Jews were an island in sea of Greek influence

Jewish leaders faced pagan influences and other challenges as Greek culture and language penetrated daily life in Judah. The Church Educational System's Old Testament Student manual states:

"Greeks looked on the traditions, customs and religion of the Jews as primitive, archaic, and barbaric; they set about to `enlighten' them. Even the surrounding peoples quickly accepted the Greek rule, and soon the Jews were an island in a sea of Greek influence."Formerly, the Jews were distinguished by unity, but under this new administrative pressure, a Syrian-Greek bloc took shape. The crucial question arose about whether, against the force of this united front, the Jewish nation could hold its own or whether it would be subsumed culturally and religiously as it had been politically and thus lose its identity.

"The danger was very real. The intoxicating influence of the heady Greek philosophy and materialism soon penetrated the upper strata of Jewish society."

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