Jewish Paideia: Education and Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora

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$49.95  $46.45
Fortress Press
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 0.9 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author

Jason M. Zurawski (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a historian of early Jewish and Christian intellectual culture. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Qumran Institute at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). He is the editor of several volumes on the history and literature of early Judaism, including Second Temple Jewish "Paideia" in Context (De Gruyter, 2017), and currently is preparing the commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon for Handbuch zum Alten Testament.


Jewish Paideia makes a major contribution to our understanding of one of the most significant fields of ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern education. Through case studies of four influential authors or texts, Jason Zurawski reveals both the diversity of Hellenistic Jewish education and its coherences while also revealing how education responded to evolving Jewish identities in a formative period and helped to shape them. Scholars and students alike will benefit from the book's incisive scholarship and fresh insights. --Teresa Morgan, Yale Divinity School

In this elegantly written book, Jason Zurawski explores the multifaceted concept of paideia as it was adopted by Greek-speaking Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. He shows how distinctively Jewish understandings of paideia are based on the usage of this term in the Septuagint as a translation for Hebrew musar, discipline. He examines the shifting relationships between paideia and identity formation in the Letter of Aristeas, the works of Philo of Alexandria, the Wisdom of Solomon, and 4 Maccabees. This is a very accessible study of a complex and crucial concept in the study of ancient Judaism. --Karina Martin Hogan, Fordham University

Read this book. It teaches that paying attention to ancient Jewish discourses about education is a way to discern how texts articulate Jewish ethics, culture, and identity. This is an important insight, and the book is a rich and erudite volume. Reading it can be formative for your own paideia. --Matthew Goff, Florida State University

This book contributes significantly to a longstanding and important debate on the relationship between Hellenism and Judaism in Second Temple Jewish writings. Jason Zurawski brings a novel approach to the subject by seeing it through the lens of education (paideia), thus injecting fresh insights into the discussion. His extensive analysis of four key works combines a fine philological investigation with a well-honed literary, rhetorical, and philosophical argument, making the case for a fundamental compatibility between Jewish and Hellenic conceptualizations. Zurawski's careful and insightful analysis draws out the universal rather than the parochial or the ethnocentric principles advanced by Jewish intellectuals. --Erich Gruen, University of California Berkeley