ABSTRACT

Judaism had been drawn into the general stream of Hellenic life very thoroughly, not only because it shared the life of the Seleucid dominions and so existed for several centuries under Greek rule, but still more because of its outspread to Alexandria and round the shores of the Mediterranean. In due course came a strong reaction of anti-Greek feeling, part of a wide Oriental movement against Hellenism, 1 which produced the Maccabaean revolt against the Seleucids, and continuing to gather force evolved a more militant nationalism which led to serious revolts and so brought about, first the destruction of Jerusalem, and then the expulsion of the Jews from Judaea by Hadrian. Even after the Maccabaean revolt, however, there were strong Hellenistic tendencies among the Jews, and especially amongst those settled in Alexandria. We note evidence of this in the Jewish Aristotelian philosopher Aristobulus, the Platonist Philo, and in the compilation of apocryphal works with a distinct Stoic element, such as the book of Wisdom, I V Maccabees, etc. The Greek version of the Old Testament was commenced rather earlier, but some portion (Ecclesiastes, etc.) were probably not translated until well into the Christian era. 2

In the course of the first century A . D . the Jews formed a standard and authorized version of the scripture text : gradually the Greek version was discarded and the use of Greek in the synagogue services forbidden, 3 and by the end of the second century A . D . Judaism had reverted entirely to a Hebrew-Aramaic

type and withdrawn from the intellectual life of the GraecoRoman world to which it was afterwards re-introduced by Muslim teachers. Meanwhile what we might term the left wing, the more advanced Hellenistic section, had become Christian: indeed we may say that Christianity is the natural development of the more advanced Hellenizers who discarded the Levitical law and evolved from Judaism a simple monotheism which was in accord with the current tendency of Hellenistic speculation. It is rather tempting to explain the reactionary movement of rabbinical Judaism as a recoil from Christianity, but it seems more accurate to regard it as part of a nationalist and Oriental reaction against Hellenism which has a close parallel in the revival of the Zoroastrian religion and its reorganization on stricter lines which culminated in the essentially religious movement underlying the Sasanid revolt. No doubt the Christian controversy tended to define more sharply the outlines of rabbinical Judaism, but it was at most a secondary factor: the real motive power was at work before Christianity appeared and was part of the great anti-Hellenistic movement which advanced steadily across Asia and showed its aggressive character in the invasion of the Roman Empire by a number of Oriental cults.