|About this title|
|“Bickerman's greatest contribution to Jewish History is universally acknowledged to be his Gott der Makkabaer, which appeared in Berlin in 1937, and in English translation in 1979. In this work Bickerman proposed the revolutionary notion that the instigators of the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes were the Jewish Hellenists of Jerusalem, under the leadership of [High Priest] Menelaos. Antiochus IV, according to Bickerman, persecuted the Jews [who remained faithful to Torah] at the urging of the Jewish authorities….|
This posthumous book is Bickerman's fully nuanced response [to various criticisms]. He concedes a few vital points: the really thorough hellenization of the Jews first took place after Hasmonean independence… Nevertheless, he argues for sufficient change prior to the Maccabees to support his interpretation in Der Gott der Makkabaer. Thus he elaborates the arguments against the antiquity of the Law, which he… specifically connects… with the program of reforms in the days of Antiochus IV... "
-- From Bibliographical Note to this book, by Prof. Baumgarten.
|Elias J. Bickerman —|
Elias Joseph Bickerman (July 1, 1897-August 31, 1981), late professor of ancient history at Columbia University and àspecial research fellow at the Jewish Theological Seminary.
|"Bickerman's sovereign command of Greek and Jewish sources reinforces bold historical imagination in this detailed account of the first centuries of significant contact between the Jews and the Greeks. This is a work that is as delightful read as it is magisterial."|
— G. W. Bowersock
"The last posthumous work of the greatest of scholars of Judaism in Graeco-Roman antiquity... Note the power and brilliance, as well as the (as ever) bold and controversial character of its representation of Judaism and Jewish history in the period Alexander and the Maccabees."
— Fergus Millar
Journal of Jewish Studies
"Highly readable and packed with information, much of which will be new even those with some knowledge of one side or the other, Jewish or Greek..."
— Jasper Griffin
New York Review of Books
"Displays the qualities of great historian: mastery of primary sources, wide learning in other areas, careful yet often bold judgments, and ability to write lively narrative."
— Daniel J. Harrington
"... [Elias Joseph Bickerman] was înå of the greatest classicists of the twentieth century... [he is] îïå of the våãó few scholars whose works àãå always worth reading, always stimulating, and always important."
— Shaye J. D. Cohen