The Rabbis

Acts 5- 33-39 Words of Rabban Gamaliel I
By February 14, 2016 Read More →

Acts 5- 33-39 Words of Rabban Gamaliel I

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 […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Aerial view of the city of Sepphoris, Lower Galilee
By February 14, 2016 Read More →

Aerial view of the city of Sepphoris, Lower Galilee

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 […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Menorah in the Beth Shearim Catacomb, Lower Galilee, 2nd- 4th centuries CE
By February 7, 2016 Read More →

Menorah in the Beth Shearim Catacomb, Lower Galilee, 2nd- 4th centuries CE

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 […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Jewish Funerary Inscriptions—Most Are in Greek, Pieter W. van der Horst, BAR 18:05, Sep-Oct 1992.
By January 28, 2009 1 Comments Read More →

Jewish Funerary Inscriptions—Most Are in Greek, Pieter W. van der Horst, BAR 18:05, Sep-Oct 1992.

No less than 1,600 Jewish epitaphs—funerary inscriptions—are extant from ancient Palestine and the Diaspora dating to the Hellenistic and Roman-Byzantine periods (300 B.C.E.–500 C.E.a). They tell us a great deal about the life and ideas of Jews living almost all over the then-known world. This, in turn, sheds considerable light on problems of Jewish history, […]

Beth Shearim Catacombs, 2nd-4th century CE
By January 28, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Beth Shearim Catacombs, 2nd-4th century CE

Catacomb Sarcophagus Rabbi Judah the Prince (HaNasi) headed the Sanhedrin from about 160-200 CE. He was based in Beth Shearim until ill health forced him to move to Zippori. Despite the move, he was buried in Beth Shearim according to his request. Thereafter, Beth Shearim became a popular burial place. In Greco-Roman Israel, people were […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Sepphoris Mosaic, 3rd century CE
By April 9, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Sepphoris Mosaic, 3rd century CE

“The Mona Lisa of the Galilee” Set in the white ground of the mosaic floor at one end—like a beautiful rug—is a 20- by 20-foot area of colored mosaic. The colored area consists of a rectangle flanked along part of its length on two sides by panels illustrating processions. The processional on one side (bottom […]

Iggeret Rav Sherira Gaon 1-2: The First Generation of the Tannaim
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Iggeret Rav Sherira Gaon 1-2: The First Generation of the Tannaim

Rav Sherira Gaon, who wrote in ca. 987, provides an idealized account of the history of the tannaitic movement from the time of Hillel and Shammai up to the generation before Rabbi Judah the Prince, editor of the Mishnah. Sherira pictures the Rabbis as solving all problems and resolving all doubts, a view difficult to […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Babylonian Talmud Bava Mezia 59a-b: The Bet Midrash and Divine Law
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Babylonian Talmud Bava Mezia 59a-b: The Bet Midrash and Divine Law

The following passage in the Babylonian Talmud highlights the human element in the interpretation and application of the divinely written Torah. Even God, as it were, accepts the authority of the Rabbis to interpret the law. We learned elsewhere- 79 “If he cut it into separate tiles, placing sand between each tile-Rabbi Eliezer declared it […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Mishnah Avot 1-5: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Rabbis
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Mishnah Avot 1-5: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Rabbis

The Mishnah includes one tractate, Avot, known also as Pirqe Avot, “Chapters of the Fathers,” which provides a chain of tradition for Rabbinic Judaism, tracing the authority of both the written and the oral laws from Moses at Mount Sinai to Rabbi Judah the Prince. In many respects, this tractate may be regarded as a […]

Posted in: The Rabbis
Josephus, War I, 110-12: The Pharisees in Power
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Josephus, War I, 110-12: The Pharisees in Power

Excerpted from Lawrence H. Schiffman, Texts and Traditions, Ktav, Hoboken 1998, p.512. Josephus here gives his opinion about how the Pharisees came to be the dominant party in the time of the Hasmonean queen, Salome Alexandra (76-67 B.C.E.). Again we see the Pharisaic role in political affairs. (110) And now the Pharisees joined themselves to […]