Brief History from Alexander to Herod

By Alfred Edersheim. The political connection of the Grecian world, and, with it, the conflict with Hellenism, may be said to have connected with the victoriuos progress of Alexander the Great through the then known world (333 B..C.). [1 We do not here discuss the question, whether or not Alexander really entered Jersalem. Jewish legend has much to tell of him, and reports many supposed inquiries on his part or discussions betweem him and the Rabbis, that prove at least the deep impression which his appearance had made, and the permanent results which followed from it.] It was not only that his destruction of the Persian empire put end to the easy and peaceful allegiance which Judaea had owned to it for about two centuries, but that the establishment of such a vast Hellenic empire. as was the aim of Alexander, introduced a new element into the world of Asia. Everywhere the old civilisationgave way before the new. So early as the commencement of the second century before Christ, Israel was already surrounded, north, east, and west, with a girdle of Hellenic cities, while in the interior of the land itself Grecianism had its foothold in Galilee and was dominant in Samaria. But this is not all. After continuing the frequent object of contention between the rulers of Egypt and Syria, Israel ultimately passed from Egyptian to Syrian domination during the reign of Seleucus IV. (187-175 B.C.). His successor was that Antiochus IV., Epiphanes (175-164), whose reckless determination to exterminate Judaism, and in its placeto substitute Hellenism, led to the Maccabean rising. Mad as this attempt seems,it could scarcely have been made had there not been in Israel itself a party to favour his plans. In truth, Grecianism, inits worst form, had long before made its way, slowly but surely, into the highest quarters. For the proper understanding of this history its progress must be briefly indicated.

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