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Martyrdom

Shoeless on Yom Kippur

The book of Jubilees claims that the brothers sold Joseph on Yom Kippur. Amos accuses the wealthy of selling the righteous for shoes. Reading this as a reference to the sale of Joseph, Eleh Ezkarah tells how Caesar fills his palace with shoes, and executes ten sages as a punishment for this crime. Is this connected to the prohibition to wear shoes on Yom Kippur?

Prof.

Jason Radine

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The Quran’s Lesson from the Shema: Direct Your Heart to God

The Quran makes multiple intertextual connections with the Shema and its rabbinic commentary in its qiblah (“direction”) passages, thus highlighting a point of agreement between Jews and Muslims: Prayer is not about the physical direction you face but about loving God with all your heart.

Dr.

Abdulla Galadari

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2 and 4 Maccabees: Evolving Responses to Hellenism

2 Maccabees (ca. 1st cent. B.C.E) presents Judaism as the antithesis to Hellenism. A century or so later, however, 4 Maccabees uses Hellenistic ideas to encourage Jews to hold fast to their ancestral faith.

Dr.

Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

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The Faith of the Martyred Mother and her Seven Sons

2 Maccabees tells the story of a mother whose seven sons are killed before her eyes because they refuse to violate Jewish mores. The mother recalls the woman of seven sons and her bereft counterpart found in Hannah’s prayer (1 Samuel 2), and perhaps also the mother in Jerusalem described in Jeremiah 15, but offers a new theological twist on Jewish suffering: the promise of resurrection.

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

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Honoring the Death of Soldiers

The concept of heroic death is conspicuously absent in Bible. This sharply contrasts with ancient Near Eastern and Greek tropes, as well as with the book of Maccabees and modern day commemorations such as Israel’s Yom Hazikaron and America’s Memorial Day. How should we understand this difference?

Prof.

Jacob L. Wright

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Chanukah: The Greek Influence of Martyrdom

On Chanukah we celebrate the miraculous military victories of the “few over the many,” and of Jewish culture over Greek.  Ironically, however, Chanukah has also bequeathed to us a new genre of Jewish literature, one that has been in frequent use ever since: Greek-style stories of bravery in defeat and dying for the cause.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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