Judaism in the Second Temple Period

The second temple period spans about six hundred years, beginning in the late sixth century BCE and ending with the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Throughout much of this period, Jews lived—and early Judaism developed—under foreign rule: first under the Persians (538–332 BCE), then under the Hellenistic kingdoms created in the aftermath of Alexander the Great's conquest (332–63 BCE), and finally under Roman rule (63 BCE–70 CE and beyond).

The events on this timeline are divided into three principal categories:;xNLx; Red: Events in Judea;xNLx; Blue: Jewish literature composed in the second temple period;xNLx; Gold: The geopolitical context

0001 BC-01-17 05:14:56

Similitudes of Enoch (1 Enoch 37-71)

Chapters 37-71 of the book known as 1 Enoch differ in several respects from the other portions of the book (see also the Astronomical Book of Enoch ➜, the Apocalypse of Weeks ➜, the Enochic Book of Dreams ➜, and the Epistle of Enoch ➜). In these chapters, Enoch receives three revelations that deal with the future punishment of sinners and reward for the righteous. Here, Enoch has the title "son of man," and he plays a major role in the final judgment. This text emphasizes the special status of Enoch more than the other Enochic works do. Also unlike these other works, the Similitudes of Enoch are not attested in any manuscripts from Qumran, indicating either that this work was not known to the Qumran community or that it was not an important text for that community. Moreover, historical references within the Similitudes point to a date of composition in the late first century BCE or early first century CE, later than any other part of 1 Enoch.

0004 BC-06-28 12:55:58

Herod Antipas rules as Tetrarch (4 B.C.E.-39 C.E.)

Whereas the Roman emperor Augustus named Archelaus ethnarch (ruler of a nationality) of Judea, he named Antipas (often called simply "Herod" in sources from this period) tetrarch (provincial governor) of Galilee and Perea. Herod Antipas appears in several New Testament passages; it was this Herod who executed John the Baptist (Matthew 14:6-11, Mark 6:21-28, Luke 9:9, Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.117-19).

0004 BC-06-30 06:33:54

Rule of Archelaeus as ethnarch of Judea

Following Herod's death in 4 B.C.E., his sons Archelaus and Antipas traveled to Rome in order to plead their case for ruling Judea, while other members of Herod's family asked for direct Roman rule. The Roman emperor Augustus ultimately gave much of Herod's territory to Archelaus, naming Archelaus ethnarch (ruler of a nationality, rather than king) of Judea. Following a relatively short period of tyrannical rule, Augustus summoned Archelaus to Rome and banished him to Gaul (present-day France).

0006-02-01 12:13:37

Roman rule of Judea via prefects (6-41 C.E.)

Following Rome's removal of Archelaus as ethnarch (ruler of a nationality) of Judea in 6 C.E., the region was placed under direct Roman rule. From 6 to 41 C.E., officials called "prefects" were in charge of the region; these officials operated from the city of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast (situated between the modern cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa). The best known of these prefects was Pontius Pilate, who governed from 26 to 36 C.E. This period of Roman rule under prefects came to an end upon the death of Caligula (Roman emperor from 37 to 41 C.E.), when the new emperor Claudius appointed Agrippa I, a grandson of Herod the Great, king of the territory that had earlier been under Herod's control.

0010-07-30 12:18:46

Wisdom of Solomon

Like the books of Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew Bible, the Wisdom of Solomon is another wisdom text that came to be attributed to the figure of Solomon. The book encourages the reader to follow the way of wisdom and can be divided into three main sections. The first part, Wisdom of Solomon 1:1-6:21, exhorts rulers to practice justice and indicates that the pursuit of wisdom leads to immortality. The second part, Wisdom of Solomon 6:22-10:21, alludes to Solomon's search for wisdom, and the end of this section gives examples of figures in Israel's history who were delivered by wisdom. The third part, Wisdom of Solomon 11-19, discusses Moses and the exodus and the role of wisdom in meting out proper punishment to the Egyptians. One striking feature of the Wisdom of Solomon is the fact that this book does not associate wisdom with Torah; rather, wisdom here is knowledge that prevents one from making mistakes, as well as a force that has acted in Israel's history.

0020 BC-09-15 05:40:57

Herod Expands the Temple

IIn 20 B.C.E., Herod the Great began a major project of expanding the temple complex in Jerusalem; this building project continued almost to the time of the temple’s destruction by the Romans in 70 C.E.

0020-07-30 12:18:46

Psalms of Solomon

Like the Wisdom of Solomon, the Psalms of Solomon represent another are a text from the late Second Temple period attributed to the figure of Solomon. The book is a collection of eighteen 18 poems, some of which anticipate a messianic ruler who will rule all the nations with justice. Although the precise date of the Psalms of Solomon is not known, at least some of these poems were written in response to the Roman general Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem in 63 B.C.E. and thus originated after this date.

0026-02-01 12:13:37

Pontius Pilate serves as prefect of Judea

0029-09-15 05:40:57

Execution of John the Baptist

According to several sources (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.117-19, Matthew 14:6-11, Mark 6:14-29, and Luke 9:9), Herod Antipas executed John the Baptist.

0032-03-15 05:40:57

Crucifixion of Jesus

Judaism in the Second Temple Period

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