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Alternative title

exploring religious cultural exchange within the Seleucid empire

Date of Award

Winter 2024

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Garfinkle, Steven J.

Second Advisor

Johnston, Christine L.

Third Advisor

Picus, Daniel


The goal of this thesis was to critically analyze religious cultural exchange between the Seleucid rulers and the non-Hellenic subjects of the Seleucid Empire (ca. 300 - 64 BCE). The research focuses on Seleucid-Babylonian relations and Seleucid-Jewish relations, although there was some research done on earlier events of Jewish history, primarily the Neo-Babylonian period (ca.626 - 539 BCE). The main conclusion of this thesis is that the Hellenistic/Seleucid Period should no longer be categorized as a period of cultural assimilation, or “Hellenization” of ancient West Asian cultures. Instead, the research of this thesis proves that the cultures ruled by the Seleucids engaged with Seleucid religion and reacted to it in a diverse number of ways, including but not limited to a willing integration and active collaboration with Seleucid religious customs (and vice versa) or a total rejection of Seleucid religious influence, rejection which led to civil conflicts with the Seleucids. The Seleucid-Babylonians represent one of the cultures that integrated and collaborated with Seleucids in religious customs. The Seleucid-Jews represent the opposite, a complete rejection of Seleucid religious influence.




Hellenism, Hellenization, ancient Near East, ancient West Asia, Babylonia, Judea, Seleucid Empire


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Hellenism; Seleucids; Judaism--History--Post-exilic period, 586 B.C.-210 A.D.; Cultural relations




masters theses




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