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Diaspora

(418 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The term diaspora (Greek διασπορά; diasporá, ‘scattering’) refers to Israelite or rather Jewish settlements outside Palestine. The main reason for their formation was the  deportation of the population as a consequence of military conquest; but alongside that, flight for political reasons, emigration in response to economic hardships, as well as expansion of trade also played a part. Despite considerable cultural differences, the country of Israel and in particular the temple in Jerusa…

Šekinā

(271 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (literally the 'inhabitation [of God]' from Hebrew šāḵan, 'dwell, inhabit'). Rabbinical term for the presence of God in the world; follows notionally from the description of God's dwelling in the Temple (Jes 8,18; Ez 43,7-9) or in his people (Ex 29,45) (cf. also the comparable reception of the concept in John's theology of incarnation, Jo 1,14). The concept of Šekinā is used to describe the immanence of an intrinsically transcendental deity. Proceeding from the idea of the continuous presence of the Šekinā in the Temple (according to [1] …

Edom

(724 words)

Author(s): Bieberstein, Klaus (Fribourg) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] A. Historical Development up to the 4th cent. ‘The Red One’ primarily refers to the mountain region east of the Wādı̄ al-Arabā, to its population only secondarily. Under Merenptah, a report emerged that the ‘Schasu ( Šśw) of E.’ were received in Egypt (ANET 259). Their settlement began in the 12th/11th cents. BC from the north and reached its peak in the 8th-6th cents. BC. The Esau-Jacob cycle (Gen. 25*, 27*, 32-33) demonstrates a special relationship to E., at least from an israelitic perspective. David achieved …

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…

Adonai

(107 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Literally: ‘my Lords’. The plural suffix presumably recurs as an adjustment to the Hebrew word for God, Elohim, which is grammatically a plural form. When early Judaism tabooed the divine name Yahweh for fear of an abuse of its utterance (cf. i.a. Ex 20.7), adonai became a substitute. Thus, the Septuagint expresses the name ‘Yahweh’ as the divine predicate ‘Lord’ (κύριος; kýrios). The  Masoretes ( c. 7th-9th cents. AD), who initially set the text of the Hebrew Bible which only consisted of consonants and supplied its vowels, vocalized the tetra…

Exilarch

(195 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The Exilarch (Aramaic rēš alūṯā, ‘Head of the diaspora’) was the leader of the Babylonian Jews and the official representative at the court of the Parthian king in the Talmudic and Gaonic periods ( c. 3rd-10th cents. AD). This institution, which claimed its origins in the House of David, was probably introduced during the administrative reforms of Vologaeses. I. (AD 51-79) [3]. The first certain details about the office date from the 3rd cent. (cf. yKil 9,4ff [32b]). The Exilarch had authority primarily in juridic…

Tannaites

(157 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (from Aramaic  tenâ = Hebrew šānāh 'repeat, teach, learn',  cf. also the technical term  Mishnah). In the traditional periodization of rabbinical literature, a term for the rabbinical teachers who worked in the period of the edition of the Mishnah, and therefore between Hillel and Shami (around the beginning of the Common Era), up to Yehudah ha-Nasi (Jehuda ha-Nasi) and his sons (beginning of the 3rd cent. AD). According to Joseph ibn Aqnin, a pupil of Maimonides (who died in 1204), the era of …

Exegesis

(725 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Rist, Josef (Würzburg)
(εξήγησις; exḗgēsis) [German version] A. Judaism The Jewish exegesis, which started within the biblical texts themselves in the form of explanatory glossaries and extrapolations in antiquity served to bring up to date the traditions of the sacred scriptures ( Bible). In early Judaism, biblical stories were retold (known as the ‘Rewritten Bible’), e.g. the ‘Book of Jubilees’ ( c. mid 2nd cent. BC) or the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum ( c. end of the 1st cent. AD). These retellings fill in narrative gaps in the biblical text, reconcile contradictions, and also add…

Nazirite, Nazir

(226 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] According to biblical records (Nm 6:1-21), a male or female (cf. Jos. BI 2,313: Berenice) nazirite vowed - normally for a limited period of time - to take up certain ascetic rules of behaviour: abstention from vine products and haircutting, ban on getting impure by touching a dead person (Nm 6:3-12; cf. also the rules in the Mishnah, or Talmud and Tosefta tract Nazir). If the nazirite vow was not, as in the case of Samson (Judges 13,5), taken for life, then it ended, after the deadline set in the vow, with offers of various sacrifices (cf. Ac…

Toledot Yeshu

(239 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew for ‘Life of Jesus’), a Jewish popular pseudo-history of the life of Jesus (A.1.), describing his birth, life and death in a satirical and polemic manner. The mediaeval compilation, which was in circulation in numerous different versions in several languages (including Hebrew, Yiddish, Judaeo-Arabic and Judaeo-Persian) and whose roots can be traced back as far as Talmudic tradition (cf. e.g. bSot 47a; bSan 43a; 67a; 107b), tells e.g. of Jesus's ignominious origin, since hi…

Dositheus

(947 words)

Author(s): Schwemer, Anna Maria (Tübingen) | Folkerts, Menso (Munich) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Rist, Josef (Würzburg) | Gatti, Paolo (Trento)
(Δωσίθεος; Dōsítheos). [German version] [1] Jewish apostate Son of Drimylos, Jewish apostate. He is supposed to have saved the life of Ptolemy IV Philopator before the battle at Raphia (217 BC)(3 Macc. 1,3). Around 240 BC he was one of the two leaders of the royal secretariat and accompanied Ptolemy III in 225-24 on a trip in Egypt; he held the highest priestly office in Hellenistic Egypt around 222 as the priest of Alexander [4] the Great and the deified Ptolemies. PP 1/8,8; 3/9,5100. Schwemer, Anna Maria (Tübingen) Bibliography V. Tcherikover, A. Fuks, Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum…

Saboraeans

(71 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (from Hebrew śābar, 'consider', 'verify', 'reason' ). Term for those Jewish Talmud scholars of the 6th/7th cents. AD who carried out the final editing of the Babylonian Talmud (Rabbinical literature) and copiously amplified it with more extensive chapters. The Saboraeans followed the Tannaites (late 1st - early 3rd cents. AD) and the Amoraim (3rd-5th cents. AD). Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) Bibliography G. Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch, 81992, 205-207.

Paradise

(1,180 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Heimgartner, Martin (Halle) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
[German version] I. Concept The Greek word parádeisos (παράδεισος/ parádeisos, Latin paradisus) or Hebrew pardēs comes from the ancient Iranian pairidaeza, meaning “surrounding walls, round enclosure, something that is enclosed,” and originally referred to an enclosed park. In the ancient Orient, gardens, particularly in conjunction with palace and temple grounds, “epitomized a wholesome living space” as well as representing a “visible domestication of "chaotic" powers” [4. 705] (especially when wild animals were k…

Eliezer ben Hyrkanos

(214 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos ( c. end 1st/early 2nd cent.) is one of the most frequently mentioned Tannaites in the Mishnah and Talmud. Records of his life have survived in numerous legends: he only found his way to the Torah after the age of twenty and left the home of his wealthy parents to devote himself to studying the Torah as one of the disciples of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zakkais. There he was noted because of his outstanding exegetical abilities, which were so remarkable that they eve…

Pesah

(491 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew psḥ; Greek πάσχα, LXX, explained in Phil. De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini 63 and Phil. Legum allegoria 3 as διάβασις/ diábasis; German Passah; English Passover). Annual spring celebration from 15 to 22 Nisan according to the Jewish calendar. It is one of the most important Jewish festivals and commemorates the Exodus and the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (cf. Ex 7-14). A central symbol is unleavened bread (Hebrew maṣṣōt), which is supposed to recall the haste of the Exodus (Ex 12:34; 14:39). Hence any leavened bread has to be remov…

Synhedrion

(598 words)

Author(s): Rhodes, Peter J. (Durham) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
(συνέδριον/ syn(h)édrion, lit. 'sitting together'). [German version] I. Greek Term used for various kinds of meetings and of bodies capable of holding meetings. Thus in Athens it can be used of the Areopagus and the Council (Boule) of Five Hundred (Aeschin. In Ctes. 19–20), of the archons (Archontes) and their paredroi (Dem. Or. 59,83), or of any official doing business in his place of business (Lys. 9,6; 9,9). There are several particular uses of the term. Many individual states called their council synhedrion (e.g. Corinth 4th cent., Diod. Sic.16,65,6–8; Elate…

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…

Gabriel

(320 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna)
[German version] [1] (Archangel) Archangel In the Jewish tradition, the angel G. (‘man of God’) is one of the six archangels, together with Uriel, Rafael, Raguel, Michael, and Sariel (1 Enoch, 20:1-7; for seven archangels cf. Tob 12:12-15; for four archangels: 1 Enoch 9-10; 40:9f.). In the biblical tradition, G. appears already together with Michael in the role of angelus interpres, who interprets the seer's visions (Dan 8:16; 9:21), and who announces the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (Lc 1:19.26). According to 1 Enoch 20:7, G. is placed above the…

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.…

Psalms

(1,308 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Klöckener, Martin (Fribourg)
[German version] I. Old Testament, Judaism The Book of Psalms (from Greek ψαλμός/ psalmós for the Hebrew mizmōr, 'string playing'; Lat. psalmus; title found in the heading of 57 psalms; Hebrew tehilı̄m, 'songs of praise'), also called the Psalter (cf. ψαλτήριον/ psaltḗrion as a title in the Codex Alexandrinus, 5th cent.) contains 150 individual songs and in the Jewish tradition belongs to the third portion of the canon, the so-called Ketuḇīm ('Writings'); in the Christian tradition the Psalms precede the prophetic writings. The Septuagint, unlike the Masoretic te…
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