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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Remembered for Good: A Jewish Benefaction System in Ancient Palestine
Sorek, Susan

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2010 pp. xii + 285. $110.00

Series Information
Social World of Biblical Antiquity, 2/5

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Description: This is the first monograph devoted to the system of community benefaction practised by Jews in Palestine from the second century BCE to the sixth century CE. Principal is the evidence from synagogue inscriptions erected to patrons and donors from the second century CE onwards. All these inscriptions are reviewed, together with a re-examination of how they are to be translated. Sorek is especially interested in the motivation for benefactions, and concludes that the Jewish system attested in the inscriptions is specific to the Jewish community. It was not merely a copy of the well-known Graeco-Roman system of euergetism, in which rich citizens contributed from their wealth to public expenses. But neither was the Jewish system properly an expression of charity, as has often been thought. Sorek argues that the benefaction system is best understood as an expression of hesed, the meaning of which she explores in detail.

Subjects: Methods, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Carrie Elaine Duncan
Published 3/22/2013
Citation: Carrie Elaine Duncan, review of Susan Sorek, Remembered for Good: A Jewish Benefaction System in Ancient Palestine, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2013).


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