How Did Hellenism Influence Jewish Culture

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The Jews shifted their allegiance to Alexander and in return Alexander allowed the Jews to observe their own laws, gave them exemption from tribute tax during the Sabbath years. Alexander also encouraged the Jewish people to live in Alexandria, Egypt and gave them privileges reserved for his own Greek people. When Alexander died in 323 B. C., some of his generals divided the empire among themselves: The Ptolemies of Egypt, the Seleucids of Persia and parts of Asia Minor, and the Antigonids of Macedon. (Intertestamental Period & New Testament Background, 2001).
At first, the Egyptian Ptolemaic Empire controlled the Jews from 320-198 B. C., and then Seleucid (Syrian) Empire, around 198 B. C., acquired control over the Jewish populace. While the Ptolemaic Empire was tolerant of the Jewish culture and religion, the Seleucid Empire was not. The Seleucids made determined efforts to force Hellenism on the Jews. Some accepted it, but most did not (Halley, 2000). The Greek Seleucid, Antiochus, severely punished the unaccepting Jews which eventually provoked the Maccabees (Hasmonean Era) to revolt. By 164 B. C., the Maccabees controlled the area around Jerusalem and
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“This shows how engrained the Hellenistic culture was and perhaps how it influenced the Apostle Paul, within his Hellenistic-Jewish culture, to write as he did” (Russell, 1991-2016.). Eddy (2014) confirms the time period of the Hellenistic influences that Russell discusses in his work. Two cultures are residing side by side and a certain amount of melding is expected to take place. While this is true about language, societal practices such as commerce, schooling and language occurring, the Judean religious practices remained true to its tenets. The Jewish community in large retained its customs and culture (Eddy
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