Charles Foster Kent A History of the Jewish People During the Babylonian, Persian and Greek Periods (Classic Reprint)

A History of the Jewish People During the Babylonian, Persian and Greek Periods (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from A History of the Jewish People During the Babylonian, Persian and Greek Periods

The destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B. C. by the army of Nebuchadrezzar marks a radical turning-point on the life of the people of Jehovah, for then the history of the Hebrew state and monarchy ends, and Jewish history, the record of the experiences, not of a nation but of the scattered, oppressed remnants of the Jewish race, begins. Henceforth, not Judeans and Israelites, but Jews and Samaritans are the chief actors in the great drama which the biblical writings record. This sharp distinction between Hebrew and Jewish history is also based upon the fundamental difference in the life, thought, and religion of the chosen people before and after the great catastrophe of 586 B. C. The transformation was as complete as it was sudden. There was really little in common between the careless, self-confident Hebrews to whom Amos and Isaiah preached, and the despondent, sin-oppressed Jews to whom Ezekiel and Haggai addressed their stirring appeals.

Until within comparatively recent times the four centuries which followed the destruction of Jerusalem have ordinarily been regarded as the least important and the most uninteresting of those which constitute the background of the Bible.

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