Gregg Gardner


Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Mosaics of identity : Herodian legitimization through localized cultic toleration (2023)

No abstract available.

Reimagining the problem of evil in the Jewish-Roman interwar period of 74-116 C.E. (2023)

This thesis analyzes the convergence of ideologies and events in the period between the collapse of Jerusalem’s Second Temple in 70 C.E. and the Diaspora revolt of 116-117 C.E. It explores the trends of theological dissonance for the justification of God in juxtaposition to an atmosphere of exacerbating and prolonged suffering through slavery, acute stigma, and social and economic oppression, during this interbellum period. The thesis looks back into the causes behind the Great revolt, particularly through the theodical objectives reflected in Josephus’ writings, while advancing the plausibility of similar trends behind the Diaspora revolt. Based on historically verifiable events during this period, the contemporaneous sources - the Sibylline Oracles 4, 5, 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra - portray the view of the adaptation of pre-existing conceptualizations of theodicy into an imminent messianic and eschatological expectation. Drawing from a Hegelian dialectical template of historicist-idealism, the thesis proposes a methodology of phenomenology of belief-action reciprocity. The thesis’s main argument is that the ideological trends in this period constituted a crucial impetus, or a cause, for the Diaspora revolt. This ideology emerged from social conditions, particularly the gradual unification of the nation through unwarranted sufferings after 70 CE. The ideology was mediated by the rise of apocalyptic-eschatology associated with the 116-117 uprising. For this reason, my thesis directs our attention to a plausible interdependence between the Diaspora revolt and the Trajanic Parthian campaign. In so doing this thesis seeks to contribute an additional layer to our understanding of the ideological zeitgeist behind the Diaspora revolt, while also addressing a gap in scholarship concerning the transformation and adaptation of theodicy from Second Temple sectarian ideologies into solution(s) that were embraced only after the failed Bar Kochva revolt (132–136 CE) by rabbinic Judaism (beginning c. 200 CE).

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The causes of the Bar Kokhba revolt: a critical reassessment and new comparisons (2017)

No abstract available.

Building the Second Temple: Interpreting the Evidence (2016)

This thesis summarizes a brief survey of literature that bears on the question of when the Second Temple was built. To the extent that the launching of Second Temple Judaism is conceptually related to the construction of the Second Temple, an estimate of when the Temple was built is important in assessing the opportunity that the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism, had to influence the ideology and doctrine of the ancient Jewish religion. The thesis is presented in two parts. The first part summarizes the scholarship published in The Cambridge Ancient Series, The Cambridge History of Judaism series, and anthologies, authored by such scholars as E. Stern, T.C. Mitchell, H. Tadmor, I. Eph’al, L.L. Grabbe, B. Becking, and O. Lipschits. This section concludes, not surprisingly, that construction of the Second Temple was complete by the end of the sixth century BCE. The second part summarizes theories offered by Kenneth G. Hoglund and Diana Edelman. In his 1992 book, Achaemenid Imperial Administration in Syria-Palestine and the Missions of Ezra and Nehemiah, Hoglund argues that alarmed at the growing threat posed by the Greeks and Egyptians on Persian hegemony over the eastern Mediterranean, the Persian authorities took steps to enhance the military preparedness of the region. Accordingly, in the mid-fifth century BCE, the Persians built garrisons throughout the Levant and fortified Jerusalem by rebuilding its defensive wall. In her 2005 book, The Origins of the ‘Second’ Temple: Persian Imperial Policy and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem, Edelman argues that having learned during the Egyptian Revolt that the Levant was underproducing, Artaxerxes I (465-423 BCE) implemented a comprehensive plan to improve food production, manpower availability, governance, transportation, communication, and security. It was the realization of this plan that resulted in the rebuilding of the defensive wall around Jerusalem and the building of the Second Temple. It is Edelman’s opinion that construction of the Second Temple was completed late in the fifth century BCE.

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