The Second Temple Era

The Emergence of Jewish Identity

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The Second Temple period is one of the most important eras in Jewish history. So much of what we take for granted in the 21st century regarding Jewish practice and theology took root in during this stage of Jewish history.

In the biblical period leading up to the Babylonian exile, the people of Israel remained concentrated mainly in the areas under Israelite or Judahite control. The Assyrian conquest of the north and the Babylonian exile created exiled communities that retained their sense of Israelite identity.

The exile and most importantly the process of return provided the opportunity to enforce the convictions espoused by earlier generations with the support, endorsement, and most importantly the power of imperial authority.

As Shaye Cohen states that as a consequence of the Babylonian exile:

“Judaism gradually defined itself more as a religion than as a nationality. It created the institution of conversion which allowed foreigners to be admitted into 'citizenship.' As a religion, Judaism prohibited all marriages between Jews and non-Jews, a prohibition unknown to pre-exilic Israel.” (Shaye J.D. Cohen, From Maccabees to the Mishnah (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987), 21-22.)

The stage was set for a transformation of Israelite religion into the Judaisms of the Second Temple Era.

Discover the critical dates of the Second Temple era and the important events that transpired that helped make up Jewish identity during this crucial stage of Jewish history.

This mini course includes the first three modules.

Eight additional modules will be added in the coming months. No additional cost is required for accessing the other modules.

Your Instructor

Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez
Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez

Rabbi Dr. Juan Marcos Bejarano Gutierrez is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas where he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering. He studied at the Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland and received a Master of Arts Degree in Judaic Studies. He completed his doctoral studies at the Spertus Institute in Chicago in 2015. He studied at the American Seminary for Contemporary Judaism and received rabbinic ordination in 2011 from Yeshiva Mesilat Yesharim.

Rabbi Dr. Bejarano Gutierrez was a board member of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies from 2011-2013. He has published various articles in HaLapid, The Journal for Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian Crypto-Jews, and Apuntes-Theological Reflections from a Hispanic-Latino Context. He is the author of twenty books including What is Kosher?and What is Jewish Prayer?, Who is a Jew?, Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism, and Against the Greeks, He is currently the director of the B’nai Anusim Center for Education at

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Thank you for signing up to The Second Temple Era Mini-Course. The course is the first part of a more extensive course that will give the student an understanding a broad understanding of the critical events and issues that created much of Jewish identity that we know today. Students who sign up for the Mini-Course will have access to the full course once that additional material is completed.

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