Judaeans in the Persian Empire


This research group seeks to treat the Persian Empire as a significant social and historical context for the development of Second Temple Judaism rather than just a chronological time frame. The emphasis is more on historiographic than literary questions, with a strong commitment to interaction with cognate disciplines (e.g., Assyriology, Achaemenid studies, Iranology, social sciences).

Achaemenid Empire, historiography, Ancient Near East, Yehud, Assyriology, Hebrew Bible


Jason M. Silverman
University of Helsinki

Caroline Waerzeggers
University of Leiden

Anne-Mareike Wetter University of Leiden

Member Area

Warsaw 2019 Call for Papers

For EABS 2019 Judaeans in the Persian Empire has a joint call for papers with the new Impact of Hellenistic Empires Research Unit on the theme of ‘Empire and Historiography’We invite papers examining the ideology of and discourse on Empire in any form of historiography documented in Judaea and in neighbouring societies, in a broad range of periods (Persian, Hellenistic, and Early Roman Empire), and/or how the fact of empire impacts historiography. The relevant literature in Judaea includes biblical literature of Persian times (e.g., Deuteronomic history; Chronicles; Prophetic books); works from Hellenistic times (1 Macc; 2 Macc; Daniel); apocrypha; apocalyptic literature, Qumran; Flavius Josephus, and more. Literatures from neighbouring societies may include works composed in ancient Greek, Akkadian, and Demotic. All topics related to ‘Empire and Historiography’, such as the reflection of empire in a specific work, or how the fact of empire impacts this discourse, are welcome.

Past Meetings 

Helsinki 2018 Elite Cultures and Achaemenid Koine. 

Berlin 2017 Translation, Language Appropriation, and Control in the Achaemenid Empire. 
Three sessions were held. JPE also jointly organised two sessions on Continuity and Innovation in First Millennium Imperial Rule with the Israel in the Ancient Near East group. 

Leuven 2016 Negotiating the Empire beyond the Temples: the diversity of political power.

Two sessions were held.

Cordoba 2015 
Focus on Dating: Establishing firm chronological touchstones for historiography and literary texts. 

Two sessions were held.


The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.