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Authors: Ariel and Faina Feldman

Fragment 5 of the scroll 4Q464 proved to be difficult to decipher. It is exceedingly dark and can only be read with the help of infra-red photographs. Recently, a new such image of this fragment became available. This note demonstrates that this photograph helps clarify much of the fragment’s diffi¬cult wording. While previous scholarship on 4Q464 assumed that fragment 5 deals with the Genesis Flood, this brief study suggests that it contains an admonition alluding to the events of Israel’s past. This new interpretation of fragment 5 supports an earlier proposal that it does not belong to 4Q464, but constitutes a fragment of a now lost text.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism

Light imagery features prominently in 2 Baruch in descriptions of the Torah and righteous individuals. While the Torah is pictured as a lamp that Moses lit and a light that illuminates the way of life, the righteous in 2 Baruch are those who possess the quality of splendor, a feature which falls under the light category and bears resemblance to descriptions of Torah in the text. It is this feature, splendor, which separates the righteous from the wicked and qualifies them to participate in the new age. Scholars of 2 Baruch have wondered about the quality of splendor and how righteous individuals attain it. This article responds to these queries by exploring the nature of the connection between the Torah as a source of light in 2 Baruch and the righteous as those who observe Torah and are characterized by the same light imagery.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Rachel Hachlili

Several unique types of finds from the Jericho cemetery of the Second Temple period are the sub¬ject of this article. Among these finds are unusual inscriptions (an inscribed memorial bowl from Jericho; personal names articulated in the Goliath tomb; and an abecedary with mystical hints), funerary art (a wall painting and a nefesh, or funerary marker), and evidence for the use of wooden coffins as a form of burial. The customs exhibited at the Jewish cemetery at Jericho reveal previ¬ously unknown data that contribute significantly to our knowledge of Jewish burial practices of the Second Temple Period. In addition to addressing this archaeological evidence, the article takes up how the burial practices at this site reveal the diversity among the deceased and designated roles associated with the deceased.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism

Modern commentators on the Vitae Prophetarum have tended to assume that every prophet’s bur-ial in this text was considered monumental in scale. A close examination of the language used to describe each burial yields a different, more nuanced picture. Vitae Prophetarum features prophets being buried in one of three ways: in a more-or-less monumental rock-cut tomb just outside Jerusalem, in a rock-cut tomb on the prophet’s own property, or in an indistinct field grave. This typology agrees with the emerging archaeological record of socioeconomic distinctions in burial practices. Whereas Jewish elites were buried in rock-cut tombs around Jerusalem or, more modestly, on their own estates, non-elites were interred in simple trench graves. This study demonstrates that the Vitae Prophetarum corroborates this relationship between burial types and socioeconomic distinctions, placing priestly elites and landowners in rock-cut tombs but the humbler prophets in trench graves.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Schöningh, Fink and mentis Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy E-Books Online, is the electronic version of the book publication program of Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Wilhelm Fink Verlag and mentis Verlag in the field of Religious Studies, Theology and Philosophy.

Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Christianity, History of Religion, Religion & Society, Missionary Studies

The relationship between Simon II (220–c. 195 B. C. E.) and Ben Sira bears much upon the context and dating of the Book of Ben Sira. The setting of patronage and reciprocity in the Mediterranean world raises problems with the common interpretation of Sir 50:1–24 as a eulogy for Simon II. The label of encomium for Sirach 44–50, and the identification of Simon the Righteous, are likewise considered. This article explores reciprocity in Ben Sira’s text, as well as Greek, Roman, and Second Temple examples of patronage, including Tobias in the Zenon archive, Jewish funerary inscriptions, Herod the Great, Aristeas, and 1 Maccabees 12. It is argued that a more fitting way of understanding Sir 50:1–24 and the importance of reciprocity in Ben Sira’s text is that Simon II might be considered as alive at the time of writing, and a probable patronage relationship can be posited. An earlier dating of around 198 B. C. E. is proposed for Sir 50:1–24, if not the entire Book of Ben Sira.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Ruth Henderson

The enigmatic wisdom poem of Job 28:1–28 stands apart from the rest of the book of Job in style and structure. Most read this poem in linear progression as three strophes (vv. 1–11; 15–19; 23–28) with an intervening refrain (vv. 12–14; 20–22). In this study, it is suggested that the poem has been presented in the form of a concentric or compositional ring structure, which juxtaposes arguments rather than presenting them in a linear fashion. According to this structure there are five compositional units, the centre of which holds the main point of the text (A, B, C, B1, A1). A central section (C vv. 15–19), maintains the traditional view of the supreme value of wisdom. The central unit is surrounded by two inner parallel sections each beginning with a rhetorical question concerning the location of wisdom (Sections B vv. 12–14 and B1 vv. 20–22), and two outer sections (A vv. 1–11 and A1 vv. 23–28) in which two contrasting ways of acquiring wisdom are presented: by independent human effort presented in the form of a mining metaphor (A vv. 1–11); or by contemplation of God’s omnipotent creative power and reverence for Him resulting in right behaviour (A1). Each of the major units also follows a concentric pattern.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism

The field of contact linguistics has produced valuable insights into the ways languages behave in contact environments, and the present essay represents an attempt to adapt a number of these insights to the study of cultural contact more broadly. The historical phenomenon under discussion is a theological strand shared by rabbinic and late antique Platonist sources, namely, the attempt to formulate a theory of sacrifice that does not entail an anthropomorphic conception of (the highest) God. After adducing some of the key sources that represent this attempt in the respective traditions, the essay examines how best to conceptualize such similarity, absent shared terminology, explicit cross-tradition citations or references, or any other traditional markers of “influence.” Here I employ the contact-linguistic category of areal diffusion, that describes the tendency of languages in contact over time to gradually adopt common features, even though it is not possible to determine which language “borrowed” from the other. Taking the theological critique of sacrifice as the cultural analogue to a linguistic feature, it is possible to see how the feature is evident in certain streams within rabbinic Judaism, platonic Paganism, and early Christianity. The essay then turns to examine some of the ramifications of a contact-linguistic approach and, drawing on the work of Salikoko Mufwene, puts forth two arguments: that the distinction between internally- and externally-induced change is both theoretically and analytically inadequate; and the need to examine cultural continuity no less than cultural change as the result of contact dynamics.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
In: Journal of Ancient Judaism