Page 41 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

Basic HTML Version

SHAVIT / ERETZ-ISRAEL RESEARCH: DEVELOPEMENT AND TRENDS
29
opment of a Palestinian national ideology has been accompanied
by an attempt to give a differing interpretation to the history of
the land since biblical times in order to make a case for Arabs as
the descendants of the ancient populace.)
AREAS OF CONCENTRATION
The periods of the Bible and the Second Commonwealth have
remained the central ones in research and are being studied in all
their ramifications. During the fifties much work was done on the
two centuries of Crusade rule, while the seventies saw concentra­
tion on the Ottoman regime, particularly during the 19th cen­
tury. The discovery of new sources (the Cairo Genizah, the docu­
ments of Wadi Daliya and the many archives that have opened up
in various European capitals) has freed research from its almost
complete dependence on travel accounts and has permitted the
use of primary sources. Biblical research is clearly connected with
archaeology and critical textual study and is not within our pu r­
view. While Second Commonwealth research has concentrated
on the spiritual life and literature it has also dealt with other areas
of Jewish history from the viewpoint of the Jews as a people and
not only as a religious group. Among the works in this area is
Bezalel Bar-Kochva’s
The Battles of the Hasmoneans: The Times of
Judah Maccabee
(Hebrew, Jerusalem, 1980), which treats the mili­
tary aspects o f the history o f the Hasmonean state.7 Joshua
Efrom’s
Studies of the Hasmonean Period
(Hebrew, Tel-Aviv, 1980)
differs sharply from prevailing views and offers new insights con­
cerning this eventful time. The beginnings of the Second Com­
monwealth period are explored in the volume,
History of thePeople
of Israel: The Restoration. The Persian Period
(Hebrew, Jerusalem,
1983).
The Roman period o f domination is surveyed in ano ther
volume of the
History of the People of Israel,
entitled
Judah and
Rome: The Wars of the Jews
(Hebrew, Jerusalem , 1983). This
volume, too, is part of a series begun years ago and still far from
completion. Noteworthy also is the collection o f studies on
Josephus as a historian of the Second Commonwealth edited by
7 See also his article, “Manpower, Economics and Internal Strife in the
Hasmonean State,
Armees et Fiscalite dans le Monde Antique
(Paris, 1977).