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Where Does the Modern Period of Jewish History Begin? Where Does the Modern Period of Jewish History Begin?
Friday, January 18, 2013 by Michael A. Meyer | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

In this classic 1975 Judaism article, Michael Meyer argues that there is no value in "setting a definite terminus for the beginning of modern Jewish history."
Warfare on Shabbat: The Legacy of the Maccabees Warfare on Shabbat: The Legacy of the Maccabees
Friday, December 14, 2012 by Moshe Sokolow | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

Ezra and Nehemiah were so successful in instilling Shabbat observance that Jews refused to take up arms on Shabbat to defend themselves—with disastrous results.
Is Judaism a Proselytizing Religion? Is Judaism a Proselytizing Religion?
Friday, October 19, 2012 by Shlomo M. Brody | Jewish Ideas Daily » Daily Features

When Mitt Romney became the Republican Presidential candidate, some of the media attention focused on his experience as a Mormon  missionary in France and asked, subtly or not so subtly, whether a member of a proselytizing religion could properly lead a pluralistic society.
Editors' Picks
Second Temple Torah Lawrence H. Schiffman, "Fostering the conception that rationales can be offered for almost all the commandments is a product of Hellenistic Judaism in the Second Temple period."
Moses, the Philosopher King Lawrence H. Schiffman, Through his rationales for the commandments, Josephus bolsters his conception of Moses "as a kind of philosopher king whose legislation was totally wise and just."
Was Crucifixion a Jewish Penalty? Geza Vermes, Standpoint. Although never enumerated among biblical forms of capital punishment, both Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that during the Hasmonean era, crucifixion was part of Jewish penal legislation.
What's Wrong with Cross-Dressing? Michael L. Satlow, Then and Now. Although the Torah prohibits cross-dressing, it never explains why—and there is no consensus on the reason among Jewish sources in antiquity.
Masada’s Unscorched Earth Ehud Netzer, Biblical Archeology Review. Josephus records that Masada’s Jewish defenders set it ablaze before the Romans broke in. But the archeological evidence shows a more sophisticated, though futile, defense strategy.
Josephus the Jew Benjamin Balint, Wall Street Journal. Yigael Yadin called Josephus “a great historian and a bad Jew.”  But a new book argues that if Josephus was a traitor, “it was to a reckless nationalism he never favored, not to Judaism.”
The First Hellenist Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg, Jerusalem Post. The Maccabees warred against the Seleucids and their Hellenized Jewish allies.  But Judaean Hellenism began earlier, under the Ptolemies—and was not so bad for the Jews.
Under A Tax Shaye J. D. Cohen, Bible History Daily. Vespasian's fiscus judaicus not only undermined the Temple by diverting tithes to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, but may also have accelerated the break between Judaism and Christianity. 
Josephus: Traitor or Victim? Gil Student, Torah Musings. While Jews have sometimes viewed Josephus as disloyal, the Talmud offers no opinion on the general who surrendered to the Romans—perhaps because suicide would have been halakhically worse than defection.