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The Ban on Circumcision as a Cause of Bar Kokhba's Rebellion*

  • Alfredo Mordechai Rabello


As far as we can determine from papyri and from Greek and Roman historians, circumcision was practiced among various nations in the Roman Empire, particularly in Egypt and Arabia. A few of the most important examples will suffice.

Herodotus addresses circumcision in Egypt and elsewhere:

… but my better proof was that the Colchians and Egyptians and Ethiopians are the only nations that have from the first practised circumcision. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine acknowledge of themselves that they learned the custom from the Egyptians, and the Syrians of the valleys of the Thermodon and the Parthenius, as well as their neighbours the Macrones, say that they learnt it lately from the Colchians.



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1 On this issue and with regard to the sources see in particular: Juster, J., Les Juifs dans l'Empire Romain. Leur condition juridique, economique et sociale, I, (New York, 1967; Paris, 1914) 263 ff.; Zmigryder-Konopka, , “Les Romains et la circoncision des Juifs”, (1931) 33 Eos 334 ff.; Smallwood, E.M., “The Legislation of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius against Circumcision”, (1959) 18 Latomus 342 ff.; Addendum, (1960–1961) 20 ibid.. 93 ff.; Schürer, E., The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, 175 B.C.–135 A.D., revised and edited by Vermes, G. and Millar, F., I, (Edinburgh, 1973) 537 ff.; Rabello, A.M., “The Legal Condition of the Jews in the Roman Empire”, (1980) 13 Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, vol. II pp. 662 ff. (see in particular pp. 699 ff).

The texts of the Classic authors are discussed by Stern, M. in: Stern, M., Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, (= Stern, GLA), I–II, (Jerusalem, 19741980). See also: Reinach, T., Textes d'auteurs grecs et romains relatifs au Judaïsme, (Paris, 1895); Feldman, L.H., Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World, (Princeton, 1993) 153 ff. For a recent bibliography see: Schäfer, P., “Hadrian's Policy in Judaea and the Bar Kokhba Revolt: a Reassessment”, Davies, Ph.R. and White, R.I. (eds.), A Tribute to Geza Vermes, (Sheffield, 1990) 281303 (= Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series 100); Kloner, A., “Underground Hiding Complexes from the Bar Kokhba War in the Judaean Shephelah”, (1983) 46 Biblical Archaeologist 210221; Opppenheimer, A. and Isaac, B., “The Bar Kokhba Revolt — Modern Scholarship”, in: Kloner, A. and Tepper, Y. (eds.), Underground Hiding Complexes in the Judaean Shephelah, (Tel-Aviv, 1987, in Hebrew); Isaac, B., The Limits of Empire — the Roman Army in the East, (Oxford, 1990); Shatzman, I., “The Limits of Empire: Review Article”, (1994) 44 IEJ 129135.

2 Herodotus, , Historiae, II, 104, 2–3. The English translation by A.D. Godley, Loeb Classical Library. On the text of Herodotus see: Stern, GLA, no. 1. Note especially his extensive remarks, as we shall concentrate our discussion mainly on the legal aspects grounded in the sources.

3 Siculus, Diodorus, Bibliotheca Historica, 1,8:23 (= Stern, GLA, no. 55; trans. A.D. Godley, Loeb Classical Library).

4 Ibidem, I,55:5 (= Stern, GLA, no. 57; trans. C.H. Oldfather, Loeb Classical Library).

5 Strabo, , Geographica, XVII, 2:5 (= Stern, GLA, no. 124; trans. H.L. Jones, Loeb Classical Library).

6 Petronius, , Satyricon, 102:14 (= Stern, GLA, no. 194; trans. M. Heseltine, Loeb Classical Library): ‘circumcide nos, ut Iudaei mdeamur’; see also: Satyricon, 68:4–8 (= Stern, GLA, no. 193) and Stern's remark on p. 443 concerning ‘recutitus’; see also Poem no. 24 (Fragmenta, no. 37 = Stern, GLA, no. 195), and the discussion further down.

7 Tacitus, , Historiae, V, 5:2 (= Stern, GLA, no. 281 and note on p. 41); see infra n. 35.

8 Neoplatonicua, Sallustius, De Deis et Mundo, IX, 5 (= Stern, GLA, no. 448).

9 Codex Theodosianus, XVI:8:22: ‘nota Iudaica’.

10 Genesis, 17:9–14.

11 I Maccabees, 1:60–61 (trans. J.A. Goldstein, Anchor Bible).

12 II Maccabees, 6:10 (trans. J.A. Goldstein, Anchor Bible): On this problem see: Efron, Y., Studies of the Hasmonean Period, (Tel-Aviv, 1980, in Hebrew) 50 ff.

13 Flavius, Josephus, Antiquitates Judaeorum, 16:7:6 (225); see also: J. Juster, supra n. 1, at 264; Bamberger, B.J., Proselytism in the Talmudic Period, (Cincinnati, 1939) 21 ff.; Shalit, A., lung Herod — Portrait of a Ruler, (Jerusalem, 1964, in Hebrew) 227.

14 Josephus Flavius, ibid., 19:9:1 (355), 20:7:1 (139).

16 ibid., 20:7:3 (145).

17 On the relations between this controversial Emperor and the Jews see: Smallwood, E.M., “Domitian's Attitude toward Jews and Judaism”, (1956) 51 Classical Philology 1 ff.; Rabello, A.M., “Domitian”, Enc. Judaica, VI, 1971, col. 164; Applebaum, S., “Domitian's Assassination: The Jewish Aspect”, (1974) 1 Scripta Classica Israelica 116 ff.

18 Dalla, D., L'incapacità sessuale in Diritto Romano [= Dalla] (Milano, 1978) 78 (our translation).

19 Suetonius, , Domitianus, 7: ‘castrari mares vetuit; spadonum, qui residui apud mangones erant, pretia moderatus est’.

20 According to Cassius Dio (67:2:3), the motive was Domitian's contempt of the memory of his brother, Titus. On this subject see: Dalla, supra n. 18, at 82, n. 28.

21 Dalla, supra n. 18, at 83.

22 Suetonius, , Domitianus, 12:2 (= Stern, GLA, no. 320; see Ms notes on pp. 129–131; trans. J.C. Rolfe, Loeb Classical Library): Praeter ceteros Iudaicus fiscus acerbissime actus est; ad quern deferebantur qui vel ut inprofessi Iudaicam viverent vitam vel dissimulata origine imposita genti tributa non pependissent. Interfuisse me adulescentulum memini, cum a procuratore frequentissimoque Consilio inspiceretur nonagenarius senex, an circumsectus esset.

See also: Hengel, M., Judaism and Hellenism. Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period, I, (London, 1974) 204, n. 303: ‘After A.D. 70 the fiscus Judaicus was levied from every circumcised Jew, even the proselytes. Intrinsically a punitive tax for the rebellious “ethnos” of the Jews (see Suetonius, , Domitian, 12:2:impositagenti tributa), it also affected the Jews as a “religious association”’;. And see also ibid., at 306.

23 With regard to the fiscal reasons for Domitian's decree, Juster assumes (supra n. 1, vol. 2, at 284, n. 3) that there was a discrimination between the rich and the poor with regards to the Jewish proselytes (vol. 1, p. 257 f., n. 1): “It is also possible that Domitian used double standards: he imposed taxes on the poor who practiced Judaism without asking more, but in accordance with custom he preferred to prosecute the rich and to put them in a situation where they would refuse to worship the ‘official gods’, this in order to take control of their possessions”, (our translation).

24 For an essential bibliography on ‘Lex Cornelia de Sicariis’ see: Rabello, A.M., Effetti personali della ‘patria potestas’, I: Dalle Origini al periodo degli Antonini, (Milano, 1979) 144; on the background story concerning Domitian's edict see: Grella, F., “La ‘correctio morum’ nella legislazione flavia”, (1980) 13 Aufstieg und Niedergang der Hämischen Welt, Vol. II, 340 ff., esp. n. 18 and 19.

25 On ‘fisci iudaici calumnia sublata’ see: Bruce, F., “Nerva and the Fiscus Judaicus”, (1964) 96 Palestine Exploration Quarterly 34 ff.

26 Dig. 48:8:6: ‘Is, qui servum castrandum tradiderit, pro parte dimidia honorum multatur, ex senatus consulto, quod Neratio Prisco et Annio Vero consulibus factum est’. Some scholars attribute the edict to Domitian (Mommsen, Ronden, Pernice, Hitzing, Buckland, Stein, Orestano and others); Karlowa, however, leaves this question open. For bibliography and discussion see: Dalla, supra n. 18, at 85 and n. 37.

27 Mommsen, Th., Römisches Strafrecht, (Leipzig, 1955; 1899) 637, n. 6: “Following the castration of the slave, he becomes free, and half of his master's property is confiscated”. Following Mommsen, Juster wrote, supra n. 1, vol. I, p. 269): “… en recompense de la mutilation qu'ils ont subie, le législateur — à l'époque païenne comme à l'époque chrétienne leur rend la liberté”; and also (ibid., n. 2): “La chose est certaine pour l'esclave chatré”, Dig. 48:8:6”. The lack of precision in this interpretation has already been noticed by Volterra, E., ‘Intorno ad alcune costituzioni di Costantino’, Rendiconti Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, rend, morali, ser. VIII, vol. 13, fase. 3–4 (1958), p. 87 ff., although he refers only to Juster (p. 87, n. 62). About the text under discussion Volterra has to say: “Come si può constatare dalla semplice lettura del testo, il senatusconsulto puniva la castrazione dello schiavo, comminando la multa della metà dei beni all'autore del fatto, ma non concedeva affatto la libertà allo schiavo. Una norma siffatta non avrebbe mai potuto essere dichiarata nel diritto classico, in quanto contrastante con i più elementari principi giuridici in tema di schiavitù”.

Urbach, E.E. too follows Juster: “The Laws regarding Slavery as a Source for Social History of the Second Temple, the Mishnah and Talmud”, Papers of the Institute of Jewish Studies, (London, 1964) 52, n. 131; see in contrast, without giving reference to Mommsen or Volterra: Linder, A., “The Roman Imperial Government and the Jews under Constantine”, (19741975) 44 Tarbiz 134, n. 210. Dalla does not discuss this issue.

28 Dig. 48:8:3:4: ‘et qui hominem libidinis vel premerai causa castraverit, ex senatus consulto poena legis Corneliae punitur’. See: Dalla, supra n. 18 at 86 ff.

29 Dig. 48:8:3:5: ‘Legis Corneliae de sicariis et veneficis poena insulae deportatio est et omnium honorum ademptio. Sed soient hodie…’. See: Dalla, supra n. 18, at 87 ff.

30 Ad Gal., 6:12 (Migne, , Patrologia Latina, 26, col. 435): “Gaius Caesar, et Octavianus Augustus, et Tiberius successor Augusti, leges promulgaverant, ut Judaei qui erant in toto Romani imperii orbe dispersi, proprio ritu viverent, et patriis caeremoniis deservirent. Quicumque igitur circumcisus erat, licet in Christum crederet, quasi Judaeus habebatur a Gentibus. Qui vero absque circumcisione se non esse Judaeum praeputio praeferebat, persecutionibus tam Gentilium, quam Judaeorum fiebat obnoxius. Has igitur persecutions hiqui Galatas depravaverant declinare cupientes, circumcisionem pro defensione discipulis persuadebant etc… Nam nec Judaei persequi eos poterant nec Gentiles, quos videbant et proselytes circumcidere, et ipsos Legis praecepta servare”.

However, it must be remembered that the opposite phenomenon existed: Christian-Jews or assimilated Jews, in most cases preferred to have an operation — the epispasmos — that will conceal the signs of circumcision, to be exempted from paying the ‘fiscus Judaicus’.

31 About Hadrian see: Henderson, T., The Life and Principate of the Emperor Hadrian, (London, 1923); Pringsheim, F., “The Legal Policy and Reforms of Hadrian”, (1934) 24 Journal of Roman Studies 141 ff. (now in: Gesammelte Abhandlungen, I, Heidelberg 1961, pp. 91 ff.); D'Orgeval, A., L'Empereur Hadrien. Oeuvre legislative et administrative, (Paris, 1950); Thornton, A., “Hadrian and his Reign”, (1975) 2 Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, II, 432 ff. With regard to certain legal aspects see: Rabello, supra n. 24, at 239 ff.

32 Dig. 48:8:4:2: Idem divus Hadrianus rescripsit: Constitutum quidem est, ne spadones fierent, eos autem, qui hoc crimine arguerentur, Corneliae legispoena teneri eorumque bona merito fisco meo vindicari debere, sed et in seruos, qui spadones fecerint, ultimo supplicio animadvertendum esse, et qui hoc crimine tenetur, si non adfuerint, de absentibus quoque, tamquam lege Corneliae teneantur, pronuntiandum esse. Plane si ipsi, qui hanc iniuriam passi sunt, proclamaverint, audire eos praeses provinciae debet, qui virilitatem amiserunt: nemo enim liberum seruumue inuitum sinentemue castrare debet, neque quis se sponte castrandum praebere debet. At si quis adversus edictum meum fecerit, medico quidem, qui exciderit, capitale erit, item ipsi qui se sponte excidendum praebuit.

On other compilations similar to Ulpian, see: Dell'Oro, A., I libri de officio della Giurisprudenza Romana, (Milano, 1960). On Ulpian's style see Yaron, R., “Semitisms in Ulpian?” (1987) 55 Tijdschrift voor Rechtgeschiedenis 3 ff.

33 See: Dalla, supra n. 18, at 90 f.; A. Under, supra n. 27, at 126 f. and n. 103.

34 Dig. 48:8:5 (Paulus, 1:2, De officio proconsulis): ‘Hi quoque, qui thlibias faciunt, ex constitutione divi Hadriani ad Ninnium Hastam in eadem causa suni, qua hi qui castrant’. See Dalla, supra n. 18, at 91 f. According to Geiger, J. (“The Ban on Circumcision and the Bar-Kokhba Revolt”, [1976] 41 Zion 141, n. 8), this is the clearest prcof that Hadrian's edict (in Dig. 48:8:4:2) did not include circumcision; otherwise, how could it be assumed that Ninnius Hasta approached Hadrian and asked him whether thlibias facere was included in the ban? In my opinion, the problem is solved by taking a close look at the edict's last sentence. We shall discuss this further later on.

35 Historiae, V,5:2 (English translation by C.H. Moore, Loeb Classical Library): ‘Circumcidere genitalia instituerunt, ut diversitate noscantur. Transgressi in morem eorum idem usurpant…’. On this paragraph, which was only partly quoted (see also supra n. 10) see especially: Juster, supra n. 1, at 264–265, n. 2: ‘s'il y avait eu peine, Tacite aurait, avec son admirable concision, ajoute un mot, ou deux, pour dire qu'ils le firent contrairement à des lois précises’. See also: Stern, GLA, II, p. 41. On the diffusion of Judaism even amongst the Senatorial class see especially: Derenbourg, J., Essai sur l'histoire et la geographie de la Palestine, (Paris, 1867) 334 ff.; Bamberger, supra n. 13, especially 255 ff.; Stern, M., “Sympathy for Jews among Roman Senatorial Circles in the Ancient Empire Period”, (1964) 29 Zion 155 ff.; A.M. Rabello, supra a. 1, at 696 ff.

36 As is well known, scholars have argued for a long time about the historic value of the ‘Historia Augusta’. Amongst recent studies see especially: Momigliano, A., “An Unsolved Problem of Historical Forgery: The Scriptores Historiae Augustae”, in Secondo contributo alla Storia degli Studi Classici, (Rome, 1960) 105 ff. with two appendices; Atti del Colloquio Patavino sulla Historia Augusta, (Rome, 1963); Historia Augusta. Colloquium, (Bonn, 1964–1975/6); Syme, R., Ammianus and the Historia Augusta, (Oxford, 1968); and its criticism by Momigliano, included in: Quinto contributo alla storia degli studi classici e del mondo antico, I, (Rome, 1975) 93 ff., 104 ff; Barnes, , The Sources of the Historia Augusta, (Bruxelles, 1978); Stern, , GLA, II, pp. 612 ff.

37 Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Vita Hadriani, 14:2: ‘Moverunt ea tempestate et ludaei bellum quia vetabantur mutilare genitalia’. The issue is widely discussed by scholars without reaching an agreement. The following scholars accept the historic value of this statement and argue that the ban on circumcision should be attributed to Hadrian, that it occurred prior to the Bar Kochba revolt, and that it was one of its causes (some even claim that it was its only cause): Schürer, E., Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes, I, (Leipzig, 1901) 675 ff.; Idem, in the new, English edition, supra n. 1, at 536 ff.; J. Juster, supra n. 1, II, at 190 ff. and especially note 1 on 191; Th. Mommsen, supra n. 27, at 567 ff., Alon, G., The Jews in their Land in the Talmudic Age, II, (Jerusalem, 1984) 520 ff.; Safrai, S., “Sicaricon”, (1962) 17Zion 56 ff.; Smallwood, supra n. 1, 1959, pp. 344 ff.; 1961, pp. 93 ff.; Liebermann, S., “The Martyrs of Caesarea”, Annuaire de l'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientales et Slaves, VII (19391944) 423424: “From both Jewish and non-Jewish sources it appears that Hadrian's prohibition preceded the Jewish rebellion … There can be no doubt that the prohibition was one of the causes which stimulated the Jewish rebellion”; Herr, M.D., “Persecutions and Martyrdom in Hadrian's Days”, Scripta Hierosolymitana, XXII (1972) 86, n. 1; Follet, S., “Hadrian en Egypte et en Judée”, (1968) 42 Revue de Philologie de Literature et d'Histoire Anciennes 54 ff.; Applebaum, S., “Some New Aspects of the Second Revolt”, in Studies in the History of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, II, (Haifa, 1972, in Hebrew) 39 ff.; Urbach, E.E., The Sages — Their Concepts and Beliefs, (Jerusalem, 1979, index); A. Linder, supra n. 27, at 132 ff,; Herr, M.D., “The Causes of the Bar-Kokhba War”, (1978) 43 Zion 1 ff.; Dalla, supra n. 18, at 91 ff.; Rabello, A.M., “A Tribute to Jean Juster”, (1976) 11 Is. L. R. 223 ff.; Applebaum, S., “Prolegomena to the Study of the Second Jewish Revolt (132–135 A.D.)”, BAR, Supplementary Series 7 (1976), pp. 6 ff.: “It is therefore to be assumed that the decisions to prohibit circumcision and to found Aelia were taken in the same period if not at the same time, and that they involved a major change of policy on the part of the Emperor”, (p. 9); Smallwood, E.M., The Jews under Roman Rule from Pompey to Diocletian, (Leiden, 1976) 428 ff.; Stern, GLA, no. 511; A.M. Rabello, supra n. 1, at 739–741; L. H. Feldman, supra n. 1, at 100.

Yet, as we have stated, not all scholars agree with this interpretation. Some accept only Cassius Dio's' version (see infra): Rokeah, D. (“Kosbaean Remarks”, [1966] 35 Tarbiz 127 ff.) claims that the ban on circumcision was an outcome of the revolt, not one of its causes. Mantel, C.D. too (“The Causes of the Bar-Kochba Revolt”, [1968] 58 Jewish Quarterly Review 224 ff.) is of the opinion that not only Spartianus but also Cassius Dio confused cause and result, and that the revolt was actually caused by the Jewish people's desire for freedom. He claims that various decrees were inflicted on the Jews and their religion after the revolt. J. Geiger, supra n. 34, at 129 ff., arrives at the conclusion that Hadrian did not announce a general edict prohibiting circumcision; the decree was inflicted only locally as a punishing act following the revolt. In his opinion, the first to announce a general edict against circumcision was Antoninus Pius. This theory however was not accepted. We refer the reader to Herr's criticism in the second study mentioned here (1978), p. 9, n. 41. Schäfer has a similar theory (Schäfer, P., “The Causes of the Bar-Kochba Revolt”, in Studies in Aggadah, Targum and Jewish Liturgy in Memory of Joseph Heinemann (Jerusalem, 1981) 11 ff.; Idem, 1990, supra n. 1, at 293ff.) which we cannot accept: The Bar Kokhba Revolt was a result, not only of the Jewish-Roman conflict, but also a result of the internal conflict between the Jews, in which Hadrian's role was much less prominent than has hitherto been thought (1981, p. 94). According to him, it is not possible to rely on Spartianus. See our remarks on Schäfer/s opinion infra.

38 See, inter alia, Stern, M., GLA, II, p. 621: “It may only be suggested that the general ban on circumcision, as ordained by Hadrian, left some room for special permission to be granted to Jews to circumcise their children, similar to the permission given to them later by Antoninus Pius and that given to the Egyptian priests. Thus, we may assume that the later Roman legislation relating to Jews was foreshadowed under Hadrian. Such an innovation, implying a limitation on proselytism, could well constitute one of the causes of the revolt”. Already in a review published in 1968, I wrote that: “The Jews of Rome were not those who revolted; on the other hand, we do not have any information about restrictions against the Jews of Rome, except for the ban on circumcision”. I have also stated, although with some reservation, that “it was precisely in Rome where they avoided the ban, taking into consideration that we do not have any evidence regarding punishments which were supposedly inflicted as a result, and the Jews most probably did continue to circumcise their sons” (1969) 15 Labeo 110).

39 On the passage by Spartianus, cf.: Derenbourg, supra n. 35, at 419, n. 5.

40 Vol. II, p. 218, there is a list of sources; see also: Oxford Latin Dictionary, 1968, s.v. excido2.

41 Cicero, De officiis, III, 2.

42 Cicero, De oratore, III, 1.

43 Loeb Classical Library. The French translation of Nisard (Paris, 1943, p. 607) is also interesting: ‘Mais pourquoi le nom de Galles donné à ces pretres gui se sont mutilés…’. This resembles Spartianus' ‘mutilare genitalia’.

44 Loeb Classical Library. too, Izaac (ed. Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1961) translates: ‘Mutile le vieux qui couchait au bord du lit’.

45 Vita Hadriani, 14:2. See also Seneca, Con. exe., 10:4: ‘excisorum greges’. In the Historia Augusta ‘mutilare’ does not appear anymore, but ‘excidere’ appears twice: Avidius Cassius, 4:5: ‘Multis desertoribus manus excidit’; Clodius Albinus, 9:6: ‘Caput eius excisum pilo circumtilet’.

46 See also: Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, for a long list of citations from Classical sources, from Latin translations of the Bible and from Patristic sources. Since our issue here is not philological but rather legal-historical, we refer the reader to the Thesaurus for a more profound study.

47 Poem 24, Fragmenta, no. 97 (trans. M. Heseltine, LCD; but Reinach translates more freely: ‘s'il ne se decide à pratiquer sur lui même la circoncision’. For ‘recutitus’, see Petronius, , Satiricon, 68:8, and Martialis, , Epigrammata, 7:30:5 (Stern, GLA, nos. 193, 240).

48 A similar use in Greek is found in: Strabo of Amaseia, Geographica, XVI 2:37 and is translated by Rocci in his dictionary: ‘taglio, intaglio, recisione, amputazione, segmento, spaccatura, apertura, mutilazione, castratura, incisione’.

48a Strabo of Amaseia, Geographica, 16:4:9, translated by Jones, H.L., LCL. See also: ibid., 16:2:37 (Stern, M., GLA, I, no. 115, p. 295, 306; no. 118, p. 312; III, Index, s.v. ektome. Notice that the same Greek expression used by Strabo to describe circumcision, kolobos tas balanous, is used by Ps. Spartianus, mutilare genitalia.

49 Gesenius, , Thesaurus Philologicus Criticus Linguae Hebraeae et Chaldaicae Veteris Testamenti, (Lipsiae, 1829) 776. Here too we refer the reader to the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae for details.

50 Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Gesenius, Robinson, Brown etc.), (Oxford, 1972) s.v

51 See also: Zorell, F., Lexicon Hebraicum et Aramaicum Veteris Testamenti, (Rome, 1962) 417: ‘abscidit praeputium, excidam’.

52 Krupnik-Silbermann, E., A Dictionary of the Talmud, the Midrash and the Targum, I, (Tel-Aviv, 1970; London, 1927) 156. On this issue see lately: Bleich, J., “Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature: Hypospadias and Circumcision”, (1980) 18 Tradition 295 ff.: “The question hinges primarily upon the meaning of the Hebrew word “yimol — he shall circumcise” (Leviticus 12:3), i.e., whether the word means “he shall cut” or whether its connotation is “he shall remove” as is the apparent meaning of the term in Deuteronomy 10:16 and Deuteronomy 30:6” (p. 299).

53 Deissmann, G.A., Bibelstudien, (Marburg, 1895) 149 ff.; Idem, Bible Studies, (Edinburgh, 1909) 151 ff. The quotation is from p. 152.

54 G. Bolognesi, s.v. Circoncisione, in: Enciclopedia Italiana, X, (Rome, 1929–1939) 412. See also historical introduction by Levi Della Vida (p. 410).

55 See A.M. Flabello, supra n. 38, at 110; and Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath, p. 130a. J. Geiger, supra n. 34, n. 40, suggests a different approach: in his opinion, the Rabbinical sources prove that the ban on circumcision was local and that it was related to the governor, Tineius Rufus. In our opinion, however, Rufus' role was limited only to applying a severe interpretation to the ban on ‘excisio’ in the province under his rule.

56 J. Geiger, ibid., at 141, n. 8, rightly argues that there is a connection between the ban on circumcision and the passage in the Digesto (48:8:5), but he does not draw the conclusions mentioned supra. On this text see Dalla, supra n. 18, at 91. Dalla says, inter alia, that Ninius Hasta was proconsul of Asia not before 130, and that the order attributed to him must have been later than stated in the Digesta, 48:8:4:2.

56a Yet see below the discussion on the Roman policy in the Near-East.

57 C.D. Mantel, supra n. 37, and others.

58 See, inter alia, the dialogue between Hadrian, and Hanina, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Rabbi in Midrash Bereshit Rabba, 10, 3 (Theodor, and Albeck, , eds., pp. 7576). For analysis of the Talmudic sources see: Herr, M.D., “The Historical Significance of the Dialogues between Jewish Sages and Roman Dignitaries”, Scripta Hierosolymitana, XXIII (1971) 123 ff., esp. 142 ff.

59 See Grelle, F., L'autonomia cittadina fra Traiano e Adriano. Teoria e prassi dell'organizzazione municipale, (Napoli, 1972) 226 ff. (in our translation):

“The Vita Hadriani states explicitly that the order came prior to the revolt and was one of its causes; it is hard to envisage any motive the editor might have had to change the original text. Equally, it is hard to assume that the writer himself had distorted the original text, no matter what his attitude toward Hadrian was. The ban on circumcision should be understood as an expression of intolerance toward the custom, which the emperor thought was so repulsive, that he stated that whoever conducted circumcision did not belong to a civilized people”.

60 See Zmigryder-Konopka, supra n. 1, at 345, and the scholars quoted there. See also Fanizza's correct words in: ‘Il parricidio nel sistema della Lex Pompeia’, (1979) 25 Labeo 27 ff.) (in our translation):

“Hadrian's ban on murder comes in the frame of normative interventions, their purpose being the assurance of compliance between the relations between man and man and the natural order; there is a parallel version to this in the law against castration. Also in this case Hadrian intervened with a drastic step implementing the death penalty giving no other alternative. He did not even act according to the principle which he himself set more than once, punishing according to the offender's status. The idea is to establish relations between human beings in a manner that will suit the nature, but these relations must also be based on ethnic-religious concepts”. (the emphasis is mine, A.M.R.)

61 On these texts see especially: Th. Mommsen, supra n. 27, at 637 ff.; J. Juster, supra n. 1, vol. I, pp. 263 ff.; vol. II, pp. 190 ff.; Dalla, supra n. 18, at 89 ff. On the physicians in this period see: Maschi, C., ‘Operae liberales’, Bull. Scuola di perfezionamento in Diritto del lavoro, Trieste, 2 (1955) 9.

62 See: Herr, M.D., s.v. Mekhilta of R. Ismael, in: Enc. Judaica, 11 (1971), col. 1267 f. The quotation is from ‘Ba-Chodesh’ portion, Exodus, 19:1–20, 26 (eds. Horowitz-Rabin, 1931, p. 227).

63 A Tannah (Sage of the Mishnah) from the fourth generation, the son of the Head of the Golah in Babylon, who emigrated to Judaea before the Bar-Kokhba revolt and held important positions.

64 Lauterbach's translation. See: S. Lieberman, supra n. 37, at 423 ff.; G. Alon, supra n. 37; Lieberman returns to this issue in “Religious Persecution in Israel”, in Jubilee Volume in honour of Shalom Baron, III, (Jerusalem, 1975, in Hebrew) 213–245, in particular pp. 216 ff. In this important research Lieberman goes back to the issue of persecution in the time of Hadrian, and examines carefully the Rabbinical sources on this matter. There he explains the difference between (at a time of danger) and (religious persecutions), with which he dealt also in op. cit., p. 427.

65 It is true that such words coming from a Rabbi who came from Babylon might indicate that there the situation was different from that in Judaea. However, as we saw above (nn. 38, 55), it seems that the situation in Judaea was extremely severe even in comparison to the other parts of the Empire. We also learn from Midrash Bereshit Rabba (ed. Albeck, p. 73) that Tineius Rufus ordered that no one be circumcised. Here the prohibition is attributed to the local governor; thus there were some who wished to see this order as a local one, applied only in Judaea, based on the ‘coercitio’. In our opinion, this was not a local enactment, but a local interpretation given to the word excidere, included in Hadrian's general order.

66 See Lieberman, S., The Tosefta, Mo'ed, Sabbath, (New York, 1962) 71; Idem, Tosefta ki-fshuṭah, A Comprehensive Commentary III, (New York, 1962) 251.

67 Cf. also the Baraitha in Babylonian Talmud, Baba Latra, 60b [trans, in G. Alon, supra n. 37, at 584].

68 P. Schäfer, supra n. 37, at 90.

69 The event occurred in the days of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. According to I Maccabees, 5:15, and Josephus (Jew. Antiq., 14:5:1 [241]), the hellenized Priest Jason founded a gymnasium in Jerusalem, located north-west of the Temple, where Jews also used to frequent. These Jews did not wish to be distinguished from the non-Jews during their training naked in the stadium, and had removed the signs of circumcision by restoring their foreskins in the operation known as epispasmos. See also: Epiphanius, De mens. 16 (P.G. 43, col. 264):

Imo vero, quod molestius est, post circumcisionem rursus ad praeputium redeunt. Etenim, medica quaderni arte, coque quern spathistherem vocant, glandis cuticulum attrahentes consuunt, ac glutine cicumstringunt, atque ita praeputium recuperant. See also Abel, F.M., Les livres des Maccabées, (Paris, 1949) 8.

70 Compare with the situation described in I Maccabees, 8:60–61 (see supra n. 11).

71 See S. Lieberman, supra n. 66, and Schäfer, P., “Hadrian's Policy in Judaea and the Bar Kokhba Revolt: A Reassessment”, in Davies, Ph. R. and White, R.I. (eds.), A Tribute to Geza Vermes (Sheffield, 1990) 281303, at 294–298. (Journal of the Study of the Old Testament, Supplement Series 100).

72 Danby, H., The Mishnah (Oxford, 1950) 451. For biographic particulars on Rabbi Eleazar see: Mendelsohn, s.v., Jewish Encyclopedia, V, 1903, p. 102 ff.; S. Safrai, s.v., Enc. Judaica, VI, 1971, p. 603; Alon, G., Toledoth Hayehudim, (Tel-Aviv, 1955, in Hebrew) II, p. 41. On the interpretation of this passage as a polemic with Christian-Jews see: E.E. Urbach, supra n. 37, at 263.

73 Cf. also the texts in S. Lieberman, supra n. 66.

74 Cf. n. 67.

75 A. Schäfer, supra n. 37, at 92; see also the conclusions on p. 94.

76 Lifshitz, B., “Roman Legions in Palestine”, Bulletin of the Israel Exploration Society, XXIII (1959) 53 ff. In the article appears, inter alia, the claim that the Sixth Legion, Ferrata, was transferred to Palestine before the Bar Kokhba revolt and not as a result of it. See also the French version in: Homm. à Renard, II, Coll. Latomus, CII, (Bruxelles, 1969) 458 ff. Its headquarters were in Kefar Otnay, near Meggido, on the Caesaria-Beth Sh'ean road. There is a suggestion that an army was brought there even earlier, at the time of Trajan. See: Isaac, B., Limits of Empire, (Oxford, 1990) 432 and n. 53. On the Tenth Legion, Fretensis, and its base in Jerusalem before the revolt see: B. Isaac, ibid., at 323–325, 427–429, 434. An inscription in memory of Tiberius Claudius Fatalis Ropanus shows that a Roman soldier from the Tenth Legion, Fretensis, was posted in Jerusalem with his family: Avi-Yonah, M., “Greek and Latin Inscriptions from Jerusalem and Beisan. Tombstone of Tiberius Claudius Fatalis”, (1938) 8 QDAP 54 ff.; Lifshitz, B., “Jérusalem sous la domination romaine. Histoire de la ville depuis la conquête de Pompée jusqu'à Constantin (63 a.C–325 p.C.)”, (1977) 8 Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, II, 444 ff.

77 B. Lifshitz, ibid., at 471 f.: “En résumé, les indices que nous venons d'énumérer attestent l'existence à Jerusalem d'une population juive peu nombreuse, dont les habitations se trouvaient probablement dans un faubourg ou dans un village près de la ville …” (p. 473). On the pilgrimages to Jerusalem see: Safrai, S., “Pilgrimage to Jerusalem after the Destruction of the Second Temple”, in Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, Schallt Memorial Volume, 3, (Jerusalem 1980, in Hebrew) 376 ff.; reprinted: In Times of Temple and Mishnah, (Jerusalem, 1994) vol. I, pp. 85–102. See also Mazar, B., “The Archaeological Excavations Near the Temple Mount”, in Jerusalem Revealed. Archaeology in the Holy City 1968–1974, (Jerusalem, 1975) 25 ff.: “Following the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus's legions, in 70 C.E., which entirely depopulated the city … With the stationing of the Tenth Legion as occupation force in the desolate city …” (p. 32); see also ‘Aelia Capitolina’, pp. 33–35; Avigad, “Excavations in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, 1969–1971, ibid., at 51; J.W‥ Hirschberg, “The Remains of an Ancient Synagogue on Mount Zion”, ibid.em, at 116.

78 It should be noted that Schäfer's interpretation runs counter to Eusebius's Chronicles, which states that in the 17th year of Hadrian (133 CE.) Bar Kokhba executed the Christians who refused to collaborate with him against the Roman troops; from here it is clear, not only that there was not a conflict between Jews and Christians before the revolt, but also that Bar Kokhba had thought of getting assistance from the Christians against the Romans! It should also be remembered, that there was always hope for the participation of Gentiles in the revolt for the sake of human freedom and for the sake of fighting Roman absolutism. See S. Applebaum, supra n. 37, at 56 f.

79 Schäfer, P., Der Bar Kokhba-Aufstand. Studien zum zweiten jüdischen Krieg gegen Rom, (Tübigen, 1981): Idem, “Hadrian's Policy”, supra n. 71, at 281–303.

80 P. Schäfer, Der Bar Kokhba-Aufstand, supra n. 79, at 281. And see his conclusion on p. 303.

81 P. Schäfer, “Hadrian's Policy”, supra n. 71, at 281, 292.

82 ibid., at 295.

83 See also Herr, M.D., “The Causes of Bar Kokhba Revolt”, (1978) 43 Zion 8.

84 According to Bardesanes, written in approx. 180 C.E., in The Book of Laws of Countries, trans, by Drijvers, H.J.W., (Assen, 1965) 56. See M. Stern GLA II, p. 620.

85 Origenes, , Contra Celsum, 2:13.

86 Regarding the prohibition of circumcision in Egypt, see the summary of Stern, M., GLA II, p. 620.

87 The Epistle of Barnabas, a Christian work from Egypt, written probably during Hadrian's rule, discusses circumcision from a Christian point of view (ch. 9). It speaks of circumcision of the heart against that of the flesh, which is still practiced by the Jews (9:4). He states that ‘every Syrian and Arab and all the priests of the idols have been circumcised (…) even the Egyptians’ (9:6). The writer was unaware of the prohibition laid on circumcision in these nations, and lists the nations which keep this custom, beside the Jews, i.e. the Syrians, Nabataeans, Arabs, as well as the priests of other nations, and the Egyptians. The Epistle of Barnabas (16:3) is aware of Hadrian's plans to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem as a Jewish temple, on which see below.

88 B. Isaac, “The Limits of Empire”, supra n. 76, at 106, 118. For the cost of maintaining ‘one legion and some cavalry’ in Britain, which would equal the whole income from the custom duties collected there, see ibid., at 388. the position of the two legions in Judaea, in addition to another legion in Arabia (since 106 CE.), must have been a very heavy financial burden on the empire and the provinces.

89 P. Schäfer, “Hadrian's Policy”, supra n. 71, at 285–287, 289, 295.

90 B. Isaac, supra n. 76, at 119.

91 B. Isaac, ibid.; Idem, “The Meaning of‘Limes’ and ‘Limitanei’ in Ancient Sources”, (1988) 78 Journal of Roman Studies 125–147; Shatzman, I., “The Limits of Empire: Review Article”, (1994) 44 IEJ 129135, esp. 131 f.

92 For the list of military sites, around the cities and along the road system rather than on the eastern and southern frontiers, see B. Isaac, “The Limits of Empire”, supra n. 76, at 707 and App. I pp. 427–435. For the Roman military presence along the eastern frontiers of Arabia during the second and third centuries, before Septimius Severus, see ibid., at 123, 131.

93 See the evidence collected by B. Isaac, ibid., at 83–85, 289.

94 Cassius Dio, Romana, 69:12:1.

95 Kloner, A. & Tepper, J. (eds.), The Hiding Places in the Judaean Shephelah, (Tel-Aviv, 1987, in Hebrew).

96 See now, Isaac, B. & Oppenheimer, A., “The Revolt of Bar-Kokhba: Ideology and Modern Scholarship”, (1985) 38 JJS 3660; a Hebrew version in A. Oppenheimer & B. Isaac, “The Bar-Kokhba Revolt: the Modern Scholarship”, in A. Kloner-J. Tepper (see the previous note) at 405–428; reprinted in Gafney, I.M. (ed.), Studies in Jewish History in the Mishnah and Talmud Period, (Jerusalem, 1994) 110133, esp. 122.

97 P. Schäfer, “Hadrian's Policy”, supra n. 71, at 291–293.

98 Translation by Lanchester, in Charles' Apocrypha.

99 P. Schäfer, Der Bar Kokhba-Aufstand, supra n. 79, at 93.

100 P. Schäfer, “Hadrian's Policy”, supra n. 71, at 293 f.

101 The later verses, 5:246;286, and in particular 5:250, 262–264, dealing with the future of Judaea, have no relationship to our subject. They belong to the earlier stratum of the oracle. They present an anti-Roman and anti-hellenic vision, unlike the pro-Roman feelings which Schäfer ascribes to the later additions, of verses 7–50. It expects the renewal of Jewish settlements in Judaea around Jerusalem, surrounded by a huge wall, reaching up to Jaffa, and not destroyed by the raging invaders. It does not speak of any political restoration. Yet, even here the oracle is systematic in its disregard towards the Temple in Jerusalem, whether that which was destroyed or that to be built in the future. The Judaean Jews' expectations that Hadrian will build the Temple in Jerusalem were not shared by those Egyptian Jews from whom the fifth oracle emerged. Their expectations are in fact directed to the restoration of the Jewish temple in Alexandria, closed down by Titus in 70 C.E. (5:501–503).

The fifth Sybilline oracle, as an expression of Egyptian Jewish feeling concerning Jerusalem and the Temple, ought to be compared with the Christian Epistle of Barnabas ch. 16. The Epistle, like the oracle, is an Egyptian work from Hadrian's early reign. It states that the Temple in Jerusalem is now going to be built by those who destroy it (16:3–4), referring most probably to Hadrian's plans to build a pagan temple, dedicated to Jupiter, on the site of the old Jewish Temple. This difference might be explained either by wrong information reaching the Epistle's author, or by its being written during Hadrian's very first years of reign, before it became clear that the temple is going to be dedicated to Jupiter, not to the “Jewish” God. He certainly was not well informed about the situation in the late 20's, when the ban on circumcision was laid. The Epistle's author, unlike the sybilline's, does not ignore Jerusalem and the Temple. Yet, he does not praise Hadrian, but criticizes the Jews who wish to consecrate God in it, and he rejects the need for such a temple altogether. If we shall treat both sources as that of assimilated Jews, we cannot see in them any expression of support for Hadrian's policies in Judaea, and in particular not for his plans to rebuild the Jewish ruined temple.

102 Cassius Dio, Histories, 69:12:1: “At Jerusalem he [Hadrian] founded a city in place of the one which had been razed to the ground, naming it “Aelia Capitolina”, and on the site of the temple of the God he raised a new temple to Jupiter”, (trans, by E. Cari, Loeb Classical Library) On this see especially: Millar, F., A Study of Cassius Dio, (Oxford, 1964) 68; A. M. Rabello, supra n. 1, at 740 and n. 308; M. Stern, GLA, no. 440 (with an extensive commentary); and more recently, see the very cautious survey by B. Isaac, Limits of Empire, supra n. 76, at 323–325, 352–354, 427, based on the archaeological survey by Geva, H., “The Camp of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem: an Archaeological Reconsideration”, (1984) 34 IEJ 239254. With regard to Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, chap. 64:9 (Albeck, T., ed., p. 710), see Allon's, G. interpretation in Toledot Hayehudim, (Tel-Aviv, 1954), I, p. 272; C.D. Mantel, supra n. 37, at 36 ff; M.D. Herr, Persecutions and Martyrdom, supra n. 37, at 79; Applebaum, S., Prolegomena, p. 4 f.; M.D. Herr, The Causes, supra n. 37, at 5, n. 17.

103 B. Lifshitz, supra n. 72; Idem, “Sur la date de la transfert de la legio VI Ferrata en Palestine”, (1960) 19 Latomus 109 ff.; Hecker, M., “The Roman Road from Legio to Sephoris”, (1961) 25 Bulletin of the Israel Exploration Society 3. According to the author, the road was constructed in the 14th year of Hadrian (130 C.E.), probably in connection with the Emperor's visit to Judaea, its purpose being the strengthening of the Roman authority. Therefore the author is of the opinion, that the building of the road was one of the causes of the revolt and not a result of it. See S. Follet, supra n. 37.

104 Midrash Tanhuma, ‘Tazria’, 5; Bereshit Rabbati, at 72 ff. (ed. Albeck); on this see: M.D. Herr, supra n. 58, at 131 ff. and 146, n. 127.

105 We would like to emphasize clearly that we have not dealt here with all the relevant Hebrew sources; this is due to our opinion, based on several inquiries, that these sources do not include important information that we do not already have from other sources, and also because we have reached the same conclusions as earlier scholars, especially M.D. Herr, supra n. 36, at 93 f., ns. 27, 28; p. 98, n. 51, as well as Applebaum, supra n. 37, at 7 f. We also have not dealt with the problem of the Sikarikon: on this see the bibliography mentioned in my article, supra n. 37, at 702, n. 165. The Christian approach was not mentioned in this study either, since it does not relate directly to the legal solution of the problem at that period. We have also not discussed the similarities and differences between Hadrian's attitude towards the Jews and his attitude towards the Christians. On this see: Bickerman, E., “Trajan, Hadrian and the Christians”, (1968) 96 Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 290 ff.; Waters, K., “The Reign of Trajan and its place in Contemporary Scholarship (1960–1972)”, (1975) 2 Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, II, 406 ff.

106 See the discussion above on the chapter dealing with the causes of the Bar-Kokhba revolt. Scholars who feel that the prohibition against circumcision preceded the revolt, are, among others, E. Schürer, Th. Mommsen, G. Allon, S. Lieberman, S. Mazzarino, E.M. Smallwood, S. Safrai, M.D. Herr, S. Appelbaum, and A. Linder. Opposed to this view is Mantel who feels that the revolt preceded the prohibition. In a study published recently, Geiger, reaches the conclusion that Hadrian did not legislate a general law and the first general law concerning circumcision stems from Anotonius Pius: Geiger, J., “The Ban of Circumcision and the Bar-Kokhba Revolt”, (1976) 41 Zion 139ff.; but see now the answer of Herr, M.D., “The Causes of the Bar-Kokhba War”, (1978) 43 Zion 1 ff.

107 The ‘Basilica’ is a Byzantine codification of Roman law. Historians generally neglect it because of its late date. However, legal historians have proven that “the Basilica constitute a legal monument of the highest importance for our knowledge of Justinian and post-Justinian law in the Byzantine Empire, and for our criticsm of some texts of Justinians' Digesto and Code in instances in which the Greek text of the Basilica and their scholia is better preserved than in the Latin manuscripts of Justinian's legislation.” (Berger, E.D., 372).

108 Here too we bring the Latin translation of the Basilica by Heimbach. On the basis of these sections it is possible to understand better the section of Modestinus in the Digesto and it becomes clear that based on this, there was no reason for most of the discussion between Smallwood and Rokeach. See D. Rokeach, supra n. 37, at 127–129.

109 See Lenel, P., Palingenesia Juris Romani, I (Leipzig, 1889), 136 n. 230. Compare this also with a section of ‘Pauli Sententiae’ (generally considered post-classical) P.S., 5,22,3: Cives Romani, qui se iudaico ritu vel servos suos circumcidi patiuntur, bonis ademptis in insulam perpetuo relegantur; medici capite puniuntur. P.S., 5,22,4: Iudaei si alienae nationis comparatos servos circumciderint, aut deportantur aut capite puniuntur. On these paragraphs see also Juster, J., “The Legal Condition of the Jews under the Visigothic Kings”, brought up to date by Rabello, A.M. (Jerusalem, 1976 = (1976) 11 Is. L. R. 405406 n. 134) with a recent bibliography on the topic.

110 Solazzi, S., “Fra norme romane antisemite”, (1937) 44 Bulletino dell'Istituto di Diritto Romano 369ff. Solazzi compares a section of the Digesta with the Basilica and Nomocanon 1:14. The deletion of the word “slaves” in the Digesto is a result of the attempt of Christianity to widen the prohibition against circumcision.

111 On this topic there is much literature. See especially Graetz, H., “Das Sikarikon Gesetz”, in Jahresbericht des jüdisch-theologischen Seminars (Berlin, 1892); Rosenthal, F., “Das Sikarikongesetz”, (1893) 37 MGWJ 1ff.; I. Elbogen, (1925) 69 ibid., 249ff.; Gulak, A., “Siqariqin”, (19341935) 5 Tarbiz 23ff.; Urbach, E.E., “The Laws Regarding Slavery as a Source for Social History of the Period of the Second Temple, The Mishnah and Talmud”, Papers of the Institute of Jewish Studies, (London, I, 1964) 1; D. Rokeah, supra n. 37, (1966) 35 Tarbiz 228ff.; Gil, M., “Land Ownership in Palestine under Roman Rule”, (1970) 17 Revue Internationale des Droits de l'Antiquité 11ff., 45ff.; Shiloh, S., The Law of the State is Law (Jerusalem 1974, in Hebrew) 41ff.; A. Linder, supra n. 27, at 127, cf. 183; see also Applebaum's Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132–135) (Oxford, 1976), 74 n. 96, and Applebaum's observations on Rokeach's article in Applebaum, S., “Judaea as a Roman Province: the Countryside as a Political and Economic Factor”, in ANRW II, 8 (Berlin - New York, 1977), 355ff. and 388 n. 183.

112 Juster is of the opinion that the situation already existed in an earlier period and he refers the reader to a paragraph of Venuleius dealing with castration, Digesto, 48:8:6. However, this does not prove that the slave won his freedom.

113 Compare the situation with the Samaritans and see Novella 6 of Justinian and Canon 18 of Epiphanios, Patriarch of Constantinople (520–530).

114 See my book Giustiniano, Ebrei e Samaritani, (Milano, 1987–1988).

115 On this entire issue, including relevant texts of‘Codex Theodosianus’ and bibliography see Juster - Rabello, supra n. 109, at 406 n. 137.

116 See my book, supra n. 114, at 944, s.v. “Circoncisione”.

117 The problem of the Hadrianic ban on circumcision and its consequences concerning Jewish family law has been dealt with by Joseph Mélèze Modrzejewski in a paper entitled “Filios suos tantum: Roman Law and the Personal Status of the Jews”, delivered at the International Conference on Jewish-Gentile Relations, Haifa, 13–16 November 1995 (to be published in the Proceedings of the Conference); cf. also De Bonfils, G., Gli schiavi degli Ebrei nella legislazione del IV secolo. Storia di un divieto (Bari, 1992) 134 ff.

* This is a revised and expanded version of my Hebrew paper, under the same title, in: A. Oppenheimer and U. Rappaport (eds.), The Bar-Kokhba RevoltA New Approach, (Jerusalem, 1984) 27–46.

I would like to thank Mr. Amitai Spitzer for his help with the new version of this article. Additionally, I would like to thank Mr. Noah R. Feldman, Mr. Michael Bar-Yaakov and Mr. David Eisen for their assistance in translating the text.

** Montesquieu Professor of Legal History and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Director, Harry and Michael Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law.

The Ban on Circumcision as a Cause of Bar Kokhba's Rebellion*

  • Alfredo Mordechai Rabello


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