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Religion & Theology Term Paper: Second Temple Judaism (Term Paper Sample)


The professor asked me to include; It might be good to think about two things: how do you intend to demonstrate your point? And: is it really possible to offer a definitive answer to the question you are proposing or one can only pinpoint a few examples of the phenomenon?


Second Temple Judaism
Second Temple Judaism
The period between 515 BCE and 70 CE saw the construction and the destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple and this has led to it being referred to as the Second Temple Period. The Judaism that emerged during this era is what is known as the Second Temple Judaism, which brought with it many important changes that are still being seen long after the period. Ideally, the most significant changes are in the areas of the development of the Hebrew Bible and the rise of Christianity. With this in mind, this paper therefore explores the idea that Second Temple Judaism had some significant effect on the Jewish Bible and that Christianity has its roots in the Second Temple Judaism.
The period of the Second Temple Judaism affected the development of the Hebrew Bible by enabling the editing and revision of the Torah, that is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy books, into the form that is used even today. Accordingly, during the period of the Monarchy, when the kingdoms of Judah and Israel existed, the books of Torah were presented in various forms with each aiming to reflect the challenges of the time (McIntosh, 2018). However, it was during the Second Temple Judaism period that the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy underwent proper editing and revision to give the current forms that are used today. This therefore implies that Judaism played a vital role in creating and editing the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the greatest reference book for many Christians all over the world.
The Second Temple period also brought about the emergence one authoritative Hebrew biblical canon especially since the word of God began to be presented as written text rather than orally like it was done before. Traditionally, the word of God was delivered orally but this period saw the emergence of written text. Notably before this period, different authoritative Jewish scriptures were recognized and used in different communities. For example, in the Alexandrian community the Torah, which consists of the five books of Moses, was regarded as the Holy Scriptures. For the Israelite Samaritans only the books that make up the Pentateuch were regarded as the Holy Scriptures. The Pharisees of the time believed in the twenty-four-book canon and this canon became recognized in Rabbinic Judaism even after the end of the Second Temple period (Lim, 2015). From this, it is clear that the Second Temple Judaism had an effect on the development of the Hebrew Bible since it brought about the twenty-four canonical books including the Torah that now make up the Hebrew scriptures and subsequently the Hebrew Bible.
Another important effect of the Second Temple Judaism on the development of the Hebrew bible after this period was that it led to the translation of the Hebrew bible from the traditional versions into versions that are used today in churches and synagogues. Concerning this, it is noted that during the second temple period many biblical books had several different versions that showed slight and major differences from one another (Brennan, 2020). These versions were preserved even after this period of time as Jewish groups moved to settle in different places across the world. The Masoretic Text, which consisted of scriptures developed by Jewish scribes, and the Septuagint, was some of the preserved versions of the early Hebrew Bible. After this period, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Old Greek beginning with the Torah then followed by the other biblical books. Notably, early Christians adopted this translated version that was later edited to give rise to the Septuagint (Brennan, 2020). Early Christians used the Septuagint. Today, this effect is still seen considering tha...

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