During the last three or four centuries of the pre-Christian era, the world of the Mediterranean and the Ancient Near East underwent a tremendous religious upheaval, While the later prophets and the scribes were reinterpreting Judaism in the light of world developments, the polytheism of Athens, Sparta, and Rome, which made religion part of the total life of the community and identified it closely with patriotism, gave way before pressures that were exceedingly complex and that we can identify only partially. These pressures were well under way in Athens before the conquests of Philip and Alexander. They can be seen in Rome soon after she made her first firm contacts with the Hellenistic world. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "2. Jerusalem: Religion in the Hellenistic World. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 80-82.