By Susan Sorek

This is often the 1st monograph dedicated to the process of group benefaction practised via Jews in Palestine from the second one century BCE to the 6th century CE. relevant is the proof from synagogue inscriptions erected to consumers and donors from the second one century CE onwards. these kind of inscriptions are reviewed, including a re-evaluation of the way they're to be translated. Sorek is principally attracted to the inducement for benefactions, and concludes that the Jewish method attested within the inscriptions is restricted to the Jewish group. It used to be now not basically a replica of the well known Graeco-Roman approach of euergetism, within which wealthy voters contributed from their wealth to public charges. yet neither used to be the Jewish approach correctly an expression of charity, as has frequently been suggestion. Sorek argues that the benefaction approach is better understood as an expression of hesed, the that means of which she explores intimately.

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Extra info for Remembered for Good: A Jewish Benefaction System in Ancient Palestine

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106. 1 1. Graeco-Roman Euergetism 27 Euergetism was, in principle a Graeco-Roman ideology rather than a Jewish one. In practice, however, the Jews of Palestine in the Second Temple period also lived within the Hellenistic world. In 1 Maccabees we Ànd evidence of similar decrees to those seen in Hellenistic cities being employed in Palestine, which were also accompanied by the awarding of honours (1 Macc. 26). 12 These tablets relate to the period of the high priesthood of Simon (142–141 BCE) listing his benefactions, which included providing the towns of Joppa and Gazara with ‘everything needful for their welfare’.

11. M. Fraser, Rhodian Funerary Monuments (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972), pp. 113-24. 12. Isaac, ‘A Donation for Herod’s Temple’. 13. 4. See M. Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, II (Jerusalem, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1980), pp. 111-12. 1 44 Remembered for Good the Temple was rebuilt as a result of a collective effort on the part of all the Jewish people. Clearly Josephus had used the account of Nicolaos of Damascus, the biographer of Herod, as a source for his Antiquities, and this could possibly account for the emphasis on Herod’s contribution.

This ‘city system’ spread over most of the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East during the Hellenistic period and later during the Roman period to the west. Therefore the city provided a reference point for social distinctions and became the ultimate focus of social life, for it was here everyday decisions of importance were taken. When a Roman or Greek spoke of his patria this always meant his city, not the Empire. There was no Roman bourgeoisie, only Pompeian, Athenian or Ephesian bourgeoisie.

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