The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by Secret Alias »

It would not be shocking if only an elite few participated in the core rituals of Israel. Philo suggests it. As does a careful reading of Exodus:

“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. Exodus 3:18

“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ Exodus 4:29

Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, Exodus 12:21
Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Exodus 17:5

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Exodus 17:6

I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. Exodus 18:12

Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God. Exodus 19:7

So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. Exodus 24:1
The Covenant Confirmed

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, Exodus 24:9

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up Exodus 24:14
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by neilgodfrey »

Secret Alias wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:14 pm It would not be shocking if only an elite few participated in the core rituals of Israel. Philo suggests it. As does a careful reading of Exodus:
And the "people of the land" are called sinners.

Yes. And that's what some scholars, including archaeologists, have diplomatically said in their studies pointing out that there is no evidence for those practices in the Persian era. Katz raises this expected objection to the evidence that conflicts with the biblical literature:
Biblical Judaism, then, would stand as one specific faction’s ideal. By no means presupposed by all Judeans or Yhwh-devotees during the post-state period, this ideal would have developed slowly and alongside other forms in pre-exilic and post-exilic times, achieving general acceptance only in the Hellenistic Roman era. (Historial and Biblical Israel, p. 143)
But elites clearly did not have the support of the priestly establishments (the archaeological discovery of the correspondence tells us that the priestly establishment was at home with everything we see being practised at Elephantine). The elites practising "biblical" Judaism would have done so on the fringes of society, perhaps as renegades. The only way the biblical writings can be imagined in the context of the evidence is that they were the products of scribes acting independently of the main political and religious establishments and were cut off from everyday Judaism.

In other words, we have to posit secret or dissident cells functioning outside mainstream society and who have sadly left us no evidence of their existence. (How were such groups supported if they existed?)
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

Post by StephenGoranson »

Evidence of Judaism, in some cases, may depend on definition and also on time and place.
For example, in first centuries BCE and CE in Judaea use of stoneware vessels may evidence ritual purity concerns. Maybe less so among Jews in Galilee, where, after all, circa 200 CE, the Mishnah was written. Compare ossuary use.
When did the yarmulke (kippah, skullcap) come into widespread use?
Did opinions vary on the temple in Leontopolis?
Did Kaifeng Jews pick up some Chinese customs?
Did both Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem write that Judaism had no essence? And then disagree on what that meant?

[added later:]
By "stoneware" above I do not mean that variety of pottery, but vessels made of chalk, limestone.
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: The Origins of Judaism, Yonatan Adler

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The Origins of Judaism | Yonatan Adler PhD
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