The Rabbinic Polemic against Sanctification of Sites

The Rabbinic Polemic against Sanctification of Sites Journal for the Study of Judaism 40 (2009) 260-280 brill.nl/jsj © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/157006309X410671 The Rabbinic Polemic against Sanctification of Sites Eyal Ben Eliyahu Dept. of History of the Jewish People, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905, Israel eyalb@mscc.huji.ac.il Abstract The attribution of holiness to various sites in antiquity was confined neither to a particular ethnic or religious group, nor to one particular geographical locale, but was rather practiced by a wide range of groups vis-à-vis many locations. Contrary to these views, the rabbis made a very clear and sharp statement regarding the sanctity of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and negated the idea of the exis- tence of holy places outside Jerusalem. The rabbis struggled against the sanctity of the biblical “holy mountain,” as well as against sites that could have been regarded as holy on the basis of the biblical narrative. The discovery of this polemic illuminates and offers an explanation for many surprising passages in early rabbinic literature that belittle high mountains and biblical “memorial sites” in the Land of Israel. The examples, drawn from the various strata of early rabbinic literature, demonstrate surprising rabbinic consen- sus on this issue. Keywords holy mountains, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for the Study of Judaism Brill

The Rabbinic Polemic against Sanctification of Sites

Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume 40 (2): 260 – Jan 1, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0047-2212
eISSN
1570-0631
D.O.I.
10.1163/157006309X410671
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Journal for the Study of Judaism 40 (2009) 260-280 brill.nl/jsj © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/157006309X410671 The Rabbinic Polemic against Sanctification of Sites Eyal Ben Eliyahu Dept. of History of the Jewish People, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905, Israel eyalb@mscc.huji.ac.il Abstract The attribution of holiness to various sites in antiquity was confined neither to a particular ethnic or religious group, nor to one particular geographical locale, but was rather practiced by a wide range of groups vis-à-vis many locations. Contrary to these views, the rabbis made a very clear and sharp statement regarding the sanctity of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and negated the idea of the exis- tence of holy places outside Jerusalem. The rabbis struggled against the sanctity of the biblical “holy mountain,” as well as against sites that could have been regarded as holy on the basis of the biblical narrative. The discovery of this polemic illuminates and offers an explanation for many surprising passages in early rabbinic literature that belittle high mountains and biblical “memorial sites” in the Land of Israel. The examples, drawn from the various strata of early rabbinic literature, demonstrate surprising rabbinic consen- sus on this issue. Keywords holy mountains,

Journal

Journal for the Study of JudaismBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: BIBLICALLY SANCTIFIED SITES; RABBINIC POLEMIC; EXCLUSIVE SANCTITY OF JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE; HOLY MOUNTAINS

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