Shabbat 47 – Rabbi Romanus?

Jewish culture has always had fruitful interactions with its non-Jewish surroundings. The Rambam was influenced by and indeed influenced the Muslim thinkers around him.

On today’s daf the originator of a tradition – a chain of Rabbis 5 removed from the actual event relies on the authority of testimony by “Rabbi Romanus.” For all the official enmity between the rabbis and Roman/Hellenistic culture, obviously there was some interchange if a rabbi could be named Romanus! There have been many studies done comparing Talmudic dialectical argument to Hellenistic philosophy, and there are over 2500 terms of Greek linguistic origin in the Talmud (cited in Louis Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World, 1993, p31). Even if those terms are rare in theological, literary, or philosophical discussions, their prevalence in areas of government, society, and personal behavior indicates a profound linguistic and social interaction.

It is fascinating that the Jewish people are so lavishly praised by the Rabbis for keeping their names when they were enslaved in Egypt and yet here it is evident that they took on local names, even from those who posed a great physical and indeed spiritual threat.

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About bookabazza

I am an Osteopath and University Lecturer who is trying to keep up with the 7 year daf yomi cycle. I thought I would try and share a few small thought on the daf each week.
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