The Challenge of Change
 Elul 24
 Elul 23
 Elul 22
 Elul 21
 Elul 20
 Elul 19
 Elul 17
 Elul 16
 Elul 15

Series [All]
 Elul 5777 (9)
 Exploring Translation Theories (25)
 Memory and Identity
 Religion and Cultural Memory (51)
 The Creative Word (19)
 The Cross-Cultural Process (7)
 The Old Testament is Dying
 The Oral Gospel Tradition (4)
 We the People (8)


Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Commencing his list of ways on knowing whether someone in antiquity was a Jew, Shaye Cohen starts with social mechanisms that did not make Jews distinctive. The first on the list is looks:

The Romans, and the Greeks before them, noted that foreign peoples often looked different from themselves: they were peculiarly tall or short, hairy or smooth, dark or fair. The Romans also noted peculiar styles of hair or beard. But not a single ancient author comments on the distinctive size, looks or coiffure of the Jews.

Now, from the Middle Ages onwards, Jews in Euroe were recognisable by their beards, but not in ancient times. So there you have it: in antiquity, apparently, Jews looked "normal."

Posted By Jonathan, 1:34pm Comment Comments: 0