JEWS IN IMPERIAL ADMINISTRATION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR DATING THE JEWISH DONOR INSCRIPTION FROM APHRODISIAS

in Journal for the Study of Judaism
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Abstract

The publication of the Jewish donor inscription from Aphrodisias has gatherer significant attention, most notably because of the 54 men identified as "God-fearers." The initial publication dated the inscription to the early third century. Recent studies, particularly those by M. Bonz and A. Chaniotis, have presented evidence in favor of a date in the fifth century or later. If this dating is correct the Aphrodisias inscription would present an important witness to the ongoing, constructive relations between Jews, pagans, and Christians at a time where other sources register a more hostile environment. This paper argues for an alternative date and thereby renders this conclusion improbable. Two details, heretofore ignored in all previous discussions, Theodotos' service as palatinus and the recognition of three men as proselytes, offer the most secure basis for dating the inscription to the fourth century. Theodotos' position within the Roman imperial administration in particular makes it extremely unlikely that the text was composed in the fifth century, a time when Jews were regularly excluded by Roman law from these post.

JEWS IN IMPERIAL ADMINISTRATION AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR DATING THE JEWISH DONOR INSCRIPTION FROM APHRODISIAS

in Journal for the Study of Judaism

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