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Remembered for Good: A Jewish Benefaction System in Ancient Palestine

£60.00

This is the first monograph devoted to the system of community benefaction practised by Jews in Palestine from the second century BCE to the sixth century CE.

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This is the first monograph devoted to the system of community benefaction practised by Jews in Palestine from the second century BCE to the sixth century CE. Principal is the evidence from synagogue inscriptions erected to patrons and donors from the second century CE onwards. All these inscriptions are reviewed, together with a re-examination of how they are to be translated.

Sorek is especially interested in the motivation for benefactions, and concludes that the Jewish system attested in the inscriptions is specific to the Jewish community. It was not merely a copy of the well-known Graeco-Roman system of euergetism, in which rich citizens contributed from their wealth to public expenses. But neither was the Jewish system properly an expression of charity, as has often been thought. Sorek argues that the benefaction system is best understood as an expression of hesed , the meaning of which she explores in detail.

Additional information

Table of Contents

1. GRAECO–ROMAN EUERGETISM
Euergetism in the Hellenistic and Roman City
Hellenistic Euergetism
Voluntary Patronage
Funerary Euergetism
Christian Charity and Almsgiving
Roman Euergetism in the Late Antique Period

2. BENEFACTORS AND BENEFACTIONS IN THE LATE SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD
Epigraphic Evidence for the Second Temple Period
Herod: A Jewish Benefactor?
Famine Relief: The Jewish Response
Brief Survey of Diaspora Epigraphic Material for First Century CE

3. POST-TEMPLE BENEFACTIONS: SYNAGOGUE INSCRIPTIONS FROM PALESTINE

4. ‘REMEMBERED FOR GOOD’: SYNAGOGUE DEDICATORY INSCRIPTIONS
Dedications to the Living or Memorials to the Deceased?
The Formula ‘Remembered for Good’
‘Remembered for Good’ in Translation
The Afterlife
Eight Possible Memorial Inscriptions
The Remaining Inscriptions

5. LIVING DONORS
The Communal Dimension
The Holy Congregation
The Community in General
Sponsorship

6. ‘REMEMBERED FOR GOOD’ AND ANONYMOUS DONORS
Other Anonymous Donations
No Formula

7. THE BLESSING FORMULA
Other Occurrences of Blessings

8. WOMEN AS BENEFACTORS
Women and Vows in the Diaspora
Women in Palestinian Inscriptions

9. CONCLUDING REMARKS ON THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE

10. ‘NUGGETS OF IDEOLOGY’: THE MOTIVATIONAL FORCE BEHIND A JEWISH BENEFACTION SYSTEM

11. THE WORD HESED
The word hesed
Definition of hesed
Elements associated with hesed
Hesed and Emeth: The Common Bond

12. TYPES OF HESED
Human hesed
God’s hesed and raham
Human raham

13. A BENEFACTION SYSTEM BASED ON HESED
The ‘Poor’ and ‘Needy’

14. HESED AND RAHAM IN THE LXX
Hesed in the LXX
Raham in the LXX
Eleos and Dikaiosune

15. THE APPLICATION OF HESED
Hesed and Jewish Benefactions
Hesed and Peer Solidarity
Other Categories of hesed
Indirect hesed

16. CHARITY IN THE SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD
Charity in the Graeco-Roman World
Charity in Palestine
Relative Use of the Words ‘Charity’ and ‘Poor’
Some Evidence against Organised Charity in the Second Temple Period

17. THE DEVELOPMENT OF TSEDAKAH
Tsedakah: Its Organisation and Development
Redemptive Almsgiving in Judaism and Christianity

18. WOMEN AND HESED
Women in Palestinian Inscriptions
Women and hesed
Why the Rabbis Adopted the Matrilineal Principle

Reviews

  1. David Briones, Religious Studies Review.

    Was the system of Jewish benefaction within Palestine distinct from the Greco-Roman system, and if so, was the underlying motivation of Jewish benefactions distinct as well? … [Sorek’s] tripartite sketch of God as benefactor, the Jewish person as a channel of benefaction, and the Jew or non-Jew as the recipient is indeed illuminating and opens some paths for further research. For example, it would be interesting to compare this pattern of exchange with Paul’s conception of gift, identifying the points of convergence and divergence, and then accounting for any differences created by the Christ-event.

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Book information

Author
Susan Sorek
List Price
£60 / $110 / €70
Series
SWBA 2, 5
Scholars' Price
£30 / $55 / €35.50
ISBN 13 hardback
978-1-906055-69-1
Format
Hardback
Page Extent
xii + 285
Publication Date
October 2010
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