture which came into being not in consequence of a nation’s isolation but as the result of a necessity to absorb and assimilate, and to compete with, the culture of others. Simultaneously with absorbing and assimilating elements from its Hellenistic, Roman pagan, and later Christian, surroundings, Jewish art and archaeology retained and clung to its fundamentally spiritual basis, and to its essential beliefs and customs.