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Edited by Ann E. Killebrew and Gabriele Faßbeck

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Zeʾev Safrai

The Purpose of the Book The Land of Israel is perceived in medieval and modern Jewish thought as the ‘Holy Land’, which is the subject of the people’s prayers, aspirations, and hopes. However, the degree to which Jews were occupied with the Land was not constant, nor was the level of tangible

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Edited by Joshua Schwartz and Peter J. Tomson

review of the literature on this subject see Stone, ‘Sinaitic and Noahide Law,’ 1157–1214. 14 In the Bavli sugya that expands on this tradition, the stam identifies circumcision and procreation as among the commandments given to the Noahides (bSan 59b), a position not maintained in other rabbinic texts

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Zeʾev Safrai

network characteristic of the attitude of Judaism and Christianity to one another. We will limit ourselves to stating that until the Bar Kokhba revolt Christianity in general tried not to sever its theological connections with the Jewish mother religion. The subject of observing the commandments and the

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Zeʾev Safrai

subject must therefore be preceded by a clarification of the development of the theological concept of the sanctity of the Land. 4.1 Concern for the Land per se It is obvious that the Land of Israel occupies a central position especially in rabbinic literature. There is hardly a single chapter in all its

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Zeʾev Safrai

requires that we start by clarifying the place of the Land of Israel and of Jerusalem in Christian theology. Although this is an important and complicated subject well covered in recent scholarly literature, it is only tangential to our study. Usually, scholars investigate theology by studying theological

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Zeʾev Safrai

will occasionally figure in the overviews in the present chapter, a separate discussion will be devoted to them in Chapter 3. Not only is Josephus an outstanding resource for our subject, but his descriptions of the Land are also characterized by a feature we do not find in other Jewish writings of the

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Zeʾev Safrai

the ‘intersectarian’ struggle and continued to strengthen during the period of the Mishna and the Talmud. As a single example of that, we shall only cite with Mishna Kelim which describes the hierarchy of sanctity in the Land and in the Temple. The more sacred an item is, the more it is subject to

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Zeʾev Safrai

it claims that the priests of Nob deserved to be killed as punishment for their sins: ‘The priests in Nob are defiling God’s sacred objects and showing contempt for the leaders of the people … for they followed the path of the sons of Eli’ ( lab 63:1). The subject has been extensively studied by

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Edited by Joshua Schwartz and Peter J. Tomson

. Originally this was based on a few cities and a number of districts that were not subject to the jurisdiction of a city, but commonly named after a larger settlement that served as an administrative centre. In addition there were royal, later imperial estates that continued to exist as such for many