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.
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.
Durch die weite Ausbreitung und Zerstreuung des Judentums entstanden früh Orte des Lehrens und religiösen Lebens neben dem Tempel.
Der Band reflektiert die Entstehung der Synagoge, die Gelehrsamkeit und jüdische Versammlung in der Diaspora von Babylonien über Alexandria bis Rom, das Lehrhaus der Weisheit am Beispiel Ben Siras und die Ausbreitung der Lehrhauskultur nach der Zerstörung des Tempels. Er geht der Bedeutung der Schrift in ihrer griechischen Übersetzung (Septuaginta) für das Nachdenken in der Diaspora nach, prüft exemplarisch Impulse und Abgrenzungen, die bei der Entstehung des Christentums durch jüdische Lehre und Schriftworte entstanden, und greift Spuren des christlich-jüdischen Miteinanders bis in jüngste Zeit auf.