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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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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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