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The developments in Judaism which occurred during the Second Temple period (c. 550 BC to 100 AD) were of great importance for the nature of Jewish religion in later centuries, yet few studies have examined the era in full. Now Lester L. Grabbe's lucid and accessible volume provides a much-needed encyclopedic study and holistic interpretation of the period. Topics examined include: * views about God and the spirit world * the temple and priesthood * scripture and synagogue * the main religious sects and revolutionary movements * eschatology and messianism * magic and predicting the future * religion in the Jewish diaspora * converts and 'Godfearers'. With an extensive, up-to-date bibliography, plus numerous helpful cross-references, summaries and syntheses, this book is essential reading for scholars and students of the history of Jewish religion. It will also be of great value as a reference tool.