Liturgy, Poetry, and the Persistence of Sacrifice

In: Was 70 CE a Watershed in Jewish History?

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Abstract

This chapter is dedicated to reexamining the premise that underlies much historiography of the early rabbinic period - namely, that the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE brought about profound changes in the nature of the Jewish people and of Judaism as a religion. It addresses one aspect of this paradigm: the idea that Judaism was transformed in the first several centuries of the Common Era from a religion of sacrifice to a religion of prayer. Jonathan Klawans, in his Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple, shows the degree to which this narrative was informed by a theologically conditioned ideology of antisacrificial triumphalism that can be traced to medieval philosophy but that emerged in its fullness in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Avodah piyyut is an epic form. The poems customarily begin with an account of creation, and then describe each major generation, culminating in the selection of Aaron as priest.

Was 70 CE a Watershed in Jewish History?

On Jews and Judaism before and after the Destruction of the Second Temple

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