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In Intention in Talmudic Law: Between Thought and Deed, Shana Strauch Schick offers the first comprehensive history of intention in classical Jewish law (1st-6th centuries CE). Through close readings of rabbinic texts and explorations of contemporaneous legal-religious traditions, Strauch Schick constructs an intellectual history that reveals remarkable consistency within the rulings of particular sages, locales, and schools of thought. The book carefully traces developments across generations and among groups of rabbis, uncovering competing lineages of evolving legal and religious thought, and demonstrating how intention gradually became a nuanced, differentially applied concept across a wide array of legal realms.

Abstract

This article examines the meaning and the development of the terms used to introduce baraitot transmitted by amoraim in the Bavli: “Tannei Rav X.” Why are these baraitot not introduced with the more usual terms used for citing a baraita, “tanya” and “tannu rabbanan?” I will argue that the term “tannei Rav X” was created in the generations that followed the named amora, as an alternative to the usual citation formula employed by the sage himself when he first quoted the baraita. A sage later to Rav X (or the “stam”) who wished to refer to a baraita quoted earlier by Rav X, used the term “tannei Rav X” to do so. These baraitot (around 80%) have parallels in tannaitic compositions or in the Yerushalmi. This finding bears additional weight on the question of the origins of the terminology used to quote baraitot in the Bavli.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism

Abstract

Many diaspora communities identify not only with a distant homeland but also with others distant from the homeland. How exactly do these intercommunal connections take place and contribute toward a shared identity? What specific aspects of diasporan identity are created or strengthened? What practices are involved? This study will begin to answer these questions through investigating two practices which were widespread among diaspora Jewish communities during the last two centuries of the Second Temple period (1st cent. B.C.E.–1st cent. C.E.). First, we will show how sending offerings and making pilgrimages to the Jerusalem temple from these communities enabled regular intercommunal contact. Then, we will suggest some ways in which these voluntary practices reinforced a cohesive Jewish identity and the importance of the homeland, especially the city of Jerusalem and the temple, for many diaspora Jews, whether they lived in Alexandria, Rome, Asia Minor, or Babylonia.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: Jennifer Eyl

Abstract

The first century sees a substantial rise in the frequency with which Greek speaking authors discuss pistis (here, understood as fidelity, trust, confidence, proof). The authors who use pistis the most include Philo, Paul, and Josephus. This suggests that while many people are thinking about fidelity, ethnic Judeans are thinking about it disproportionately. This essay focuses on two such authors, Philo and Josephus. I argue that both Judeans claim fidelity to be a foundational national-ethnic characteristic, from the patriarchs to their own day. Furthermore, the article argues that this image of enduring Judean fidelity can be better understood within the context of living under the colonizing power of Rome – a principate that is equally preoccupied with fidelity (fides).

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Author: David Katzin

Abstract

This study posits that the Temptation pericope of Matt 4:1–11 and the Psalm Pesher (4QpPsa, 4Q171) are based on a common tradition. Underlying this tradition is a dual-tripartite construct of testing/temptation. This is based on the three Pentateuchal wilderness tests encountered by Israel which are identifiable through the root נ–ס–ה/“test:” keeping the law, false prophecy leading to idolatry, and testing God. Conflated, and individually correlated with this, are the three nets of Belial: “fornication,” “wealth,” and “profanation of the Temple,” respectively. Also going beyond the biblical narrative are the Devil acting in circumlocution for God, the venues, forms of testing, and lexicon used in corresponding testing sections of these two texts. Only through Psalm 37, together with its exegesis in 4Q171, is this shared tradition recognized. In conclusion, the provenance and diachronic history of this tradition, which resulted in differing understandings of it, is investigated.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism

Abstract

Recent studies demonstrate the Dead Sea Scrolls attest to a wide variety of methods of technical divination. While scholars have analyzed these techniques, women’s involvement in them has not been addressed. I argue that by choosing a methodological perspective that allows women’s presence in the texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls provide an important witness to women’s involvement in various divinatory techniques. By focusing on three avenues to inquire about the divine will: the oracle of the lot, astronomy, and physiognomy, I suggest that apart from being objects of these methods, women were involved in their practice. Women’s participation in technical divinatory techniques is the most noticeable in inquiries that concern their own bodies and matters related to procreation.

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism
Hakol Kol Yaakov: The Joel Roth Jubilee Volume contains twenty articles dedicated to Rabbi Joel Roth, written by colleagues and students. Some are academic articles in the general area of Talmud and Rabbinics, while others are rabbinic responsa that treat an issue of contemporary Jewish law. In his career, Joel Roth has been known as a scholar and teacher of Talmud par excellence, and, without question, as the preeminent decisor of Jewish law for the Conservative movement of his generation. In the meticulous style and approach of the Talmud scholarship of his generation, Roth painstakingly and precisely assayed the vast array of rabbinic legal sources, and proceeded to apply these in pedagogy, in scholarship and particularly in the production of contemporary legal responsa. The articles in this volume reflect the unique and integrated voice and vision that Joel Roth has brought to the American Jewish community.
In: Hakol Kol Yaakov
In: Hakol Kol Yaakov
In: Hakol Kol Yaakov