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Hekhalot literature

(365 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Hekhalot literature (HL), to which belong, as the most important types, Hekaloth Rabbati (‘the great palaces’), Hekaloth zuṭarti (‘the small palaces’), Maʿase Merkabah (‘the work of the throne chariot’), Merkabah Rabbah (‘the great throne chariot’), Reʾuyyot Yeḥeqkel (‘the visions of Ezechiel’), Massekhet Hekaloth (‘treatise of the palaces’) and the 3rd Henoch, is a testimony to early Jewish mysticism constituted by an ‘experimental knowledge of God won through lively experience’ [4. 4]. One of the most significant motifs…

Abraham

(625 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Müller, Walter W. (Marburg/Lahn)
[German version] [1] Biblical figure The biblical A. figure is subject to various interpretations during the early Jewish and rabbinical periods. To traditionally devout circles, A. represents the law-abiding patriarch, who, owing to the timeless nature of Jewish law, was able to observe the Halachic commandments previous to their revelation on Sinai (cf. i.a. Sir 44,19; Jub 15,1; 16,21; 21,5; syrBar 57,2; mQid 4,14; bYom 28b). As A. destroyed his father's graven images, he is regarded as the first r…

Jabne

(183 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Ἰάμνια; Iámnia). City, situated south of modern Tel Aviv. After the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in AD 70, it became the new centre in which Judaism reconstituted itself as rabbinic Judaism, initially under Rabbi Jochanan ben Zakkai and later under Gamaliel [2] II. A first formulation of the material which was later to be incorporated into the Mišna was undertaken here, whereby the aspect of an ordering of the religious life without temple cult and priests, as well as th…

Baruch

(193 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] According to Biblical tradition, he was Jeremiah's companion and scribe. A highly significant figure in early Jewish tradition. In the apocryphal Book of B., he appears foremost as a preacher who calls Israel to penance but also promises consolation. In the B. writings (for instance in SyrBar and GrBar, Ethiop. B. apocalypse), B. predominantly acts as a prophetic recipient of revelation, who can even be superior to Jeremiah when telling him about God's decision (SyrBar 10,1ff). B.…

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…

Succession, laws of

(1,791 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz) | Manthe, Ulrich (Passau) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East see Cuneiform, legal texts in Thür, Gerhard (Graz) [German version] II. Greek Succession laws in Greece primarily followed the concept of family succession. Greek law therefore contained several provisions to secure succession within the family group even where there were no legitimate sons ( gnesioi). For example, eispoíēsis allowed the nomination of a non-testamentary heir, a process akin to adoption. Where such a replacement heir was also absent, the inheritance ( klḗros ) either passed to lateral kin ( anchisteía ) o…

Circumcisio

(346 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Circumcision (Hebrew mûla, mîla; Greek περιτομή; peritomḗ; Latin circumcisio), the removal of the foreskin of the male member, was originally an apotropaic rite widespread amongst western Semitic peoples that was performed at the onset of puberty or prior to the wedding (cf. Exodus 4,26 Is. 9,24f; Jos. 5,4-9; Hdt. 2,104,1-3). As this custom was not known in Mesopotamia, circumcision became a distinguishing feature between the exiled people and the Babylonians during the time of Babylonian…

Simon

(1,722 words)

Author(s): Neudecker, Richard (Rome) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Döring, Klaus (Bamberg) | Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) | Wandrey, Irina (Berlin) | Et al.
(Σίμων/ Símōn). [German version] [1] Sculptor in bronze from Aegina, c. 480-460 BC Sculptor in bronze from Aegina. S. participated with a horse and a charioteer in the votive offerings dedicated by Phormis at Olympia; accordingly, his period of artistic activity is around 480-460 BC. The base which belonged to it has been identified. A dog and an archer by S. (Plin. HN 34,90) probably formed a further group. Neudecker, Richard (Rome) Bibliography Overbeck, nos. 402, 437  M. Zuppa, s.v. S. 2, EAA 7, 1966, 315  F. Eckstein, Anathemata, 1969, 43-49  E. Walter-Karydi, Die äginetische Bi…

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…

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…

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.

Ariston

(821 words)

Author(s): Pressler, Frank (Heidelberg) | Sharples, Robert (London) | Degani, Enzo (Bologna) | Hülser, Karl-Heinz (Constance) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
(Ἀρίστων; Arístōn). [German version] [1] of Athens Tragedian Son of Menealaus (possibly identical with TrGF 2-4, 1977-85, 137), father of the comic poet Alexander (FdD III 2, 48 l. 3 and 15; 49), author of Satyr plays and tragedies; in an inscription on the southern wall of the Athenian treasure house (FdD III 2, 48 17, l. 30 and 35, Syll.3 711 L) , he is honoured as an Attic delegate to the 3rd Pythaïs of the Dionysiac technites in Delphi, probably in 106/105 BC (or 97 BC according to TrGF app. crit. 145151). Pressler, Frank (Heidelberg) Bibliography Mette, 72 TrGF 146. [German version] [2] of Al…

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…

Ethnarchos

(155 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The title ethnarchos was given by the Romans to both Hyrcanus II (63-40 BC) and the son of Herod, Archelaus (4 BC-AD 6) (Hyrcanus II by Caesar 47 BC cf. Jos. Ant. Iud. 14,192ff.; Archelaus by Augustus after Herod's death, cf. Jos. Ant. Iud. 17,317). Formal expression was thus given to the designated person's rule over the Jewish people, while at the same time deliberately avoiding the title of king (cf. Jos. Ant. Iud. 20,244). The head of the Jewish community in Alexandria, who is s…

Adiabene

(280 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Oelsner, Joachim (Leipzig)
[German version] Term for the region between the upper and lower Zab, but also the adjacent northern regions (referred to in oriental sources as Hadjab). A. comprises essentially the old territory of Assyria along with  Arbela (Plin. HN. 5,66; 6,25 ff.; Amm. Marc. 23,6; SHA Sev. 9,18; Str. 11,503; 530; 16,736; 745; Ptol. 6,1,2). As a Parthian feudal state ruled by a local dynasty that professed its faith in Judaism in the 1st cent. AD, A. gets involved in the battles between Rome and the Parthians…

Karaites

(286 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The K. are a group within Judaism which emerged in the 2nd half of the 8th cent. AD under the leadership of Anan, a member of the exilarch family ( Exilarch), who was passed over when the exilarch was appointed in the year 767. The basis of Karaite beliefs (the K. being split up into subgroups) is the recognition of the Jewish Bible (Hebrew miqra) as the only foundation of the faith (hence, the term K. which is derived from Hebr. qaraʾim or bne/ baʿale-ha-miqra). In so doing, the K. called into question the validity of the tradition of Rabbinic Judaism, the so-c…

Moses

(1,439 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel (Berne) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Rist, Josef (Würzburg)
(Hebrew Mošæh, Greek Μω(υ)σῆς; Mō(y)sȇs). [1] Israelite religious founder [German version] I. Biblical tradition According to tradition, M. was a Levite who grew up as an Egyptian prince, was forced to flee to Midian, was called there by the god Yahweh to lead the enslaved Hebrew people out of Egypt; Biblical cultic and moral law were revealed to him on Mt. Sinai, and he led the Hebrew people through the desert to the edge of the Promised Land, where he died on Mount Nebo, across from Jericho (Ex 2 - Dt 34). …

Levites

(434 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] According to the Chronistic History ( Bible), the Levites - clearly distinguished from the priests - form a type of clerus minor who are entrusted with the supervision of the Temple courtyards, provision rooms with cult equipment, sacrifices and offerings as well as being active as singers, musicians and gatekeepers and assisting the priests in the sacrificial service. Various genealogies document internal disputes and rivalries. The details of the history of the Levites can be clarified only with dif…

Amoraim

(84 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The term Amoraim (from Hebr. amar, ‘to say, comment’) describes in the traditional periodization those rabbinic teachers who worked both in Palestine and Babylon in the period from the finalization of the Mishna ( c. AD 200) to the time when the Babylonian Talmud was essentially completed, except for a few final revisions ( c. AD 500). They commented on the interpretations of the early  Tannaites, who have more authority in tradition. Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) Bibliography G. Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch, 81992.

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…

Toledot Yeshu

(239 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)

Abbahu

(93 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Jewish teacher and rabbi ( c. AD 250-320), head of the school in Caesarea [3]. A., who knew Greek language and culture, is famous because of his disputations with the so-called ‘Minim’ (heretics). It is a matter of controversy whether Christians were among A.'s discussion partners. Furthermore, he supposedly kept his city's Samaritan priests away from the Jewish community and in ritual matters equated the Samaritans with gentiles. Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) Bibliography L. J. Levine, Caesarea under Roman Rule, SJLA 7, 1975 …

Seder Olam Rabba

(197 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew/Aramaic, literally 'great world order' in contrast to the less comprehensive work Seder ôlām zuṭâ , 'small word order'). Midrash work presenting a chronological record of dates from the creation of the world to the Bar Kochba revolt (AD 132-135;; Bar Kochba). The Persian Period conspicuously comprises no more than 34 years, and the dates of Alexander [4] the Great to Bar Kochba are presented in summary only. The work, attributed to the Rabbinic scholar Jose ben Ḫalaftâ (c…

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 …

Bar Pandera

(92 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Figure who is mentioned in connection with magic and idolatry (bShab 104b; bSanh 67b); name of Jesus in rabbinical literature (KohR 1.1,8; tHul 2,22f.; yAZ 2,2 [40d], ySab 14,4 [14d]; KohR 10,5). Detailed research of the various traditions was able to show that B. did not originally belong to the context of anti-Christian polemics, but was only identified secondarily with Jesus during the repressive Byzantine religious politics before the Arabic conquest.  Adversos Judaeos;  Anti-Semitism Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) Bibliography J. Maier, Jesus von Nazareth in d…

Magog

(240 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] In Ez 38:2 M. is the name of the country of the grand duke Gog, whom God has advance together with his armed forces against Israel to attack it; in doing so, however, he will die (for the text Ez 38:1-39:29 and its individual layers cf. [1]; see also Gn 10:2 where M. is counted among the sons of Japheth). Experts have raised the question whether Gog is to be associated with a historical figure, e.g. the Lydian king Gyges, who appears in documents of Assurbanipal under the name Gug(g)u. M. would then be identifiable with Lydia. The episode was diversely interpreted: Iosephus s…

Genizah

(356 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] In Judaism, a genizah (‘safekeeping’, from Aramaic gnaz, ‘to hide’) is a repository for books which are no longer in use but which contain the name of God, or for ritual objects, in order to prevent misuse or profanation. Such rooms were frequently found in synagogues; if the synagogue itself was demolished, the books and objects were ‘interred’ in the cemetery. …

Mamre

(392 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Mentioned in the Bible (probably from the Hebrew root mr, ‘become fat, fatten’, as ‘place that is fat/fattens’; Greek Μάμβρη/ Mámbrē; Latin Mambre) as an oak grove where Abraham [1] built an altar (Gn 13:18), and where, as he played host to three men, interpreted as a divine apparition, the birth of his son Isaac [1] was announced to him (Gn 18). According to Biblical indications, the place is i…

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…

Archisynagogos

(93 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebr. rosh ha-knesset). Title of the head of the synagogue who was responsible for the conduct of services. There is literary (i.a. Mk 5,21-43; Lk 13,14; Acts 18,8) and epigraphic (i.a. CIJ II 991; 1404; 741; 766; CIJ I 265; 336; 383) documentation for the office from Palestine and the diaspora. Since the title was later applied to women and children as well, there is some discussion if women could hold the office or if the designation was merely an honorary title.…

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…

Haggadah

(396 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] The term Haggadah (the Hif'il of the Hebrew root ngd ‘say, tell’) or its Aramaic equivalent Aggada refers to all non-Halachic traditions from Rabbinic literature and is therefore a collective term for all in the widest sense narrative materials in this extensive corpus of literature. Such a negative definition of the term can already be found in the Middle Ages in Šmuel ha-Nagid (993-1055): ‘Haggadah is any interpretation in the Talmud on any topic which is not a commandment.’ Quite particular im…

Apocalypses

(490 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Beginning with the self-attribution of the Revelations of John as ἀποκάλυψις ( apokálypsis; Rev 1,1), the term Apocalypses became the generic name for this and related works. A chosen recipient of revelations is informed by visions, ecstatic experiences, dreams of honourable founders (Enoch, Moses, a prophet, an apostle), heavenly journeys or instruction by angels about the course of history (past, future and esp. the end of the world) or the afterlife with its entire geography (Heavenly Jeru…

Noah

(340 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Νῶε/ Nôe, Lat. Noa, Noe; Hebr. Nōaḥ). In the Bible, Noah is the main character in the story of the Flood in Gn 6,5-9,29. This story originated in Mesopotamia (cf. the Gilgamesh Epic and the Atraḫasis Epic; legend of the Flood). As a righteous man Noah is spared God's punishment and thus he became the father of mankind, as father of Shem, Ham und Japheth (Gn 6,10; 9,18), who represent the three continents. According to the traditional interpretation of the Pentateuch, the Biblical story…

Theodotion

(133 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Θεωδοτίων/ Theodotíōn; according to Epiphanius, De mensuris et ponderibus 17; 2nd cent. AD), in the view of the ancient Church a proselyte from Ephesus (Iren. Adversus haereses 3,21). T. did not produce (in contrast to Aquila [3] and Symmachus [2]) a new Greek translation of the Old Testament, rather he revised a Greek translation in accordance with the Hebrew text. Whether his model was identical with the Septuaginta is debatable, since there are also 'Theodotionic' readings in texts earlier than T. [1] identified T. with the author of the k aige- or Palestinian rece…

Rabbinical literature

(1,703 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] I. Definition Collective term for the literature of rabbinical Judaism (AD 70 to 1040), traditionally considered the 'oral Torah' ( tōrā šæ-be-al-pæ) revealed to Moses [1] on Mount Sinai (mAb 1,1). In terms of content, a distinction is made between Halakhah, i.e. the legal-judicial tradition, and Haggadah, which contains narrative elements. The essential literary works of this transmitted corpus are the Mishnah, Tosefta, Talmud, various Midrash works and the Targumim (Targum). RL is not the work of i…

Solomon

(684 words)

Author(s): Liwak, Rüdiger (Berlin) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich)
[1] Son of King David [German version] I. Old Testament S. (Hebrew Šelomō, literally 'his peace' or 'his restitution'). Successor to David [1] (2 Sam 9-1 Kg 2) in the second third of the 10th cent. BC. His 40-year reign (1 Kg 11:42, cf. 1 Kg 2:11) is of ideal duration, resulting from his esteem as a wise man and temple-builder (1 Kg 3:6-8, cf. Sir 47:12-18). He is criticized for building altars to foreign deities (1 Kg 11:1-13) and his introduction of forced labour (1 Kg 5:27-32). Stories about S. (1 Kg 3-1…

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] …

Nehardea

(122 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] City on the Euphrates in Babylonia which, even before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, showed a Jewish settlement (Jos. Ant. Iud. 18,311). According to rabbinical tradition, an important Talmud school (Judaic law) was situated there as well as the headquarters of the Babylonian exilarchs (Exilarch). The city's heyday was in the middle of the 3rd cent. After it had been destroyed by the Palmyrenes in AD 259 …

Aquila

(439 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Liebermann, Wolf-Lüder (Bielefeld)
[German version] [1] Military see  Ensigns Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) [German version] [2] Science See  Eagle; see  Constellations Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) [German version] [3] Proselyte from Sinope, Bible translator Proselyte from  Sinope, translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek ( c. AD 130). The source language orientation of the work stands in the foreground to the extent that many passages remain incomprehensible without knowledge of the Hebrew original. Specifically Hebraic…

Marriage

(3,409 words)

Author(s): Westbrook, Raymond (Baltimore) | Wagner-Hasel, Beate (Darmstadt) | Treggiari, Susan (Stanford) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Heimgartner, Martin (Halle)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Marriage in the Ancient Orient was always potentially polygamous, but in most cases it was monogamous in practice. Only kings had more than two wives. Marriage to members of inferior social groups was just as valid as marriage between them. Marriage between close relatives was basically forbidden, except between half-brothers and half-sisters who shared a father. A marriage could be concluded in any of four ways: 1) by a contract between the groom or his parents and…

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

Aaron

(228 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Post-Biblic…

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

Archelaus

(1,291 words)

Author(s): Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Schottky, Martin (Pretzfeld) | Pietsch, Christian (Mainz) | Et al.
(Ἀρχέλαος; Archélaos). [German version] [1] Macedonian king (ca. 413-399 BC) Son of  Perdiccas, king of Macedonia about 413-399 BC, who according to Plato's spiteful representation (Gorg. 471) was the son of a slave woman and had ascended to the throne by murder. However, he appeared about 415 in a contract with Athens in third place after Perdiccas and his brother Alcetas, i.e. as legitimate (IG I3 89,60). Murdering other pretenders to the throne was not uncommon among the  Argeads, who had no firm rule of succession. He was on a good footing with the Atheni…

Michael

(1,757 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Berger, Albrecht (Berlin) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich) | Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna) | Brock, Sebastian P. (Oxford)
(Μιχαήλ/ Michaḗl; Mîkāēl). [German version] [1] Archangel Archangel, [1] One of the most prominent angels (cf. the description archistratēgós, ‘supreme commander’ of the heavenly host, Joseph of Aseneth 14,8, cf. Slavonic Hen 22,5; 33,10), one of the seven (Ethiopic Hen 20,5) or four (Ethiopic Hen 9,1; 10,11) archangels (cf. [1]). The name means ‘who is like God’ or ‘who is victorious like God’. M., who was first mentioned in the ‘Book of Watchers (Ethiopic Hen 1-36, end of the 4th/beginning of the 2nd cent. BC)…

Jezira, Sefer ha-

(259 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew ‘Book of creation’). Attempt at a systematic description of the fundamental principles of the world order. This Hebrew text, comprising only a few pages and extant in three different recensions, was probably written between the 3rd and 6th cent. and thus is one of the oldest texts of Jewish esoteric writing. In the first part, the ten original numbers, and in the second part the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet are presented as elements of creation through whose c…

Edom

(724 words)

Author(s): Bieberstein, Klaus (Fribourg) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] A. Historical Development up to the 4th cent. ‘T…

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. …

Nehemiah

(342 words)

Author(s): Liwak, Rüdiger (Berlin) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
(Νεεμιας/ Neemias, hebräisch Nehæmjāh). [German version] I. Old Testament According to the book of the same name, of which the so-called ‘Nehemiah-Memoir’ in Neh 1-7 and 11-13 forms the historical basis, Nehemiah is the cupbearer of the great king of Persia (Neh 1:11). In 445 BC (Neh 1:1; 2:1ff.), he came to Jerusalem on the instructions of Artaxerxes' [1] I. Amidst opposition (e.g. Ezr 4:8ff.), he supervised the rebuilding of the walls, which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II,  in only 52 days (Neh 6:15). He administered the settlement in Jerusalem in accordance with a type of syn…

Masorah, Masoretes

(494 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Since the Hebrew alphabet is a consonantal alphabet and thus does not write any vowels, written words can often be pronounced and interpreted in various ways. In order to solve this problem, individual consonant letters were used also as vowel letters ( matres lectionis) from early on (so called plene writing; cf. Aramaic documents from as early as the 9th century BC or the Shiloah inscription from the 7th century BC). Furthermore, in order to secure the pronunciation of the holy text definitively, the so-called Masorah (‘tradition’, from Hebrew msr, ‘to pass down’) w…

Sura

(441 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Eigler, Ulrich (Zürich) | Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Wiegels, Rainer (Osnabrück)
[German version] [1] Roman cognomen Roman cognomen ('calf bone'), recorded for L. Cornelius [I 56] Lentulus S. etc. Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) Bibliography Degrassi, FCIR, 269  Kajanto, Cognomina, 63; 226. [German version] [2] Aemilius S. Author of a work of history In a gloss on Vell. Pat. 1,6,6, an excerpt from a work by a certain Aemilius S. with the title De annis populi Romani is cited as a supplement to Velleius' presentation of the genealogical derivation of the Macedonian royal house. The excerpt contains an account of the successive five empires…

Death, angel of

(231 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew Malakh ha-mawet). Figure of Rabbinical angelology, can be identified with  Sammael or  Satan (e.g. bBB 16a). The angel of death, given by God the power over life and death, stands at the side of someone who is dying. If that person opens his or her mouth in fright, the angel casts a drop of gall from his sword into the open mouth, whereupon death occurs (bAZ 20b). Up until the sin of the golden calf (Ex 32,1-24), the angel was intended only for the peoples of the world, beca…

Gerousia

(995 words)

Author(s): Welwei, Karl-Wilhelm (Bochum) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
(γερουσία; gerousía, ‘Council of Elders’). [German version] I. Graeco-Roman In Sparta the gerousia was probably originally an assembly of representatives from leading families. There it gained its institutional character from early on and consisted of the two kings and 28   gérontes (γέροντες), who were appointed for life and were at least 60 years old. Election took place on the basis of the volume of the acclamation in the   apélla (ἀπέλλα), with ‘electoral officials’ in a closed room deciding who got the strongest applause (Plut. Lycurgus …

Elisha ben Abuja

(158 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Eliša b. Abuja). Jewish scholar of the first half of the 2nd cent. AD, in the Rabbinic literature considered a prototypical apostate and probably therefore bearing the name Aḥer (Hebrew ‘the Other’). However, Rabbinic legendary tradition attributes to him a number of very different heresies: the reference in bHag 15a, according to which he believed in the existence of two heavenly powers, seems to point to Gnostic ideas ( Gnostics); according to yHag 2,1 (77b), he is supposed to …

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…

Aqiba

(149 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Rabbi A. ( c. AD 50-135), an important Jewish teacher in the time of  Jabne, often appears as an opponent of rabbi Yishmael in discussions on the interpretation of Scriptures. He plays a significant role in the context of early esoteric traditions (see the tale of the four who entered Paradise; bHag 14b par.). He allegedly proclaimed Bar Kochba the Messiah of Israel (‘Star of Jacob’; cf. Num 24,5), which provoked objections because of the primarily anti-apocalyptic tendency of the ea…

Zion

(288 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Ζιών/Ziṓn or Σιών/Siṓn, fem.; Lat. Zion, masc., fem. or neutr.). The Hebrew proper noun Z. was originally the name for the citadel of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem on the southeastern karst hill above the source of the Gihon, which was conquered by David [1]. The Hebrew text explains the phrase 'Fortress of Z.' ( meṣudat ṣijjōn) as 'David's City' (2 Sam 5:7; cf. 1 Kg 8:1; for the distinction from the remainder of the city cf. 2 Sam 6:10; 6:12; 6:16). After the expansion of Jerusalem under Solomon the name could also be applied to th…

Judith

(331 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Ιουδιθ, Iudith, Iudit). The Book of J., which has come down to us only in Greek and (dependent on it) in Latin and belongs to the Apocrypha ( Apocryphal literature), goes back to a Hebrew original. In a politically and militarily difficult situation, with the inhabitants of the mountain city of Betylia besieged by Nebuchadnezzar's commander  Holofernes, and consequently suffering from lack of water, Judith, a young, rich and pious widow, appears. After admonishing the people to tru…

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…

Eleazarus

(771 words)

Author(s): Schwemer, Anna Maria (Tübingen) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
(Hebrew ælāzār, ‘God has helped’; Greek Ἐλεάζαρος; Eleázaros, Λάζαρος; Lázaros). A name that is particularly common in priestly Jewish families (cf. 2 Macc 6,18-31; 4 Macc 5,1-7,23). [German version] [1] Son of Aaran and father of Pinhas Son of  Aaron and father of Pinhas. In the OT genealogy the ancestor of the Sadducean high priests (Ex 6,23; 28,1; Lev 8ff; Nm 20,25-28; Dt 10,6; 1 Chr 5,29); grave in Gibea (Jos 24,33); considered an ancestor of  Ezra [1] (Ezra 7,5). Schwemer, Anna Maria (Tübingen) [German version] [2] Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant in Kiryat-Yearim Guardian of the…

Hillel

(170 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] the elder, of Babylonian descent, lived at the time of  Herodes [1] the Great (end 1st cent. BC/beginning 1st cent. AD); pupil of the Pharisees Shemaya and Abtalion. H. was one of the most important ‘rabbinic’ authorities from the period before the destruction of the temple of  Jerusalem (AD 70). Tradition ascribes to him the seven rules of interpretation ( Middot), strongly influenced by Greek rhetoric, as well as the introduction of the so-called prosbul: according to this a creditor could demand payment of his debt even after a sabbat…

Elias

(842 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Hadot, Pierre (Limours) | Brock, Sebastian P. (Oxford)
[German version] [1] The prophet Elijah (Elijah, prophet). The biblical character of E., according to the evidence of the Deuteronomic History, appears as a prophet of the northern kingdom at the time of king Ahab (871-852 BC) (cf. the E. traditions in 1 Kgs 17-19; 21; 2 Kgs 1-2); probably because of his miraculous translation to heaven (2 Kgs 2), E. comes to play a very important role in post-biblical Judaism. Thus, even in early Judaism, the notion arose of E.'s eschatological return (cf. Mal 3,23; …

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…

Jehuda ha-Nasi

(292 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] Most often simply called ‘rabbi’ or ‘our holy rabbi’, c. AD 175-217; son and successor of Simeon ben Gamaliel [2] II, the most important of the Jewish Patriarchs, under whose rule the office was at its most powerful. He was officially acknowledged by the Romans as the representative of Judaism and in addition acted as the head of the Sanhedrin ( Bēt Dīn;  Synhedrion), being the highest authority in questions of teachings ( Ḥakham). J. had at his disposal a solid financial basis, and maintained extensive trading relations and contacts with the  Diaspora…

Targum

(402 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (Hebrew targûm, 'translation'). Name of the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible since the Tannaitic Period ( c. 2nd cent. AD). Of the Pentateuch, several Targum versions exist: a) Targum Onqelos, probably based on a Palestinian text ( c. late 1st/early 2nd cents. AD) and revised in Babylonia presumably between the 3rd and the 5th cents. AD, is largely a literal translation of the Hebrew text; b) Targum Neofiti, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (= Targum Jerushalmi I) as well as the Fragment Targum (= Targum Jerushalmi II), …

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, …

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 …

Pentateuch

(576 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[German version] (ἡ Πεντάτευχος sc. βίβλος/ hē Pentáteuchos sc. bíblos, literally 'book of five scrolls', Orig. comm. in Jo 4,25; cf. Hippolytus 193 Lagarde; Latin Pentateuchus, Tert. in Isid. orig. 6,2,2). In the Christian tradition, a collective term for the the books Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy at the beginning of the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish tradition, however, refers instead to the spr htwrh, 'book of instruction' (cf. also the NT term νόμος/ nómos, Luke 10:26, or νόμος Μωϋσέως/ n. Mōÿséōs, Acts 28:23) or to ḥmyšh ḥwmšy twrh (literally 'five-fifths of t…

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…

Apokalypsen

(464 words)

Author(s): Ego, Beate (Osnabrück)
[English version] Ausgehend von der Selbstbezeichnung der Johannesoffenbarung als ἀποκάλυψις (Offb 1,1) wurde der Ausdruck A. zur Gattungsbezeichnung für dieses und verwandte Werke. Einem auserwählten Offenbarungsempfänger werden durch Visionen, ekstatische Erlebnisse, Träume von ehrwürdigen Gründergestalten (Henoch, Moses, Prophet, Apostel), Himmelsreisen und Engelbelehrungen Geheimnisse über die Schöpfung, den Lauf der Geschichte (Vergangenheit, Zukunft und bes. das Weltende) oder das Jenseits m…
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