arch_titusEdited by Prof. Steven Fine, with the assistance of Stanley Mirvis

Enter the world of Herod, Hillel and Jesus. Welcome to the Second Temple and Rabbinic Period!

This web portal explores the millenium between Cyrus the Great’s momentous order to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem in 540 BCE, and the completion of the Babylonian Talmud, around 600 CE. This vast span of time witnessed the last Biblical prophets, Haggai, Zachariah and Malachi, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Alexander the Great, the Maccabean Revolt, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus of Nazareth, Herod’s Temple, the rise of the synagogue, the First Jewish Revolt, Bar Kokhba, Constantine the Great, the redaction of the Mishnah and Talmud, and much more. The Second Temple and Rabbinic era was pivotal to the formation of both Judaism and Christianity as we know it. This period was the wellspring of Western civilization.

Our site provides reliable information about the history, culture, literature, art and archaeology of the Jews in this classical period of their history. You will find narrative histories of the events depicting cultural triumphs and tensions, articles for further study, video clips featuring world-renowned scholars, primary literary and visual sources, and links to additional web resources to explore on the COJS site and beyond. Enjoy your stay in the world of classical Judaism!

You can start by reading our Overview or by choosing one of the sections below-


  1. Jews in the Persian Period (520-332 BCE)
  2. Jews and Judaism from Alexander to the Maccabees (332-63 BCE)
  3. Culture and Religion in Hellenistic Israel (circa 332 BCE-70 CE)
  4. Judea Under Roman Rule (63 BCE-66 CE)
  5. The Rise of Christianity (circa 4 BCE-330 CE)
  6. From the First Jewish Revolt to Bar Kokhba (66-135 CE)
  7. The Age of the Rabbis- The Formative Years (circa 70- 3rd century CE)
  8. The Talmud and Daily Life in the Age of the Rabbis (circa 200-7th Century CE)
  9. The Land of Israel during the Byzantine Period (324-638 CE)
  10. The Babylonian and Greco-Roman Diasporas (586 BCE-7th century CE)
  11. Further Reading on Jews and Judaism in the Greco-Roman Period