Although the Hellenistic Era started with the death of Alexander the Great in 323BCE it is important to explore its beginnings. Both Greek and Oriental philosophies greatly influenced the formation of the Hellenistic Age. The spread of Hellenistic culture and its substantial scientific contributions produced an impact on civilization that is still evident today. One of the most important aspects of the thought, culture, and religion during the Hellenistic Era was its impact on the Jewish culture and religion.
The Hellenistic culture was founded from the Hellenic culture. The Hellenic culture was born with Philip of Macedon. Philip of Macedon was a king in Macedonia at the beginning of the fourth century. Philip was known for his great organizational skills and his prowess in battle as a warrior. Philip had a dream of making an empire and surpassing everyone’s expectations he succeeded. It took seven years for Philip to unite the once Greek city-states into a unit, but once he gained control of them he had a battle tested army. Philip of Macedon led his army into Asia Minor and defeated the Persian army. The defeat of the Persian army brought the collapse of the Persian Empire which was unimaginable because at the time Persia ruled the world. Unfortunately, as Philip turned to conquer the rest of the world he died. Luckily he left behind a son.
Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedon took the throne at nineteen years of age in 336BCE and with this single event the Hellenic culture abounded. Philip did not want Alexander to be a course and boorish Macedonian so he gave Alexander a tutor, Aristotle. Between Philip and Aristotle, Alexander was raised in the Hellenic culture. The Hellenic culture’s aim was to promote Greek learning with Greek history. Alexander, like his father, was a highly respected warrior and conquered many other nations. During Alexander’s rule he expanded the civilized world from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River in India. Alexander the Great had many accomplishments but the most important to the Hellenistic culture was his founding of the city of Alexandria as the capitol of Egypt in 331BCE.
Alexander the Great had a second notable accomplishment which was his treatment of the Jews. One of Alexander’s campaigns led him to the Land of Israel in around 329BCE. It is claimed that while in Israel, Alexander came into contact with Simon the Just, the last of the Men of the Great Assembly, the Great High Priest of Israel. Alexander the Great upon seeing Simon the Just dismounted his war stallion and bowed down to Simon. Later when questions arose from Alexander’s advisors he told them that in his dreams he saw an angel leading him into battle. The battle was victorious in Alexander’s dreams and Simon the Just had the face of the angel. Due to Aristotle’s influence of monotheism and Alexander’s sight of Simon the Just he was positively disposed toward the Jews. Alexander decided to make...