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Hellenistic Judaism

Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism in classical antiquity that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture. Until the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the early Muslim conquests of the eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch in Syria, the two main Greek urban settlements of the Middle East and North Africa region, both founded at the end of the fourth century BCE in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic Judaism existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, where there was conflict between Hellenizers and traditionalists; the major literary product of the contact of Second Temple Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible from Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic to Koine Greek Jewish Koiné Greek. Mentionable are the philosophic and ethical treatises of Philo and the historiographical works of the other Hellenistic Jewish authors.

The decline of Hellenistic Judaism started in the second century and its causes are still not understood. It may be that it was marginalized by absorbed into or became progressively the Koine-speaking core of Early Christianity centered on Antioch and its traditions, such as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch; the conquests of Alexander in the late fourth century BCE spread Greek culture and colonization—a process of cultural change called Hellenization—over non-Greek lands, including the Levant. This gave rise to the Hellenistic period, which sought to create a common or universal culture in the Alexandrian empire based on that of fifth-century Athens, along with a fusion of Near Eastern cultures; the period is characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa, the most famous being Alexandria in Egypt. New cities were established composed of colonists who came from different parts of the Greek world, not from a specific metropolis as before.

These Jews living in countries west of the Levant formed the Hellenistic diaspora. The Egyptian diaspora is the most well-known of these, it witnessed close ties, indeed the firm economic integration, of Judea with the Ptolemaic Kingdom ruled from Alexandria, the friendly relations which existed between the royal court and the leaders of the Jewish community. This was a diaspora of choice, not of imposition. Information is less robust regarding diasporas in other territories, it suggests. Jewish life in both Judea and the diaspora was influenced by the language of Hellenism; the Greeks viewed Jewish culture favorably, while vice versa, Hellenism gained adherents among the Jews. While Hellenism has sometimes been presented, as a threat of assimilation diametrically opposed to Jewish tradition, Adaptation to Hellenic culture did not require compromise of Jewish precepts or conscience; when a Greek gymnasium was introduced into Jerusalem, it was installed by a Jewish High Priest. And other priests soon engaged in wrestling matches in the palaestra.

They plainly did not reckon such activities as undermining their priestly duties. The main religious issue dividing Hellenized Jews from traditional Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic empire. Under the suzerainty of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Seleucid Empire, Judea witnessed a period of peace and protection of its institutions. For their aid against his Ptolemaic enemies, Antiochus III the Great promised his Jewish subjects a reduction in taxes and funds to repair the city of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. Relations deteriorated under Antiochus's successor Seleucus IV Philopator, for reasons not understood, his successor Antiochus IV Epiphanes drastically overturned the previous policy of respect and protection, banning key Jewish religious rites and traditions in Judea and sparking a traditionalist revolt against Greek rule. Out of this revolt was formed an independent Jewish kingdom known as the Hasmonean dynasty, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE; the Hasmonean Dynasty disintegrated due to civil war, which coincided with civil wars in Rome.

The Hasmonean civil war began when the High Priest Hyrcanus II was overthrown by his younger brother, Aristobulus II. A third faction, consisting of Idumeans from Maresha, led by Antipater and his son Herod, re-installed Hyrcanus, according to Josephus, was Antipater's puppet. In 47 BCE, Antigonus, a nephew of Hyrcanus II and son of Aristobulus II, asked Julius Caesar for permission to overthrow Antipater. Caesar ignored him, in 42 BCE Antigonus, with the aid of the Parthians, defeated Herod. Antigonus ruled for only three years, until Herod, with the aid of Rome, overthrew him and had him executed. Antigonus was the last Hasmonean ruler; the major literary product of the contact of Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint, as well as the Book of Wisdom, Sirach and pseudepigraphic apocalyptic literature dating to the period. Important sources are Philo of Flavius Josephus; some scholars consider Paul of Tarsus to be a Hellenist as well though he himself claimed to be a Pharisee. Philo of Alexandria was an important apologist of Judaism, presenting it as a tradition of venerable antiquity that, far from being a ba

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (soundtrack)

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a soundtrack album and the ninth studio album by Bryan Adams and Hans Zimmer to the animated feature of the same name. The album was released on May 4, 2002 and includes the European hit, "Here I Am". Both the English and French versions of the album have Bryan Adams as the singer; the German vocals were provided by lead singer of the German pop band Pur. Spanish vocals in the Latin version of the soundtrack were recorded by Mexican singer Erik Rubin and Italian vocals in the Italian version of the soundtrack were recorded by singer Zucchero. In the Spanish version, Raúl Malo sings several songs. In Brazil, a Portuguese version of the soundtrack was recorded by Brazilian singer Paulo Ricardo

Bechara El Khoury

Bechara El Khoury was the first post-independence President of Lebanon, holding office from 21 September 1943 to 18 September 1952, apart from an 11-day interruption in 1943. He had served two brief terms as Prime Minister, from 5 May 1927 to 10 August 1928 and from 9 May to 11 October 1929. Khoury was born in Rechmaya, to Lebanese Maronite Christian parents in a town in the Aley district, Mount Lebanon governorate on 10 August 1890, he studied law. Khoury founded the Constitutional Bloc and served as a Cabinet minister prior to his election as President on 21 September 1943, he was a strong nationalist who opposed the French Mandate, on 11 November 1943, he was arrested by Free French troops and imprisoned in the Rashaya Tower for eleven days, along with Riad Al Solh, Camille Chamoun, numerous other personalities who were to dominate politics in the generation following independence. Massive demonstrations forced the Free French forces to release the prisoners, including Khoury, on 22 November 1943, a date now celebrated as Lebanon's national independence day.

Khoury is remembered for his part in drawing up the National Pact, an agreement between Lebanon's Christian and Muslim leaders which forms the basis of the country's constitutional structure today, although it was not codified in the Constitution until the Taif Agreement of 1989. In the Pact, Christians accepted Lebanon's affiliation with the Arab League and agreed not to seek French protection, which Muslims agreed to accept the Lebanese state in its present boundaries and promised not to seek unification with neighbouring Syria; the Pact distributed seats in the National Assembly in a ratio of six Christians to five Muslims, based on the 1932 census. Most the three main constitutional offices were assigned to a Maronite Christian, Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Lebanon's three largest confessions, respectively. Khoury's years in office were marked by great economic growth, but the 1948 Arab-Israeli War strained the Lebanese economy with its financial cost and with the influx of some 100,000 Palestinian refugees.

These factors, along with major corruption in Khoury's administration and presidency, provoked massive demonstrations which forced him to resign on 18 September 1952. He was succeeded by Camille Chamoun, although technically Fuad Chehab succeeded him temporarily as acting president. List of Presidents of Lebanon