Philip the Tetrarch, son of Herod the Great, was the first Jewish ruler to depict human images on his coins. This innovation of adopting numismatic portraiture must be understood in inseparable conjunction with Philip’s aggressive cultivation of the imperial cult at Paneas. The present article, accordingly, offers the first focused study of how the development of iconography on his issues corresponds to specific political events of cultic concern. In this connection, a new interpretation is suggested for Philip’s unique undated minting, deeply implicated in the imperial drama transpiring around the year 31 CE. The tetrarch’s savvy manipulation of images, when seen against this broad background, reveals his unwavering and intensifying allegiance to the domus Augusta: to the princeps in the form of a clipeus virtutis devotion and to Livia under the aspect of Demeter.
The so-called Elephant Mosaic panel from the Huqoq synagogue floor has sparked intense scholarly debate regarding its interpretation. This article proposes a biblical episode as its topic: the killing of the Moabite king Eglon by Ehud ben Gera (Judges 3). Reading the panels as a unified composition, the biblical-midrashic interpretation offered here combines biblical elements with their rabbinic interpretations. The importance of the latter inheres in their reflection of the Galilean milieu contemporary with the Huqoq community. The suggested interpretation also shares common motifs with another source, Megillat Antiochus, thus raising the question of whether, as interpreted here, the Byzantine artistic elements shed light on how the Huqoq community portrayed biblical themes and transmitted later traditions, especially those connected to divine deliverance.
Additions B and E to LXX Esther have been variously dated from the second century BCE to the first century CE. This study links the two Greek Additions, on the one hand, with Philo’s writings through the concept of the “evil-hating justice” and, on the other hand, with the historical persons and events related to the Jewish-Alexandrian conflict of 38-41 CE, and dates their composition or final redaction to the early forties of the first century CE.
This essay is concerned with the meaning of torah and its relationship with wisdom in late Second Temple Judaism. It has been previously argued that, as the Mosaic torah had gained dominance, the wisdom school absorbed and accommodated the Mosaic torah tradition, and yet maintained all the essential elements of the sapiential tradition. Through a study of two Jewish apocalypses, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, the essay discovers not only the sapientialization of the Mosaic torah, but also the total submission of the wisdom tradition under the authority of the Mosaic torah tradition to gain legitimacy. It argues that this is done through a submission of sapiential revelations to the Mosaic revelation received at Sinai, and a portrayal of wisdom recipients and apocalyptic visionaries as types of Moses. This process reflects religious innovation under the disguise of compliance with established, older traditions.
In his recounting of the Exodus narrative of the making of the priestly vestments in Judean Antiquities 3.151-180, 184-187, Josephus provides a vivid description of the high priest’s wardrobe, including its cosmological connotations. This article shows that Josephus uses cosmological motifs in his recounting of the high priestly attire in order to convey a message to his intended audience in Rome. Josephus adds his own accents to the biblical narrative to convince his public that the high priest’s fine clothing functions as a statement that the Judean God is not a national deity with restricted power, but the Highest God, who is the only creator, maintainer, and supreme ruler of the universe. Seen from this perspective, we observe Josephus in dialogue with a well-established Greco-Roman clothing imagery tradition that portrays gods and mortals in symbolic garments to enhance their far-reaching power or authority.