English, Reviews

Rabbinic Spiritual Capital: A Review of ‘Judaea-Palaestina, Babylon and Rome: Jews in Antiquity’

Oppenheimer volumeBenjamin Isaac and Yuval Shahar (eds.), Judaea-Palaestina, Babylon and Rome: Jews in Antiquity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012).

This volume is a collection of seventeen articles presented at a 2009 conference held at Tel Aviv University in honor of Aharon Oppenheimer on the occasion of his retirement. Oppenheimer is known to scholars of ancient Judaism and Christianity thanks to his work on a vast range of topics, many of which are represented by the articles in this book. Continue reading

English, Events

Vered Noam on Josephus and the Rabbis

Tomorrow at 10:30 Prof. Vered Noam will deliver a paper entitled “The Story of King Jannaeus in b. Qiddushin 66a—A Pharisaic Reply to Sectarian Polemic”. The lecture is part of the Orion Center‘s Greenfield Scholars Seminars and will take place in room 2001 of the Rabin building on Mt. Scopus.

אגדת ינאי (בבלי קידושין סו ע”א): כתב הגנה פרושית כנגד טענות כיתתיות

בסוגיית קידושין (סו ע”א) משוקעת אגדה המתארת את הקרע בין ינאי המלך והפרושים. מקבילה קרובה של אגדה זו מצויה בקדמוניות היהודים ליוסף בן מתתיהו. האגדה נידונה הרבה במחקר בשל חשיבותה להבנת המתחים הפוליטיים והיריבות הכתתית בתקופת המדינה החשמונאית, ובשל קרבתה המסקרנת לעדותו של יוספוס. נדמה לי, עם זאת, ששני היבטים של סיפור זה טרם מוצו – הסגנון והמינוח המשמשים בו, והרמיזות המקראיות שהוא נוקט. מאפיינים אלה עשויים לשמש מפתח למוצאו ולמגמתו של הסיפור, שהוא, לדעתי, שריד נדיר של מסמך פרושי פולמוסי.

Noam, along with Tal Ilan, is currently working on “A Literary-Historical Investigation of the Parallel Traditions in Josephus and in Rabbinic Literature”, and this lecture seems to be a part of that larger project. Shai and I hope to be in attendance and plan on reporting back.

[On this story see, most recently, Richard Kalmin, Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine pp. 53-60.]

And speaking of Tel Aviv U (where Noam is a professor), Ishay Rosen-Zvi has just announced two nice scholarships ($5000) for qualified international students to come and study (in English) towards an MA in Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv U. For more information, click here.

Conferences, English

Halakha in the Holiday Season

While vendors here in the open-market already began selling sufganiyot a few months ago, the recent displays of hanukiyot are a sure sign of the impending holiday season. Veteran readers of The Talmud Blog may recall Shai’s classic 2009 post “Hanukah at Scholion“. For others, the Holiday of Lights might bring to mind memories of family gatherings, Youtube videos, and fried delicacies. This year, Israel based readers are encouraged to attend Yad-Ben Zvi’s Hanukah conference on Halakha. Here’s a brief description by one of the events’ organizers:

Yad Ben Zvi’s upcoming conference on ”Halakhic Revolutions – Then and Now” (December 25) is intended to serve a double purpose: it will provide an opportunity for four authors of recently published historical studies on halakhic topics (Aharon Shemesh, Cana Werman, Vered Noam and Hillel Newman) to discuss their work, and it will also serve in the same vein as a forum for other scholars to address questions of halakhic change and dynamics from antiquity to the present. The additional speakers include Rami Reiner, Adiel Schremer, Maoz Kahana, Hanan Gafni, Yair Sheleg and Moshe Halbertal.