Sylvie Honigman

Sylvie Honigman (Tel Aviv University): “The Transformation of Native Temples and Invented Traditions: Between New Religiosity and Royal Policy – The Case of Judea”


In my proposed paper I examine afresh two key episodes that supposedly illustrate how the peculiar religious and economic status of the Jerusalem temple affected the relations between this temple and foreign kings in Persian and Hellenistic times: 1) the allocation of regular royal subsidies to the Jerusalem temple by Persian kings (see Darius’s decree in MT Ezra 6:8b–9; LXX 1 Esdras 4:50–56; 6:29–31; and Xerxes/Artaxerxes’s decree in MT Ezra 7:21–23; LXX 1 Esd. 8:19–22) allegedly evidences that, having no lands, the Jerusalem temple was economically dependent on royal support; and 2) the Judean revolt against Antiochos IV in the 160s (1 and 2 Maccabees) allegedly resulted from Antiochos IV’s failure to foresee that the administrative and political reforms he imposed in Jerusalem would automatically affect the Judean religious customs in a disastrous way (Doran 2011; Ma 2013). My discussion is divided in two parts. First, based on my reappraisal of the causes of the Judean revolt against Antiochos IV (Honigman 2014a) and on comparative material documenting the economic, administrative, and cultic status and history of Egyptian and Babylonian temples I contend that the peculiar status of the Jerusalem temple consisted of different components than those usually alleged. Second, through a literary analysis of the texts I show that the Persian decrees and the accounts of Antiochos IV’s religious persecution (1 Macc. 1:46–64; 2 Macc. 6:1–11) are two invented memories of Hasmonean times that painted the Persian dynasty as one of ideal kings and the Greco-Macedonian dynasties as wicked ones.




Clancier, P. 2012. “‘Le satammu, l’assemblée de l’Esagil et les Babyloniens:’ Les notables de Babylone:—du relais local à la marginalisation.” In C. Feyel, J. Fournier, L. Graslin-Thomé, and  F. Kirbihler eds. Communautés locales et pouvoir central dans l’Orient hellénistique et romain, 297–325. Nancy and Paris.


Clancier, P., and J. Monerie. Forthcoming. “Les sanctuaires babyloniens à l’époque hellénistique: Évolution d’un relais de pouvoir.” In Les Sanctuaires autochtones et le roi dans le Proche-Orient hellénistique: entre autonomie et soumission, edited by P. Clancier and J. Monerie. Paris.


Doran, R. 2011. “The Persecution of Judeans by Antiochus IV: The Significance of ‘Ancestral Laws.’” In The Other in Second Temple Judaism: Essays in Honor of John J. Collins, edited by D. C. Harlow, M. Goff, K. M. Hogan, and J. S. Kaminsky, 423–33. Grand Rapids.


Gorre, G., and S. Honigman. 2013. “Kings, Taxes and High Priests: Comparing the Ptolemaic and Seleukid Policies.” In S. Bussi (ed.), Egitto dai Faraoni agli Arabi: atti del convegno Egitto: amministrazione, economia, società, cultura dai Faraoni agli Arabi, Milano, Universita degli Studi, 7-9 gennaio 2013, 105–19. Pisa and Rome: Fabrizio Serra.


Gorre, G., and S. Honigman. 2014. “La politique d’Antiochos IV à Jérusalem à la lumière des relations entre rois et temples aux époques perse et hellénistique (Babylonie, Judée et Égypte).” In C. Feyel and L. Graslin (eds), Le Projet politique d’Antiochos IV. Ouvrage issu de la rencontre francoallemande tenue à Nancy du 17 au 19 juin 2013 et organisée par C. Feyel, L. GraslinThomé, C. Mileta et P. F. Mittag, 239–76. Paris and Nancy.


Honigman, S. 2014a. Tales of High Priests and Taxes: The Books of the Maccabees and the Judean Rebellion Against Antiochos IV. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Honigman, S. 2014b. “The Religious Persecution as a Narrative Elaboration of a Military Suppression.” In M.-F. Baslez and O. Munnich Autour des livres des Maccabées: La mémoire des persécutions. Paris.


Ma, J. 2003. “Kings.” In A. Erskine (ed.), A Companion to the Hellenistic World, 177–95. Malden, MA.


Ma, J. 2012. “Relire les Institutions des Séleucides de Bikerman.” In Rome, a City and Its Empire in Perspective: The Impact of the Roman World through Fergus Millar’s Research, ed. S. Benoist,59–84. Leiden.


Monerie, J. 2012. “Notabilité urbaine et administration locale en Babylonie du sud aux époques séleucide et parthe.” In C. Feyel, J. Fournier, L. Graslin-Thomé, and F. Kirbihler eds. Communautés locales et pouvoir central dans l’Orient hellénistique et romain, 327–52. Nancy and Paris.


Weitzman, S. 2004. “Plotting Antiochus’s Persecution.” JBL 123: 219–34.


Studies dating the books of Ezra and 1 Esdras to either Hellenistic or Hasmonean times:


Böhler, Dieter. 1997. Die heilige Stadt in Esdras α und Esra-Nehemia. Zwei Konzeptionen der Wiederherstellung Israels. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag, and Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.


Carr, David M. 2011. The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 78–82, 168–69.


Finkelstein, Israel. 2011. “Geographical Lists in Ezra and Nehemiah in the Light of Archaeology: Persian or Hellenistic?” In Judah between East and West: The Transition from Persian to Greek Rule (ca. 400-200 BCE). A Conference held at Tel Aviv University, 17–19 April 2007, edited by L.L. Grabbe and O. Lipschits, 49–69. London and New York: T & T. Clark.


Honigman, S. Forthcoming. “1 Esdras,” in Blackwell Companion to the Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, ed. Randall D. Chesnutt.


Sérandour, A. 2008. “Les femmes étrangères dans les livres grec et hébraïque d’Esdras: repudiation ou exclusion du culte?” Transeuphratène 35: 155–63.

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