Jewish History in Conflict: A Study of the Major Discrepancy Between Rabbinic and Conventional Chronology
By: Mitchell First (author)Hardback
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The author writes: "According to Seder Olam Rabbah, the work that forms the basis for almost all rabbinic chronology, the .period from the defeat of the Babylonians by the Medeo-Persians until the beginning of Greek rule, encompassed 52 years and spanned the reigns of three Persian kings. According to the chronology that is universally accepted by historians today (conventional chronology), this period of Persian rule over the land of Israel encompassed 207 years (539 to 332 BCE) and during this period more than ten Persian kings reigned. "This discrepancy between the traditional Jewish chronology and conventional chronology has not gone unnoticed. The purpose of this study is to collect and categorize the variety of Jewish responses to this discrepancy, both by Jewish scholars and rabbinic authorities. Part I provides an introduction to the discrepancy. Part II contains the earliest Jewish responses to the discrepancy. In the major part of the study, Part III, the responses to the discrepancy from the time of Azariah de Rossi (16th century) to the present time are collected and categorized.
This unified collection and categorization of the many responses will enable students and scholars to have easy access to what has been written by Jewish scholars and rabbinic authorities about the discrepancy and will facilitate scholarly evaluation of the responses. "Part IV is an evaluation of the responses' attempts to answer the fundamental question raised by the discrepancy. Part V presents observations on the rabbinic responses. Part VI is a summary and conclusion."
While working as an attorney, Mitchell First studied Jewish history at Yeshiva University's Bernard Revel Graduate School, receiving his M.A. degree in Jewish History in 1995. He received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1979 and a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1982. He has written and lectured frequently on topics related to Jewish history and chronology, and has been a contributor to a variety of Jewish publications. He, and his wife, Sharon, reside in Teaneck, New Jersey, and are the proud parents of three children. Mitchell First has been an attorney in private practice in Manhattan since 1985.
Acknowledgements Abbreviations Diagram Statement of Purpose Part I: Introduction to the Discrepancy The SO Chronology The Conventional Chronology The Discrepancy Part II: The Earliest Jewish Responses to the Discrepancy 1. Saadiah Gaon 2. Seder Malkhei Romi 3. Josippon 4. Isaac Abravanel 5. Abraham Zacuto Part III: Collection and Categorization of Jewish Responses From the Time of Azariah de Rossi through Modern Times Category A - SO Chronology is Correct: Conventional Chronology is Error 1. David Ganz 2. Judah Loew 3. Isaac Cantarini 4. Jacob Emden 5. Wolf Pohrille 6. Abraham Yeshayahu Karelitz 7. David Shmidel 8. Shlomo Rotenberg 9. Saul Lustig 10. Abraham Zuartz 11. Hayyim Fov Rabinovitz 12. David Hayyim Ibn Shalosh 13. Hersh Goldwurm 14. Isaac Simon Feder 15. Chaim Heifetz 16. Brad Aaronson 17. Sholom Klass Category B - Conventional Chronology is Correct: SO Chronology is in Error 1. Azariah de Rossi 2. Samuel Joseph Fuenn 3. Nachman Krochmal 4. Solomon Judah Rapoport 5. Morris Raphall 6. Levi Herzfeld 7. Joseph Derenbourg 8. Moses Zuckermandel 9. Isidore Loeb 10. Baer Ratner 11. Alexander Marx 12. Joseph Jacobs 13. Ahron Marcus 14. Max Seligsohn 15. Eduard Mahler 16. Hayyim Bornstein 17. Philip Biberfeld 18. Ephraim Urbach 19. Harold Ginsberg 20. Solomon Zeitlin 21. Pinkas Weis 22. Abraham Akavya 23. Yehezkel Kaufmann 24. Simon Schwab 25. Issachar Jacobson 26. Hayyim Shvilly 27. Elias Bickerman 28. Aryeh Neuman 29. Judah Rosenthal 30. Benny Isaacson 31. Mordechai Breuer 32. Elihu Schatz 33. Ben Zion Wacholder 34. Moses Herr 35. Jay Braverman 36. Hayyim Mantel 37. Samuel Kedar 38. Joseph Tabori 39. Berel Wein 40. Henry Guggenheimer 41. Samuel Hakohen Category C- Both the Conventional Chronology and the SO Chronology are Correct 1. Azariah de Rossi 2. Anonymous 3. Ze'ev Jawitz 4. Samuel Krauss 5. Hayyim Hirscensohn 6. Henry Englander 7. Jonas Bondi 8. Jacob Gutkovski 9. Jacob Lauterbach 10. Hayyim Shvilly 11. Abraham Akavya 12. Charles Raddock 13. Adain Steinsaltz 14. Rahamin Sar-Shalom Category D - Other Responses DI Responses that Present Both the SO Chronology and the Conventional Chronology without Taking a Position as to which is Correct 1. Aryeh Kaplan 2. Jacob Meidan DII Responses that Adopt the SO Chronology without Mentioning the Conventional Chronology 1. Meir Loeb ben Jehiel Michael 2. Moses Weinstock 3. Abraham Kurman 4. Avigdor Miller 5. Meir Zlotowitz 6. Zechariah Fendel 7. Yosef Rabinowitz 8. Eliezer Shulman 9. Mattis Kantor DIII Repsonsed that Adopt the Conventional Chronology without Mentioning the SO Chronology 1. Heymann Kottek 2. Simon Glazer 3. Kalman Kahana 4. Joseph Hertz 5. Isaac Halevy 6. Gilbert Klaperman 7. Shelomoh Daziger 8. Meir Herskovics 9. Abraham Bloch 10. Abraham Rosenfeld 11. Irving Greenberg 12. Shlomo Riskin 13. Emanuel Rackman 14. Louis Bernstein 15. Haskel Lookstein DIV Miscellaneous Responses 1. Jehiel Heilprin 2. Moses Auerbach Part IV: Evaluation of the Responses Part V: Some Observations Regarding the Rabbinic Responses Part VI: Summary and Conclusion Appendix A: The SO Chronology Appendix B: The Conventional Chronology Appendix C: Additional Note on the Identification of Ahashverosh with Xerxes Appendix D: Early Jewish Authors who Adopt Chronologies of the Persian and Second Temple Periods that Differ from the SO Chronology Appendix E: Note on a Passage in Nahmandies Appendix F: Note on the Responses of Non-Jewish Scholars Addenda Biographical Sketches Bibliography Index
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