|Jewish Literature in New Testament Times
The Roman Period
What Happened to the Jews During the Roman Period?
The Romans were chosen for world domination and they wasted no time in securing new frontiers. They had just secured the Mediterranean with the victory over Carthage in three Punic wars and the victory over the Macedonians securing Greece. The Seleucid kingdom gave way to Rome in the Mithridatic wars and Egypt and Israel were being heavily taxed. The Mediterranean Sea had become a Roman lake and all of Europe was Rome, under Roman domination with Roman laws, Roman roads, and the Roman military. Republican Rome gave way to Imperial Rome and the age of the Caesars began. Leaders in the empire were performing amazing feats to impress Rome. In 63 B.C. Israel who had lost its independence was conquered by the Romans under Pompey. Antipater, an Idumean (Edomite, descendant of Esau), was appointed ruler of Judea. He was succeeded by his son Herod the Great who was king of Judea (37-3 BC). Herod, to obtain favor of the Jews, rebuilt the Temple with great splendor. But he was a brutal, cruel man. This is the Herod who ruled Judah when Jesus was born, and it was he who slew the children of Bethlehem.
Also see The Roman Period
Jewish LiteratureJohn 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."
Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism
The Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D. the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D. were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around 200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by "expositors".
The Jews and Torah
The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
Bible History Online
The Story of the Bible