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Wisdom of Jesus ben Sira, Midrash and

(10,199 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
The book of Jesus ben Sira, the so-called Ecclesiasticus or Siracides, considered in Jewish and Protestant tradition to be apocryphal, but in the Catholic Church to be an authentic biblical book, is very peculiar in the history of the biblical canon with regard to its use and understanding in midrashic and talmudic tradition. Composed as a book of proverbs and maxims, it claims to be an ethical tribunal not only for Israel's contemporary society but also for its past. Ben Sira is one of the firs…

Anthropomorphism

(2,629 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Gebhard | Podella, Thomas | Veltri, Giuseppe | Ess, Josef van | Körtner, Ulrich H.J. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Judaism – IV. Islam –V. Philosophy of Religion – VI. Dogmatics – VII. Practical Theology I. Religious Studies Anthropomorphism denotes the conception of God or gods in human form. It derives from the personification of spiritual events (animatism), the idea of attributing a soul to stones, trees or places (Animism) or the idea of a power indwelling objects or persons (dyna-mism). In r…

Hospitality

(2,520 words)

Author(s): Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria | Wilson, Walter T. | Dell, Katharine | Koenig, John | Leppin, Volker | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Ancient Near East – III. Greco-Roman Antiquity – IV. Old Testament – V. New Testament – VI. Church History – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion “Hospitality” refers to the customs that regulate the temporary admittance of a stranger to a particular group. This aspect can be well illustrated, for instance, with the Greek term for hospitality, ϕιλοξενία/ philoxenía (the “welcoming of a stranger”). The host protects the guest from the numerous perils to which he or she is exposed in his precarious …

Menasseh ben Israel

(185 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] (1604, Madeira – 1657, Middelburg, Netherlands), rabbi, author and printer, who lived mostly in Amsterdam. Menasseh was a theologian of Judaism who knew how to use secular and rabbinic knowledge in defense of Judaism. In 1626 he founded the first Jewish printing works in Amsterdam. He published a number of writings which were intended to appeal to non-Jews as well as Jews ( De creatione, 1635; De resurrectione mortuorum, 1636; De fragilitate humana, 1642). He was seen as an intellectual representative of the Jewish people, and was in contact with H. G…

Lilith

(254 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] is the name of a female demon (Demons and Spirits: II) of Babylonian/Sumerian origin that is mentioned only once in the Bible in Isa 34:14. From a philological and tradition-historical point of view, the name Lilith cannot be deciphered with certainty (“night demon”?). In analogy to the Babylonian demon Labartu or Lamashtu, the endangering of pregnant women and the killing of newborn children are attributed to her. The Babylonian Talmud particularly emphasizes her sexual curiosity (Lilith as the seductress of men) and her position within demonology (b. ʿErub. 100b; b.…

Hecataeus of Abdera

(198 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] The philosopher and historiographer Hecataeus was a contemporary of Alexander the Great and of Ptolemy I (Jos. Apion. I 183; Ptolemaic Dynasty). In his famous book, Aegyptiaca, Hecataeus deals with part of Jewish history, as well as Jewish customs, religion and military matters (fragments in Diodoros Siculus XL 3). Josephus cites Hecataeus's essay On the Jews ( Apion. I 183ff., cf. I 214), although its authenticity is doubted. According to Josephus, in this essay, Hecataeus deals with the relationship of the Jews to Ptolemy I, their fid…

Aristeas, Letter of

(376 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] We know Aristeas only through a “precise report” ( diḗgēsis) concerning the causes and circumstances of the translation of the LXX for the (fictive) Philokrates. Though the description of events forms the framework of the letter (occasion for the translation: 1ff.; Philadelphos's request to the high priest Eleazar and positive response: 9–11; 28–51; …

Modena, Leone

(179 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] (Leone Modena da Venezia; 1571, Venice – 1648, Venice). Modena enjoyed a broad education, including Italian literature, music, and song. His family's precarious finances forced him to make a living in various occupations: in his autobiography, he lists 26 different activities. His primary profession, however, was intellectual: he was a writer, teacher, and preacher. Running counter to the fashion of his period, he severely criticized the Kabbalah and defended the teaching of M. Maimonides. His apologetic Magen va-Herev, which remained unfinished, castigate…

Magic

(9,806 words)

Author(s): Wiggermann, Franciscus A.M. | Wiggermann, F.A.M. | Betz, Hans Dieter | Baudy, Dorothea | Joosten, Jan | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Antiquity – III. Bible – IV. Church History – V. Practical Theology – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. Religious Studies No definition of magic has as yet found general acceptance. Approaches that go back to the late 19th century (E.B. Tylor, J.G. Frazer) view magic as a primitive cognitive system, the lowest rung on an evolutionary ladder (Evolution) that progresses with religion and science (cf. also Myth/Mythology: I). Magic in this view is charact…

Philosophy, Jewish

(4,134 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] I. Definition The combination of the terms Judaism and philosophy suggests two distinct but deeply related issues: the place of Judaism in the history of philosophy and the emergence of a distinctive “Jewish” philosophy. Viewed historically, the compound Jewish philosophy points to a process of cultural debate between Greek “philosophy” and thought shaped by Jewish religion and culture, during which the two were often treated as irreconcilable. The question of the existence and nature of “Jewish philosophy” was first r…

Demons and Spirits

(6,288 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Görg, Manfred | Kollmann, Bernd | Haustein, Jörg | Koch, Guntram | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Iconography – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) The term “demon” as used in European language groups derives from the Greek (δαίμων/ daímōn), where it initially also referred simply to gods (ϑεοί/ theoí; cf. Homer Iliad 1.122) without either positive or negative connotations. The exclusively “negative” charge associate…

Italy

(7,951 words)

Author(s): Beck, Rolf K. | Schneider, Helmuth | Paoli-Lafaye, Elisabeth | Ricca, Paolo | Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] I. General – II. History and Sociology I. General Since 1861 (the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy), Italy has been the name of the first unified nation on the Italian peninsula since the Lombard invasion in 568. Following a referendum in 1946, Italy became a republic (Repubblica Italiana) with a bicameral parliament. The president is the representative chief of state; the government is headed by the prime minister. Since 1870, with the dissolution of the Papal States, the capital has been Rome (population 2.7 million in 2000). Italy has an area of 187,179 km2, with…

Bible Translations

(16,696 words)

Author(s): Dogniez, Cécile | Schulz-Flügel, Eva | Juckel, Andreas | Veltri, Giuseppe | Griffith, Sydney H. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Translations into Ancient Languages – II. Christian Translations into European Languages since the Middle Ages– III. Translations into Non-European Languages in Modern Times I. Translations into Ancient Languages 1. Translations of the Old Testament into Greek a. The first written translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint (LXX), owes its name to the circumstance that the Letter of Aristeas refers to 72 elders who had come to Alexandria from Jerusalem in order to translate the Torah of the Jews into…

Feasts and Festivals

(7,156 words)

Author(s): Borgeaud, Philippe | Otto, Eckart | Veltri, Giuseppe | Schramm, Tim | Wiggermann, Karl-Friedrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. Judaism – IV. Early Christianity – V. Church History – VI. Liturgical and Practical Aspects I. Religious Studies The words “feast” and “festival” (cf. fête, festa, fiesta, Fest, etc.) derive from the Latin festus ( dies). They refer to the calendar and also evoke the notion of the divine: a feast day is a special day set aside and dedicated to a certain supernatural being. “Feast” or “festival” can therefore be understood as synonyms for religious celebrations. To speak,…

de Rossi, Azaria

(166 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] (c. 1511, Mantua – c. 1577, Mantua). After the expulsion of the Jews from the Papal States in 1569, de' Rossi moved to Ferrara, where he witnessed the earthquake of Nov 18, 1570. This event inspired him to devote himself to literary activities. De' Rossi's chief work, Meʾor ʿEnayim ( Light of the Eyes), consists of three parts: Qol Elohim (“The Voice of God”), in ¶ which he writes about the earthquake; Hadrat Zeqenim (“The Glory of the Elders”), a Hebrew translation of the Letter of Aristeas ; and Imre Bina (“The Sayings of Understanding”) o…

Rationalism

(3,896 words)

Author(s): Fricke, Christel | Steiger, Johann Anselm | Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] I. Philosophy The term rationalism is used in philosophy in a wider and a narrower sense. In its wider sense, it stands for all those antiskeptical positions (Skepticism: I) in the theory of being and its epistemology that see the only reliable source of certain knowledge not in sensory perception but in the activity of ratio, reason (I). The paradigm for reasoning activity that guarantees certainty (I) is provided by mathematical thought with its concepts of tautologies and deductive conclusions. In its narrower sense, Rationalism st…

Magnes, Judah Leon

(175 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] (Aug 5, 1877, San Francisco – Oct 27,1948, New York), Rabbi, one of the founders of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Magnes was ordained as a rabbi in 1900 at the Hebrew Union College. In 1902 he gained a doctorate at Heidelberg. In 1904 Magnes was Reformed rabbi of the Temple Israel in Brooklyn and in 1906 of the Temple Emanu-El in New York. Disappointments with Reform Judaism led him to Conservative Judaism. In 1910 he assumed the office of rabbi of Bʾnai Jeshurun. After Worl…

Moscato, Judah

(162 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] (c. 1530, Osimo – c. 1593, Padua), one of the most important rabbis of the Renaissance. When the expulsion of the Jews commanded by Pius V in 1569 (Persecutions of Jews) forced Moscato to leave Osimo, he became the official preacher of the Jewish community in Padua and in 1587 its chief rabbi. His approach was eclectic. In addition to his rabbinic training, he mastered several secular disciplines – medicine, music, astronomy, rhetoric, and Jewish and Classical philosophy. He combined Kabbalah with neoplatonic ideas (Neoplatonism: III). His works include Nefuzot Yehuda

Eupolemos

(197 words)

Author(s): Veltri, Giuseppe
[German Version] was a Hellenistic Jewish historiographer whose work, Concerning the Kings in Judea, is preserved fragmentarily in excerpts from Alexander Polyhistor (transmitted by Eusebius and Clement of Alexandria). He should probably be identified with the Eupolemos mentioned in 1 Macc 8:17 and 2 Macc 4:11 as the leader of the Jewish embassy to Rome. His work, which may be dated around 158/157 bce, covers the period from Moses to his time. A brief passage concerning Moses as the “first sage” and inventor o…

Hellenism

(3,230 words)

Author(s): Timpe, Dieter | Känel, Rudolf | Veltri, Giuseppe | Wyrwa, Dietmar | Lilie, Ralf J.
[German Version] I. Definition – II. Historical Expansion I. Definition Hellenism as a periodization concept goes back to J.G. Droysen, who gave a positive assessment of the amalgamation of Greek and Near Eastern cultures, seeing this as a characteristic feature of the period and as a precondition for Christianity. Thus, instead of a negative judgment of the period equaling it with a time of decline, its distinct character was highlighted in the definition of the concept. The Greek usage (ἑλληνισμός/ hellēnismós, for the assimilation of non-Greeks to the Greek language an…
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