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New Testament History: Richard L Niswonger 

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The beginning of chapter one starts out where the period in between the Old Testament and the New Testament Rome was known as the King of the Nations in the late 332-40 BC leading up to Jesus’ Birth. The Romans let ethnic traditions and religious beliefs define their culture and the way the empire The Persians were known at the time as being one of the most prominent the leader of the Nations Alexander the Great ended the Persian era through his hard work performing conquests which would mean a lot for the Jewish people. I believe this was a dramatic turn for the Jews because of how much they were persecuted in earlier times. He also helped spread hellenism which was ancient greek culture, and everyone to the near East was speaking Greek. When Alexander the Great was 20 years old he became the King of Macedonia after his prestigious father Philip II was killed. He was very brutal with resuming the city of Macedonia’s dominance, and he started this by leading a revolt against Thebes.

He really asserted his dominance by capturing and enslaving the citizens of Thebes. Soon after that he attacked the Persian Empire, which was no small task with the Persians having 35,000 soldiers. But Alexander the Great led his men to victory, also making the Persian Emperor fled After many battles, Alexander and his troops traveled South and took over Egypt. It’s interesting how after the victory the priests of Amon acknowledged Alexander the Great as the son of God, because he doesn’t really acknowledge it himself he doesn’t want this to be used to unify his empire. Alexander the Great was trying to unify his empire after attempting to lead his army into India, but before he could he past away in 323 BC. Later after his death in 320 BC, Palestine fell to Ptolemy I when they took over and ignited there power in the Egyptian camps. Ptolemies wanted to keep the land peaceful and calm when they took over and they tried to emphasis religious and political power, which the Jews for some reason seemed to generally accept there Greek rulers.

It wasn’t until 198 BC where the Seleucids brought an end to the Egyptians that had ruled over the land for some time and they would no longer have control over the Jewish land that they had cherished for so long. When Antiochus IV ruled over the Seleucids, Jews who favored Hellenism had a problem with what was going on in Greek cultures, the Jewish people wanted to keep their customs. Greeks started to play athletics in which they would dedicate all of their games the Gods in which they had grown in interest in. It is very controversial for the Jewish People when there new Greek customs were coming into play especially when many of the changes were due to religious beliefs. They forced these beliefs among Hellenistic Jews that started to argue and rebel against these new values that the Greeks have brough among them. Later in 143 BC, the citizens of Jerusalem chose Simon to lead over them, who rejected Trypho as the throne to the Syrian Empire. Later though, Simon’s son Ptolemy killed his own father in pursuit of power.

His other son John Hyrcanus took over Ptolemy’s plot to take over by establishing himself as ruler of Judea. John Hycranus, the ruler of Judea at the time, led a crusade into Samaria destroying the Samaritan temple and he leveled Samaria finally. During the time of John Hycranus ruling over Judea, Pharisees and Sadducees first started to make their appearances. The two different sides would debate and fight for their beliefs. Jesus called the Pharisees out though for being to focused on the legalistic side of things, and not paying much detail to the spiritual lessons that were within the book. It wasn’t until 104 BC that John Hyrcanus past away, and this lead to the Hasmonean Dynasty being in a seven year decline.

Artistobus was supposed to take over as the high priest, but he spent to much of his time imprisosing his family until he died shortly after his mother past away. But his wife, now widow, had a wedding with one of the youngest brothers Alexander Jannaeus who took over as high priest. Jannacus was high unfavorable with the jews because of his bizarre and barbaric ways he dealt with his power. You can see many of the rulers in the late BC times had very barbarous ways of leading their city and it impacted the popular opinion of the citizens of the land, and you also notice how the group that usually suffers and is persecuted because of the new leaders are the Jewish people. Alexander was shot and killed in battle and his wife Salome would have to pick a new ruler, but it’s interesting because she holds back on choosing the ruler and gave the nation about 10 years of peace.  Later it was eventually forced upon her to choose a ruler because a women wasn’t allowed to rule over the land so she chose one of Alexander’s little brothers, Aristobulus II.

Aristobulus II had to fight and plea victory in a fight against his brothers army in order to withstand the seat of the throne. The Hasmonean Dynasty power seemed to be diminishing at a great rate, and the Romans seemed as if they were taking advantage of Judea because it was looking to be such an easy target. New Roman leader Pompey took over as the Roman ruler in 66 BC, and his first plan of attack was to lead a crusade against the Hasmonean Dynasty and their leader Mithridates army. Pompey as well as select members of his army were chosen to enter the Holy of Holies and he resumed the religions worshipping Jehovah. Soon after he chose Hycranus II to take over as high priest. This was insulting to him though because Hycranus II refused to give him the title of king. This was the end of the Hasmonean Dynasty, as Romans were beginning to assert themselves as the dominant force. The Romans would recruit lower class citizens to participate in the army that would defeat Antony in a naval battle and secure a victory.

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