I’ve been reading a Biblical encyclopedia and ran across an entry about games and entertainment. Scouring through the Bible, researchers found that among “serious-minded” Jews, music and dancing was usually of the religious nature. Popular games included archery, and lifting heavy rocks to prove a man’s strength seems also to have been a festive pastime. Children pretended they were grown-up and imitated weddings, much like kids still do today. Ancient Israelite children seemed to have enjoyed playing “funeral” as well. The ancient Israelites loved guessing riddles too.
Ancient Jews who loved and participated in Greek culture were called Hellenists. The Hellenists were no doubt fond of Greece’s love of games. There was Greek boxing and wrestling. And of course the Olympic Games still continue today. Modern-day track meets are modeled after ancient Greek sporting games. The festivities must have been enticing, because there was a lot of controversy when Jews embraced Greek culture. Those disapproving were probably the more “serious-minded.”
Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy – A How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy II – Uncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors and Secret Genealogy III – From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:
Secret Genealogy II: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222
Secret Genealogy III: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X