Jewish acculturation: the Jewish state of the Maccabees / Hasmoneans was heir to the culture of Middle Eastern powers

Abu Simbel, colossal statue on left
Abu Simbel, colossal statue on left

and under Herod it became the most powerful Eastern client state in the Roman imperial federation. Dependent on Rome in foreign policy terms, the Jews were in a cultural competition with the Roman great power. They were under pressure to adapt themselves culturally to the partner with its superior military and political power.

The result was that the Jews adapted and acculturated to Roman culture. The acculturation did not simply entail taking on Roman culture, however: instead the Jews entered into competition with the Romans for the best cultural performance.

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