The First Jews of Ancient Greece

The first Jews reached Greece in the early Hellenistic period as entrepreneurs, tempted by the possibilities of trade, military activity and other opportunities. They established themselves quickly into communities which resembled each other, with similar institutions uniting them. In the next few centuries, a steady stream of Jewish emigrants arrived from Judaea to the cities of the Greek diaspora. We will discuss how it was possible for Jews to dwell in cities “not their own” and what their strategies were for coping with, accepting and participating in Greek life without losing their identities.

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