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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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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.…

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…

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…
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