In the Hellenistic era, the spread of Greek culture to the east began a period of large-scale fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. The encounter between Hebrew and Greek civilizations had a lasting and far-reaching impact on Western history. Christianity, as the legacy of the exchanges between Hebrew and Greek civilizations, continued to date. From the perspective of the ancient Mediterranean world, the Greco-Macedonians were not the only foreign nations who conquered the nations of the Near East. There were Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Romans and Arabs later. The Jews were not the only nations in the Near East who had surrendered to foreign nations. Compared with other foreign rulers, is there any difference between the influence of Greek culture on the peoples of the Near East and the cultural influence of other conquerors? Do Jews and other peoples in the Near East respond to the dominant culture of alien rulers in the same way? Is there any specificity in the interaction of Jews with Greco-Macedonian rulers compared to Jewish attitudes towards other alien rulers and Greco-Macedonian attitudes towards other subjects? The above questions are the subject of discussion in Jewish Hellenistic studies. Compared with other ethnic groups in the Near East, the historical data on Jewish Hellenism is relatively rich, and scholars have achieved considerable research results on Jewish Hellenism. To be sure, few peoples in the ancient Near East had the same lasting vitality as the Jews. The Hellenization of the Jews was representative, and it provided an example for the peoples of the Near East to deal with Hellenization, how to adapt to their native culture and how to maintain their national identity. At present, domestic scholars are rich in relevant translations and treatises, and sorting out the relevant research of foreign scholars will undoubtedly have reference significance for the expansion of domestic research on Jewish Hellenism.
The term “Hellenismus” (Hellenismus) is not a modern invention, but derives its etymology from the ancient Greek “Ἑλληνισμός” (Hellenismos). According to the Greek-English Dictionary, there are usually three definitions: imitating the Greeks; practicing pure Greek style, using Greek or common Greek, κοινή; and paganism. The first interpretation is related to the Hellenistic meaning and first appeared in the Jewish work II Maccabees 4:13 in the 2nd-1st century BC: the “climax of Hellenism” in Jerusalem imitated the Greeks (ἀχμή Ἑλληνισμοῦ). The Greek word “ἀφελληνίζω” with the meaning of the verb “Hellenize” first appeared in the records of the Jewish writer Philo (c. 20-50): Augustus (27-14 B.C. reigned) “Hellenized the most important barbarian land” (τὴν δὲ Βάρβαρον ἐν τοῖς ἀναγκαιοτάτοις τμήμασιν ἀφελληνίσας). The “Hellenization” of words expressing modern meanings has not yet occurred in ancient texts. German scholar JG Herder used “Hellenismus” to refer to the thought or way of thinking of Greek-speaking Jews, which was widely used in German academic circles; French scholar J. Matter accepted this and used “Hellénisme” to refer specifically to Thoughts of the Greek-speaking Jews of Egypt.
The German scholar JG Droysen used “Hellenismus” (Hellenization) for the first time to refer to a period, that is, the history of the Alexander Empire and its successor Hellenistic kingdoms in the last three centuries BC. The transition and turning point between the times and the rise of Christianity. There is still controversy in the academic circle about the definition of the Hellenistic era. From the perspective of political history, a common view is that it started from the establishment of the Alexander Empire (334 BC) to the last Hellenistic kingdom Ptolemaic Egypt was conquered by Rome in the first 30 years. The author believes that from the perspective of cultural history, the emergence, development and decline of culture is a slow and gradual process, with no obvious time node. Before Alexander’s expedition, the influence of Greece on the East was already evident, and after 30 BC, the influence of Hellenistic culture still existed, which was integrated into Roman culture and continued into the Byzantine Empire.
Subsequently, “Hellenism” and “Hellenization” were also derived from English. The two are sometimes used interchangeably in different contexts, and sometimes have their own emphasis. First of all, “Hellenism” emphasizes the native Greek culture that has been inherited from the classical era, and “Hellenization” refers to all cultures produced in the Hellenistic era. Second, “Hellenism” tends to consciously imitate the collective or public behavior of Greek culture, which may lead to various social conflicts and divisions. “Hellenization” tends to be a broad phenomenon of cultural communication, spontaneous, unconscious, superficial or labelled, and deep cultural interactions. Again, “Hellenism” is a static cultural outcome, “Hellenization” is an ongoing process. Lee I. Levine believes that “Hellenism” and “Hellenization” are two aspects of the same phenomenon. “Hellenism” refers to the evolution of Hellenistic culture from the Hellenistic period to the Roman Empire and even to a certain extent to the Byzantine Empire period, and “Hellenization” expresses the process of accepting and applying Greek culture in a specific area. Taken together, the author believes that ” Hellenism” can be understood as “Hellenic culture”, and “Hellenization” can be translated as “Hellenization”.
Arnaldo Momigliano believes that Hellenism is not only a historical period, it has two meanings: a cultural movement, which gave birth to a new fusion of Eastern and Greek thought; a political evolution, which gave rise to Greco-Macedonian rule Political system of Eastern nations. The author believes that Hellenism has a multi-layered connotation, it represents a time and space, and the peoples included in it have undoubtedly experienced the baptism of this era. It is a process of cultural blending and civilization evolution and a description of a cultural phenomenon. In this process, all nations have more or less contact with Greek culture. The problem is that the depth and breadth are not the same. Hellenism has undergone a long, slow and complex historical evolution. There are various forms such as the spread of Greek culture, the interaction between oriental culture and Greek culture, and the core of oriental culture with Greek culture as the carrier, forming a self-contained cultural entity. Rich, diverse forms of expression, both multidimensional and unbalanced. Therefore, Hellenism is a highly inclusive polyhedron, which needs to be examined from different angles, and specific issues need to be analyzed in detail.
In the late 19th century, the Hellenization of Jews has been the focus of scholars, focusing on the religious field. Scholars influenced by European classical education tend to regard the spread of Greek culture as one of the basic cultural policies of the Alexander Empire and its successor kingdoms, and overemphasize the importance of Greek culture. Since the 20th century, the Western world has gradually opened up to Jews, and the independent mobility of Jews has increased, and the frequency of interaction with the outside world has increased, which has been deeply affected. This historical situation has a certain degree of similarity with the Jews of the Greco-Roman world, and the issue of Jewish Hellenism has been re-examined. Regarding the issue of Jewish Hellenism, the current academic views are divided into three categories.
(1) The dualism of assimilation-mutual dissimilarity
In the 19th century, Droysen put forward the concept of Hellenism, and the view that oriental culture was incorporated into the melting pot of Greek culture became the mainstream of academia. In the early 20th century, scholars such as WW Tarn, GT Griffith, and FW Walbank, the leaders of Hellenistic civilization studies, still emphasized the infiltration of Greek culture into Eastern society, and the impact of Greek culture on the The overall conquest of oriental culture, the oriental nation was attracted, influenced and even assimilated by Greek culture, and was always under the baptism of Greek culture. Among the nations of the Near East, the Jews were independent and resolutely resisted Hellenism because of the conflict between Greek culture and Jewish belief. 175 BC – 164 BC) performance of the Hellenistic policy. Several scholars represent the general view of the early academic circle on the question of Jewish Hellenism. At present, it is outdated to attribute the Maccabees to this simple “culture clash theory”. The author believes that there are complex conflicts of interest and realistic factors in analyzing the Maccabees Conflict over a long period of time. Jewish ancient historian Victor A. Tcherikover, looking at the relationship between Jews and Hellenism from a Jewish perspective, does not completely deny the Hellenism of Jews like the above-mentioned classical scholars, but emphasizes that Greek culture and Jewish culture are essentially different. In his “Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews” (Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews), he pointed out that politically, the Hellenization of the Jews ended in failure. On this basis, it is difficult for Jewish culture and Hellenism to coexist under the same polity. Chelikov does not object to the suggestion that some Jews, like other Near Eastern nations, cannot resist the “temptation” of Hellenism, but believes that it is limited to individual cases. In general, Jews adhere to their national identity and have not been assimilated by Hellenistic civilization. Based on the opposing view of Jewish culture and Hellenism, he believes that there are differences in Hellenism between native and diaspora Jews, and the diaspora Jews need to face the choice of assimilation or opposition. Although Hellenization pervaded Palestine, especially in various Greek cities, the Hellenization of Jerusalem was temporary, and Jews were able to effectively protect Jewish traditions through violent or cultural means. Diaspora Jews had a persistent confrontation with Hellenism, either by assimilation by the Greeks or by the Jewish community’s adherence to traditions, which became mainstream. Including Chelikov’s opposing theory on the assimilation or exclusion of Hellenistic Jews by the diaspora Jews, the Hellenization that widely influenced a generation of scholars in the early 20th century, that is, the large-scale eastward transmission of Greek culture and the assimilation or resolute rejection of Eastern nations, At present, it has been denied by most scholars; Harrison (R. Harrison) pointed out that the so-called Hellenism is the process of the spread of Greek civilization in the post-classical era, uniting the known world into a unified nation sharing the same culture.
(2) Theory of mutual learning and full integration
In the early 19th century, German religious scholars had paid attention to the influence of Greek culture on Judaism, and “Synkretismus” (harmony/mixture) once became a popular term in academic circles. Since the 1930s, scholars have gradually recognized the existence of Greek elements in Palestinian Aramaic and Hebrew texts, and unexpected traces of Greek use and Greek art have been unearthed in Palestine. 3 Bickerman’s dual status as a Jewish classicist made him a leader in the interdisciplinary study of Jewish ancient history and classics in the early 20th century. He emphasized the mutual learning between Jewish ancient history and classics. On the one hand, during the Second Temple period (530-70 BC), the Jews were in the radiant range of the ancient Greco-Romans. Examining the history of the Jews in this period from the perspective of the Greco-Roman world or the wider ancient Mediterranean world can deepen the An understanding of why and how Jewish religious thought evolved. On the other hand, the Jews are one of the ancient peoples in the Near East, and the study of the ancient history of Judaism has reference significance for understanding the relationship between the ancient Greeks and Romans and the peoples in the Near East. The change of academic thought and research perspective has expanded the focus of scholars’ research on Jews in the Hellenistic period from Judaism to politics, economy, culture, art, etc., and believes that the relationship between Jews and Hellenism is not limited to simple assimilation and confrontation. binary opposition. Represented by Beekman, experts on Jewish Hellenistic issues such as ER Goodenough, Morton Smith, and Momigliano have emphasized the relationship between ancient Jewish history and ancient Greece and Rome to varying degrees. The importance of integrating historical research.
Goodenough argues that Hellenistic Jews have a consistent identity with traditional Jews, who see themselves as loyal to their fellow Jews and to Judaism, regardless of differences in interpretation tradition. A pioneer in the history of ancient Jewish art, he published 13 volumes of Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period from 1953 to 1968, combining archaeological and documentary evidence to analyze ancient Jewish material cultural heritage. He believes that Jewish symbols are of great significance to understanding ancient Judaism, but Jewish art and the religious ideas contained in it also need to be understood in the Greco-Roman world; in the first few centuries AD, Greek or Latin was used in the Greco-Roman world. Jewish is more popular than Hebrew or Aramaic. Saul Lieberman was a 20th-century scholar of rabbinic literature; Greek in Jewish Palestine, published in 1942, was the first comprehensive study of rabbinic influence on Greek language and Greek culture. of familiarity. At the end of the 19th century, scholars had noticed that there were more than 3,000 Greek and Latin loanwords in rabbinic literature. Lieberman’s research went beyond the language level and believed that the rabbinic group had a lot of influence on Greco-Roman customs, institutions, laws and even natural sciences and other cultures. Different levels of understanding and research. Published eight years later, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine supplemented the previous work, examining the relationship between Jews and Greek culture in the post-1st century Rabbinic Judaism. The purpose of Lieberman’s research is not the Hellenization of Jews, but his definition of the degree of Hellenization of the rabbinical class is a model of the combination of Jewish ancient history and classical studies, and has reference significance for the study of Hellenistic Jewish literature. Moulton Smith pointed out that the Hellenistic era was different from the classical era in terms of land ownership, religious beliefs, civic life, arts and sciences, etc., but the historical roots of cultural fusion can be traced back to Alexandria before the 6th to 4th centuries BC. Period, as early as the period of the Persian Empire, Palestine had been influenced by Persia and Greece. To sum up, since the first half of the 20th century, scholars have broken through the concept of excluding Jews from Hellenism in earlier studies, and tried to explain the examples and manifestations of Jewish Hellenism as comprehensively as possible. Martin Hengel’s discussion on the relationship between Jewish culture and Hellenism has aroused heated discussions in the academic circles, influenced generations of scholars, and is still an academic classic to this day.
An English translation of Martin Hengel’s book “Jewish Culture and Hellenism: Early Hellenistic Encounters in Palestine” was published in 1974. As the title says, he cuts in from the early Hellenistic era, centered on the uprising of the Maccabees. He agreed with Beekman that the religious persecution of Jews by Antiochus IV was dominated by Hellenistic Jews. As early as the 3rd century BC, Jews had been deeply influenced by Hellenism, and many Jews quickly adapted and absorbed the mainstream culture. 3 Thirty years after the publication of the German edition of the book (1969), he wrote an article to commemorate it. Considering the continuous progress of academic research, the details of his treatise need to be added or revised, but he does not intend to change the basic theory and results. Instead, Hengel believes that his conclusions are strengthened as archaeological remains such as inscriptions, coins, buildings, or new documentary evidence emerge. He did not hesitate to reiterate his point: since Ptolemaic Egypt ruled the Jews in the 3rd century BC, both the diaspora of the Greek-speaking world and the native Judaism of Palestine can be called Hellenistic Judaism. The significance of bilingual Jews in Palestinian Greek and Aramaic (or Hebrew) for the origins of Christianity is one of the key conclusions of his research over the past 30 years. Hengel reconsidered the concept of “syncretism” (mixture/harmony), and believed that the “mixture” proposed by German scholars at the religious level cannot be regarded as a unique attribute of the interaction between Jewish and Greek religions, Israel-Judaism originated from From the beginning, it was continuously influenced by Egypt, Assyria, Phoenicia, Persia and even later the Greeks. Interpreting Semitic gods in Greek terms, or equivalence and name swapping between Greek and Near Eastern gods, does not qualify as religious “fusion.” The so-called “integration” at the religious level refers to the process of consciously integrating ideology and even artificially creating new worship. Although Hengel believes that this concept needs to be used with caution, especially at the religious level, he still emphasizes that the historical evolution of Israel-Jewish religion is accompanied by the characteristics of “reconciliation”. It should be noted that he ignores the peculiarities of the Hellenistic age. It is true that Judaism has been constantly influenced by foreign nations, but it has never been the same as in the Hellenistic period. The interaction with Greek culture gave birth to a new religion, namely Christianity. From this perspective, the mixed characteristics of Jewish religion in the Hellenistic period are special. . In the 3rd century BC, there were limited Hellenistic Jewish documents and archaeological materials, and it was questionable whether they could explain the attitude of the Jews and the attributes of Judaism. Hengel also pointed out that the early Hellenistic data was scarce, and the Hellenistic process not only lasted longer than imagined, but also did not end in the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Actium). The Hellenization of Syria and Palestine deep into the lower populace may have only been realized during the Roman Empire, and it can be said that Rome was the umbrella of Greek cultural heritage. Overall, “Jewish Culture and Hellenism” is astonishingly large, and Hunger’s extensive knowledge and novel arguments have attracted the attention of the academic community, and critical views have followed.
Momigliano earlier commented on Hingle’s treatise. He affirmed that Hengel’s treatises are well-argued and the historical materials collected are not out of date for a long time and are leading. He pointed out that due to the scarcity and limited historical data of Jewish religion and culture in the 3rd century BC, Hengel actually discussed the Hellenization of an unknown ontology without clarifying the evolution of Jewish culture during this period. Momigliano was friendly with Beekman, both a Jewish Historian and a Historian of Jews. Like Beekman, he also believes that ancient Greek and Roman history and Jewish ancient history can learn from each other and complement each other. On the one hand, scholars of ancient Greek and Roman history can broaden the field of study of ancient Jewish history; In 1975, Momigliano published a collection of essays, Alien wisdom: the Limits of Hellenization, which pointed out that the Jews did not reject Greek culture, and communicated and interacted at the level of material and secular culture, but they did not fully absorb it. , and always maintained the independence of faith, so that the Jews did not go to the danger of cultural exhaustion like the Egyptians and Babylonians under the Hellenistic kingdom. This is the fundamental reason for the survival of the Jewish nation politically dependent on the Greeks during the Hellenistic period.
Fergus Millar endorsed Hengel’s work, calling it a representative work on the historical truth of Jewish and Hellenistic history over a long period of time, and the study of Greece after MI Rostovtzeff. important treatise on world history. Miller reflected on and adjusted Henger’s point of view, using the Maccabees as an entry point. Miller delays the Hellenization of Jewish society from the 3rd century BC identified by Hungel to the mid-2nd century BC after the reform of Jason (175-171 BC). Antiochus IV sacked Jerusalem, abolished Jewish law, and desecrated the temple, all of his own will. There is no reliable historical evidence to support the so-called “Hellenistic party”.
and How Many Hellenistic Elements Are There in Palestinian Jews? , pointing out the inappropriateness of Hunger’s views and proofs. He believes that in the early Hellenistic era, the influence of Greek culture on Jewish culture was superficial, and did not penetrate into the levels of literature, religion and ideological culture. The number of infidels who converted to Judaism was far greater than the number of Jews who strayed from the Jewish faith through conversion or intermarriage. Israel is the only region in the Near East that retains a large amount of literature in its native languages, namely Hebrew and Aramaic, while Greek literature is relatively rare and limited. The 2006 anthology included How Much Hellenistic Is Israel? ” (How Much Hellenism in the Land of Israel?), reorganizing his comments on Henger, Lewis Feld does not deny that Jews were influenced by Greek culture in all aspects of social life, and believes that Jewish adherence to traditions and beliefs is not the source Self-resistance to Greek culture, but the resilience of Jewish culture itself, but he questioned the speed and extent of Jewish Hellenization proposed by Hengel. Babylonian prisoner captivity, 586-538 BC) to the two centuries after the Arab Empire, the written language of Palestinian Jews was mainly Aramaic. 1 Feldman’s criticism of Martin Hingle mainly has the following two points. First of all, he believes that the imprints of Greek culture on the material level such as war, soldiers, coins, and real estate are only appearances, and the core of Hellenism is reflected in the ideological and spiritual levels. Regarding the latter, there are obviously insufficient examples of Jewish Hellenism in the early Hellenistic era. 2 The author believes that the concept of “Hellenization” is highly inclusive and extensible. The material level is a dimension of Hellenism. No matter how popular it is, it is the way of expression of Jewish Hellenism. Defining the degree of Jewish Hellenism requires cultural stratification, and we cannot deny the Hellenization of Jewish society or underestimate the depth of Hellenization because of the unbalanced Hellenism. Secondly, his principle of considering the degree of Jewish Hellenism is based on the breadth of the spread of Greek culture in Jewish society, whether the evidence is sufficient, and whether it is representative. Infiltrate the public with limited influence. 3 The relatively limited number of ancient handed down documents is a common problem faced by ancient history research. If the scholars’ arguments are criticized in terms of quantity, it may be difficult for many viewpoints to be established. The ancient social and cultural elites and political elites had the conditions to concentrate high-quality resources. Their borrowing and absorbing Greek culture may not be recognized by the public, but they are easy to be perceived by the public. Even if the number of people is small and the works are few, the influence may not be effective immediately, but it is more effective than the general public. The spiritual vitality is relatively far-reaching. In the long run, cultural and political elites were the medium that maintained Jewish-Greek cultural relations. If there is an overemphasis on the number and breadth of arguments, attempts to find outside the elite arguments will inevitably lead to disappointment. Overall, I think Feldman’s rebuttal to Hengel is overkill.
To sum up, although scholars have refuted Henger’s point of view, their understanding is basically based on Henger’s results, which is a reinterpretation of views, and has not broken through the basis of Henger’s historical data. They criticized Hingel’s a priori presupposition that Jewish Hellenism had begun at the beginning of the Hellenistic age. Did scholars not preconceivedly deny the widespread spread of Greek culture in Jewish society in the 3rd century BC on the grounds of scarcity of historical data ? Under the circumstance that it is difficult to expand the quantity and breadth of historical materials in a short period of time, critics have ignored the characteristics of Hellenistic culture, which includes multiple dimensions from artifacts, systems to ideas. Due to the different attributes of cultural elements, the degree and speed of Hellenization are inherent different. Jews were the first to perceive Greek culture from objects such as pottery, architecture, art, coins, etc., and then learned Greek, introduced Greek cultural systems, and wrote in Greek. This is a slow process, and cannot be denied because of the unclear imprint of Greek culture or insufficient examples. the initial stage of cultural integration. Overall, the author believes that Hengel’s treatise on the interaction between Jews and Greek culture in the early Hellenistic era is unparalleled, at least in terms of the reference value of historical materials and research literature.
The original intention of Droysen to put forward the concept of Hellenism was to explore the origin of Christianity from the perspective of the interaction between Greece and Eastern culture. Unfortunately, only the political history part has been completed, focusing on the evolution of the international relations of the Hellenistic kingdom as the main line, and has not yet written a volume of cultural history. It turned to the study of Prussian history. To a certain extent, Hingel realized Droysen’s original vision, and comprehensively analyzed the Hellenistic process of Jewish society from Alexander to Antiochus IV from the perspective of cultural history. It is worth considering whether Hingel was influenced by the trend of Western New Cultural Historiography. As Momigliano puts it: The question of Jewish Hellenism was raised by German theologians, initially a religious one, concerned with the extent to which Greek philosophy was absorbed by Alexandrian Jews and gradually spread to early Christians, but ” Now” (1970s), it has become a cultural issue of how much Jewish contact with Greek culture during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC influenced Jewish institutions, customs and beliefs. Hengel’s research opened a new trend in Jewish Hellenistic research, reinterpreting historical materials and reshaping history from the perspective of social and cultural history.
(3) The theory of limited interaction
Since the 1970s, considering the differences in the process of Hellenization in various fields, scholars have conducted in-depth discussions on the specific issues of Jewish Hellenism, involving Hellenistic Jewish literature, Jewish writers, Hellenistic Judaism, Diaspora Jews, and ethnic groups. Research on cultural identity, cultural exchange and civilization history. Since the late 20th century, scholars have discussed the Jewish regimes from the late Hellenistic era to the early Roman Empire, the Hasmonean Dynasty (about 140-37 BC) and the Herodian Dynasty (about 47-92/100 BC). The issue of Hellenism is particularly concerned. In addition to traditional topics such as history and religion, political and military affairs, and diplomatic relations, scholars focus on exploring Hellenistic elements in combination with archaeological evidence such as coins, architecture, and art. For example, Arie Kindler’s “The Influence of Hellenism on Hashimone’s Coins” compares the coins of the Seleucid Kingdom and Hashimone’s Kingdom from the aspects of coin style, pattern and text, currency value, etc., showing the pair of Greek coins. Influence of the Hasimone Kingdom. Uriel Rappaport believed that the Hashimone kingdom’s attitude towards Hellenism was based on egoism and pragmatism, and there was no conflict between guarding Judaism and accepting Hellenism. In general, scholars have focused on issues such as whether Hellenism was Hellenistic, to what extent, and whether the arguments were strong. They generally weakened the influence of Hellenistic culture on Jews discussed by previous scholars, and emphasized the limited interaction between Hellenistic culture and Jewish culture.
A. Kuhrt and S. Sherwin-White pointed out from a methodological point of view that in the study of the relationship between Greeks and the East, the traditional view focuses on Greek culture, emphasizing the establishment and spread of Greek culture in the East. , The second edition of “Cambridge Ancient History” edited by Walbank, the seventh volume “The Hellenistic Age”, still continues the traditional thinking and pays less attention to the eastern peoples. The development of archaeological work in the Middle East has made scholars aware of the geographical limitations of ancient Greco-Roman sources. Neglect, suspicion or even hatred is one of the normal patterns of communication in ancient civilizations. Relatively few people show strong interest in foreign religions and lifestyles, and there is a limit to the communication between Greeks and eastern peoples. Tessa Rajak breaks the traditional “Greek subjectivism” and divides Hellenism into 3 levels from the perspective of eastern nations: the suppression of native culture, the replacement entirely or mainly by the Greek style, this situation Relatively rare; full integration of Greek culture and oriental culture; Greek cultural elements are attached or absorbed into an existing cultural body, and the main cultural characteristics are obvious and relatively constant. The Hellenization of the Jews should belong to the third category. From the perspective of the connotation of “Hellenization”, Lee Levin believes that the one-sided understanding and general expression of Hellenism is the crux of scholars’ disagreement on the issue of Jewish Hellenism. The process of Hellenism is often a spontaneous cultural exchange phenomenon rather than forced cultural implantation or invasion. Hellenization manifests itself in different places, ethnic groups and strata, and there is no unified standard. 5 Samuel Sandmel emphasizes that Palestine Judaism is a Hellenistic product, which undoubtedly absorbed Greek vocabulary and certain literary forms, but was not influenced by Hellenistic ideas and modes of thinking. Sandmeier clearly pointed out the danger of analogy, arguing that similar historical phenomena do not necessarily have direct mutual benefit. Seth Schwartz believes that the Hellenization of Near Eastern cities is mainly reflected in the realm of public life, and it is difficult to capture the daily life of the people. Citizens of Hellenistic cities can take into account the two identities of “Greeks” and “Aboriginals”, but basically continue their traditional beliefs. This is an important reason for the vitality of the local cultural awareness of Hellenistic cities in the Near East, as is the case with Judean Jews.
Erich Gruen is a representative scholar of Jewish studies in diaspora in the Greco-Roman world, and has written extensively. He responded to Chelikov’s thesis of the assimilation or the opposition dilemma, arguing that the existing historical data did not show that the Jews had the predicament and struggle of identity in the alien world, and the Jews did not necessarily need to face the assimilation or the opposition dilemma. On the contrary, they adjust cultural mechanisms and redefine themselves without touching the core of traditional culture. Glenn’s view that Greco-Roman culture has a strong inclusiveness and influence, and the Jewish nation, despite its long history, is still not enough to compete with it. This view may underestimate the strength and resilience of Jewish culture itself.
In the late 20th century, the academic discussion on the limitedness of Jewish Hellenism gradually became the mainstream of the academic field, and since the 21st century, scholars have continued to conduct in-depth discussions on this line of thought. For example, Lester L. Grabbe believes that it is relatively easy to demonstrate the influence of Greek culture with Jewish documents in Greek, but it is difficult to determine whether there are Hellenistic features in documents in Hebrew or Aramaic, and there is considerable controversy. ;Hengel exaggerates the role and role of Greek education and Greek in Palestine in the early Hellenistic era, there is no evidence that Greek was widespread in Jewish society, that Palestine was bilingual (Greek and Hebrew) or could only speak There are a limited number of Greek-speaking Jews, and there is limited historical data on Jewish education during the Hellenistic period, let alone on Greek education. John J. Collins believed that during the Hellenistic period, for the diaspora and native Jews, religious culture and secular culture were always clearly demarcated. They adhered to the bottom line and kept their beliefs pure, which was the essence of the limitedness of Jewish Hellenism. . This religious paradigm was an exception in ancient societies, but it provided a model for how Judaism and Christianity existed in the Western world in later generations.
With regard to the discussion of Jewish Hellenism, scholars have gone through the stage of cultural opposition and fully integrated into limited interaction, basically denying the conclusion that Jews completely resisted Hellenism or that Jews were deeply influenced by Hellenistic culture or even completely assimilated. With the expansion of historical data and the refinement of interpretation, scholars’ definition of Hellenism tends to be specific, and the discussion on the issue of Jewish Hellenism has become more diversified, but it has basically followed the direction that Jews have always maintained their independent choice of foreign cultures. . The similarity of cultural elements does not equal interrelatedness, and there is not necessarily a mutual influence. The cultural exchanges between ancient Greece and the peoples of the Near East have existed since ancient times, and some cultural similarities shown by the two are sometimes difficult to verify from the source. From another culture? It is full of various possibilities, especially in the historical stage of frequent cultural exchanges such as Hellenism, and cultural integration is more complicated. The ancient heritage of cultural exchange and the new reactions generated by the Hellenistic environment make it often difficult and impossible for scholars to trace the origin. Therefore, the purpose of Hellenistic research is not to identify the Greek elements of Hellenistic culture, but the historical process of the game between various ethnic groups, including the Jews, with the Hellenistic spirit.
First, expand historical materials, especially archaeological materials, and learn from effective theories and methods to carry out microscopic research. No group, no matter ancient or modern, can avoid the influence of external factors, but the degree and scope are different. The Hellenization of the Eastern nations is not a matter of whether or not, but a matter of how much. We should not talk about Hellenization in general and macroscopically, but should analyze specific cases and examine the differences of Hellenization in different societies, groups, regions, and cultural dimensions. Due to the limitations of historical materials, it is impossible for scholars to understand all the details, but only by infiltrating individuals can they grasp the overall situation. Theoretical and methodological innovations are not necessarily synchronized with the updating of historical data, and when it is difficult to take both into account, the author believes that the former can be favored, based on an interdisciplinary research method, absorbing anthropology, cultural studies, art, philosophy and even statistics, geography, environment and other disciplines. Theoretical methods, change of thinking, and reinterpretation of historical materials, many issues still need to be further discussed or re-discussed. For example, with regard to the study of ancient Jewish art history, it is necessary to examine the disappearance, change or newness of Jewish symbols in the Hellenistic era; the two-way interaction between Jewish culture and Hellenistic culture; Whether and what kind of interest foreign races have in Jewish culture; the daily life of Jewish commoners in the context of Palestinian urban-rural relations during the Hellenistic period.
Second, change the perspective, take the Near Eastern nations as the main body, and place the study of Jewish Hellenism under the historical process of the Near Eastern nations. Hellenism is a proposition faced by the peoples of the Near East. The spread of Hellenistic culture and the responses of various peoples constitute two aspects of Hellenism. The ways and attitudes of Hellenization of various ethnic groups have both commonalities and characteristics. It is undeniable that ancient writers have few records about the neighbors of the Jews or the marginal nations of the Hellenistic world such as Arabs, Scythians, and Libyans. influence, but it cannot be concluded that the Jews were a completely special existence in the Hellenistic process. Some of the Hellenistic cultures accepted by the Jews were filtered by the surrounding nations, and some of their ways of dealing with foreign cultures may have borrowed from the surrounding nations. Therefore, they should be understood in the context of the Hellenistic “Great Harmony World” and the specific historical environment of the Near Eastern nations. and examining the Hellenization of the Jews. Hellenism does not mean that Greek culture has long been the consensus of the academic community. The initiators of the Hellenistic era were the Greek-Macedonians. In the early stage of its development, Greek culture was dominant, so it was called Hellenistic culture. After the 2nd century BC, Greece The kingdom of Huahua is gradually declining, and the influence of the oriental nation is gradually emerging. Traditional studies focus on examining the phenomenon of Hellenism with the elements of Greek culture as a reference, and exploring the Greek characteristics of Jewish culture is the commonality of research on Jewish Hellenism. In fact, Hellenism is not only a process of cultural fusion, but also the re-creation and creation of Greek and oriental cultures. The dynamism of the oriental nation cannot be ignored. Hellenistic culture provides a new carrier for Jewish culture, injects fresh blood, and promotes the Jewish people to continuously strengthen the uniqueness of their culture. It is the reconciler, preservative and even growth agent of Jewish culture. Bowersock (GW Bowersock) once pointed out that Hellenism is reflected in language, art, thought and other levels, providing a flexible way and medium for oriental cultural expression. It doesn’t necessarily deviate from Aboriginal traditions, but instead provides them with new, powerful ways of speaking. Therefore, it is necessary to re-examine the existing historical materials, explore new historical materials, and explore new problems with the ethnic groups of the Near East as the main body. For example, the conflict and communication between Jews and Near Eastern nations; comparing the similarities and differences of Near Eastern nations’ responses to Hellenism, analyzing the characteristics and commonalities of Jews and Near Eastern nations in Hellenism; the influence of the religions of Jews and Near Eastern nations on the origin of Christianity; the Greeks of Near Eastern nations How to continue the achievements of chemicalization, whether and how to play a role in the evolution of the Silk Road civilization, etc., many issues need to be reinterpreted or discovered in the context of “Hellenization”.
Third, to extend the time dimension of Hellenism, focusing on the evolution of Hellenism from the late antiquity to the Byzantine Empire. As mentioned above, Hellenism has rich connotations, referring to a space-time scope, a cultural entity, and a cultural phenomenon or a process of cultural evolution. The Hellenistic culture, which is a harmonious combination of cultural interactions, is a complex collection of Greek and eastern peoples, constantly changing under different historical circumstances. From the perspective of cultural history, whether in terms of time, process or result, it can be said that Hellenism continued to the Byzantine Empire period. Some scholars believe that the Hellenistic culture during the Byzantine Empire replaced the traditional Greco-Roman culture as the mainstream. At present, the historical data on the issue of Jewish Hellenism are concentrated in the last three centuries BC, after the Roman Empire, mainly rabbinic documents, inscriptions, and synagogue materials. Levin believes that it may be related to the gradual familiarity and adaptation of Jews with foreign cultures, and the weakening of their fear of foreign cultures. Although the historical data is becoming scarce, it is more widely distributed in regions and classes, reflecting the stable influence of Hellenism in society. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the Jewish history from the late antiquity to the Byzantine Empire, improve the historical trajectory of Jewish Hellenism in this period, and explore more issues. For example, the continuation and change of the Hellenistic achievements; the changes of the Hellenistic cities in the Near East during the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Empire; the profound influence of the Hellenistic heritage on the Jewish society, etc.
“Greek culture spread to the east” and “Greek culture came to the west” are not the same rhetorical expressions, but the transformation of Greek or Eastern perspectives in different situations. The spread of Greek culture to the east needs to be adjusted to adapt to the oriental environment; in the face of the arrival of Greek culture from the west, the oriental national culture must be adjusted to respond. The interaction between Eastern and Western cultures is actually a process of cultural regeneration. “Syncretism” is a dominant feature of Hellenism, which has long been emphasized and paid attention to by scholars. The author believes that the accompanying or another form of “combination” is “reassignment”, and the two constitute two sides of the coin. In terms of reconstruction, the differences between various ethnic groups are more obvious. Reconstruction is not only the cultural adjustment of Greek culture under the traditional model of the oriental nation, but also the cultural consciousness of the oriental nation facing the impact of Hellenism. Under the rule of the Greco-Macedonians, the conquered eastern peoples sensed the threat of Hellenistic culture to their native culture, and consciously emphasized national traditions and values. The same is true for the Jews, adopting similar or creating new ways to reaffirm and strengthen their identities, striving to express Jewish superiority in an alien world. The particularity of Jewish Hellenism stems from Judaism. In the face of Hellenism, Judaism has survived its vitality, faith, mission and creativity, so that Jews have cultural self-confidence and never feel inferior. Therefore, the cultural adaptation of ancient Jews in the Greco-Roman world did not come at the expense of giving up Jewish identity, and the degree of Hellenism of Jews cannot be judged by reference to the loss of ethnic or religious identity.
The ancient society did not have the characteristics of breaking through the closed nature, but the influence of foreign races is inevitable. All races can timely correct the relationship between traditional and imported cultures, accept foreign cultures with borders, and find a suitable place to stand between the two. and effective foundation. When discussing the limitedness of Jewish Hellenism, it is necessary to face up to the existence of this premise and not to assess the degree of Jewish Hellenism by contemporary standards. In Hellenistic Near Eastern peoples, including Jews, selection, filtering, and trimming was a cultural norm, not limited to the Hellenistic period. To a certain extent, “Hellenization” is a perspective rather than a research purpose for understanding Jewish history and culture. Of course, this theoretical discussion is not without practical significance. It can be said that reasonable interpretation of the connotation of Hellenism and accurate restoration of the conditions of various nations in the Hellenistic world are important for the coexistence of various nations in the contemporary pluralistic world, the exchanges between cultures in the wave of globalization, and the historical cognition in transnational contexts. There is no doubt that it also has a certain reference value.