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Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature$
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Jonathan Ben-Dov and Seth L. Sanders

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479823048

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479823048.001.0001

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(p.9) 1. Introduction
Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature
Jonathan Ben-Dov, Seth L. Sanders
NYU Press

This book explores the relationship between science and early Judaism. Drawing on the foundations of an established discipline, which has studied the role of Jews in the formation of medieval and early modern science, the book highlights the tension between the universality of scientific knowledge and the uniqueness of local traditions. It considers questions such as how a type of science emerged in early Judaism, why this new Jewish science appears in such complex forms, who were the early searchers after knowledge, and what we can learn from the distribution of the earliest evidence. The book charts the rise of this new kind of ancient knowledge and describes the parameters of ancient Jewish science. This chapter introduces the reader to a few of the most interesting problems that the scientific elements in Ancient Judaism present, with particular emphasis on the debate over the nature of ancient science, the Astronomical Book of Enoch, and lessons that can be learned from the early history of science and Judaism.

Keywords:   science, Judaism, Jews, scientific knowledge, local traditions, Jewish science, ancient knowledge, ancient science, Astronomical Book, Enoch

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