Most studies of Jews in the period from Alexander to Trajan have concentrated almost exclusively on Jerusalem and Judea. In this book, John Barclay assembles and analyzes evidence about the Jewish communities in Egypt, Syria, Cyrenaica, Rome, and Asia. Barclay's ambitious goal is to describe, as precisely as the evidence allows, the varying levels of assimilation and antagonism between Jews and the non-Jewish communities in these areas for this 440-year period. With a concluding review of Jewish identity in the Diaspora as a whole, this book provides our first comprehensive and multi-faceted survey of Diaspora communities and Diaspora literature.
John M. G. Barclay is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of Obeying the Truth: A Study of Paul's Ethics in Galatians (1988).
"Barclay's study corrects the traditional oversight that would equate early Judaism with Palestinian Judaism. This highly readable introduction . . . brings together material that is otherwise available only in regional studies or highly technical works. Barclay strikes a rare balance between local conditions and broad issues, and between supporting detail and coherent argument. It is hard to imagine how the chronic need for a synthesis of the Mediterranean Diaspora might have been better satisfied."—Steve Mason, Pennsylvania State University
"The book reflects the best of contemporary scholarship and is likely to become an indispensable source of information and reflection on the problems Jews encountered with living in a frequently hostile environment."—A. P. Hayman, Edinburgh University
"This is a superb book which has lifted our discussion of Jews in the Diaspora to a new plane. Since understanding the Diaspora is vital to comprehending a good deal about early Christianity, Barclay has also made a significant contribution to this latter field of investigation."—Paul Trebilco, University of Otago