Discussion Forum <www.religiousforums.com>Thread:”My views about Islam and why it is so difficult to attain constructive dialogue about them”
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Paarsurrey further added:
For the influence of paganism/Hellenism on Judaism I would like to add to quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia which is only a glimpse of what actually was going on:
HELLENISM (from έλληνίζειν , “to speak Greek,” or “to make Greek”):
Word used to express the assimilation, especially by the Jews, of Greek speech, manners, and culture, from the fourth centuryB.C. through the first centuries of the common era. Post-exilic Judaism was largely recruited from those returned exiles who regarded it as their chief task to preserve their religion uncontaminated, a task that required the strict separation of the congregation both from all foreign peoples (Ezra x. 11; Neh. ix. 2) and from the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who did not strictly observe the Law (Ezra vi. 22; Neh. x. 29). This separation was especially difficult to maintain when the victorious campaign of Alexander the Great had linked the East to the West. The victory was not simply a political one. Its spiritual influence was much greater. The Greek language became a common language for nearer Asia, and with the language went Greek culture, Greek art, and Greek thought. The influence thus exerted did not entirely drive out the local languages or the local civilization. The Hellenic spirit was itself profoundly modified by contact with the Orient; and out of the mingling of the two there arose a pseudo-Greek culture which was often different in spirit from the true culture of Hellas.
Range of Hellenic Influence.
Except in Egypt, Hellenic influence was nowhere stronger than on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Greek cities arose there in continuation, or in place, of the older Semitic foundations, and gradually changed the aspect of the country. Such cities were Raphia, Gaza, Ascalon, Azotus, Jabneh, Jaffa, Cæsarea, Dor, and Ptolemais. It was especially in eastern Palestine that Hellenism took a firm hold, and the cities of the Decapolis (which seems also to have included Damascus) were the centers of Greek influence. This influence extended in later times over the whole of the district east of the Jordan and of the Sea of Gennesaret, especially inTrachonitis, Batanæa, and Auranitis. The cities in western Palestine were not excepted. Samaria and Panias were at an early time settled by Macedonian colonists. The names of places were Hellenized: “Rabbath-Ammon” to “Philadelphia”; “Armoab” to “Ariopolis”; “Akko” to “Ptolemais.” The same occurred with personal names: “Ḥoni” became “Menelaus”; “Joshua” became “Jason” or “Jesus.” The Hellenic influence pervaded everything, and even in the very strongholds of Judaism it modified the organization of the state, the laws, and public affairs, art, science, and industry, affecting even the ordinary things of life and the common associations of the people.
I posted following comments on Jewish Encylopedia under topic “HELLENISM”:
I appreciate the first two paragraphs of the above write-up. Under influence of the Hellenism/paganism the Jews had been influenced and resorted to borrowing their mythical religious concepts into their own religion. Jews being “sons of G-d” which was only a spiritual concept, not a physical one, some groups started believing it as physical for certain hero personalities of their religion (like Ezra). They were led astray from the Moses’ teachings and needed to be reformed.