This article examines the topic of exposing Jews of tainted lineage and of maintaining genealogical knowledge in rabbinic literature. Recent scholarship on lineage in rabbinic literature focused on rabbinic attitudes towards lineage and towards revealing invalid Jews. A consensus emerged according to which Babylonian rabbis encouraged exposing Jews of invalid lineage, while Palestinian rabbis preferred to conceal this information. The first part of this article shows that in fact, Palestinian rabbinic sources offer a range of voices regarding exposing invalid Jews. The second section focuses on the issue of maintenance of genealogical knowledge. Scholars assumed that the Rabbis were the central repository of genealogical knowledge, and that they controlled its flow to the community. I show that rabbinic sources do not assume that the rabbis possessed genealogical knowledge. Rather, it is the community as a collective, and the individuals that make it up, that preserve, transmit, and reveal, genealogical information.
This study investigates tannaitic material and passages from the Jerusalem Talmud that address the integration of the descendants of converts into Israel. These texts focus on two main legal issues: the eligibility of converts’ daughters for marriage with priests; and, the recitation of certain liturgical formulae, which indicate Israelite lineage, by converts’ offspring. While tannaitic literature presents competing views on the incorporation of converts’ progeny into Israelite society, the Yerushalmi seems to prioritize facilitating the absorption of converts and their descendants into Israel. While scholars have often considered these sources in terms of stringency and leniency, I view these differences as major (even revolutionary) changes that are based on distinct legal models. I suggest that the Roman understanding of citizenship and the Roman framework for determining the status of freed slaves were among the factors that influenced and eventually enabled the acceptance of converts’ descendants as full members of Israel.
Societies are constituted of thick networks of intersecting constructs: genealogical anxiety is bound up with stronger patriarchal family structures. Goody and Guichard portrayed two clusters of social features – the “Occidental” (bi-lineal family model, strengthened nuclear family, solid husband-wife relationship, monogamy, loose gender separation, and a higher status of women); and the “Oriental” (patrilineal model, broader family structure, weak husband-wife relationship, tribal importance attributed to genealogy, codes of honor and shame, legitimacy of polygamy, rigid gender separation, a lower status of women, active men, and female passivity). Following these taxonomies, the article explores the relationship between genealogical anxiety and intersecting social commitments in classical and early medieval rabbinic culture: Talmudic and Midrashic stories, as well as an exegetical narrative from an unknown Midrash preserved in the Genizah. It also claims that the earlier sources are proven helpful in reaffirming the claim for a different mode of genealogical anxiety in Babylonian sources.
The rise of “conversion,” i.e., the interpretation of Jewishness as an elective identity, is frequently described as a consequence of the advent of Hellenism. This article argues that while the main observations on the chronology and the nature of the phenomenon are correct, “Hellenism” as such cannot explain it. A more plausible context is the change of power relations in Judea after the interventions of Antiochus IV. When the depositions of legitimate high priests and the rise of the Hasmoneans called into question the value of genealogy as an ordering principle, the lessons learned were not limited to the political sphere.
Rabbis and priests are often viewed as two groups in competition and rabbinic sources relating to priests are consequently interpreted through a prism of conflict. While focusing on the situation in Sasanian Babylonia, this paper posits that the ancient sources point to a more complex situation whereby there is also much evidence of a positive attitude towards the priesthood in rabbinic sources. These sources must of necessity be treated seriously in any appraisal of the interaction between rabbis and priests.
This article assesses the importance of lineage and virtue in Josephus’ notions of Jewish nobility and the Jewish people. Furthermore, it investigates the respective roles of Josephus’ priestly education and his exposition to Roman culture in his use of such concepts. I argue that while Josephus adopted some aspects of Roman or Greco-Roman discourses on nobility, such as the notion that true nobility goes along with virtue, he resisted the Roman sociopolitical view of nobility, because he tended to identify Jewish aristocracy with the priesthood and thus stuck to a genealogical model. By contrast, Josephus’ definition of the kinship (oikeiotēs) that unites the members of the Jewish people as based either on birth/common ancestors or on choice (the choice to live under Jewish laws, implicitly characterized as virtuous) in Against Apion reflects the impact on the Judean historian of Roman citizenship grants and the pro-Roman discourses that praised this policy.
Die neuartige Übersetzung der Johannesapokalypse von Stefan Alkier und Thomas Paulsen führt die Fachkompetenzen eines Theologen und eines Klassischen Philologen zusammen. Sie wird in einer Lese- und einer Studienfassung vorgelegt, welche die ästhetische und theologische Sprachkraft dieses hochberühmten letzten Buches der Bibel auf ungewohnte Weise lesbar macht. Sie führt so zu zahlreichen überraschenden Erkenntnissen über die sprachliche Gestaltung und den Sinngehalt dieses äußerst komplexen Textes. Die weitgehend wörtliche Übersetzung überträgt auch so viele syntaktische Strukturen des Originals wie möglich ins Deutsche. Beigegeben sind der Übersetzung eine Einführung mit Erläuterung der Übersetzungsprinzipien, ein Epilog, in dem zentrale Interpretationsansätze vorgeführt werden, und ein Glossar mit den markantesten semantischen Entscheidungen des Übersetzerteams, das sich nicht an späteren kirchlichen Traditionen, sondern am Koine-Griechisch des 1. Jh. n. Chr. orientiert.
Lesung der Johannesapokalypse: Peter Schröder, Ensemblemitglied am Schauspiel Frankfurt, liest die Johannesapokalypse, neu übersetzt von Stefan Alkier und Thomas Paulsen.
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