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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, …

Pumbedita

(140 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew pwmbdyt). Babylonian (Babylonia) city on the Euphrates. According to rabbinical tradition, it was distinguished by the fertile land around it (cf. bPes 88a), and because of its flax production, it represented an important site for the textile industry (bGit 27a; bBM 18b). The epistle of Rav Šerira Gaon indicates a centre for studying the Torah (Pentateuch) there by the time of the Second Temple (520 BC - AD 70). The destruction of Nehardea by the Palmyrans (Palmyra) in AD…

Adam

(322 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The early Jewish and rabbinic traditions of A., the first man whom God created from the dust of the Earth (Hebr. adama) and gave the breath of life (see the Yahwistic account of creation), mainly revolved around the original sin. Early Jewish writing emphasized A.'s original glory (Wisdom 10,1 f.; Sir 49,16; 4 Ezra 6,53 f.) and beauty (Op 136-142; 145-150; Virt 203-205), occasionally even describing him as an angel (slHen 30,11 f.). However, his sin brought death to his descendants (4 Ezra 3,7,21; 7,…

Messiah

(1,210 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Kundert, Lukas (Basle)
(griech. Μεσσίας; Messías, from Aramaic. mešiḥa and Hebrew. mašiaḥ, 'the Anointed'; Greek. χριστός/ christós, vgl. Jo 1,41). [German version] I. Judaism Whereas in the pre-Exile period this term was used primarily for reigning kings of the dynasty of David (before David for Saul 1 Sam. 24:7 etc., for the dynasty of David cf. the Psalms of David Ps. 2,2; 18,51; 132,10 et passim; for David: 2 Sam. 19:22, 23:1 et passim), who were enthroned by anointing (e.g. 1 Sam. 16:1-13, 1 Kgs. 1:28-40), Exile and post-Exile Israel and early Judaism linked it with the expectation…

Zacharias

(658 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Rist, Josef (Würzburg)
(Ζαχαρίας/ Zacharías, Graecised form of the Hebrew Zacharyah, 'Yahweh remembers'). [German version] [1] Stoned to death at the command of the king Joash, 9th cent. BC According to 2 Chr 24:17-22, Zechariah bar Jehoiada was stoned to death in the Temple at the command of the king Joash (840-801 BC), for having reproached the people for practicing idolatry and hence abandoning their god. The Jewish Haggada developed this story: the blood of the murdered one boils on the floor of the Temple and does not come to rest (ultima…

Adversus Iudaeos

(242 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Title of several patristic treatises that discuss Christianity's relationship to Judaism in apologetic terms ( Tertullianus,  Cyprianus,  Iohannes Chrysostomos,  Augustine) and other works of similar content ( Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle to  Diognetus,  Justinus' Dialogue, the Passa Homily of  Melito etc.). Instruction within Christianity and religious teaching that attempted to legitimize the content of the Christian faith in the presence of Judaism (which was considered a p…

Apocryphal literature

(884 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Junod, Eric (Lausanne) | Speyer, Wolfgang (Salzburg)
[German version] A. Jewish The apocryphal literature of early Judaism may be subdivided into two groups: apocryphal literature in the narrow sense and pseudepigraphic literature. According to the terminology of the Reformation churches, those are texts or parts of the Septuagint and  Vulgate that are not part of the Hebrew canon: 3 Ezra, Judith, Tob 1, 2 and 3, Macc, Wisdom, Sir, Bar (including ‘the Epistle of Jeremiah’) and the Prayer of Manasse; also the additions to Est and Dan. Apart from 2 and …

Halakhah

(727 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The term (derived from the Hebrew root hlk, ‘to go’) describes both a particular Jewish legal requirement or fixed regulation as well as the entire system of legal requirements dictated by Jewish tradition. The fundamental principles of these requirements, traditionally considered to be the ‘Oral Torah’ ( Tora she-be-al-peh) and the revelations to Moses on Mt. Sinai, form the legal corpora of the Pentateuch (e.g., the so-called ‘Book of the Covenant’ [ Ex 20,22-23,19], Deuteronomic law [Dt 12,1-26,15] or the Holiness Code [Lv 1…

Priestly document

(542 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Based on its choice of words, style and motifs, Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918) was able to identify a certain segment of the OT Pentateuch as distinct from the other documents that have been preserved, using the findings of older Pentateuchal criticism in the context of the 'Documentary Hypothesis' (1876 f.). Characteristic of this document are not only certain concepts and phrases (e. g. ēdā, 'assembly', 'community'; megūrīm, 'sojourning'; berīt ōlām, 'everlasting covenant'), but also numbers, lists and genealogies as well as an emphasis on the …

Gamaliel

(279 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] [1] G. I. »The Old Man«; grandson of Hillel Also called ‘the Old Man’ (died c. AD 50), a grandson of Hillel. G. was a Pharisee ( Pharisaei) and member of the Sanhedrin ( Synhedrion). G., about whom little is known historically (for discussion of the problem, cf. [1]), is thought to have been  Paulus' teacher prior to his conversion to Christianity (Acts 22:3). According to Acts 5:34-39 his intervention saved Peter and other apostles from prosecution by the Sanhedrin. Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) [German version] [2] G. II. Successor to Jochanan ben Zakkai Grandson of [1], a…

Sabbath

(537 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew šabbat; Greek σάββατον/ sábbaton; Lat. sabbata). Seventh day of the Jewish week and day of rest observed weekly; its origin is unclear (cf. suggestions of a connection with the Akkadian šapattu, the day of the full moon). It is likely that it developed in ancient Israel as an expression of Yahweh's prerogative, based on the commandment to let the land lie unplowed during the seventh year (Ex 23:10 f.). The Sabbath was explained in two ways in the Biblical tradition. In the version contained in the Deute…

Sirach

(369 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Σοφία Σιραχ/ Sophía Sirach). The apocryphal book of Jesus son of Sirach (Hebrew Ben Sîrâ), one of the most significant works of wisdom literature, was written in Hebrew in about 190 BC by S., a Jewish scribe from Jerusalem, and later translated into Greek by his grandson (cf. the preface). The earliest Hebrew fragments were found in Qumran and Masada; two thirds of the Hebrew text were discovered in MSS of the Cairo Genizah. Although not adopted into the canon of the Jewish tradition, S. is cited in the Talmud (Rabbinical literature) as a canonical book. S. consists of indi…

Prayer

(2,863 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. General remarks Several hundred prayers have been preserved from the ancient Orient, dating from as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. In some cases, the history of their texts can be traced back for several centuries. A variety of genres usually classified as lamentations, hymns, etc., are actually prayers, since lamentations or hymns of praise to a deity simply represent the occasion for a following prayer, which constitutes the underlying reason for that hymn or lamentation. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] B. Egypt Invocations of th…

Raphael

(177 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Literally 'God heals', Gr. Ραφαήλ/ Rhaphaḗl; cf. the personal name in 1 Chr 26:7). In Jewish angelology, one of the four (or seven) archangels who have a special role in the celestial hierarchy for their praise and glorification of God before His throne (1 Enoch 9,1; 20,3; 40,9). True to his name, R. is the angel of healing (cf. Hebr. rāfā, 'to heal'), ruling over "all illnesses and all torments of the children of men" (1 Enoch 40,9). He plays a significant role in the Book of Tobit, where, disguised as Tobias' travelling companion, he d…

David

(1,100 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Mahé, J. P. (Paris)
[German version] [1] King David In the biblical tradition, the figure of D. appears as a singer and musician (1 Sam 16,23), as a talented fighter (1 Sam 17; 30; cf. also his life as an irregular soldier in 1 Sam 22,1-5; 23) and finally as king of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem (2 Sam 2,-5,10), who also subjugates the neighbouring states of Aram, Moab and  Edom [1] as well as Ammon (cf. 2 Sam. 8; 10; 12,26-31). His dynasty is promised eternal royal rule by god (cf. the so-called Nathan's prophecy 2 Sam.…
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