The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization which is building a digital library. At the present The Internet Archive has archived millions of free books. Like a paper library, The Internet Archive provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public.
One of the book available for free is Lester L. Grabbe, A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period. Volume 1. Yehud: A History of the Persian Province of Judah.
The text below is taken from the Introduction:
Trying to write a history of Judah during the Persian period is fraught with dangers but also promises great rewards. Why write a history of Persian-period Judah? This is a fair question even if we accept that any historical period, location, or self contained entity is a proper object for historical study.
As I have argued elsewhere (JRSTP: 5-6, 315-17), the Second Temple period of Judaic history should be seen as a unit, marked off at one end by the so-called exilic period and at the other by Yavneh, the period between the two wars with Rome (66-70 and 132-35 CE).
According to my argument, the major changes and developments in Judaism and the Jewish people were seminal to the Persian period, not Alexander’s conquest as so often alleged. My view, buttressed by the present study, is that the Persian period is the single most important period for the development of Jewish thought and practice from antiquity to the present.
It has long been thought that major developments and changes took place in the first part of the ‘post-exilic period’ which had great significance for the development of Judaic religion, the biblical and other Jewish literature, and the people of Judah. I shall be arguing that the changes and developments that took place during the period of Persian rule were the key to the direction taken by Judaism ever since.
The most important elements of modern Judaism were already extant or in process by the end of the Persian period, whether or not they existed in the pre-exilic kingdom of Judah. An understanding of Judaism in the Second Temple, especially, but also subsequently requires an understanding of the forces and dynamics affecting the Jews in Judah and elsewhere in the Achaemenid empire.
You can download a PDF copy of the book by visiting The Internet Archive. Click here to access the PDF copy of the book.
Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
NOTE: Did you like this post? Do you think other people would like to read this post? Be sure to share this post on Facebook and share a link on Twitter so that others may enjoy reading it too!
I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you thought of this post by leaving a comment below. Be sure to like my page on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to my blog to receive each post by email.