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Gaon

(240 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew gāōn, ‘Eminence’, later ‘Excellency’; pl.: Gōnı̄m). Official title of the head of the Rabbinic academies in Babylonian  Sura and  Pumbedita. There the gaons functioned from the 6th cent. AD to the end of the academies in the 11th cent. as the highest teaching authorities (cf. the name of this period as the ‘Gaonic period’). The most important representatives of this office were Amram ben Sheshna (died about AD 875; author of the earliest preserved prayer book), Saadiah be…

Sambation

(177 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (also Sanbation or Sabbation; Greek Σαββατικός/ Sabbatikós, Jos. BI 7,5). Mythical river, behind which the ten tribes of Israel (Judah and Israel) were said to have been exiled by the Assyrian king Salmanassar. According to Jewish legend, this river had the miraculous property of resting on the Sabbath, while on all other days its current was so strong that it hurled stones (among others, BerR 11,5; cf. already Plin. HN 31,24). Iosephus [4] Flavius describes the river, which according t…

Responsa (rabbinical)

(201 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew šeēlōt u-tešūḇōt, literally 'questions and answers'; plural 'responses'). Rabbinical genre name; correspondence, in which one party consults the other on a difficult question of Halakha. While the Talmudic literature (Rabbinical literature) already indicates the existence of this genre (cf. bYebamot 105a), a scope more significant to responsa literature only developed in the Gaonic period (Gaon, 6th-11th cents. AD), when Jews from the widespread diaspora turned to the halak…

Armilus

(179 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Legendary name of an anti-Messiah, who appears in late 7th cent. apocalyptic Midrashim (e.g. Midrash Wa-yosha, Sefer Serubbabel, Nistarot shel R. Shimon ben Joháai). The etymological source is assumed to be ‘Remulus’, symbol of Roman rulership as such. The legend holds that A., son of a marble statue, will march to Jerusalem with ten kings, defeat the true Messiah and send Israel into exile in the desert, whereupon the pagans will worship the stone that gave birth to A. as a godde…

Sandalphon

(187 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew sandālfōn). Name of one of the most important angels in rabbinic angelology. S.'s size spans from earth into the heavenly realm and he surmounts his angel companions by 500 years 'while making wreaths for his creator' (bHag 13b with the interpretation of Ez 1:15; PesR 20 [97a]). Related traditions identified these wreaths with the prayers of Israel that S. presents to God (Bet ha-Midrasch 2,26 Jellinek). It is highly probably that his name is derived from the Greek συνάδελφος/ synádelphos, 'fellow brother' (in the community of angels or specifically o…

Archiereus

(279 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] [1] Greek see  Priests Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) [German version] [2] Jewish Already during the pre-Maccabean period, the High Priest (Hebr. kohen ha-gadol; Greek archiereus) was the highest religious and political authority (cf. Sir 50,1 ff.), heading a hierarchically structured priesthood comprising several thousand individuals. Holding the status of ‘eternal holiness’ (mNaz 7,1), it was his responsibility to preserve certain rules of purity with regard to marriage and dealings with the dead. During the …

Sammai, Shammai

(150 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] ( c. 50 BC-AD 30). Significant representative of Pharisaic Judaism (Pharisaei). Š. figures in the traditional rabbinical chain from the revelation of the Torah of Moses (Pentateuch) to the 'Five Pairs' ( zugot; cf. mAvot 1,15); his counterpart is Hillel, to whom Š. is opposed in a cliché fashion in rabbinical literature: in questions of law, whereas Hillel made rather lenient decisions, Š. is characterized by strictness and rigour (cf. bShab 31a). Rabbinical tradition sees Š. as the founder of a school of scholars (Hebrew bēt-Šammai) that is likewise contrasted wi…

Seraph(im)

(187 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew sārāf, plural serāfîm, from the verb srf, 'burn'; Greek σεραφιν/ seraphin, Latin seraphin). Old Testament term for the cobra (cf. Egyptian Uraeus). Apart from the natural threat from this animal (Dtn 8,15; Nm 21,9) an apotropaic aspect plays a particular role in the Old Testament tradition: a seraph attached to a pole repels a plague of snakes in the Israelites' camp (Nm 21,7-10) {{6-9 in AV, but not saying this}}. Finds of numerous seals, primarily from the 8th century BC, indicate th…

Nasi

(328 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Lienau, Cay (Münster) | Lafond, Yves (Bochum) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] I. Greece (Νᾶσοι/ Nâsoi). [German version] [I 1] Lowlands in the area of Caphyae in Arcadia Lowlands in the area of Caphyae in Arcadia (Arcadians), to the south of and below the modern village of Daras (known as Dara until 1940), with luxuriant vegetation, as the water of the upper Orchomenian Plain reemerges here in several springs forming the stream Tragus, which flows into the Ladon [2] (Paus. 8,23,2; 8). Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) Lienau, Cay (Münster) Bibliography 1 E. Meyer, s.v. N. (1), RE 16, 1793  Ders., Peleponnesische Wanderungen, 1939, 31f., 34, Taf. XI. Pr…

Kerub

(322 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew ‎‏בורכ‏‎, from Akkadian karābu, ‘to dedicate, to greet’; pl. kerubs or cherubs/ kerubim). Composite creature with a human head, body of a lion and wings symbolizing the highest power. According to Gn 3:24, kerubim served to guard the garden of Eden (cf. also Ez 28:14 and 16). Particular significance is attached to the kerubim in the Biblical tradition of the arrangement of the Temple of Solomon. In the holy of holies there are two kerubim made of olive wood and plated with gold, each 10 cubits in height. With their wings with a span each of 5 cub…

Sammael

(188 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew Sammāel). Negative angel figure in Jewish tradition, often identified with Satan. S. is mentioned for the first time in Ethiopic Henoch 6, where he is one of a group of angels that rebels against God (cf. the name Σαμμανή/ Sammanḗ or Σαμιήλ/ Samiḗl in the Greek version). According to Greek Baruch 4,9, he planted the vine that led to the fall of Adam; S. was therefore cursed and became Satan. In the 'Ascension of Isaiah', S. is identified with the figure of Beliar (4,11). Rabbinical literature represents S. in the s…

Talmud

(142 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] ('study, learning', from Hebrew lamad, 'learn'). The central work within rabbinical literature, consisting of a) the Mishnah, the oldest authoritative collections of laws of rabbinical Judaism ( c. AD 200) and b) the Gemara, i.e. interpretations of and discussions on the material of the Mishnah. Since in the rabbinical period there were two centres of Jewish scholarship, i.e. Palestine and Babylonia (Sura, Pumbedita), two different Talmudim came into being: the Palestinian (= Jerusalem Talmud; essentially finalized c. AD 450) and the Babylonian (essentiall…

Esther

(340 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Ester). The Hebrew Book of Esther, dated to either the end of the Persian or the beginning of the Hellenistic period, recounts (a) the decision that the Persian King Ahasverus (485-465 BC) is said to have taken (cf. especially 3,13), at the urging of the anti-Jewish Haman, one of his most influential officials, to eliminate his kingdom's Jews, and (b) the salvation of the Jews, in which a major part was played by the Jewish E., who had entered the court without being recognized, …

Adam

(320 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] Die frühjüd. und rabbinischen Überlieferungen zu A., dem ersten Menschen, den Gott aus dem Staub der Erde (hebr. adama) formte und dem er den Lebensodem einhauchte (vgl. den sog. jahwistischen Schöpfungsbericht), kreisen hauptsächlich um den Sündenfall. Das frühjüd. Schrifttum verweist auf A.s urspr. Herrlichkeit (Weish 10,1 f.; Sir 49,16; 4 Esra 6,53 f.) und Schönheit (Op 136-142; 145-150; Virt 203-205), wobei er sogar als Engel bezeichnet werden kann (slHen 30,11 f.). Seine Sünde jedoch brachte…

Ethnarchos

(148 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] Der Titel E. wurde sowohl Hyrkanos II. (63-40 v.Chr.) als auch dem Herodes-Sohn Archelaos (4 v.-6 n.Chr.) von den Römern verliehen (Hyrkanos II. durch Caesar 47 v.Chr., vgl. Ios. ant. Iud. 14,192ff.; Archelaos durch Augustus nach dem Tode des Herodes, vgl. Ios. ant. Iud. 17,317). Damit sollte einerseits die Herrschaft der betreffenden Person über das jüd. Volk zum Ausdruck gebracht, gleichzeitig jedoch eine bewußte Abgrenzung vom Königstitel vollzogen werden (vgl. Ios. ant. Iud. …

Jabne

(170 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] (Ἰάμνια). Stadt, südl. des h. Tel Aviv gelegen, bildete nach der Zerstörung des Jerusalemer Tempels im J. 70 n.Chr. das neue Zentrum, in dem sich das Judentum zunächst unter Rabbi Jochanan ben Zakkai sowie später unter Gamaliel [2] II. als rabbinisches Judentum neu konstitutierte. Eine erste Formulierung des Materials, das später in die Mišna eingehen sollte, wurde hier vorgenommen, wobei der Aspekt einer Ordnung des rel. Lebens ohne Tempelkult und Priester sowie der Aufbau einer…

Adonai

(101 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] wörtlich “meine Herren”. Das Pluralsuffix rekurriert vermutlich auf eine Angleichung an das hebr. Wort für Gott, Elohim, das gramm. eine Pluralform ist. Als das Frühjudentum aus Furcht vor Mißbrauch die Aussprache des Gottesnamens Jahwe tabuisierte (vgl. u. a. Ex 20,7), diente A. als Ersatz. Die Septuaginta gibt dementsprechend den Eigennamen “Jahwe” durch das Gottesprädikat “Herr” (κύριος), wieder. Die Masoreten (ca. 7.-9. Jh. n. Chr.), die den zunächst fast nur aus Konsonanten bestehenden Text der hebr. Bibel fixierte…

Pentateuch

(521 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] (ἡ Πεντάτευχος sc. βίβλος, wörtlich “Fünfrollenbuch”, so Orig. comm. in Jo 4,25; vgl. Hippolytos 193 Lagarde; lat. Pentateuchus, Tert. bei Isid. orig. 6,2,2). In der christl. Trad. Bezeichnung für die Überlieferungseinheit der Bücher Gn, Ex, Lv, Nm und Dt am Anfang der hebr. Bibel. Die jüd. Trad. spricht stattdessen von spr htwrh, “Buch der Weisung” (vgl. auch die nt. Bezeichnung νόμος/ nómos, Lk 10,26, oder νόμος Μωϋσέως/ n. Mōÿséōs, Apg 28,23) bzw. von ḥmyšh ḥwmšy twrh (wörtlich “fünf Fünftel Tora”, bSan 44a). Während die oben genannten Namen dieser B…

Armilus

(154 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] Legendärer Name eines Gegen-Messias, der in den späten apokalyptischen Midraschim aus dem ausgehenden 7.Jh. (z.B. Midrash Wa-yosha, Sefer Serubbabel, Nistarot shel R. Shimon ben Joháai) erscheint. Als Etym. wird “Remulus” - Sinnbild für die röm. Herrschaft schlechthin - angenommen. A., Sohn einer Marmorstatue, wird zusammen mit zehn Königen nach Jerusalem ziehen, den wahren Messias besiegen und Israel in die Wüste verbannen, worauf die Heiden jenen Stein, der A. gebar, als Göttin…

Responsion

(199 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] (hebr. šeēlōt u-tešūḇōt, wörtl. “Fragen und Antworten”; Pl. “Responsen”). Rabbinische Gattungsbezeichnung; Korrespondenz, bei der die eine Partei die andere in einer halakhisch (Halakha) schwierigen Frage konsultiert. Während bereits in der talmudischen Lit. (Rabbinische Literatur) auf die Existenz dieser Gattung hingewiesen wird (vgl. bJebamot 105a), entwickelte sich eine R.-Lit. bedeutenderen Umfangs erst in gaonäischer Zeit (Gaon, 6.-11. Jh. n. Chr.), als sich Juden aus der wei…
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