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.
This article analyzes the portrayal of the matriarch Sarah in the fifth-century Palestinian rabbinic midrash Genesis Rabbah. The midrash not only dedicates a large number of derashot to the matriarch, but it repeatedly depicts her as a model of personal and religious excellence. In order to understand this development, I turn my attention to the portrayal of Sarah in the works of Origen of Alexandria. Continuing New Testament themes, Origen presents her as the spiritual mother of Christianity and a prefiguration of Jesus’ mother Mary. Various textual and thematic parallels help demonstrate that the rabbis were both aware of this rhetoric and responded to it. Based on this, I conclude that the rabbis used their portrayal of Sarah to combat the Christian appropriation of the matriarch on the one hand, and to establish her as a Jewish alternative to the Virgin Mary on the other.