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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55113
Doc. No:TL25067
Call number:‭NR11028‬
Main Entry:Dina Teitelbaum
Title & Author:The Jewish ossuary phenomenon: Cultural receptivity in Roman PalestineDina Teitelbaum
College:University of Ottawa (Canada)
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:397
Abstract:The discovery of Jewish ossuaries in the nineteenth century raised a host of questions, paramount among them the questions of the origin and purpose of the ossuaries. It was also realized that ossuaries were a short lived phenomenon, appearing and disappearing relatively suddenly. A number of theories were proposed: The ossuaries were thought to have to do either with transport or space-saving, protection, martyrdom, resurrection, atonement, individuation, or Roman convention. All of these theories focused on Judea as the origin of the phenomenon. However, no one theory was satisfactory in itself. The dissertation presents a fresh examination of all available evidence in the light of ancient Jewish burial customs from the First Temple period to the Hellenistic and Roman times, using the approaches of archaeology, anthropology, and socio-rhetorical analysis. It concludes that foreign influence triggered the adoption of the ossuary in Judea during the Herodian period and that Judeans adopted the Greco-Roman ash chest as a model, modifying an aniconic version for use with bones alone. A comparison of the Jewish ossuary with the Greco-Roman ash urn reveals parallels and striking similarities in terms of ritual, material culture, terminology, manufacture and time lines. In particular, the temporal distribution of ossuaries and ash chests points to a general diffusion of the concept throughout the Empire over a long period of time, with ossuaries appearing relatively late in Judea. Using the innovation-diffusion theory of Roberts, the dissertation argues that, once implanted, the idea of ossuaries, in conjunction with ossilegium, spread rapidly throughout Judea, each special interest group or individual adopting it for their own unique reasons. Ultimately it became a fashionable secondary burial instrument. The disappearance of the Judean ossuary can be explained in terms of the adoption of the subsequent fashion in the Roman Empire to bury the dead in coffins or sarcophagi. In conclusion, it has been shown in the dissertation that Jews of the Second Temple Period were attracted to, adopted, re-invented and reconfigured a foreign convention in such a way that it became consistent with their Torah laws and their beliefs.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Cultural receptivity; Jewish; Ossuary; Palestine; Roman Empire; Religious history; Middle Eastern history; Archaeology; 0324:Archaeology; 0320:Religious history; 0333:Middle Eastern history
Added Entry:University of Ottawa (Canada)