The house of study of Amoraic Palestine has resisted study because of its informality. By situating it alongside Hellenistic, Roman and Christian education, this article argues that examining their funding provides a means of understanding the structural tendencies of these study circles. Communal support appears mostly aspirational, providing clues as to intention and conflicts regarding inclusion. Similarly, narratives concerning individual gifts urge their moral good rather than their reliability, thus pointing inevitably to fees as the underlying means of support for the beit midrash. The necessity of fees in turn demands consideration of how those of more marginal means, including scribes, could afford this tuition. Finally, that teaching younger children provided one avenue of such support reveals a complex interdependency of those who had easier access to this education and those who had less access, as well as the barely glimpsed suggestion of other educational alternatives.
Josephus’ rewriting of the account of Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16) consists of a lengthy juridical prayer/speech not attested in the biblical source in which a list of historical episodes is embedded. Moses’ representation as standing in court before God and the people and defending his leadership by recalling past events appears to derive from 1 Samuel 12. At the same time, however, the catalogue of historical incidents in A.J. 4.43–45 elaborates the “works” in Num 16:28, demonstrating that everything happens according to God’s will – including the granting of the priesthood to Aaron. An analysis of A.J. 4.43–45 evinces that it combines conventions from both biblical historical summaries and Hellenistic catalogues, the individual episodes (e.g., the Exodus) constituting a sophisticated reworking of Pentateuchal narratives and passages from Deutero-Isaiah and the Psalms.
This article makes the case that the citation of Manetho’s Aegyptiaca found within Josephus’ Contra Apionem 1.250 is the work of a later anti-Jewish interpolator. Within the passage is an unnoticed chiasm that artificially binds the description of Osarsiph/Moses there with the Osarsephos introduced earlier in C. Ap. 1.238–9. It further suggests that the reason a negative depiction of Moses is not more fully integrated into Manetho’s story is the result of the interpolator inferring Manetho’s negative evaluation of the Jews as a result of his negative evaluation of the Hyksos. Manetho is, in other words, not the father of Egyptian anti-Judaism, though an anonymous editor may well be.
Most commentators have translated Jub. 2:22 as though God’s commandments rise as a fine fragrance. This note suggests that this idea is unparalleled in early Judaism, and it argues that the Ethiopic of this verse should be understood differently. The idea expressed in Jub. 2:22 is that “the doer of God’s will” is the one to ascend as a fine fragrance. Some implications of this suggestion are explored.