The Religious Uses of History: Judaism in First-Century A.D. Palestine and Third-Century Babylonia

History and Theory 5 (2):153-171 (1966)

The development of Talmudic Judaism from the first to the fifth century A.D. is marked by a decline of interest in the knowledge and explanation of historical events. Neither the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. nor the advent of the Sasanians in Babylonia in 226 A.D. provoked refiection on history among the Talmudic rabbis. In Jerusalem in the first century, Yohanan ben Zakkai stressed an interim ethic and policy for survival and redemption; Rav and Samuel, in third century Babylonia, converted messianic speculation and scriptural exegesis into a policy of passive acceptance of political events. But lack of interest in political history masked belief that the covenant of Sinai would win redemption not through the course of historical events but apart from it
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DOI 10.2307/2504512
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