Jewish and Christian Communal Identities in the Roman World

by Yair Furstenberg

Jewish and Christian Communal Identities in the Roman World Jews and Christians under the Roman Empire shared a unique sense of community Set apart from their civic and cultic surroundings both groups resisted complete assimilation into the dominant political and social structures However Jewish communities differed from their Christian counterparts in their overall patterns of response to the surrounding challenges They exhibit diverse levels of integration into the civic fabric of the cities of the Empire and display contrary attitudes towards the

Publisher : Brill Academic Publishers

Author : Yair Furstenberg

ISBN : 9789004321212

Year : 2016

Language: en

File Size : 1.33 MB

Category : History

Jewish and Christian Communal Identities in the Roman World

Ancient Judaism and
Early Christianity
Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums
und des Urchristentums

Founding Editor
Martin Hengel † (Tübingen)
Executive Editors
Cilliers Breytenbach (Berlin)
Martin Goodman (Oxford)
Editorial Board
Lutz Doering (Münster) – Pieter W. van der Horst (Utrecht)
Tal Ilan (Berlin) – Judith Lieu (Cambridge)
Tessa Rajak (Reading/Oxford ) – Daniel R. Schwartz ( Jerusalem)
Seth Schwartz (New York)

VOLUME 94

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/ajec

Jewish and Christian Communal
Identities in the Roman World
Edited by

Yair Furstenberg

LEIDEN | BOSTON

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Furstenberg, Yair, editor.
Title: Jewish and Christian communal identities in the Roman world / edited
 by Yair Furstenberg.
Description: Boston : Brill, 2016. | Series: Ancient Judaism and early
 Christianity, ISSN 1871-6636 ; Volume 94 | Includes index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016015133 (print) | LCCN 2016016483 (ebook) | ISBN
 9789004321212 (hardback : alk. paper) | ISBN 9789004321694 (E-book)
Subjects: LCSH: Identification (Religion)—History—To 1500. | Identity
 (Psychology)—Religious aspects—History. | Jews—Identity—History—To
 1500. | Judaism—History—Talmudic period, 10–425. | Identity
 (Psychology)—Religious aspects—Christianity. | Church history—Primitive
 and early church, ca. 30-600. | Civilization, Greco-Roman.
Classification: LCC BL53.J49 2016 (print) | LCC BL53 (ebook) | DDC
 305.6/70937—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016015133

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Contents
Preface vii
Abbreviations viii
List of Contributors xii
Introduction: The Shared Dimensions of Jewish and Christian Communal
Identities 1
Yair Furstenberg

Part I
Imperial Perspectives
The Ptolemaic and Roman Definitions of Social Categories and the
Evolution of Judean Communal Identity in Egypt 25
Sylvie Honigman
The Roman State and Jewish Diaspora Communities in the Antonine
Age 75
Martin Goodman

Part II
Community and the City
Civic Identity and Christ Groups 87
John S. Kloppenborg
Organized Charity in the Ancient World: Pagan, Jewish, Christian 116
Pieter W. van der Horst
The Fourth Book of Maccabees in a Multi-Cultural City 134
Tessa Rajak

vi

Contents

Part III
Varieties of Communal Identities
Rome and Alexandria: Why was there no Jewish Politeuma in Rome? 153
Daniel R. Schwartz
From Text to Community: Methodological Problems of Reconstructing
Communities behind Texts 167
Jörg Frey
Lycaonian Christianity under Roman Rule and their Jewish-Christian
Tradition 185
Cilliers Breytenbach

Part IV
Community and Continuity
The Jewish Community in Egypt before and after 117 CE in Light of Old and
New Papyri 203
Tal Ilan
Jewish Communities in the Roman Diaspora: Why Salo Baron Still
Matters? 225
Seth Schwartz
“You are a Chosen Stock . . .”: The Use of Israel Epithets for the Addressees
in First Peter 243
Lutz Doering
Author Index 277
General Index 282

Preface
This volume presents revised versions of lectures given in October 2013 at
a Jerusalem symposium on Jewish and Christian Communal Identities in
Antiquity. The Hebrew University’s Scholion Center for Interdisciplinary
Research in the Humanities and Jewish studies together with the editorial board
of Brill’s Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity series kindly co-­sponsored the
symposium in memory of our colleague Friedrich Avemarie. His sudden passing, in the process of preparing the symposium, has been ever since a great
loss to our scholarly community and to the study of Jewish and Christian interrelations in antiquity. I would like to thank all of the participants in the symposium, who devoted much time and effort both to the symposium itself and
to the preparation of their papers for publication. I also wish to thank John
Kloppenborg and Tessa Rajak who could not participate in the conference but
were glad to add their contributions to the volume and complement the issues
addressed herein.
The director of Scholion and AJEC editorial board member, Daniel R.
Schwartz, initiated the collaboration between the two parties, and entrusted
me, as a postdoctoral Mandel fellow at the Scholion center, to choose the
topic, organize the conference and edit this volume. I wish to express my most
sincere gratitude to him for the two blissful years I enjoyed at Scholion and
for giving me the opportunity to enhance the study of communal identity in
Antiquity through the association with this wonderful community of scholars,
who jointly created this volume. The production of the conference was a most
pleasant experience thanks to the skilled guidance and management of Maya
Sherman, the Administrative Director Scholion has been blessed with, and to
the assistance of her devoted staff. Special thanks goes to Yonatan Gan-Or for
all the effort put into ensuring a successful symposium.
I wish to extend my thanks to the executive editors of this series for their
support in carrying out the work on the volume. Cilliers Breytenbach has generously hosted me in the Theology Faculty at the Humboldt University and I
had the benefit of enjoying the wise consultation of Martin Goodman all along
the way. I am extremely grateful to the two devoted editors of the Brill Biblical
Studies, Mattie Kupier followed by Tessa Schild, for their excellent treatment
of the manuscript from its earliest stages of production to its final publication.
Yair Furstenberg
Jerusalem, January 2016

Abbreviations
AB
ABD

Anchor Bible
Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman. 6 vols. New York:
Doubleday, 1992
AEMÖ
Archaeologisch-epigraphische Mittheilungen aus Oesterreich-Ungarn
AGAJU Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des
Urchristentums
AM
Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Athenische
Abteilung. Berlin: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 1896–
ANF
Ante-Nicene Fathers. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James
Donaldson, with A. Cleveland Coxe. 1885–1896. 10 vols. Repr. Grand
Rapids, 1969–1973
ANRW
Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur
Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung. Part 2, Principat. Edited by
Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase. Berlin and New York,
1974–
ANTC
Abington New Testament Commentary
AsSeign Assemblées du Seigneur
BBB
Bonner biblische Beiträge
BCH
Bulletin de correspondance hellénique
BDAG
A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early
Christian Literature, Walter Bauer and Fredrick William Danker, 3rd
edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957
BDR
Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch. Friedrich Blass
and Albert Debrunner. Revised by Friedrich Rehkopf; Göttingen:
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979
BE
Bullétin épigraphique
BECNT Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
BETL
Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium
BGU
Aegyptische urkunden aus den königlichen (later Sttatlichen) museen
zu berlin griechische urkunden. Berlin: Weidmann, 1895–
BIS
Biblical Interpretation Series
BNTC
Black’s New Testament Commentary
BTS
Biblisch-theologische Schwerpunkte
BZNW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
und die Kunde der Alteren Kirche
CBET
Contributions to Biblical Exegesis and Theology
CBNT
Commentaire biblique: Nouveau Testament

Abbreviations

CBQ
CBR
CIG
CIIP

ix

Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Currents in Biblical Research
Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum
Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae. Edited by H. M. Cotton.
Berlin : Walter de Gruyter, 2010–
CIJ
Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum
CIL
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
CJZC
Corpus Jüdischer Zeugnisse aus der Cyrenaika. Edited by G. Lüdertiz.
Wiesbaden : L.Reichert, 1983
CPJ
Corpus Papyrorum Judaicorum. Ed. V. A. Tcherikover, A. Fuks and
M. Stern. 3 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1957–1964
CRAI
Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et
Belles-Lettres
CRIPEL Cahier de Recherches de l’Institut de Papyrologie et d’Égyptologie de
Lille
DACL
Dictionnaire d’archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie
DGE
Dialectorum Graecarum Exempla Epigraphica Potiora. Eduard
Schwyzer. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1923
DJD
Discoveries in the Judaean Desert
DNP
Der Neue Pauly
ECAM
Early Christianity in Asia Minor
EDNT
Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament
EJ
Encyclopedia Judaica
EKK
Evangelisch-Katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament
ETAM
Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris
ExpT
Expository Times
FGH
Die Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker. Edited by Felix Jacoby.
5 vols. Berlin: Weidmann, 1923–1999
FRLANT Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen
Testaments
GLAJJ
Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. Edited by Menachem
Stern. 3 vols. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities,
1974–1984
GNT
Grundrisse zum Neuen Testament
HTK
Herders Theologischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament
HTR
Harvard Theological Review
ICC
International Critical Commentary
IG
Inscriptiones Graecae
IJO
Inscriptiones Judaicae Orientis
IK
Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien

x
ILS
IMT
JBL
JECS
JH
JHS
JIGRE
JIWE
JQR
JRS
JJS
JSJ

Abbreviations

Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae
Inschriften Mysia & Troas
Journal of Biblical Review
Journal of Early Christian Studies
Jewish History
Journal of Hellenic Studies
Jewish Inscriptions of Greco-Roman Egypt
Jewish Inscriptions of Western Europe
Jewish Quarterly Review
Journal of Roman Studies
Journal of Jewish Studies
Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman
Periods
JSNT
Journal for the Study of the New Testament
JTS
Journal of Theological Studies
LCL
Loeb Classical Library
LNTS
Library of New Testament Studies
MAMA Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua
MJSt
Münsteraner Judaistische Studien
MSSNTS Society for New Testament Studies. Monograph Series
NIDB
New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Edited by K. D. Sakenfeld.
5 vols. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2006–2009
NIGTC New International Greek Testament Commentary
NovT
Novum Testamentum
NTOA
Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus
NTS
New Testament Studies
PG
Patrologia Graeca
PW
Pauly Wissowa
RAC
Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum: Sachwörterbuch zur
Auseinandersetzung des Christentums mit der antiken Welt.
F. J. Dölger and H. Lietzmann. Edited by T. Klauser. 32 vols. Stuttgart:
A. Hiersemann, 1950–2015
RCT
Revista Catalana de Teologia
RECAM S. Mitchell. Regional Epigraphic Catalogues of Asia Minor, II:
The Ankara District. The Inscriptions of North Galatia. “British
Archaeological Reports, International Series”, 135. Oxford 1982
RevQ
Revue de Qumran
SB
Sammelbuch Grichiescher Urkunden aus Ägypten. Edited by
F. Preisigke and F. Bilabel. Strassburg: K. J. Trubner; Wiesbanden:
Otto Harrassowitz, 1915–

Abbreviations

SBLMS
SBS
SCI
SEG
SNTSMS
SRHJ

xi

Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series
Stuttgarten Bibel Studien
Scripta Classica Israelica
Supplementum Epigraphicorum Graecorum
Society for New Testament Studies Supplement Series
Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews. New
York: Columbia University Press. 1952–1993
Sterrett, EJ Sterrett, John Robert Sitlington. An Epigraphical Journey in Asia
Minor. “Papers of The American School of Classical Studies at
Athens”, 2, 1883/84. Boston 1888
Sterrett, WE Sterrett, John Robert Sitlington. The Wolfe Expedition to Asia
Minor [during the summer of 1885]. “Papers of The American
School of Classical Studies at Athens”, 3, 1884/85. Boston 1888
SUNT
Studien zur Umwelt des NeuenTestaments
Swoboda, Swoboda, Heinrich, Josef Keil and Fritz Knoll, eds. Denkmäler
Denkmäler aus Lykaonien, Pamphylien, und Isaurien. Ergebnisse einer im
Auftrage der Gesellschaft von Julius Jüthner, Fritz Knoll, Karl
Patsch und Heinrich Swoboda durchgeführten Forschungsreise.
Deutsche Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften und Künste für die
Tschechoslowakische Republik in Prag. Brünn, Vienna 1935
TADAG
B. Porten and A. Yardeni. Textbook of Aramaic Documents from
Ancient Egypt. 4 vols. Jerusalem: CTS, 1986–1999
TAPA
Transactions of the American Philological Association
TDOT
Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Edited by
G. J. Botterweck and H. Ringgren. Translated by J. T. Willis. Grand
Rapids, Mich. : W. B. Eerdmans, 1974–1975
THKNT
Theologischer Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament,
TSAJ
Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism
TWNT
Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. Edited by
G. Kittel. 10 vols. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1933–1979
UaLG
Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte
UTB
Uni- Taschenbücher
WBC
Word Biblical Commentary
WUNT
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament
ZNW
Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
ZPE
Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik
ZTK
Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche

List of Contributors
Prof. Dr. theol. Habil. Cilliers Breytenbach , Humoldt Universität, Berlin
Prof. Lutz Doering, University of Münster
Prof. Jörg Frey, University of Zurich
Dr. Yair Furstenberg, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva
Prof. Martin Goodman, University of Oxford
Prof. Sylvie Honigman, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Dr. Tal Ilan, Freie Universität, Berlin
Prof. John S. Kloppenborg, University of Toronto
Prof. (emer.) Tessa Rajak, University of Reading
Prof. Daniel R. Schwartz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Prof. Seth Schwartz, Columbia University
Prof. (emer.) Pieter W. van der Horst, Utrecht University

Introduction: The Shared Dimensions of Jewish
and Christian Communal Identities
Yair Furstenberg
I

Four Shared Dimensions

Jews and Christians under the Roman Empire shared not only Scripture, a distinct conception of the divine and an unusual set of religious practices, but
also a unique sense of community. Both groups were organized in a network of
local communities, which were set apart from their civic and cultic surroundings, and both resisted complete assimilation into the dominant political and
social structures. These shared circumstances generated common challenges
for the two groups. On one level, Jews, as well as Christians, aspired to maintain a collective group identity, unrestricted to specific localities, through a
trans-local network, a shared discourse and a separate collective designation.1
At the same time, the reality on the ground was that of great diversity among
the local synagogai and ekklesiai throughout the Empire. In particular, both
Jews and Christians were compelled to negotiate their immediate civic surroundings, and the flourishing of local associations resulted in a variety of
organizational patterns within both groups. Thus, despite scholarly attempts
to posit a distinct contrast between the communal forms of Jews and Chrstians
in the Roman Empire,2 the common array of forces and tensions encountered
by both groups sets the stage, rather, for an examination of the shared communal experience of the two groups in the Roman world, alongside an acknowledgement of their diverse manifestations.
Clearly, social affiliations are messy, contested, and may evade clear-cut
definitions. It is doubtful, for example, whether a Jerusalemite priest (such
as Josephus) could have classified a separatist group (such as the Essenes) as
they would have characterized themselves,3 or whether a Roman official would
1  J. M. Lieu, Christian Identities in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2004).
2  Compare J. T. Burtchaell, From Synagogue to Church: Public Services and Offices in the Earliest
Christian Communities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992) and J. M. G. Barclay,
Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), 12–15.
3  D. Flusser, “ ‘The Secret Things Belong to the Lord’ (Deut 29:29): Ben Sira and the Essenes,” in
idem., Judaism of the Second Temple Period, vol. 1: Qumran and Apocalypticism (tr. A. Yadin;
Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2007), 293–298 (295).
© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���6 | doi ��.��63/9789004321694_002

2

Furstenberg

describe a gathering of Christians in the same terms they themselves would
have used.4 The terminologies may overlap at times or, conversely, be devoid
of meaning in certain circumstances. Moreover, during a period of constant
change, the boundaries of these communities were inevitably drawn and
redrawn by both internal powers and external constraints, and some of their
members would in fact have resisted any such classification.5 Nonetheless, as
the articles in this volume demonstrate, membership in a local community
played a decisive role in mediating one’s experience as a Jew or as a Christian,
and it is therefore pertinent for any attempt to trace the trajectories of Jewish
and Christian identity formation.
A wide range of local communal experiences is represented in the volume.
The source materials ranges from documentary testimony to Jewish communities in Egypt, through epigraphic evidence of Jewish and Christian organizations in Asia Minor, to the literary products of both Jews and Christians in
Antioch and other Greek-speaking communities. However, despite the localized nature of these sources, an integrated consideration of these disparate
cases may best serve our over-all understanding of the forces, which shaped
Jewish and Christian communities and their respective responses to these
shared circumstances. The different sections in this volume therefore correspond to the four major factors which determined communal identity. Two
of these factors relate to external political forces: [1] The legal status of the
community within the Roman order, and [2] its integration within civic culture. The latter two components reflect the inherent tension of the communal
situation: [3] Diversity and localization, on the one hand, and [4] the sense
of continuity, on the other. Scholars have regularly applied these analytical
dimensions separately to the study of Jewish diaspora communities and to
Christian groups under the Empire, but these aspects may also be useful for a
comparative study of the two groups.
Strikingly, alongside the local variations, the overall patterns of response to
the surrounding challenges differed greatly between the Jewish and Christian
communities. On the whole, they differed markedly both in their level
of assimilation into the civic fabric of the Empire and in their development of
trans-local communal networks. These differences in response seem to be
4  R. L. Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them (New Haven: Yale University Press,
1984).
5  The fuzziness of communal boundaries and the unrelenting attempts of authoritative voices
to redraw them is underscored in H. Lapin, “Introduction: Locating Ethnicity and Religious
Community in Later Roman Palestine,” in Religious and Ethnic Communities in Later Roman
Palestine (ed. H. Lapin; Bethesda: University Press of Maryland, 1998), 1–28.

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