Find out 3 Ways to Participate in AJR below!
This month marks the one year anniversary of the Ancient Jew Review. We the editors are astounded by and grateful for the enthusiasm this site has generated among academics and interested readers alike. From Facebook likes to Twitter follows, from the contributions of astute scholars to the insightful work of graduate students, the Ancient Jew Review has truly become a community effort to expand the horizons of the academic conversation(s) around ancient Judaism, early Christianity, biblical studies, and early Islam and more.
Yet consistently our editorial team is asked: What is Ancient Judaism? And more specifically, does my piece belong in a web journal devoted to Ancient Judaism?
This question, of course, is fair. Scholarship in our days is thankfully self-reflective, and all categories as well as periods of study can be interrogated, questioned, and relativized. When would Ancient Judaism begin and end? This question is often answered in terms of historical events—the period begins with 586 BCE, which marks the exile of the Judaeans to Babylon, until sometime in the 7th century CE, when the followers of Muhammad conquered the Roman East (or alternatively when the Babylonian Talmud seems to be redacted). During this span of history, in fact, the very idea of “Judaism” (and therefore certainly the category of “Ancient Judaism”) is unstable and fluctuates from Judaean to Jew (and back again?), a question raised in our first piece as editors on the site. The boundary between Jew and Christian, once thought to come into being suddenly and irrevocably, has also been deconstructed (by our very own Annette Yoshiko Reed among others!), showing that this period, as well as the traditional boundaries of our respective fields, are also in need of reimagining. Paradoxically, one of our goals for the study of Ancient Judaism is precisely to question the definition, range, and scope of this subject.
Another way to say this is that we want to support the scholarly trend to expand the horizons of the fields we study. To be sure, this is no easy task, as our subject matter spans over a thousand years in time and covers from Spain deep into Asia in space. The obstacles to mastering all the relevant data and corpora are obvious. As such, Ancient Judaism is necessarily interdisciplinary. A breadth this expansive requires scholars of Ancient Judaism to be familiar with the macro and the micro. For this reason, we the editors of AJR have continually sought contributions from a variety of scholarly fields. We feel strongly that parallel projects can and do expand our understanding of life in antiquity, and comparative analysis gives us a better understanding of the shared historical space. Therefore, if you are asking yourself “is this relevant to the study of Ancient Judaism,” the answer is most probably yes.
Looking forward, the Ancient Jew Review is excited to facilitate a continued emphasis on collaborative work among scholars of antiquity. Together we can form a social network of scholars with shared passion, interests, and subjects that transcend our limited disciplinary boundaries, putting biblical studies, ancient Judaism, early Christianity, the religions of late antiquity, and early Islam in dialogue. We thank you all for joining us and contributing thus far, and we look forward to continuing the discussion.
Three Ways to Participate in AJR
1. Follow Us On Social Media or Subscribe to Our Week in Review.
2. Donate: Tax-Deductible
The Ancient Jew Review is a non-profit, involving an assortment of costs: website maintenance, video editing, interview travel, as well as current projects to bring more content to the site. The most direct way you can help is through a tax-deductible donation. Click on the button below and you will be taken to a secure server powered through Swipe. Each donation will be featured in a special "thank you" post on our site, and we deeply appreciate your support!