As one can readily see, there is a vast difference between the two cultures. when it came to "the internal struggle between the Hellenic and the Hebraic ways of life . . . Matthew Arnolds believed (it) to be one of the lasting cleavages of human feeling and thought" (Durant 1939 579). In the various wars over Palestine, Ptolemy I won out and Judea remained under the rule of the Ptolemies for centuries. But, what is important here is that "Judea was left a large measure of self-government under the hereditary High Priest of Jerusalem and the Great assembly" (Durant 1939 579).
The basis for Judaism and the Hebrew culture was religion. The Hebrews of the time were not sophisticated traders, but preferred spiritual learning and devotion. "Into this simple and puritan life the invading Greeks brought all the distractions and temptations of a refined and epicurean civilization" (Durant 1939 580). All of a sudden, Greek influence- everything from "art and science, philosophy and athletics, courtesans and handsome boys, along with a gay sophistication that questioned all morals How could Jewish youth resist " (Durant 1939 581).
The defense of the Jews was religious. They formed a very puritanical group called the Chasidim (which means "the pious"). According to Durant (1939) this sect began by pledging to avoid wine and frowned on all physical pleasure as a surrender to Satan and the Greeks.
This might have worked, even as some Jews decided a middle way would be more proper. However, there was an attempt "of Antiochus Epiphanes to force Hellenism upon Judea by persuasion of the sword" (Durant 1939 581). Suddenly, it became more than a cultural clash. It was a war of arms, not words or ideas. Unfortunately, Hellenism won out. Jews were now forced to pay taxes. Greek institutions were now open ed in Judea, and many Hebrew temples and Hebrews began to worship Zeus rather than their own God. The result was shock among many...
The Thought of Ancient Greek & Hebrew. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 20:57, December 20, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1304313383.html