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Contesting ConversionGenealogy, Circumcision, and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Christianity$
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Matthew Thiessen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199793563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199793563.001.0001

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Jewishness as Genealogy in the Late Second Temple Period

Jewishness as Genealogy in the Late Second Temple Period

(p.87) 4 Jewishness as Genealogy in the Late Second Temple Period
Contesting Conversion

Matthew Thiessen

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that while there is little explicit evidence that some Jews in the late Second Temple period continued to define Jewishness in genealogical terms, the early Jewish reception of Idumeans who underwent conversion to Judaism demonstrates that a genealogical definition of Jewishness persisted into the first century c.e. The Animal Apocalypse and 1 Esdras clearly portray the Idumeans as genealogically distinct from Jews and therefore unable to bridge the gap via circumcision. Psalm of Solomon 17 and Josephus demonstrate that some Jews rejected the Herodians, ethnic Idumeans who converted to Judaism, on the basis of the fact that they were not Jews, despite their circumcision.

Keywords:   Josephus, Idumeans, Herod, conversion, circumcision, Animal Apocalypse, 1 Esdras, Psalm of Solomon 17

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