The Amoraim made use of various techniques to impart the oral Torah to their students. Most prominent was simple repetition. To aid in memorizing, since the oral Torah was transmitted and taught through an oral process, mnemonic devices and other formulations were used. R. Pereda had a pupil whom he taught his lesson four hundred times […]
Archive for February, 2016
The various locations of the Sanhedrin are linked with the verse in Genesis which locates the tribe of Zebulun by the seashore. Genesis Rabbah, a midrash on Genesis edited in the fifth century C.E., locates the resting place of the Sanhedrin in Zebulun’s territory in Sepphoris but was also aware that it later moved to […]
The book of Acts pictures Rabban Gamliel I as reacting to the arrest of the Christian apostles. This passage has him reviewing the history of messianic pretenders in the Second Temple period. 33- When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34- But a Pharisee in the council named Gama’li-el, a […]
Photo courtesy of bibleplaces.com. Sepphoris, Zippori in Hebrew, is located in the center of the Lower Galilee, three miles northwest of Nazareth. Although it was probably founded in First Temple days (eighth or seventh century B.C.E.) it reached its floruit much later. In the Hasmonean period (first century B.C.E.) as well as in the Herodian […]
The delicate carving on the side of the sarcophagus depicts Zeus, in the guise of a swan, graphically forcing himself on the Spartan queen Leda. The scene is one of the best known in ancient Greek mythology, so its appearance on a sarcophagus should be no surprise. This particular sarcophagus, however, comes not from ancient […]
The finds at Sepphoris continue to dazzle—from the theater now fully exposed to the major public buildings and miqva’ot (ritual baths) to the magnificent mosaics. Indeed, the discovery of an extravagant new mosaic is the occasion for this report. The new mosaic covers the floor of a large, nearly square room (approximately 20 × 22 […]
The famous mosaic map in a church in Madaba, Jordan, and the not-so-famous mosaic inscription from an ancient synagogue near Tel Rehov, in Israel’s Beth-Shean Valley, reflect two very different views of sacred geography. In Christianity, the Holy Land is perceived as the totality of holy sites sanctified by saints and revelation. In Judaism, the […]
The Two Faces of Jesus – How the early church pictured the divine, Robert M. Jensen, BR 18:05, Oct 2002.
In the upper reaches of the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, just below the painted wood ceiling, appears a striking series of 26 mosaics portraying the life and passion of Jesus. Dating to the early sixth century, they constitute one of the oldest—perhaps the oldest—extant monumental series of images depicting Jesus’ life (see photos […]
An example of the intricate carvings in the catacombs of Beth She’arim, this menorah stands on top of the head of a man in a Roman military tunic. Jewish symbols such as the menorah appear side by side with pagan motifs of lions, eagles, bulls’ heads and garlands. A carved shell, another common ornament, decorates […]
Julian the Apostate and His Plan to Rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, Jeffrey Brodd, BR 11:05, Oct 1995.
Of the Roman emperors after Constantine, only Julian (331–363) rejected Christianity in favor of the pagan gods. A nephew of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, Julian incurred the wrath of a burgeoning Christian community by deciding to rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by Roman legions in 70 C.E. Actually, Constantine […]