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This book examines the social, economic, political, and cultural context of first-century Judaism. During the first century AD Judaism experienced a crisis of cultural erosion due to foreign influences. Professor Riches describes the ways in which foreign domination threatened the Jewish community and discusses the ways in which various groups of Jews tried to preserve their cultural identity. Relating Jesus' teaching to that of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, the Essenes, and John the Baptist, Riches argues that Jesus was deeply committed to the values of the Jewish tradition, even while he proposed radical change that he believed would bring renewal.