In view of discussions we've had on this blog recently
concerning the possible influence that Hellenism had on
ancient Christianity, I thought some here might
enjoy knowing about Louis H. Feldman's article in JBL 96/3
(1977): 371-382 entitled "Hengel's Judaism and
Hellenism in Retrospect."
The Hengel that Feldman has in mind is, of course, the
author of Judentum und Hellenismus, Studien zu ihrer
Begegnung unter besonderer Berucksichtigung Palastinas
bis zur Mitte des 2 Jh.s v. Chr. otherwise known as
Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in
Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974).
Martin Hengel has essayed an influential historical
account of how ancient Judaism (more specifically,
Judaism from 330 BCE onward) was cross-fertilized
conceptually by the "inroads of Hellenism."
Hengel thus argues that we should not make a sharp
differentiation between Hellenistic and Palestinian
Judaism. Secondly, he maintains that Greek
influence on Judaism was much more pervasive (much
earlier) than has been previously thought. The upshot
of Hengel's suggestions are that "the background of
the NT in Palestine was a Judaism that had been
hellenized for the preceding 360 years." Feldman,
however, attempts to refute 22 points
put forward by Hengel; his retorts are definitely worthy of
consideration. Some may conclude that he has indeed
successfully confuted the arguments posited by Hengel.
In any event, Feldman rightfully points out:
"There is actually very little in Hengel that has not
been said before. It is, however, the sheer
accumulation and evaluation of evidence that is
impressive" (Feldman, page 371).
Here are some brief observations from Hengel's book
Judentum und Hellenismus concerning ancient
Greek-speaking communities in Palestine.
1. After the sixth century, Greek merchandise and
coins came to Palestine. See Ezek. 27:11-25a, which
Hengel thinks may apply to the 4th century BCE. Hengel
writes (1:32): "Both Isaeus and his pupil Demosthenes
mention a colony of Greek merchants some decades later
[[than 460 BCE] in Ake (Acco)."
2. In Gaza and Sidon, two long Greek verse
inscriptions (the epitaph of two Ptolemaic officers
and their families as well as the victory inscription
of Diotimus) dating from the period circa 200 BCE have
been discovered (1:83).
3. A graffito from tomb I of Marisa "with an erotic
poem" that basically contains the song of "a hETAIRA"
exulting over her lover, whose coat she has kept as a
pledge, also points to Greek speakers living in
Palestine around the pertinent time.
For detailed proofs of the foregoing, see Hengel, vol.
Here is a link for the single-volume edition of Hengel's work: https://www.amazon.com/Judaism-Hellenism-Encounter-Palestine-Hellenistic/dp/1592441866/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214408278&sr=1-1