Is “Second Temple Judaism” A Misnomer, or At Least Misleading?

Thanks to Lee Martin McDonald and the fine folks at Baker, I recently received a copy of The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts edited by Joel Green and McDonald (Baker, 2013). With 44 chapters and a veritable “Who’s who of New Testament scholars” (such as Cohick, Perrin, Fitzgerald, Bartchy, Witherington, Dunn, deSilva, Gurtner, Green, Bird, Chilton, Charlesworth, Trebilco), this is a very handy resource. Anyway, a more substantial review is coming, but here I just wanted to quote a helpful bit about the Jerusalem temple by David Instone-Brewer:

The so-called Second Temple period (516BC-AD70) spans the history of two temple complexes: the first built by Zerubbabel and the completely new construction built by Herod that could properly be called the ‘third temple.’ (197)

Remarkably he succeeded in demolishing the old temple, laying new foundations, and building the new temple in eighteen months (198)

Instone-Brewer also reminds us that the Jerusalem building was not the only option for worship. There were two Jewish temples in Egypt (Elephantine, Leontopolis).

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