More questions: is it anachronistic to call the OT/HB/HT/JS/TNK/… Jewish?

…more questions…

If the later datings of the book (e.g. Hellenistic period) some people call the Hebrew Bible and others call the Old Testament (etc) are accepted, then can the case be made that its very formation was (partly) justification for Jewish identity or at least an assumption of Jewish identity?

If earlier datings are accepted (say pre-Hellenistic), is the attribution of specifically Jewish identity something involved in the later canonising?

Or, is something we roughly call Jewish identity much earlier than the Hellenistic period, even if a certain crystallization occurred from the Maccabees onwards?

And from which time period can we start talking about recognisably ‘Jewish identity’?

And presumably all those tricky questions of historicity of the major stories will play a role, will they not?

(For those who prefer other terms, e.g. ‘Judean’, substitute accordingly if meant as roughly synonymous)


3 responses to “More questions: is it anachronistic to call the OT/HB/HT/JS/TNK/… Jewish?

  1. i’m genuinely surprised this question hasn’t provoked discussion. it’s an excellent one.

  2. It’s indeed an excellent question, but perhaps too broad to get discussion in this format. In a (presumably short, since comments by convention are short) response how could one usefully comment. Maybe, if in the next few dozen posts the question gets broken down into bite sized chunks, we could get our teeth into it 😉

  3. I don’t see any substantive reason Judean/Jewish is politically or ethnically anachronistic for the Achaemenid period. Of course, the use of any such terms could become anachronistic if they took elements of later periods, or if they assume a different notion of ethnicity, or impose ‘nationalist’ ideas, etc etc.

    The Elephantine Jews write to the governor of Judah on 25 November 407 BC and call themselves ‘Jews all’: ויהודיא כל (TAD A4.7:1, 22). It doesn’t sound like they were reading a Torah, yet, either.

    Any advance on the fifth century BC?

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