The Hellenistic Culture In Steinberg's As A Driven Tree

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The Jewish community has been following a strict set of rules since the day Moses helped them escape Egypt to the promise land. They preferred to keep themselves isolated from others, so no cultural diffusion can taint their beliefs. However, that was easier said than done, as they had to face a plethora of challenges. After Alexander the Great had conquered most of the east, from Egypt to India, the spread of Greek culture was inevitable. This came to be known as the Hellenistic period and it had many of the Rabbis in a perturbed state. In the novel, As A Driven Leaf, Milton Steinberg discusses the influence of the Hellenistic culture on the Jewish community.
Throughout the novel a major discussion point has been whether or not a man should study other resources such as Greek literature. The prologue starts with seventy of the Sanhedrin Rabbis debating the crucial question “Shall it be forbidden to a faithful Jew to study the tongue of the Greeks, to read their books and to think their thoughts after them” (Steinberg 12). The Rabbis knew that if the people began to study Greek culture and
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The Hellenistic culture ends up creating a partition amongst Jews. Instinctively, Amram and the Sanhedrin pledge their fidelity to their religion, comparing the Hellenistic culture to a virus, that could inevitably abolish the traditional Jewish culture. Then there were people like Pappas, who began questioning their faith but didn’t renounce it. Nonetheless, there was Elisha, who effusively embraced the western philosophy and rejected his own faith for something greater he had believed in, a liberated tomorrow. Thus, as one could see, the Hellenistic culture deeply impacted the Jewish society in countless distinctive methods, from people despising it to others who fully embraced this idea of free thinking, the influence was

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