Jewish Violence in Antiquity: Three Dimensions

Meir Bar-Ilan

 

If one takes up the many volumes of Jewish Social Studies journal, he may conclude either that there was no “social history” of the Jews in former eras or that simply the whole issue had no relevance for them. This is not necessarily to find fault with the editors of that journal or to say that such a conclusion is correct. Rather, this absence is a sign that either historians didn’t pay attention to social issues of the far past or that they thought, and still do, that modern social studies don’t apply to Ancient times, or maybe both. Any neglect can be caused by several factors and it will not be easy to say who is to blame: modern historians, raw data of the past or the method of studying the past.

 

What is clear is that though today we have all sorts of social histories of the past of several nations, we do lack such a “Daily Life in the Land of Israel in the First Centuries C.E.’ although we can read its counterpart about the daily life, of the same era, in Rome, Egypt, Carthage and the like. It is true that Jewish sources are much to be blamed for not being a good source for historical data, certainly social history. However, when one reads a general history of private life in the Roman Empire he may think that the Jewish people didn’t exist,[1] and while thinking of these topics among the Jews in Antiquity, we are still in square one, almost in the position of I. M. Jost some 180 years ago.

 

What is true about social life in general is even truer when one looks for the criminality of Jews in the past. There are data about criminality among European nations, for example,[2] but for fraternal reasons a Jewish historian is not likely to write about crimes among the Jews, if not because of apologetics. Adding to those basic problems of this subject, as are evident in the lack of studies about “simpler” issues, and the obstacle becomes clear. Certainly, it is easier to show how Jews were killed by their enemies in the weeping trend of history than to show that some Jews were killed by their fellow Jews. Any such history might be considered as a kind of a “new” history and as such it is suspected of being myth-breaking if not rebellious. Working with murderers can’t add glorification to anyone involved, either as a jailer or as a historian who writes about such “nasty” things.

 

For these reasons, it must be stated that the following study is, unluckily, the first of its kind, and as such the reader is asked to pardon the writer for misusing any historical method that was used in such cases in other societies. Our main goal is in contrast to other histories. In other studies the main issue depends on the right method in analyzing social studies, criminality and social deviation. However, in the Ancient Jewish realm we are about to gather and discuss (without any statistical analysis pretension), for the first time, some data concerning the criminal life of Jews in Antiquity.

 

Now, before delving into the issue itself, a few words about Jewish society in Antiquity will not be out of place. In the Second Commonwealth and later, the Jewish people, except for a short time, were subjugated to other peoples. From a society that had had its own kings and social structure, the Jewish people came under Greek and Roman political domination and cultural influence so one can see in that society a whole trend of moving from an “oriental” conquering society to a “westernized” (or: hellenized) subjugated society. During the period under discussion, the political power of the Jewish people was dramatically wiped out and its religious center, the temple, was destroyed. That is to say, that the social structure of the Jewish people was deteriorating, when, at the end, nothing could be like at the beginning.

 

In other words while we are examining here only one aspect of the society, one should keep in mind that we are dealing with a multi-faceted process of social change and only because of lack of space are we concentrating on one aspect only: violence.

 

I. Rejection of priority of violence as a common rule

 

In modern times and culture, when we think of penology, that “philosophy” behind punishment, there is no violence, or rather we think there shouldn’t be. However, in Antiquity violence played a great role in punishing.[3] This is especially true in regard to Biblical law, a law that could be summarized in two words: Lex Talionis.[4] However, when one turns to Rabbinic sources, even people with minimal knowledge of Rabbinic culture and texts know very well that in Rabbinic normative Judaism all these horrible punishments recommended in the Bible are disappeared. The halachic explanation as well as the exact understanding of this attitude towards punishment is out of place here but one statement should be made: Judaism in Antiquity, that is normative Judaism, preferred non-violent action as punishment. Traditional society cannot say that this is a new method in Penology and oral tradition can be a great excuse explaining the gap between old written practices and relatively different “modern” behavior. However, for the modern observer it is apparent that Jewish society made a big change in its values. No more killing in court, no more amputation: everything should be settled by money, and a new age of values penetrated one Mediterranean society.

 

For an orthodox Jew, the above-mentioned gap is no gap at all, since Halacha has no time-table and everything that occurred in the wilderness of Sinai still prevails. Modern scholarship penetrates time in texts and historians are supposed to explain these discrepancies between sources. Now, since the Rabbinic answer, as well as Medieval philosophic and apologetic answers, are useless it seems that only from History can one draw the answer. For that reason it should be kept in mind that during these centuries under which this new method evolved, the Jewish people was under the rule of the Roman army, and only God knows how many Jews perished under these circumstances. That is to say that a sage in antiquity, assuming he was sitting in court and judging a thief, for example, might have found himself in the position of the hated enemy. Not only did Roman soldiers kill Jews but Rabbis as well, not only Romans were cruel to Jews but Jews intersected their own brethren. In other words a new penology was derived from the new status of the Jews under the Romans and the consequent sufferings.

 

This explanation might be taken as a modern theory and an historian should ask himself whether we can hear this explanation in the Rabbinic sources themselves. For that reason one should read the following text from B. Bava Mesia 83b:

 

So they sent for R. Eleazar b. R. Simeon, who went and arrested thieves.

R. Joshua b. Qorhah went and sent word to him, “Vinegar son of wine! How long are you going to betray the people of our God for slaughter.

He sent word to him, “I am weeding thorns from the Vineyard.”

He sent word to him, “Let the Owner of the Vineyard come and pull up his own seeds.”[5]

 

Here we have a Rabbinic sage, a son of a Rabbinic sage (that is from the heart of Rabbinic society), who was told by his colleagues he should rather let God himself punish Jewish criminals. Under Roman sovereign, under long centuries of oppression Jews had the feeling, based on reality, that a Rabbi cannot stand in Roman shoes and he should refrain from capital punishment. So now what we do is extending this idea from the third century backwards to a few centuries earlier, and extend the idea from capital punishment to other corporal punishments as well. That is to say, under Roman rule, Jews not only had the feeling but saw with their own eyes daily punishments by the Romans and therefore abstained from joining their enemies in killing their own brethren. In such a world there was no place for violence from Jewish authorities, all violence was restricted to the enemy, and Lex Talionis became a dead concept.

 

Under pressure from others Jews restricted themselves in punishments as part of legal system, as was described here, and more to be stated later. However, this does not mean that all Jews behaved peacefully without violence and never offended each other. On the contrary, it seems (though not proven) that a cruel world leads to a cruel life and a violent and cruel regime was a good model for violence in one’s home.

 

So there was no Lex Talionis any more, no capital punishments, and eventually more of this judicial system disappeared. Biblical law demanded that juvenile delinquency be strictly punished, while the Rabbis claimed that the whole procedure never actually took place.[6] That is to say, most of the Biblical system was no more than a dead letter. Probably there were cases when Jews underwent corporal punishment, as it looks from Mishnah Makot. However, Biblical punishment, severe as it was could not be kept up (or: they didn’t want to keep it up). They were adherent to one aspect, and more than one, of Biblical law, while “sourcing-out” elements of strict punishment that could be seen as remnants of cruel Mesopotamian attitude towards offenders.

 

II A Turning point in the Status of a Hero

 

As a turning point in the concept of violence one can see the new attitude towards the hero. Needless to say, the Bible is full of heroes, of all sorts. Some of these old heroes could kill a lion with bare hands and others could kill a giant and many enemies. The Bible as a text that represents conquest and war, must have had heroes, as is evident. However, among the Rabbis one can find a new attitude towards the hero, simply by re-adjusting the whole concept of hero into something else: no more a hero of flesh and blood but a hero of self control, a hero of the mind.

 

In m. Abot 4:a there is a very famous saying of the Rabbis, attributed to ben Zoma (second century c.e.): “Who is mighty? – He who conquers his lusts”. This saying is part of the ethical sayings of the Rabbis, and as such signifies the world of the sages, not less, if not more, than some of the Halachot expressed by the Rabbis. In such a compilation of sayings, one loses, deliberately, any connection between this idea and historic reality. However, luckily we have the same saying from m. Abot as a part of a historical conversation that took place around five centuries earlier, and this conversation, and the saying in it, should be discussed.

 

In b. Tamid 31b ff. there appears a long conversation between Alexander the Great and “Elders of the South”, self-evidently Jewish sages. It should be noted that this story assumed to have taken place in the fourth century b.c.e. when Alexander conquered the Land of Israel and though there is no need to swear to its authenticity, it does bear some significant historical value.[7] When Alexander met these sages, a kind of representatives of the sages of the “South” (read: East), he wanted to check their wisdom, just as they wanted to check their new lord. Alexander asked them some ten questions, allowing them to express their knowledge and understanding, and among these questions he asked them: “who is mighty?”. According to this tradition the sages answered the king: “Who is mighty? – He who conquers his lusts”,[8] so one can get the impression that this saying is much older than ben Zoma. Not only that but here we have the “Sitz im Leben” of that saying, since it was not a timeless wise saying but rather a statement said by representatives of Jews to Alexander the Great in a very specific event.

 

This answer to Alexander the Great sounds very appropriate to the occasion claimed to be its source. When the great conqueror of the world came to the Land of Israel, the newly enslaved people could not boast of their might since it was evident that Alexander had no match. Instead, the conquered people developed a new attitude to political strength, new values invented by the weak: a hero is not a hero to the outer world, such as Alexander, but rather to the inner world, a philosophical and ethical value of the weak. Needless to say, one can not tell how much of this story is history and how much of it is symbolic. However, one thing is sure: when we want to know in what way there was a change between the values of the Bible and Judaism, this new value should instantly come to mind.

 

One can insist on finding this idea already in the Prov. 16:32: “And he that ruleth his spirit [is better] than he that taketh a city”. However, such sayings in Proverbs (some much older than King Solomon to whom they are attributed), are the sayings of wise people during generations of socialization and education and one should not take them as a mere reflection of history. Here, on the other hand, we can see the new value on its historical background: in contrast to Biblical heroes and in harmony with centuries of subjugation, first to the Persians and then to the Greeks. That is to say that political reality is to be blamed for this change in the attitude towards might, from Biblical to Jewish concepts. Under these circumstances the hero shifted from the physical to the spiritual, from a man of power to the outside into a man of power in the inside, no harm, no violence.

 

It looks that according to these new values the whole Biblical past was refined to be something else. Without critical understanding of the past, it is no wonder the past was colored according to the new ideas of “who is a hero?”, and here are few examples. Was Joshua, the conqueror of the Land of Israel a hero? Of course, he was the disciple of Moses, he studied Torah under Moses (m. Abot 1:1; b. Temura 16a). In what way was David a hero? It is clear, he was the head of a Yeshiva. And what about Ira the Yairite, one of the “official” heroes of David (2 Sam 23:8)? Well, actually, Ira was the Rabbi of David (b. Moed Qatan 16b).

 

And what about The Maccabees, the real heroes, could you tell me something about their heroism? Well, actually, they were no heroes at all. It is evident in the famous Berayta in b. Shabat 21b, while discussing the basic historical facts of Hannuka that the Makkabees played no role in achieving political power. There was no such power, nor were there any warriors that achieved victory. The reason for Hanukah was a mere miracle. With miracles there is no need for heroes, and the “giborim” that are mentioned in the Jewish liturgy piece for Hannuka, “Al ha-Nisim” (presumably from around the 5-8th centuries), were the Greeks, while the Jews are characterized as a weak people.

 

That is to say, the past was reshaped for the purpose of the new present, under the oppression of the Romans, and after two unsuccessful rebellions it was better to have only this new type of hero. The “new” hero was a man of self-discipline, not a warrior, but a strict observer of Rabbinic law.

 

 

III Violence in Daily Life

 

In this chapter we will move from the history of ideas and mentality to the “real” history of violence in daily life in Antiquity. That is to say that “ideas” are one thing but real history is a bit different.

 

To begin with, it should be noted that scholars have already shown that in the Land of Israel in Antiquity, from the 1st century till about the 6th century, there is a lot of evidence about all sorts of robbers and bandits, many of whom were Jews, of course.[9] On a daily basis one could have met his death by out-laws. As a matter of fact, one should take into consideration that we already know this phenomenon in the Bible,[10] on the one hand, and robbers (and their descendants until this very day), were well known in the Roman world[11] on the other. So from this aspect, nothing was new about this social situation, and the main problem is not to discover robbers in the past but rather to estimate the extent of their existence, mission impossible. One can only assume that traditional society, mythically considered to be basically orderly, was not so, for one reason or another. Clearly robbers and violence were part of daily life in Antiquity all over the world.

 

Outlaws are one thing but killing in the Temple in Jerusalem is different. Such a case did happen, and the tannaim were so shocked by its tragic circumstances that they made that story part of their study in t. Yoma (Kippurim) 1:12:

 

A. M‘SH: There were two who got there at the same time, running up the ramp. One shoved the other [M. Yoma 2:2A-B], within four cubits [of the altar]. The other then took out a knife and stabbed him in the heart.

B. R. Sadoq came and stood on the steps of the porch and said,

C. “Hear me, O brethren of the house of Israel! Lo, scripture says, If in the land which the Lord gives you to posses, any one is found slain, lying in the open country(Deut. 21:1-2).

D. “Come so let us measure to find out for what area it is appropriate to bring the calf, for the sanctuary, or for the courts!”

E. All of them moaned after his speech.

F. And afterwards the father of the youngster came to them saying, “O brethren of ours! May I be your atonement. His [my] son is still writhing, so the knife is not yet been made unclean.”

G. This teaches you that the uncleanness of a knife is more grievous to Israelites than murder. And so it says, Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other (II Kings 21:16).

H. On this basis they have said, “Because of the sin of murder the presence of God was raised up, and the sanctuary was made unclean”.[12]

 

It is quite clear that life was not considered valuable in Antiquity, and this story, much like an item in a modern daily paper, shows that nothing has changed in human behavior. However, the focus here should be not on the case itself but rather on the arena: the Temple that should have been, self evidently, a symbol of order and peace, became a place of disorder and brutality. Moreover, the killer was not from the fringes of society, on the contrary: the killer came from one of the noblest priestly families. This was not a sign of destruction, this was destruction itself, a stab not only in the heart of an individual but in the heart of the Jewish nation.

 

One case can’t tell much, and the aforementioned evidence, horrible as it was, could be taken as a case of bad luck. However, this was not the situation in the Land of Israel in the first century c.e. None other than Rabban Yohanan b. Zakkai attested to the deterioration of the social order. This is demonstrated in the following t. Sotah 14:1-3:

 

  1. Rabban Yohannan b. Zakkai says, “When murderers became many, the rite of breaking the heifer’s neck was annulled [M. Sot. 9:9A],
  2. for the heifer whose neck is to be broken is brought only in a case of doubt.
  3. “But now there are many who commit murder in public.
  1. “When adulterers became many, the ordeal of the bitter water was annulled.
  2. for the ordeal of the bitter water is performed only in a case of doubt.
  3. “But now there are many who see [their lovers] in public”.

A. When hedonists became many, fierce wrath came upon the world, and the glory of the Torah ceased.[13]

 

While in former testimonies it wasn’t clear whether robbers were an exception, in this particular case, actually: two different issues adultery and murder (if not hedonism also), we have first-hand testimony of aggression. True, we don’t have exact numbers of murderers or the rate of social corruption. “Many” is a relative matter and we cannot compare the situation with other societies in other places and times (as can be done in high Middle-Ages Europe, for instance). However, one thing is clear, a sage of the first league states that in his days, probably during one of the years 60-70 c.e. people got the feeling that their days are different than former ones. Once such a ceremony took place only rarely, but now these Biblical ceremonies are practiced at so often that they leave no impression on the viewers, and have no relevancy, so they have been annulled.

 

Obviously murders that were once sporadic became a daily occurrence, and these misdeeds went together with the disappearance of morality in family matters together with hedonism. These phenomena were observed by the sages, or by the priests, who preferred to annul ancient practices, seeing that they were about to see the disappearance of the glory of the Torah, that is the Temple. Of course, one cannot be sure that this view was held before the Destruction and maybe only after Rabban Yohannan b. Zakkai, together with his disciples, went to Yavneh did they see the signs on the wall. Nevertheless, the rate of violence increased, culminating in violence by the Romans who destroyed the Temple and killed tens of thousands of Jews.

 

There are several sources concerning the changes during the years before the Destruction, among them the annulment of the judicial courts. In b. Yoma 39b the sages said:

 

Forty years before the destruction of the sanctuary, the lot did not come up in the right hand, and the thread of crimson never turned white, and the westernmost light never shone, and the doors of the courtyard would open by themselves,

until Rabban Yohannan b. Zakkai rebuked them. He said, “Temple, Temple, why will you yourself give the alarm [that you are going to be destroyed? You don’t have to, because] I know that in the end you are destined to be destroyed.[14]

 

In b. Sanhdrin 41a it is stated that 40 years before the Destruction, the Sanhedrin left its place to the “market”, that is to say the beginning of the exile. However, in p. Sanhedrin 1:5, 18a, it is written:

 

It was taught: Forty years before the destruction of the Temple the right to judge capital cases was withdrawn, and it was in the days of Simeon b. Shatah that the right property cases was withdrawn.[15]

 

Not only were there bad omens before the destruction of the Temple, but they themselves saw the collapse of their, and their ancestors’, system of order. One of the scholars was of the opinion that this collapse of courts took place just four and not 40 years, before the Destruction (that is 66 c.e.).[16] He said this without paying attention to the other sources discussed above, and though he was aware of the typological nature of the number 40, he didn’t know that usually this number is used while stating a case of metamorphosis. For example, there were 40 days in which the earth was turned to chaos in the flood, or that a body is prepared for the world to come in 40 days during the process of embalming (Genesis 50:3). However, just as there is no need to discuss the historicity of omens there is no need to discuss the exact date of this annulment. One thing is clear: society had the power to enforce its own jurisdiction system in an era of a growth of criminality and violence. Evidently, even before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, Jewish society was under a process of disintegration.

 

Before leaving this subject, one issue should be clear: we do have more cases of people being killed in Antiquity, usually by members of their own family.[17] What exactly can be learned from these sources is hard to tell since in every society, so it seems, from the very days of creation, there have been killings in the family. However, while discussing murders in the Jewish family in the past, special attention should be given to battered wives, some of whom were murdered by their husbands.

 

So far only very little attention was paid to wife-beating among the Jews, at least until considerably later.[18] In t. Baba Qamma 9:14 the Rabbis taught:

 

A. He who inflicts injury upon his wife –

B. whether he injured her or whether others injured her -

C. they collect [damages] from him…[19]

 

That is to say that Rabbinic law is aware of husbands that beat their wives.[20] More than that, according to one of the Rabbis, beating one’s wife is characteristic of people outside of the circle of the sages, being called “am Ha-Aretz”, as was taught in b. Pesahim 49b:

 

R. Meir would say, “Whoever marries his daughter off to an unlettered man is as though he tied her up and laid her out before a lion. Just as a lion tramples the prey and eats it shamelessly, so the unlettered man beats up his wife and rapes her shamelessly.”[21]

 

Being part of the Rabbinic circle means, also, ethical relation between a man and his wife, unlike the misbehavior of others. One can not tell whether this was really typical of people outside of Rabbinic circles. However, it should be recalled that in quite a famous story in b. Yoma 83b, a man who wanted to cheat the Rabbis, not only did not succeed, but at the end was so furious that he killed his wife.

 

One can add the widespread beating of children,[22] to get the impression that violence was really part of everybody’s and everyday life. Either the whole society was under a process of collapsing, or it was just normal behavior, nothing special.

 

IV. Social Discussion

 

One of the gaps between modern and pre-modern societies is, inter alia, the attitude towards violence, especially concerning public order (that is: in criminal law). In modern times the idea that the state is supposed to restrain its force to non-corporal punishment, though with differences all over the world, is fairly new (18th century onward). Society reached this conclusion for several reasons, basically based on the rights of the individual, as well as the recognition that the civilian is no longer the property of his state.

 

However, in Antiquity this was not the case in general, and the Bible reveals a high incidence of violence in daily life, from war to legal punishment.[23] With this perspective, it is interesting to see that the Rabbis exemplify a new standard of thinking concerning violence, an idea that looks more modern than its Biblical heritage. This new understanding is evident in the Rabbinic code of penalty on the one hand, and in the new characterization of hero in general and Biblical hero in particular, on the other. It has been shown that Rabbinic sources bear evidence of a society in collapse, a society that became more violent than its predecessor, both by the rulers and the inhabitants alike. It is true that in Rabbinic sources, unlike in pre-modern archives one can not get exact data concerning these changes but nevertheless, the gross facts are clear.

 

For that reason it is argued that there was a connection between all these incidents and that violent life under centuries of conquerors took its price in the change of attitude towards heroism and the code of punishment. Jews could not bear the idea that they were about to behave like their enemies and instead they left the duty of rooting out all evil to God. Together with the new identity the past received, Judaism became something other than Biblical code-bearers while “modern” ideas penetrated and changed the core values.

 

Conclusion

 

The aim of this study was to deal with different sorts of violence that Jewish society suffered from in Antiquity. This violence came not only from the enemies of the Jewish people but also from criminals within. Under these circumstances, the whole system of penalty was changed to be less harmful, Lex Talionis was abandoned, and a new idea concerning “who is a hero?” became part of Rabbinic Judaism.

 

With the growth of criminal disorder, the ancient laws and courts were annulled before the destruction of the Temple, and under the Roman rule the sages of the Jewish people preferred not to take action against their own brethren, leaving the arena to God, and to the Romans.

 

 


 

 

Jewish Violence in Antiquity: Three Dimensions

Meir Bar-Ilan

barilan@mail.biu.ac.il

 

This paper aims to discuss violence in Jewish society, thought, religion and history in Biblical and post Biblical times, demonstrating the transition of the status of violence in this culture. A basic introduction discusses some of the historical background of Jewish society from Biblical to Talmudic times when under Roman rule.

 

The role of violence is demonstrated in three different aspects of Jewish sources: 1. Using violence as punishment; 2. Deheroisation of Biblical figures; 3. Crime and social deviation in daily life.

 

  1. In Biblical criminal law there is a vast use of violence against all sorts of felonies, basically known as Lex Talionis. Not only that, but according to the Bible there are several other cases in which the transgressor should pay with his own life, such as in the case of the rebellious son and others. In Talmudic times none of these was in existence, that is, one observes a reluctance to use violence against transgressors,  that is there is sublimation of the social measure against criminals.
  2. The deheroisation process is easily seen in Talmudic sources: the heroes of Biblical times that were physical figures, warriors and men of the body became in Rabbinic sources, people of the book, learned Rabbis and heads of a Yeshiva. The new hero of the Rabbis represents the shift from political strength to spiritual leadership and rabbinic values.
  3. The last discussion is devoted to violence in daily life and all sorts of testimonies have been collected to demonstrate the measure of daily violence, crime, murder and so on.

 

A social analysis is given at the end trying to evaluate the data gathered earlier as the role of violence in mentalitè as well as in the daily life of the Jewish People in Antiquity.

 

 



[1] Philip Aries and George Duby (eds.), A History of Private Life, I, From Pagan Rome to  Byzantium, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press - London, 1992.

[2] J. G. Bellamz, Crime and Public Order in England in the Late Middle Ages, Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1973; D. Riches (ed.), The Anthropology of Violence, Oxford 1986.

[3] I. Drapkin, Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World, Lexington, MassachusettsToronto: Lexington Books, 1989.

[4] For the sake of this study there is no need to delve into this vast subject and only a few cases will be mentioned. See: D. Daube, Studies in Biblical Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1947, pp. 102-153; M. Greenberg, ‘Some Postulates of Biblical Criminal Law’, J. Goldin (ed.), The Jewish Expression, New York: Bantam Books, 1970, pp. 5-28; B. Jackson, ‘Reflections on biblical criminal law’, Journal of Jewish Studies, 24 (1973), pp. 8-38; C. Carmichael, Biblical Laws of Talion, Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Studies, Oxford 1986.

[5] J. Neusner (translator), The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation, XXIV: Tractate Bava Mesia, Chapetrs 7-10, Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1990, p. 25.

[6] Elizabeth Bellefontaine, ‘Deuteronomy 21:18-21: Reviewing the Case of the Rebellious Son’, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 13 (1979), pp. 13-31; D. Marcus,  ‘Juvenile Delinquency in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East’, The Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University, 13 (1981), pp. 31-52 (esp. 49-50); M. Bar-Ilan, ‘Childhood and its status in Biblical and Talmudic Societies’, Bet-Mikra, 40/140 (1995), pp. 19-32 (Hebrew).

[7] For full discussion: E. E. Halevi, Shaarei Haagada, Tel-Aviv 1964, pp. 129-137 (Hebrew).

[8] P. J. Haas (translator), The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation, XXXV: Tractate Meilah and Tamid, Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1986, p. 159.

[9] B. Isaac, ‘”Bandits” in Judaea and Arabia’, Cathedra, 39 (1986), pp. 3-36 (Hebrew) [=B. Isaac, The Limits of Empire: The Roman Army in the East, Revised Edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993, pp. 77-89]; T. L. Donaldson, ‘Rural Bandits, City Mobs and the Zealots’, Journal for the Study of Judaism, 21 (1990), pp. 19-40; I. Ben-Shalom, The School of Shammai and the Zealots’ Struggle against Rome, Jerusalem: Yad I. Ben-Zvi, 1993, pp. 306-308 (Hebrew).

[10] Judges 11:3; I Sam. 25:10.

[11] B. D. Shaw, ‘Banditry in the Roman Empire’, Past and Present, 105 (1984), pp. 1-52.

[12] J. Neusner, The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, Second Division, Moed, New York: Ktav 1981 (rep. 1999), pp. 188-189.

[13] J. Neusner, The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, Third Division, Nashim, New York: Ktav 1981 (rep. 1999), p. 204.

[14] The Talmud of Babylonia: Yoma, Translated by: J. Neusner, Atlanta: Georgia: Scholars Press, 1994, pp. 49-50.

[15] The Talmud of The Land of Israel: Sanhedrin, Translated by: J. Neusner, Atlanta: Georgia: Scholars Press, 1999, p. 3.

[16] S. B. Hoenig, The Great Sanhedrin, Philadelphia: The Dropsie College, 1953, pp. 111. See further: H. Mantel, Studies in the History of the Sanhedrin, Tel-Aviv: Devir, 1969, pp. 346-356 (Hebrew).

[17] T. Ketubot 11:4; Deut. Raba 2:25.

[18] An exception is: S. Zucrow, Women, Slaves and the Ignorant in Rabbinic Literature, Boston: The Stratford Company Publishers, 1932, pp. 62-64.

[19] J. Neusner, The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, Fourth Division, Neziqin, New York: Ktav 1981 (rep. 1999), pp. 53.

[20] Naomi Graetz, Silence is Deadly: Judaism Confronts Wifebeating, JerusalemNorthvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1998, p. 70.

[21] The Talmud of Babylonia: Pesahim, Volume IVB, Translated by: J. Neusner, Atlanta: Georgia: Scholars Press, 1993, p. 114.

[22] John J. Pilch, ‘“Beat His Ribs While He is Young” (Sir 30:12): A Window on the Mediterranean World’, Biblical Theology Bulletin, 23 (1993), pp. 101-113.

[23] On Capital punishment among the Jew in Antiquity, see: E. E. Urbach, Hahalacka: Its Sources and Development, Givataim: Massada, 1984, pp. 53-55 (Hebrew).