The Jerusalem Temple in Diaspora, Jonathan Trotter shows how different diaspora Jews’ perspectives on the distant city of Jerusalem and the temple took shape while living in the diaspora, an experience which often is characterized by complicated senses of alienation from and belonging to an ancestral homeland and one’s current home. This book investigates not only the perspectives of the individual diaspora Jews whose writings mention the Jerusalem temple (Letter of Aristeas, Philo of Alexandria, 2 Maccabees, and 3 Maccabees) but also the customs of diaspora Jewish communities linking them to the temple, such as their financial contributions and pilgrimages there.
This article focuses on how community-sanctioned pilgrimage to Jerusalem could be employed to establish both the homeland and the diaspora as places of belonging. As a case study, I will analyze Philo’s portrayal of the ἱεροποµποί—a term unique to Philo used to describe those chosen to carry offerings, especially the annual half-shekels—from the diaspora to the Jerusalem temple. I will argue that, according to Philo, the ἱεροποµποί (1) were elected community leaders who functioned as representatives of their communities, (2) enabled those who did not travel to Jerusalem to participate vicariously in sacrifice and pilgrimage, and (3) established both the homeland and the diaspora as places of belonging for their community through providing a context for participating in and perpetuating the collective memory of the Jewish nation, in general, and the Alexandrian Jewish community, in particular.
It is the contention of this paper that a comparison between the Theodotion and Old Greek versions of the Bel narrative (Dan 14:1-22) gives indications about some specific stages of the textual history of the story. Many of the distinctive elements in the Old Greek story suggest that in its core narrative the Old Greek represents a more thoroughly modified version of the story and even a variant literary edition. In the Old Greek, evidence of the development of the Bel narrative can be seen in its very concentrated focus on (1) the deception of the priests of Bel and (2) the centrality and cunning of Daniel. Both of these emphases in the Old Greek are interconnected and, it will be argued, result in a more pronounced tension between Daniel and the priests of Bel as well as a concentration of control almost exclusively with Daniel in the Old Greek.