Martin Goodman (historian)

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Martin Goodman

Martin David Goodman

(1953-08-01) 1 August 1953 (age 65)
Academic background
Alma materTrinity College, Oxford
ThesisState and society in Roman Galilee, AD 132-212 (1980)
Academic work

Martin David Goodman, FBA (born 1 August 1953) is a British historian and academic, specialising in Roman history and the history and literature of the Jews in the Roman period.

Early life and education[edit]

Goodman was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, (B.A.) where he studied classical language and literature, ancient history and philosophy (Literae Humaniores). He completed his Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree in 1980: his doctoral thesis was titled State and society in Roman Galilee, AD 132-212.[1] In 2010 he was awarded the degree of DLitt.

Academic career[edit]

Goodman began his academic career as a research fellow, holding the Kaye Junior Research Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies from 1976 to 1977. He was then a lecturer in ancient history at the University of Birmingham from 1977 to 1986.[2]

In 1986, Goodman was elected a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He was awarded the Title of Distinction of Professor of Jewish Studies by the University of Oxford in 1996. From 2014 to 2018, he was the President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.[2][3]

He has edited the Journal of Roman Studies, and the Journal of Jewish Studies. He is past President of the British Association for Jewish Studies, past secretary of the European Association of Jewish Studies, and he is a fellow and governor of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Research and teaching[edit]

Goodman teaches Roman history and Jewish history, and has written extensively on Jewish history in the Graeco-Roman period.

Goodman specialises in Jewish history during the Roman period, including the religious and political conditions of the Jews, and their interactions with other peoples of the Roman Empire.


In 1996, Goodman was elected Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).[4] In 2010, he was made an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Oxford.

Selected works[edit]

  • State and Society in Roman Galilee AD 132-212, 2nd edition, London 2000 ISBN 0-85303-380-3
  • The Ruling Class of Judaea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt Against Rome, A.D. 66-70 , Cambridge, 1987 ISBN 0-521-44782-8
  • Mission and Conversion: Proselytizing in the Religious History of the Roman Empire, Oxford, 1994 ISBN 0-19-814941-7
  • The Roman World, 44 BC-AD 180, London, 1997 ISBN 0-415-04970-9.
  • (ed.) Jews in a Graeco-Roman World, Oxford, 1998 ISBN 0-19-815078-4
  • (joint ed.) Apologetics in the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews and Christians, Oxford, 1999 ISBN 0-19-826986-2
  • (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, Oxford, 2002 ISBN 0-19-829996-6
  • "Judaism in the Roman World, collected essays, Leiden, 2007 ISBN 978-90-04-15309-7
  • Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations, New York, 2007 ISBN 0-375-41185-2
  • (joint ed) "Rabbinic Texts and the History of Late Roman Palestine", Oxford, 2010 ISBN 978-0-19-726474-4
  • Goodman, Martin (2018) A History of Judaism Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691181271.

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations[edit]

B. Weinstein, professor emeritus at Howard University describes the work as a "page turner" because of its clarity and style. Weinstein also notes that Goodman has provided a huge number of primary sources.[5] Rose Mary Sheldon offers a more critical review. Recognising his expertise in both Roman and Jewish history, Sheldon comments that while the text is clear and logical it uses minimal footnotes and is aimed towards a general audience. Sheldon also claims that Goodman's arguments in favour of a lack of conflict between Romans and Jews between 6-60 CE "do not hold water". Sheldon does conclude that Goodman has written an accurate historical survey of Roman-Jewish relations.[6] Publishers Weekly observes that Goodman has backed his account with archaeological evidence and ancient commentary with the result of producing a "scholarly tour de force". Its criticism is that Goodman has given more space to Romans than Jews.[7] Jay Freeman in Booklist holds Goodman's work to be a "definitive account" for historians of both the Roman and Jewish worlds. Freeman also states that Goodman has convincingly illuminated the role of the Jewish-Roman conflict in shaping relations between Jews and Christians.[8] David Noy of the University of Wales, Lampeter describes in The Journal of Roman Studies that the picture portrayed in the book is a "compelling one". However, Noy criticizes Goodman's over reliance on Josephus.[9] Erich S. Gruen gives a highly positive review and recommends this book for it "demands attention" because it is a "sweeping survey" which aims to reach an audience beyond academia. Describing Goodman as "too good a historian" he observes that Goodman has approached the subject in a "masterly fashion". Gruen's conclusion is that Goodman is committed to "thorough and scrupulous" scholarship.[10]


  1. ^ Goodman, M. D. (1980). "State and society in Roman Galilee, AD 132-212". E-Thesis Online Service. The British Library Board. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b 'GOODMAN, Prof. Martin David', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 16 Aug 2017
  3. ^ "Appointment of Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger as President". Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Professor Martin Goodman". British Academy. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  5. ^ Weinstein, B (August 2008). "Rome and Jerusalem: the clash of ancient civilizations - Book Review". Choice. 45 (12): 2217.
  6. ^ Sheldon, Rose Mary (2010). "Rome and Jerusalem: An Ancient Clash of Civilizations - Book Review". Intelligence and National Security. 25 (6): 856–861. doi:10.1080/02684527.2010.537882.
  7. ^ "Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations - Book Review". Publishers Weekly. 254 (34): 72. 27 August 2007.
  8. ^ Freeman, Jay (2007). "Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations - Book Review". Booklist. 104 (4): 25.
  9. ^ Noy, David (2008). "Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations - Book Review". The Journal of Roman Studies. 98: 195–197.
  10. ^ Gruen, Erich (2009). "Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations - Book Review". Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics. 17 (1): 137–146.

External links[edit]