Jewish ritual baths in Judaea-Palaestina -
RONNY REICH , MIQWA'OT (JEWISH RITUAL BATHS) IN THE SECOND TEMPLE,
MISHNAIC AND TALMUDIC PERIODS (Yad Ben-Zvi and
Israel Exploration Society,
2013). Pp. 352, figs. 289. ISBN
1 This find was first published by Y. Yadin in his popular book:
Masada: Herod's fortress and the Zealots' last stand
(London1966) 164–67. The scholarly
publication of this miqweh complex appears in
Netzer, E., Masada III: Final reports. The buildings: Stratigraphy
and architecture (Jerusalem1991) 507–10.
2 I consider the concept of a double-pool ritual miqweh to be
a modern innovation with no precedents in antiquity. Thus I would take
Reich’s argument a step further, arguing that the identification of
installations attached to ritual baths as “reservoirs” serving to ritually
purify the water in the immersion basins of miqwa’ot is a
serious anachronism. See Adler, Y., The archaeology of purity: archaeological evidence for
the observance of ritual purity in Ereẓ-Israel from the Hasmonean
period until the end of the Talmudic era (164 BCE–400 CE)
(Ph.D. diss., Bar-Ilan Univ.,
Ramat-Gan2011) 147–59 [Hebrew]; id.,
“The myth of the ‘’ôṣār’ in Second Temple period ritual
baths: an anachronistic interpretation of a modern-era innovation,”
3 Namely, the outskirts of Jerusalem, the Judean Desert, the Judean lowlands,
the Jordan valley, the Hebron hills, the valley of Beersheba and the
northern Negev, the Galilee and the Golan, Samaria, the hills of Benjamin,
the Carmel range, the coastal plain, and Transjordan.
4 E.g., Qumran, Masada, Gezer, Marisa, and the Hasmonean and Herodian palace
complexes at Jericho.
5 As Reich notes, Lieberman, S. (“Notes,” in Rosenthal, E. S. [ed.], P’raqim: Yearbook of the Schoken Institute for
Jewish Research of the Jewish Theological Seminary of
[Hebrew]) was the first to notice the parallel between
the Mishnah here and P.Oxy. 840; yet Reich himself was the
first to point out the connection between these texts and the archaeological
finds. Both scholars cited another source, the Letter of
Aristeas (106), which may possibly be related to our subject,
but the association, as Reich admits, is dubious.
6 See 19, 21, 172-73, 229, 252 and 270-71.
7Neusner, J., A history of the Mishnaic law of purities XIV: Miqvaot:
literary and historical problems
(Leiden1976) 155; also ibid. 112.
8 Ibid. 178.
9 Ibid. 173-74.
10 E.g., Selkin, C. B., Exegesis and identity: the hermeneutics of miqwa'ot in
the Greco-Roman period (Ph.D. diss., Duke
University, Durham, NC1993); Lawrence, J. D., Washing in water: trajectories of ritual bathing in the
Hebrew Bible and Second Temple literature
(Atlanta, GA2006); Miller, S. S., “Stepped pools and the non-existent monolithic
‘miqveh’,” in Edwards, D. R. and McCollough, C. T. (edd.), The archaeology of difference: gender, ethnicity
and the “other” in antiquity. Studies in honor of Eric M.
Meyers (Boston, MA2007) 215–34;
Amit, D. and Adler, Y., “The observance of ritual purity after 70 C.E.: a
reevaluation of the evidence in light of recent archaeological
discoveries,” in Weiss, Z.et al. (edd.), “Follow the wise” (B. Sanhedrin 32b):
studies in Jewish history and culture in honor of Lee I.
Levine (Winona Lake, IN2010) 121–43.
11 My 2011 study (supra n.2) listed 850 baths (pp. 319-43).
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