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Akiba ben Joseph

(273 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] was one of the most important Palestinian rabbinic scholars in the period between the destruction of the second temple (70 ce) and the Bar Kokhba revolt (132–135 ce). His person is surrounded by legends whose historicity can hardly be tested. He is said, for example, to have come from a simple background and turned to study only late in life. He then became the teacher of some of the most important tannaim, including Rabbi Meir. The tradition that he saw a reference to Bar Kokhba in Num 24:7 ( y. Taʾan. 4.8.68d) …

Qohelet Rabbah

(239 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin

Usha

(253 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin

Wayyiqra Rabba

(166 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] Wayyiqra Rabba, a homiletic midrash on Leviticus. It comments only on the initial verses of the individual pericopes in Leviticus. It also compiles various literary homilies (proems or petichot) on the same verse, drawing a thematic arc from a quotation from the hagiographa to the verse in Leviticus being interpreted. At the same time, the composition of individual sections seeks to establish a unity of content. The midrash was probably compiled in Palestine during the 5th c…

Nasi

(334 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] Nasi, Hebrew נָשִׂיא, “leader,” “prince.” In Numbers nasi is the title of a leader or the head of a family or tribe (Num 3:24, 30, 35; also Num 2:3–39 and passim); in Ezek 34:24 and 37:25 it represents an eschatological enhancement of the king's title. The “ nasi of the whole community” mentioned in the Damascus Document and elsewhere (CD VII 18–21) plays a special ¶ role in the war of the end time. A similar understanding underlies the coins and documents that name Bar Kosiba (Bar Kokhba Revolt) the “ nasi of Israel.” There is no evidence for the use of nasi as the title …

Tarfon

(80 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] rabbinic scholar in Palestinian Lydda c. 200 ce. Tarfon belonged to a priestly family and is assigned to the second generation of Tannaim. Rabbinic literature preserves most of his teachings in discussions with Akiba ben Joseph. He should probably not be identified with the Trypho mentioned by Justin Martyr. Martin Jacobs Bibliography J.D. Gereboff, Rabbi Tarfon: The Tradition, the Man and Early Rabbinic Judaism, 1979 F.G. Willems, “Le juif Tryfon et rabbi Tarfon,” Bijdr. 50/3, 1989, 278–292.

Pesiqta

(595 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] I. Pesiqta Rabbati The name Pesiqta, Aramaic for “section” or “chapter,” is used for two homiletic Midrashim, the Pesiqta Rabbati ( Pesiq. Rab.) and the Pesiqta deRab Kahana ( Pesiq. Rab Kah.; see II below). The Pesiqta Rabbati is a collection of homilies on the Jewish festi…

Yohanan ben Zakkai

(270 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] (1st cent. ce), eminent Palestinian rabbi after the destruction of the second temple (II, 4.a). Rabbinic literature sometimes gives him the title Rabban (ןבָּרַ, “Our Master”). During the Judeo-Roman war (Jewish Revolt, First) according to rabbinic legend, he fled from Jerusalem besieged by the Romans to Yavne, where he prophesied that Vespasian (reigned 69–79 bce) would become emperor. Thereupon he is said to have been given permission to establish a school in Yavne. There are several variants of the tradition ( ARN A 4.22f.; ARN B 6.19; b. Giṭ. 56a–b; Lam. Rab. on Lam 1:5 [Buber, 65ff.; Vilna, 1.31]), which is related thematically to the biography of Josephus ( Bell. III 400ff.); it can be considered the foundation legend of rabbinic Judaism following the catastrophe of 70 ce (Judaism: I). The theory that Yohanan ben Zakkai functioned as nasi …

Scribes (Soferim)

(178 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin

Tannaim

(371 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] The Aramaic term תַּנָּא/ tannāʾ, “reciter, teacher” (pl. תַּנָּאִים/ tannāʾîm) is generally applied to the Palestinian rabbis (II, 1) of the 1st–3rd centuries ce, i.e. before the compilation of the Mishnah; their teaching, considered authoritative, was originally preserved through oral recitation. As representatives of the formative phase of rabbinic Judaism, the Tannaim are distinguished from the Amoraim, their successors, the authorities of the Talmud. In the Talmud, however, the title

Ten Lost Tribes of Israel

(272 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] Since the tribal territories of Judah (Judah/Judea) and Benjamin lay within the biblical Southern Kingdom, it is generally assumed that ¶ ten of the 12 tribes of Israel lived in the Northern Kingdom. We read in 2 Kgs 17:6 and 18:11 that Sargon II deported the population of the Northern Kingdom in 722 bce and settled its members in various places in Assyria. According to the version of Chronicles (Chronicles, Books of; 1 Chr 5:26), in 733 bce Tiglath Pileser III had already carried off some tr…

Molko, Solomon

(141 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] (born Dioguo Pirez; c. 1500, Lisbon? – 1532, Mantua). As a son of Conversos (Anusim), Molko was first a royal official in Lisbon. In connection with the messianic expectations (Messiah/Messianism: II, 2) aroused by D. Reuveni in 1525 among the Conversos in Portugal, he circumcised himself and declared his faith in Judaism. He produced kabbalistic writings (Kabbalah: II) and caused a sensation as a magician and as a visionary messianic personality. In Italy, he enjoyed the protecti…

Resh Galuta

(282 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] The Aramaic title רֵישׁ גַלוּתָא, “head of the Diaspora” (Diaspora: II, 1; also called exilarch), and its Hebrew equivalent rosh ha-gola denoted the official representative of Babylonian Judaism. As in the case of the nasi, his rival, the office was dynastic and was associated with a claimed descent from David (III). In the Babylonian Diaspora, the resh galuta was considered the highest legal authority and the …

Sanhedrin

(271 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] Sanhedrin, Hebrew (and Aram.) ןירִדהַנְסַ, loanword from Greek συνέδριον/ synédrion, “assembly, tribunal, ¶ council.” Earlier scholarship saw in the Sanhedrin the highest legislative and judicial body of Palestinian Judaism (I), established in the Hellenistic period and continued by the rabbis (II, 1) into the 5th century after the destruction of the second temple (II, 4); initially it was headed by the high priest, later by the nasi. This picture is a harmonizati…

Judah ha-Nasi

(304 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] (Yehudah; Judah I, “Rabbi” [late 2nd/early 3rd cent. ce]), was a Palestinian patriarch (Nasi). Judah is said to be a descendant of Hillel ¶ ( y. Ketub. 12:3 [35a]) and claimed, furthermore, a genealogy tracing back to David. He was the most important representative of the dynasty of Jewish patriarchs and resided in Beth-Shearim and Sepphoris. Since he combined wealth, political prestige, and religious authority, he had decisive influence on the increasing institutionalization of the…

Ethnarch

(175 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] The Greek title ethnárchēs (ἐϑνάρχης) refers to a ruler of a tribe or a people with no indication of the scope of his authority. It is attested with this unspecific meaning in the Hellenistic-Roman eastern Mediterranean for both Jewish and non-Jewish …

Aaron

(576 words)

Author(s): Schaper, Joachim | Jacobs, Martin
[German Version] I. Old Testament - II. Early Judaism I. Old Testament The origin of the name is uncertain. In the Old Testament Aaron is the brother of Mose and his spokesman (Exod 4:14f.). He was reputed to be a “Levite” (priest; Exod 4:14), and the traveling companion and deputy of Moses (Exod 7:1–7), a miracle-worker (Exod 8:1f.), a charismatic leader …

Rabbi

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Jacobs, Martin | Wilke, Carsten | Schaller, Berndt
[German Version] I. Terminology The Hebrew title רַבִּי/ rabbî is derived from the nominalized adjective רַב/ rab, “great, of high rank,” which in postbiblical Hebrew took on the meaning “master” (Rav) in contrast to a slave or student/disciple ( m. Sukk. 2:9; m. Giṭ. 4:4; m. ʾAbot 1:3). The honorific rabbi (“my master/teacher”) became a title, associated with the names of Palestinian men of learning (e.g. Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph), while Rav was used for Babylonian rabbis. Rabbi is also found as a name for Judah ha-Nasi. The Aramaic form rabban (“our master”) is associated with some…

Aaronic Blessing

(431 words)

Author(s): Seybold, Klaus | Jacobs, Martin | Saliers, Don E.
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Early Judaism – III. Liturgy I. Old Testament The priestly Blessing, transmitted within the framework of the so-called Priestly Source (Pentateuch) in Num 6:23-26, which is also attested in some inscriptions (e.g. in Ketef Hinnom near Jerusalem), consist of traditional blessing formulae, linked together in three stair-stepped lines. …

David

(3,786 words)

Author(s): Dietrich, Walter | Klauck, Hans-Josef | Leeb, Rudolf | Jacobs, Martin | Dan, Joseph | Et al.
[German Version] I. Bible – II. Christianity – III. Judaism – IV. Islam I. Bible 1. Old Testament From the biblical perspective, David, whose name means “darling, beloved,” is the embodiment of the ideal ruler. He governed in the early 10th century bce, allegedly for 40 years, of which seven and a half were in Hebron, the rest in Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:4f.). Although he is the king of whom the Bible has most to tell (Kingship in Israel), he remains a …