David A. Michelson
The relationship between two first- or second-century C.E. Jewish apocalypses, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, is complex, and remains unresolved. It is well known that elements of both works occur, predicated of Jeremiah, in a singular rabbinic text, Pesiqta Rabbati 26. In this paper, I argue that analysis of the development of the traditions underlying 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch must take more serious account of two pararabbinic texts, a pair of laments by the seventh-century Byzantine poet Qillir.
Margaret H. Williams
This paper aims to establish for the first time the relationship between the verbal and visual elements of the Jewish epitaphs from 3d/4th-century C.E. Rome. A close analysis of the approximately 500 usable inscriptions leads to the conclusion that, the Jewish character of most of the images notwithstanding, the key operative factor at every social level was Roman memorialisation practice. The study thus throws considerable light on the acculturation of Rome’s Jews in Late Antiquity. Two appendices, in which all the symbols that occur are listed individually and by cluster, complete the study.
An examination of Tannaic sources uncovers a dual strategy regarding the bounds of non-priestly purity. On the one hand, it was common during the period of the Second Temple and thereafter to exercise extreme caution in keeping impurity away even from the profane. On the other hand, however, the sages acted overtly to maintain a clear distinction between the theoretical-biblical concept of ritual impurity, which was steadily limited to the sacred, and the much more stringent customs they lived by. The article argues that, contrary to what has been accepted in the literature, there never existed any disagreement on this issue in the rabbinic world.
The biblical or non-biblical nature of the manuscripts currently identified as 4QReworked Pentateuch (4Q158; 4Q364–67) has been the subject of much scholarly discussion. This paper addresses a facet of those texts which has unfortunately been ignored in most of those discussions, namely their treatment of the legal material in the Pentateuch. An examination of the surviving legal portions of 4QReworked Pentateuch, manuscript by manuscript, indicates that much greater freedom is shown in handling the laws than in any known pentateuchal textual tradition. We find that laws are omitted from their original locations in the Pentateuch, and, almost without exception, do not reappear in a new location. There also appears to be almost no exegetical reworking of the laws. We conclude that we should not presume that the 4QRP texts included the entire Pentateuch, and that their omission of legal material should probably lead us to characterize some, if not all, of them as non-biblical.