Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

7/1/2006 - 6/30/2007

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

Toward a History of Ancient Jewish Social Relations

FAIN: FB-52726-06

Seth R. Schwartz
Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-4649)

I begin with the observation that the canonical texts of the Jews reject the norms of Mediterranean culture--pervasive institutions of social reciprocity, a profound concern with honor, etc.--a disposition shared with Athenian democracy, philosophical sects, and some "mystery religions". The texts prescribe instead a society based on dependence on God and corporate solidarity. But such a vision was necessarily at odds with a life shaped by harsh economic conditions. I propose to examine three texts--Ben Sira, Josephus, Palestinian Talmud--to see what their accommodations can tell us about ancient Jewish social life.

Associated Products

Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society? (Book)
Title: Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society?
Author: Schwartz, Seth R.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: WorldCat entry
Publisher: Princeton: Princeton University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780691155432