By Robert Chazan
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BARON 35 immersion in modern Jewish history, yet another example of the fresh notions that Baron's personal odyssey brought to his study of the medieval Jewish experience. Let us turn our attention to a third and 'somewhat broader impact of Baron's orientation toward the modern upon his work in medieval Jewish history. One of Baron's abiding interests, from his earliest days as a historian, was demography and demographic change. "'• Baron's interest in and views of Jewish demography and demographic change represent a valuable corrective to more traditional attitudes on this subject.
In fact, we may conjecture that the increased wave of philo-Judaism in the second and third centuries may have been due in part to a reaction against the relatively greater militancy of Christianity in seeking converts. Following through on Professor Baron's insights in seeking various factors that continued to attract non-Jews to Judaism even in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, we are now in a position to add the following:68 the long history of the loyalty of the Jews to the state; a political attempt to win the support of the apparently numerous and influential Jewish community; the reputation that Jews had for regard for law and order, especially in an era marked by extensive lawlessness and even anarchy; a shelter against persecution (in the period before Christianity attained licit status), since the Jews continued to maintain their special privileges; the sheer antiquity of Judaism, granted even by such bitter anti-Jewish bigots as Tacitus; the reputation of the Jews for wisdom, for ethical behavior, for lack of materialism; the euphoria that accompanied the emperor Julian's efforts to rebuild the Temple; the attraction of the special foods and the period of rest that marked the observance of the Jewish Sabbath and holidays; the awe aroused by Jewish scrolls in contrast to the more mundane Christian codices; the ancient and awesome oaths taken before Torah scrolls; the music and even theatricality of the services in the synagogue;69 the relics of Jewish martyrs; the solemnity of the Jewish ritual baths; and admiration for Jewish astronomers, astrologers, alchemists, physicians, and magicians.
280). Even if this figure is exaggerated, as it appears to be, the number must have been impressive. 73. See Feldman, "Omnipresence of the God-Fearers," p. 67, n. 32. 74. 111). 26 LOUIS H. E. 131). In other words, the Romans were pragmatists who, like the Persians and Alexander and Alexander's successors before them, realized that they were too few in number to maintain control over such a vast empire and that the Jews were simply too numerous and too powerful economically to be treated with disdain.