תקצירי מאמרים באנגלית לקתדרה גליון 154
The Arab conquest of Palestine in the seventh century and the religious and cultural transition from Christian to Muslim rule have been widely debated in scholarship. The traditional approach, claiming a swift Arab conquest which triggered a rapid transition from Christianity to Islam, is being challenged by the plethora of archaeological findings from excavations in the major cities of Palestine and Jordan. These finds show that the Byzantine–Muslim transition was evidently a long and complicated process. It involved regional variability in the cities and countryside, diverse settlement patterns, and different types of populations. While some cities declined, others continued to flourish. This article presents the archaeological evidence from the major cities of Palestine and Jordan: Caesarea, Beth Shean, Tiberias, and Jarash that continued to exist and flourish after the Byzantine period; and Ramla, that was established on virgin soil in the early eighth century to become the capital of Early Muslim Palestine and a hub of commercial and industrial activities.
Art has played a major role in the Hebrew renaissance from the late nineteenth century to the present. This article focuses on Reuben Rubin’s The Godseekers, a series of twelve wood carvings depicting various characters from the Bible to the artist’s day – prophets, commoners, secular Zionist lovers, Hassidic Jews, and Arabs – all of whom partake in a ‘God seeking’ disposition of faith. Defining ‘God seeking’ as both a quest for god’s moral intervention in the world and as a quest for the very existence of God, this article carefully analyzes Reuben’s work highlighting the unique character of plastic art in manifesting complicated states of faith. It concludes by arguing that the artist conceived of ‘God seeking’ as a cross-identity state of faith which is dominant in Jewish tradition from the earliest periods to the Zionist enterprise.
In 1927, the weekly newspaper Hagalil was published in Haifa for four months. Although this was seemingly a local newspaper with limited circulation and an extremely short life span, it provides an interesting newspaper case study for at least three reasons. First, Hagalil was not only one of the pioneering newspapers in Palestine (Eretz Israel) but was also a pioneering local newspaper; second, it was the first ‘election newspaper’ published during the British Mandate period and it was intended to advance political goals; third, although the background and the reasons for its appearance were political in principle, Hagalil signaled a phenomenon which intensified in the following decades: a sense of alienation by residents of the periphery from those of the center and the need for them to develop their own alternative media.
The article examines the complex relationship between American Evangelical missionaries of the Christian & Missionary Alliance and their local Jewish ‘target audience’ which took place within two brother compounds on 55 and 56 Street of the Prophets in Jerusalem during the twentieth century. The Mission’s activities among the Jews were carried out in the House of Seekers after Truth located at number 56 down the road eastward. This place became the congregational home of an Israeli Messianic Assembly, comprised of Jewish believers in Jesus. Both the local Jews/Israelis and the expatriate Americans shared a common belief in the Messiahship and the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, based on similar theological views and on mundane interests. Furthermore, the article reveals the internal struggles inside the Assembly regarding the issue of shaping its self-identity vis-à-vis the doctrinal heritage of the Protestant Mission. For example, the discussion evolved around issues such as biblical interpretation and liturgical and hymnological expressions, alongside topics of nationality and cultural tradition. Although the transfer of ownership of the property on 56 Prophets Street from the Mission to the Israeli Messianic Assembly resulted in full legal separation between the two compounds, the close theological affinity between the two entities on 55 and 56 Street of the Prophets in Jerusalem remained intact.
The article deals with the issue of Jewish holy places that served after 1948 as both pilgrimage destinations and historical and archaeological sites. During the first two decades after the establishment of the State of Israel, continuous debates took place between archaeologists and various religious officials about the designation of these places. The article begins with the historical background of this phenomenon during the Late Ottoman and Mandate periods, when conflicts evolved around archeological digs conducted in Jewish sacred sites. The central part of the article is devoted to the tense relationships between the Ministry of Religion and the Department of Antiquities. It deals with the clashes relating to King David’s Tomb and the Tombs of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. During the 1950s the Tomb of Rabbi Judah Hanasi was revealed in Beth She‘arim and both sides were divided about the question whether it should be developed as a holy site.
This is an expanded review article of a recent book by Cana Werman and Aharon Shemesh on Qumran exegesis and halakhah. Parts of this book are available in Shemesh’s recently published Halakha in the Making: The Development of Jewish Law from Qumran to the Rabbis, Berkeley and Los Angeles 2009, as well as in numerous articles by Werman.