A split Jewish diaspora: Its dramatic consequences

Arye Edrei*, Doron Mendels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article proposes that a language divide and two systems of communication have brought to a serious gap between the western Jewish Diaspora and the eastern one. Thus the western Greek-speaking Jews lost touch with the Halakhah and the Rabbis, a condition that had far-reaching consequences on Jewish history thereafter. The Rabbis paid a high price for keeping their Halakhah in oral form, losing in consequence half of their constituency. An oral law did not develop in the western diaspora, whereas the existing eastern one was not translated into Greek. Hence it is not surprising that western Jews contributed nothing to the development of the oral law in the east. The Jewish communities that were isolated from the Rabbinic network served as a receptive basis for the development of an alternative Christian network by Paul and the apostles, which enabled it to spread throughout the Mediterranean basin. The Jews that remained 'biblical' surfaced in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-137
Number of pages47
JournalJournal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Eastern diaspora
  • Land of Israel
  • Language divide
  • Systems of communication
  • Western diaspora


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