Thesis: Education of Jesus in the Second Temple Period Judea

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Education of Jeses in the Second Temple Period Judea

In ancient times, just like nowadays, the Jews consider their temples the house of God the vey place where the individual can come in contact with the divinity. The importance of the greatest and grandest ancient temples has led to them being nominated as the First temple and the Second temple. Since the periods in which these temples existed were characterized by very different social, cultural and religious factors, the expressions have become a sort of etiquette for them. So when one says the First temple, he is actually referring to the period in which the First temple existed and its characteristics.

The First temple is also known as the temple of Solomon. Its destruction took place in the year 586 BCE. This date marks the beginning of the exile . The Second temple existed between 516 BCE and 70 CE. Cyrus the Great of Persia and Darius the Great allowed for the construction of the temple, which was afterwards destroyed, this time by the Romans. The destruction of the second temple coincided with ending of the revolt which the Jews had started in the year 66 CE.

The construction of the Second temple began after the Jews returned from their exile period. After wondering around and about for about forty years, they must have needed to express their religious beliefs. In addition, the temple represented a spiritual centre, a common point, marking the territory. Reconstructing the temple that had been destroyed had a symbolical meaning, it signified that the Jews were strong again and that their belief in God was strong as well notwithstanding the things that had been going on in the last years. In addition, the temple was needed as a proper location where they could perform rituals and sacrifices.

Some important Jewish authority figures are represented by Zerubbbabel who led the Jews on their way back from exile and Ezra the scribe. It was under the latter that the Great assembly was conceived as an administrative, judicial and spiritual instrument. The creation of the Assembly is one of the most important events in the Second temple period. It is worth underlining the fact that, as far as leadership was concerned, it was entrusted to the council of elders and the high priest. Although the city was under the official political and administrative rule of other peoples, the Jews considered that the true power and authority belonged to those of their same kind. In addition this power was based on religious authority and on the respect for tradition.

The monarch who ordered the construction of the Second temple was Cyrus the Great. His son followed him on the throne after his death . The temple was completed during the reign of Darius of Persia. It is worth mentioning that Pompey attempted to desecrate the temple in the year 63 BCE. He did not steal anything from the temple but killed the priests who tried to prevent him from coming in.

It was Cyrus of Persia who had conquered Babylon that allowed the Jews to come back to Jerusalem . The period of the Second temple is also known as the "Persian period." The main authority figures dating back from this period are Nehemiah and Ezra.

Nehemiah had a very wise strategy in his mind regarding the manner in which he could have consolidated the power of the Jews in the place they were living. He ordered the Jewish families to send ten of their members to come and live in Jerusalem. In this way the Jewish population increased considerably from a numerical point-of-view and started manifesting its ethnic and cultural influences upon the place.

It is worth underlining that the fate of Jerusalem very much depended on the great powers of that time and on the manner in which the power shifted from one authority to another. Alexander the Great was one of the most prominent figures of that time. When he died, the vast empire he had ruled was divided into three parts.

Each of the new and smaller kingdoms came under the leadership of his generals. Jerusalem was under the leadership of Ptolemaic Egypt. Later on it passed under the rule of the Seleucid Syrians. It is worth underlining at this point the fact that the Greek culture played an important part in influencing the Seleucids and their rule.

This influence was visible especially at cultural and social level, in the social customs and in the very attitude to life (which naturally affected the life style). The consequence was that a conflict arose between the Hellenistic Jews and the Greeks who had a certain perspective of life and the traditionalist Jews who wanted to preserve the old traditions and customs.

The conflict was stimulated by a very important fact, that is the religious decrees that Antiochus gave. These decrees were attempting to modify the traditional rituals of worship and prevent the Jews from practicing their own religion. Attacking the religion was synonymous to trying to kill their identity, them as a people. Naturally, this enraged the traditionalist thinkers. The whole tension gathered and its climax was reached in approximately 168 BCE.

It was in this year that a revolt took place, under the command of Judah Maccabee. The revolt ended with Jerusalem being freed. Consequently, the temple was taken back to what it had used to be. The Jews were able to return to it as the spiritual core par excellence. However, the Jews who were defend the Hellenistic views did not disappear all of a sudden.

They were defeated later, by a man Called Simeon the Maccabee. The Jews finally obtained their political independence. As time passed, under the rule of John Hyrcanus and Alexander Janneus, the small Jerusalem grew bigger and bigger. This period is also known as the one of the Hasmonean dynasty. The period lasted for eighty years and it is in this interval that Israel began to be called Judea.

One very important reign that must be brought into discussion at this point is the one of Herod Antipater. The reign was naturally under the ever stronger Roman empire- Jerusalem was one of its provinces. Since the Roman empire was undergoing a flourishing period, so did the city of Jerusalem. This happened because Herod wanted to. He had been given complete autonomy by the empire and thus he became very powerful. Since he was an admirer of the Greek and Roman cultures he attempted to make the city more beautiful and also richer.

Not only did it continue to expand geographically, but it underwent an important period of development. The Temple Mount, the Second Wall, the Citadel, the Antonia fortress are among some of the most relevant examples of architecture which speak about the city's development.

These architectural changes, which could also be seen in the bigger number of palaces and buildings, markets and theatres are a proof that the welfare of the people was undergoing an important development process as well. However, the period was characterized by social and religious changes as well which caused numerous tensions.

The most important differences were probably the dogmatic ones. The fact that Herod made the temple even more beautiful than before did not help him to become more popular with the Jewish population. And this is because of two reasons. On the one hand all those buildings had to be paid by somebody. And that somebody was the Jews. Herod imposed numerous taxes upon them. As a consequence, a population once rich became poorer and poorer. But not only that. Murdering people in order to have their properties was not unusual. On the other hand, it is worth underlining the purpose for which Herod was doing all this building. He did not have the benefit of the people in mind, but his own fame and glory.

There were numerous conflicts between the existing sects and this had a strong impact upon the manner in which the situation developed from a historical point-of-view. It was in this period that Jesus lived and preached, ending up condemned for being considered a rebel against the Roman empire. Pontius Pilate had him convicted to death.

Naturally, numerous episodes of great importance from Jesus' life are connected with the Temple.

The religious unrest in the Jerusalem of those times was one decisive factor for this particular denouement. The constantly growing tensions fragmented the Jewish society and as a consequence, it became weaker. Roman oppression became harsher and harsher, which naturally led to the Jewish population becoming angrier and angrier.

As a consequence, after numerous outburst of violence, another revolt occurred, this time under the command of the Zealots. The entire thing ended with the Roman emperor Titus bringing in his legions and basically destroying Jerusalem.

Religion was obviously one of the most important elements that needs to be considered when analyzing Jewish history, especially in this period. The philosophical differences which fragmented society into adepts of various credos… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Education of Jesus in the Second Temple Period Judea.  (2009, May 6).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/education-jesus-second-temple-period/6853

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"Education of Jesus in the Second Temple Period Judea."  Essaytown.com.  May 6, 2009.  Accessed July 22, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/education-jesus-second-temple-period/6853.