- Tessa Rajak
ExtractThe Jews at the beginning of the period were an ethnic group with distinctive religious practices. In due course, the religious definition acquired new emphasis, and significant numbers of Jews became Jews by conversion rather than birth.A demographically mixed region, this was understood to be the homeland of the Jews throughout the period, though in fact housing a minority of them. More precisely, the Jews belonged to the territory around *Jerusalem known in Greek as Ioudaia, whence the name Ioudaioi. However, the two revolts against Roman rule brought about the physical exclusion of the Jews from their centre.From 538 to 332 bce the Jews of Palestine were a part of the *Persian empire. Coins reveal that their territory was called Yehud and the Persian governor pekah. The high priest seems to have been the highest Jewish official. A century of Ptolemaic rule (see ptolemy(1).
- Jewish Studies