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Josephus, b. 37/38 CE  

Edith Mary Smallwood and Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Jul 2015
Josephus (Flavius Iosephus (b. 37/8 ce), was a Greek historian but also a Jewish priest of aristocratic descent and largely Pharisaic education (see pharisees) and a political leader in ... More

Judaea  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Dec 2015
First appears in the Hellenistic period (see hellenism) as the name for the primarily Jewish territory (see jews) around *Jerusalem, home of the Ioudaioi. Acquiring, under the *Hasmoneans, much ... More

Maccabees  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Jul 2015
The name ‘Maccabee’, probably meaning ‘the hammer’, was the appellation of Judas son of Mattathias, leader of the Judaean Revolt of 168/7 bce against *Antiochus (4) IV Epiphanes. See Jews. The name ... More

Madaba Map  

Richard J. A. Talbert

Online publication date:
Feb 2017
This damaged, but still striking, floor-mosaic map offers a unique and invaluable example of late antique cartography, as well as the earliest surviving vision of the Holy Land. The map was ... More

Masada  

Edith Mary Smallwood and Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
Masada is a small isolated plateau 457 m. (1,500 ft.) high, on the western shore of the Dead Sea, and accessible from there only by the tortuous ‘snake path’. *Herod(1), having secured his family in ... More

midrash  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Jul 2015
Midrash, a type of exegesis of scriptural texts practised by *Jews. The genre of midrash is characterized by the use of an explicit citation of, or clear allusions to, a passage in an authoritative ... More

Mishnah  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Jul 2015
A collection of legal opinions which became the foundation document of rabbinic Judaism. Compiled in c.ce 200 in Palestine by the patriarch Judah haNasi and his school, the Mishnah comprises the ... More

Paul, St  

Christopher Rowland

Online publication date:
Dec 2015
St Paul, a Roman citizen from *Tarsus was a convert (see conversion) from Pharisaic to Messianic Judaism as a result of a mystical experience (Galatians 1: 12 and 16) when he believed himself called ... More

Pharisees  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
Pharisees, an influential religious group among *Jews in the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods. Explicit references to Pharisees are found in *Josephus and the New Testament and in Christian ... More

Philip (4), tetrarch, son of Herod (1)  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Dec 2015
Philip (4), following the will left by his father *Herod (1), was confirmed by *Augustus tetrarch (see tetrarchy) of the northern part of his kingdom, designated as Batanea, Trachonitis, Auranitis, ... More

Philon (4), 'Philo'  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Jul 2015
Philon (4), ‘Philo’, often known as Philo Judaeus, philosopher, writer and political leader, was the leading exponent of Alexandrian-Jewish culture (see alexandria(1)), and, together with *Josephus, ... More

Pontius Pilatus  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
Pontius Pilatus, prefect of *Judaea26–36 ce (see praefectus). A famous inscription (EJ 369) from *Caesarea (2) attests to the name of his post. Offences against religious sentiment, perhaps not ... More

prayer, Jewish  

Stefan C. Reif

Online publication date:
Apr 2017
Although some of the inspiration for later Jewish prayers undoubtedly came from the ancient Near East and the early books of the Hebrew Bible, there was at that early period of development ... More

Ptolemaeus (4), of Mende, priest and author  

Kenneth S. Sacks

Ptolemaeus of Mende, a priest, wrote on the Egyptian kings in three books. He wrote before Apion (first half of the 1st cent. bce), who refers to him. He attributes the Hebrew Exodus under ... More

rabbis  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
The Hebrew term ‘rabbi’ which means ‘my master’, was a term of respect among Jews which by late Hellenistic times seems to have been particularly applied to religious teachers. According to the ... More

religion, Jewish  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
Judaism in Graeco-Roman antiquity is better known than any other ancient religion apart from Christianity, primarily because of the survival to modern times of traditions about ancient ... More

Sabbath  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
The practice of resting from secular work every seventh day was widely recognized in the ancient world as a peculiarity of the Jews, for whom it was grounded in a divine instruction (Exod. ... More

Sadducees  

Martin Goodman

Online publication date:
Mar 2016
Sadducees, a religious group within Judaism attested in Judaea from the 2nd cent. bce to the 1st cent. ce. The Sadducees are described by *Josephus and are mentioned in the New Testament ... More

Samaria  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Dec 2015
Samaria was from the early *Seleucid period the name of an administrative district in Palestine, alongside *Judaea, and, later, *Galilee, and lying between the two. The inhabitants (see ... More

Samaritans  

Tessa Rajak

Online publication date:
Dec 2015
Samaritans were the inhabitants of *Samaria, who saw themselves as the direct descendants of the northern Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, left behind by the Assyrians in 722 bce. But Jewish ... More

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