The Pharisaic spiritual leaders believed that the survival of Judaism was now in greater danger than at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes who forced a debased Hellenism upon Judaeans and defiled the Temple. This had once aroused the resistance of the people, who were ready to die for their beliefs, and made it possible for the Hasmoneans to succeed in their rebellion. During the Roman period, the Judaeans suffered no physical coercion to abandon their religion. True, Pompey's entrance into the Holy of Holies aroused great indignation, but Julius Caesar and Mark Antony honored the Temple. The danger to Judaism was from the Hellenism prevailing in many of the cities which had been conquered by Jannaeus Alexander and made part of Judaea, and also from contact with the Romans. To counteract this, great stress was laid on religion which the Sages believed was indestructible.

from page 426, The Rise and Fall of the Judaean State