This article examines the meaning and the development of the terms used to introduce baraitot transmitted by amoraim in the Bavli: “Tannei Rav X.” Why are these baraitot not introduced with the more usual terms used for citing a baraita, “tanya” and “tannu rabbanan?” I will argue that the term “tannei Rav X” was created in the generations that followed the named amora, as an alternative to the usual citation formula employed by the sage himself when he first quoted the baraita. A sage later to Rav X (or the “stam”) who wished to refer to a baraita quoted earlier by Rav X, used the term “tannei Rav X” to do so. These baraitot (around 80%) have parallels in tannaitic compositions or in the Yerushalmi. This finding bears additional weight on the question of the origins of the terminology used to quote baraitot in the Bavli.
Many diaspora communities identify not only with a distant homeland but also with others distant from the homeland. How exactly do these intercommunal connections take place and contribute toward a shared identity? What specific aspects of diasporan identity are created or strengthened? What practices are involved? This study will begin to answer these questions through investigating two practices which were widespread among diaspora Jewish communities during the last two centuries of the Second Temple period (1st cent. B.C.E.–1st cent. C.E.). First, we will show how sending offerings and making pilgrimages to the Jerusalem temple from these communities enabled regular intercommunal contact. Then, we will suggest some ways in which these voluntary practices reinforced a cohesive Jewish identity and the importance of the homeland, especially the city of Jerusalem and the temple, for many diaspora Jews, whether they lived in Alexandria, Rome, Asia Minor, or Babylonia.
The first century sees a substantial rise in the frequency with which Greek speaking authors discuss pistis (here, understood as fidelity, trust, confidence, proof). The authors who use pistis the most include Philo, Paul, and Josephus. This suggests that while many people are thinking about fidelity, ethnic Judeans are thinking about it disproportionately. This essay focuses on two such authors, Philo and Josephus. I argue that both Judeans claim fidelity to be a foundational national-ethnic characteristic, from the patriarchs to their own day. Furthermore, the article argues that this image of enduring Judean fidelity can be better understood within the context of living under the colonizing power of Rome – a principate that is equally preoccupied with fidelity (fides).
This study posits that the Temptation pericope of Matt 4:1–11 and the Psalm Pesher (4QpPsa, 4Q171) are based on a common tradition. Underlying this tradition is a dual-tripartite construct of testing/temptation. This is based on the three Pentateuchal wilderness tests encountered by Israel which are identifiable through the root נ–ס–ה/“test:” keeping the law, false prophecy leading to idolatry, and testing God. Conflated, and individually correlated with this, are the three nets of Belial: “fornication,” “wealth,” and “profanation of the Temple,” respectively. Also going beyond the biblical narrative are the Devil acting in circumlocution for God, the venues, forms of testing, and lexicon used in corresponding testing sections of these two texts. Only through Psalm 37, together with its exegesis in 4Q171, is this shared tradition recognized. In conclusion, the provenance and diachronic history of this tradition, which resulted in differing understandings of it, is investigated.
Recent studies demonstrate the Dead Sea Scrolls attest to a wide variety of methods of technical divination. While scholars have analyzed these techniques, women’s involvement in them has not been addressed. I argue that by choosing a methodological perspective that allows women’s presence in the texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls provide an important witness to women’s involvement in various divinatory techniques. By focusing on three avenues to inquire about the divine will: the oracle of the lot, astronomy, and physiognomy, I suggest that apart from being objects of these methods, women were involved in their practice. Women’s participation in technical divinatory techniques is the most noticeable in inquiries that concern their own bodies and matters related to procreation.
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.
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.
Use of rock-cut stepped pools for immersion in harvested rainwater is first attested in Judean source material of the second century BCE and on archaeological record shortly thereafter. As argued here, the practice became widespread due to the impact of Greco-Roman ideas about health and well-being. Immersion of the body in water was seen in the Greek medical tradition as a beneficial activity; it balanced the humors, opened harmful blockages in the skin membrane, and helped facilitate unction. Once these ideas became widespread in Judea, local purification rituals followed, and began incorporating immersion in water. The rabbinic dichotomy between purification and cleansing was likely irrelevant for most Judeans in the late Second Temple period, who probably also saw immersion as beneficial for personal hygiene. For this reason, stepped pools nearly disappear from archaeological record with the rise of public bathhouses, which offered the convenience of large and well-maintained immersion pools in exchange for a fee.
A limestone plaque KhQ2207 from Khirbet Qumran contains an inscription which has not been fully deciphered. The revised transcription of the stone proposed in this study indicates that it contains a first-person address, perhaps by the deity, referring to a future judgment. As a literary text inscribed by a trained scribe, KhQ2207 stands in sharp contrast to other scribal exercises found at and near Qumran, suggesting that its initial classification as an exercise should be reconsidered.
Scholars have long debated whether Josephus learned Scripture while he was in Jerusalem or only once he got to Rome. The question intersects with, and is hard to answer without, a more general assessment of language use and the education of the (priestly) elite in Jerusalem at that time. This paper argues that Josephus knew little Hebrew and never learned to read Scripture in the original; he was, in this respect, typical of the Jewish elite. His introduction to written Scripture was in its Greek translation, in Rome.