The practice of resting from secular work every seventh day was widely recognized in the ancient world as a peculiarity of the Jews, for whom it was grounded in a divine instruction (Exod. 20:8-11). By the Hellenistic period, the Sabbath had also become for Jews the main day for assembly in *synagogues for instruction in the Torah. Greek and Roman writers frequently misunderstood the practice and ridiculed what they saw as superstition or idleness, especially when Jews refused to fight on the Sabbath. Josephus claimed that in his day there was no city or nation to which the Jewish custom of abstaining from work on the seventh day had not spread (C.Ap 2.282), but such adoption of the practice may have occurred without reference to Jews or Judaism.Less
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