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Abstract

The interpretation of archaeological finds in light of Talmudic evidence has often resulted in simplistic, “one-to-one” correlations that distort our understanding of “Judaism” in Graeco-Roman Palestine. This is especially true of “stepped pools” and stone vessels which, when seen as markers of Jewish ethnicity, need to be understood with the biblical tradition in mind. Biblical notions of purity and holiness further enable us to appreciate the persistence of ritual purity practices after 70 C.E. The subsequent efforts of the rabbis to regulate such practices, especially those pertaining to sexuality and the household, reflect the tenacity of biblical perceptions of purity and holiness especially among commoners, who had their own understanding of their significance. Once it is realized that the boundaries between Jews were not strictly drawn, material finds can be better assessed, and rabbinic Judaism can be properly understood as having evolved out of a biblically derived, “complex common Judaism.”

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
In: Land and Spirituality in Rabbinic Literature
In: From Scrolls to Traditions
A Festschrift Honoring Lawrence H. Schiffman
This Festschrift in honor of Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman, a renowned authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Rabbinic Judaism, includes contributions by twenty of his former doctoral students, now colleagues. The volume is divided into two sections, the “Biblical and Second Temple Period” and “Rabbis, Other Jews, and Neighboring Cultures.” The diverse topics covered and the wide range of interdisciplinary approaches employed reflect Professor Schiffman’s success in cultivating a school of scholars who are making unique contributions to the study of the Jews and Judaism.
In: From Scrolls to Traditions
In: From Scrolls to Traditions