By Ernest Jackh
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After the return from Exile in 538, the Second Commonwealth had no kings at all for nearly four fully Even later, the weakness of its governmental strucwas so marked that the historian Flavius Josephus had to centuries. ture new term for it. By calling it a "theocracy/' he meant not so much the rule of priests, scribes, or any other ecclesiastical of God under whom even organs, as the direct sovereignty coin a Israel's into kings way was injected to political and social relaapproach affected all of Western civilization; had been mere human history a new mortals.
Merce in the world. In the Christian era it became a great center of ecclesiastical learning and is still the see of a Greek Orthodox patriarch. Alexandria through the centuries has maintained its Hellenic character, and today a populous and thriving Greek community of bankers, brokers, cotton merchants, and businessmen contribute greatly to its prosperity. Under Rome the Greek polls in the Middle East prospered, and Greek influence was correspondingly high throughout the area. When Byzantium succeeded Rome in the East, the Greek Byzantine emperors continued to accord full municipal freedom to the cities of the now Greek empire.
As being the most likely date. in many ways peculiar to the Hebrew peo- These beginnings, ple, affected all their subsequent destinies. Already at this point we notice the Hebrews' absorption of a variety of cultures. The Jewish people never forgot that they had originated in Mesopotamia, had spent many generations in an Egyptian ghetto, had lived for "forty" years as a migratory tribe had among Bedouins mature civilizaand finally tion of Canaan, which in the days of Moses and Joshua already had behind it more than a millennium of civilized life.
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