In this book, Jason A. Staples proposes a new paradigm for how the biblical concept of Israel developed in Early Judaism and how that concept impacted Jewish apocalyptic hopes for restoration after the Babylonian Exile. Challenging conventional assumptions about Israelite identity in antiquity, his argument is based on a close analysis of a vast corpus of biblical and other early Jewish literature and material evidence. Staples demonstrates that continued aspirations for Israel's restoration in the context of diaspora and imperial domination remained central to Jewish conceptions of Israelite identity throughout the final centuries before Christianity and even into the early part of the Common Era. He also shows that Israelite identity was more diverse in antiquity than is typically appreciated in modern scholarship. His book lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the so-called 'parting of the ways' between Judaism and Christianity and how earliest Christianity itself grew out of hopes for Israel's restoration.
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