A group for AJS members interested in Jewish history and culture in Antiquity
ABSTRACT: How to understand the processes, by which bodies ingest, gestate, generate, excrete, and expel various kinds of substances? This paper treats these questions as sorted through in rabbinic texts. The ways in which we think about how material bodies come into being, and the ways in which we distinguish and explain the emergence, entry, and…[Read more]
Argues that Qohelet’s famous bit of speech on the seasons at 3:1-8 mimics and mocks proverbial poetry, as part of his larger, prosaic denial that life has discernible and usable rhythms and rhymes.
“God made Himself into a Serpent before Moses”
A Unique Midrashic Tradition on Exodus Chapters III-IV (Parashat Va-Era)
from an Early Tanhuma-Yelammedenu Genizah Fragment
Rachel Neis’ article treats Hekhalot Rabbati, a collection of early Jewish mystical traditions, and more specifically §§ 152–169, a series of Qedusha hymns. These hymns are liturgical performances, the highlight of which is God’s passionate embrace of the Jacob icon on his throne as triggered by Israel’s utterance of the Qedusha. §§ 152–1…[Read more]
Household sacrifice is a common feature of the ancient Mediterranean. While offerings are made in temples, a home altar is a frequent sacrificial site. This raises an intriguing question for scholars of Judaism in antiquity: do Jews also sacrifice on household altars? While Judaism in antiquity is riotously diverse, it often looks very much like…[Read more]
Josephus attests several times to a Jewish aversion to the use of Gentile olive oil. In m. ‘Abod. Zar. 2:6, this practice is first advocated and then immediately reversed by Rabbi and his court. What is the rationale for this sudden leniency with regard to Gentile olive oil? In a well-known article entitled “Kosher Olive Oil in Antiquity,” Marti…[Read more]
Jordan Rosenblum deposited From Their Bread to Their Bed: Commensality, Intermarriage, and Idolatry in Tannaitic Literature in the group Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity on AJS Commons 1 year, 5 months ago
In the tannaitic corpus, a novel innovation appears: sharing bread is understood to lead to sharing a bed. As such, the Tannaim problematise and marginalise commensal interactions between Jews and non-Jews. In several instances, commensality with non-Jews is equated with idolatry, the binary opposite of Jewishness in rabbinic literature. While…[Read more]
Justifications for foodways are too often ignored in the academic study of commensality. In seeking to understand how a particular group constructs the rules around the table – what, how, and with whom one will or will not eat – the rationales for these rules must be factored into any scholarly analysis. In this essay, I use the example of anc…[Read more]
Explores the connections between Jews, Romans, pork, and identity.