This article discusses the physical contexts of Jewish death during the Roman period and tries to determine if people believed in the afterlife. It describes the monumental tombs of the late second temple period. It observes a relevant transition that occurred in Jerusalem and its environs sometime during the late first century
This article considers the impact of paganism and Christianity in the daily life of Jews. It looks at the influence of Hellenism and Hellenisation on paganism, and then studies paganism in the early rabbinic period. The next section discusses Christianity, from its first three centuries to its development after Constantine. The discussion reveals that the Jews considered Christianity to be another form of paganism.
Stefan C. Reif
This article discusses the prayer and liturgy of the Jews in ancient Roman Palestine. It introduces the authoritative works of early rabbinic literature, and studies the available manuscript evidence that help reconstruct the rite of the Land of Israel and the prayer versions that were preferred by the Babylonian Jewish community. It emphasizes that there was no single exclusive area of Jewish liturgical expression, and then takes a look at prayer during the second temple period. The discussion reveals that the rabbis formed their own liturgical responses to the disastrous events of the first two centuries
Conceptualising the religious history of Rome and the Roman Empire seems to be easy. Looking back to that period, we usually differentiate Christianity, Judaism, and the rest. We are used to differentiating different ‘religions’, even if it is difficult to provide a precise term for those we mean to refer to by ‘the rest’. The term ‘polytheism’ is frequently used, but it reflects the perspective of people who regard themselves as monotheists, starting from the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo. The discipline of Religious Studies has developed a terminology of ‘cults’ and ‘denominations’, but the terminological choice itself implies normative statements of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. This article deals with the main lines of thought that determined political and juridical and religious action on a larger scale, focusing on Cicero, religio in texts of the third and fourth centuries
This article takes a look at the observance of the Sabbath and other festivals. These involve the habitual Jewish ritual praxis that relates to ‘time’. The article first studies the observance of the Sabbath, which may be considered as a festival day. It examines several concepts related to the Sabbath, including the abstention from work and Sabbath joy. The article then shifts to a discussion on the Jewish festivals, which include the biblical pilgrimage festivals and the public fasts.
Lee I. Levine
This article takes a look at the synagogue, which was central to Judaism and the largest monumental building in any Jewish community. The article first looks at the salient second temple synagogues, including their origins and the models that were used in creating them. It moves on to examine the synagogues of late antiquity and the central issues in the study of Jewish art. The final sections of the article discuss the influence of rabbis and the synagogue, as well as the local factor in synagogue art and architecture.