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The first three volumes of The Cambridge History of Judaism cover the history of the Jews from the Exile in 587 BCE to the early Roman period extending into the third century CE. A comprehensive examination is made of all the relevant literary and archeological sources, and special attention is given to the interaction of Iranian, Semitic, Hellenistic and Roman cultures. The contributors include both Jewish and Gentile scholars from many countries, and this History thus helps to deliver the study of Jewish history and Christian origins from geographical and religious limitations, and contributes to a deeper understanding and a broader tolerance. This first volume opens with three introductory chapters to the work as a whole dealing with the geographical background, the chronology and the numismatic history of Judaism. The remainder of this volume concentrates on the Persian period, the two and a half centuries following the Babylonian Exile.