Inscribing Devotion and Death: Archaeological Evidence for by Karen B. Stern

By Karen B. Stern

Reliance on crucial record or syncretistic types of cultural dynamics has constrained earlier reviews of old Jewish populations. This re-evaluation of facts for Jews of North Africa bargains an alternate technique.

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Extra info for Inscribing Devotion and Death: Archaeological Evidence for Jewish Populations of North Africa

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Once dead, to where will you not Áee the judgment of Christ? . ” This passage precedes three others (XXXVIII–XL) that reproduce more traditional Contra Iudaeus diatribes against Jews. 41 But Commodian’s criticism of the Jewish “fanatics” is that they are simultaneously attracted to “Deum” and enact their convocations at fana, pagan places of devotion. A middle Jew, here, is one who mixes places of worship. Yet Commodian makes no mention here of synagogues—the buildings to which one would expect reference if the offenders in question were attracted to both Judaism and Christianity.

Monceaux’s classiÀcation of the latter texts as of “païens-judaïsants” depends on a series of assumptions about their relationship to the idiosyncratic Àrst inscription. To Monceaux, the names within the second two epitaphs in the catacomb were of deÀnitive Roman African context and commemorated the parents of the lamented child of the Àrst epitaph. The proper Roman North African structure of the parent’s tria nomina, the indication of their family relationship, and their positioning within the same hypogeum, led Monceaux to believe that these people were uniformly of “pagan” origin (1990, 212).

Rather, the problem with the texts’ inclusion in Le Bohec’s corpus is that they lead, inevitably, to some false data for subsequent analysis. 28 Discussions in Rutgers (1995, 272) and Kraemer (1991) incorporate some of these evaluations. 20 chapter one—introduction 3. Occluded Jewish Corpora Modern scholars’ trust in previous corpora has yielded chains of misinformed analysis of some African “Jewish” materials. The reasons for this are unsurprising: it is easy for not-quite-Jewish inscriptions to be included in corpora whose parameters are not circumscribed.

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