Journal of Ancient Judaism – Supplements The Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplement Series (JAJS) addresses the history, texts, and religious formations that make up the rich cultural trace extending from the Babylonian Exile through the Babylonian Talmud. This new interdisciplinary series will serve as a forum of discussion for scholars from all scholarly and religious backgrounds. The editors are especially interested in contributions that cover wide-ranging topics through detailed, closelyworked arguments. Between two and four volumes will typically appear each year. Studies that situate particular inquiries in Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, or Rabbinics within the broader context of academic Jewish Studies are especially welcome, as are collected studies or edited volumes that reflect on the nature of disciplinary boundaries. As a peer-reviewed series, JAJS has an advisory board whose members will anonymously review manuscripts. Submissions will be accepted in English, German, and French.
Creation, Composition, and Condition
This book is an analysis of early Jewish thought on human nature, specifically, the complex of characteristics that are understood to be universally innate, and/or God-given, to collective humanity and the manner which they depict human existence in relationship, or lack thereof, to God. Jewish discourse in the Greco-Roman period (4th c. BCE until 1st c. CE) on human nature was not exclusively particularistic, although the immediate concern was often communal-specific. Evidence shows that many of these discussions were also an attempt to grasp a general, or universal, human nature. The focus of this work has been narrowed to three categories that encapsulate the most prevalent themes in Second Temple Jewish texts, namely, creation, composition, and condition.
Authors: Joseph Scales and Cat Quine

Abstract

Athaliah and Alexandra were the only two women to rule as queens of Judah/Judaea in their own right and both women’s reigns are reported in Josephus’ writings. Despite their uniqueness, however, Athaliah and Alexandra are rarely compared in scholarship; the former is usually dismissed, and focus centred on the latter. This article contends that there are historical similarities between the two, but literary differences. Josephus could have referred to Athaliah or used elements of her portrayal in his presentation of Alexandra but does not, creating the impression that Alexandra was completely different to her predecessor. It may be instructive, therefore, to consider why Josephus literarily isolates the queens and what this means for his interpretation of Alexandra.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Marcus Rautman

Abstract

The Sardis Synagogue is a key monument of diaspora Judaism, whose rich visual language runs through its decoration and furnishings. Votive texts, inscribed reliefs, and freestanding lampstands found in the building make clear the central importance of the menorah as a resonant religious image but also a functional object. Differences in material, size, form, and decoration reflect multiple sources for the Sardis menorahs, with imported examples apparently guiding the production of distinctive local versions over two centuries. As a group, they document the diffusion of visual ideas as well as contacts with other Jewish communities in late antiquity.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Dries De Crom

Abstract

This article explores the limits and possibilities of a functional theory of systems, more specifically Polysystem Theory, in the context of ancient Hebrew-Greek translation. It describes the central ideas and concepts of Polysystem Theory, and explores how they might be applied to various forms of translation in the Hellenistic age. An attempt is then made to sketch the development of Hebrew-Greek translation from a systemic perspective, from its internal organization to its eventual fate in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Matan Orian

Abstract

After his takeover of Judea, Antiochus III issued a programma that prohibits the introduction of impure animals into Jerusalem. Two Qumran Scrolls contain parallels to this injunction but target a different audience, i.e., Jews, as opposed to the gentile audience of the programma. Consequently, the focus of these texts also differs: pure animals in the scrolls, impure animals in the programma. Nonetheless, the programma, the scrolls, and perhaps also some instructions in the Mishnah reflect a coherent interpretation of the biblical ban on non-sacral slaughter within a certain radius around God’s altar. Furthermore, comparison of these sources reinforces the authenticity of the programma, offers a possible underlying reasoning for a reconstructed ruling in the Temple Scroll, and even alludes to the Vorlage of the biblical text employed for drafting the programma. Further evidence, however, implies that the relevant Jewish halakhah underwent a significant change during the second century BCE.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Tova Ganzel

Abstract

Several Babylonian talmudic sources call for the withdrawal of the book of Ezekiel from circulation. This article examines the development of this tradition and demonstrates how later rabbis integrated early texts in its creation and also used exegetical means to address the contradictions between Ezekiel’s stipulations and pentateuchal law. Another area of concern was Ezekiel’s prophetic status: some rabbinic texts granted Ezekiel the power of a lawgiver; others framed him as transmitting Mosaic traditions; and still others lowered Ezekiel’s prophetic status.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: On Human Nature in Early Judaism