The center of cultured Greek life had always been the city, the polis. The Hellenistic rulers never tried to impose a mass Greek civilization on their subjects; they could not have, even had they wanted to. They relied on their cities gradually to extend their civilizing influence over the countryside around. As the life of the polis had developed, it was essentially one for the cultured gentleman who had slaves to enable him to have sufficient leisure to give himself to polite pursuits. So we have to picture Hellenism as spreading from the city to the village, from the rich to the poor. The fact that most of the Jews in Judea were probably farmers with few slaves to give them leisure helps to explain why the majority were slow to be influenced by the new outlook on life.
- from page 70, From Babylon to Bethlehem