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Re: Alexander and monotheism
In Response To: Alexander and monotheism ()

Hi Joe,

May I say first of all, thank you again for the magnificent "Caesar's Messiah". This has my world all in a buzz! I read every single post on your site just a couple of days ago. Very good dialog you have going there. I've made a number of posts here which have generated some discussion also. I think people need more time though to get hold of the book and study.

As far as Alexander the Great, I don't think he lived long enough to take much initiative in Judea personally. However, the approach of Alexander and his army toward Jerusalem was something of a moment of truth for Judaism. The leaders of Jerusalem were no doubt sworn to Persian allegiance, and had been since the Temple was restored. So what were they to do? The decision was to to recognize the inevitable and open the gates to Alexander. But this must have caused something of an identity crisis in Jerusalem and for their religion. It also opened up new opportunities since they were now released from their original charter.

(My impression is that "monotheism" was already firmly established in Jerusalem by the end of the Persian Period, and was directed by Cyrus and his successors very deliberately to establish an obedient populace there, even as you have shown the Romans later intended to do with Christianity.)

The early Ptolemies certainly took an interest in Judaism, and this resulted in the Septuagint being produced early in that era. They did associate Jehovah with their Zeus and perhaps Jove (Jupiter/Iapeter?) as you suggest. But these associations would not have been new I think to that time.

All of the former gods were not replaced in Judaism and Jerusalem so much as they had been sanitized. Their presence is embedded throughout the Old Testament writings. But eventually the ability to recognize allusions in Scripture to the pagan pantheon was lost.

Beyond that I don't have the background to properly evaluate the Greek influence on Judaism. I'm sure it was significant, because Greek rulers routinely appointed the High Priests. But, it's somewhat of a hole for me. I do intend to remedy that eventually so I can better appreciate and incorporate the Hasmonean period "typology" in my model and also Eisenman's work and the DSS.

-Charles