Prof. Rabbi Jeffrey L. Rubenstein is Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature at New York University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Religion of Columbia University and his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His books include, The History of Sukkot in the Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods (1995); Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition and Culture (1999), Rabbinic Stories (Classics of Western Spirituality Series, 2002), The Culture of the Babylonian Talmud (2003), and Stories of the Babylonian Talmud (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
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Articles by the Author
Herod’s Renovation of the Temple – Uncovering the Talmud’s Persian Influences
In “Herod’s Renovation of the Temple – The Talmudic Version”, I explored the Bavli’s account of how the first century BCE king, Herod, rose to power, violently solidified his rule, and rebuilt the Temple. I demonstrated how the rabbis thematized issues of sight and blindness in their telling of the tale in order to explain how a wicked king ended up building the holy Temple. In this piece, I look at the Persian sources of the story, which provide a further layer of understanding.
Herod’s Renovation of the Temple – The Talmudic Version
In their discussion of King Herod’s reconstruction of the Second Temple, Talmudic storytellers emphasize themes of sight, blindness, and illegitimate rule. They also make a surprising suggestion about who really should get credit for this renovation.