Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lost Jews

Hebrew University announced that two scholars (one of whom is a Mishpat Ivri scholar from TAU) have published a study in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha which demonstrates that the Jewish diaspora in Europe basically disappeared after the destruction of the Second Temple. Probably, they felt cut off from the spiritual center in Jerusalem, and eventually melded into their host culture.

This is very significant for medieval Jewish history, especially those interested in the roots of Ashkenazic halakhah. The Jewish settlement along the Rhine identified itself as being rooted in Northern Italy, and when it first surfaces in literary form, the Ashkenazic halakhah is already a hoary tradition. On the other hand, while we have extensive epigraphical remains from the Jews of Roman Italy, they don't reflect what we know about rabbinic Judaism. So this theory suggests that there was a break between Roman Italy and early medieval Italy, with the later Jewish population coming from a totally different, more rabbinic culture.


Anonymous Lia said...

Just keep in mind that neither of them are in Jewish Studies.

3:35 PM  

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