Backer Rewards Episode 11 – The Jewish Communities of Byzantium

Oria in Italy. One of the centre of Jewish learning in Byzantine times

Oria in Italy. One of the centre of Jewish learning in Byzantine times

Our eleventh Kickstarter backers reward episode explores Byzantium’s Jewish communities.

Download: The Jewish Communities of Byzantium

RSS Feed: The History of Byzantium

If you want to send in feedback to the podcast:

– Either comment on this post.

– Or on the facebook page.

– Leave a review on Itunes.

– Follow me on Twitter.

Categories: Kickstarter Rewards | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Backer Rewards Episode 11 – The Jewish Communities of Byzantium

  1. S P Pack

    shabbat shallom Robin,
    i enjoyed the podcast on Byzantine Jewish communities, once again it seemed to emphasize the eastern empires ‘differenceness’
    I like your way of making this past feel relatiable, and in a sense,bringing this alive for us…
    A thought did spring to mind regarding the Hebrew language for the benefit of listeners not having been to Israel or having their own jewish connections.
    I think most people are awear of the differance between ancient Hebrew (called ‘Obara’ in native tongue) and later Aramaic (or ‘Arame’).

    It has my experience that few people however are awear that the spoken languages ‘Arame’ and ‘Arabe'(or Arabic) are almost identical, it is only after, just following the fall of Constantinople that modern Hebrew (or ‘Ibret’) was brought about, i guess it might be fair to say, it was made so, so as communities in turbulant times could further distance themselves from the Arabic (even if it was at this time, only in writting….)
    cheers, sage

  2. EV

    Hi Robin,

    I feel that I need to make a correction on your statements regarding Jewish philosophers in antiquity. I don’t think that it is correct to characterize either Josephus or Philo as Jewish Philosophers. While it is true that both were Jews and Philosophers, the same could be said about Karl Marx. Their works were at the time and later considered outside of the mainstream of the Jewish Philosophical cannon and is not referenced by later, mainstream philosophers in the middle ages such as Maimonides. Josephus himself writes that he was patronized by Vespasian and Titus throughout his life – the two emperors who were responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple, so I think this should give an indication of where he felt his standing was among his brethren.

    Therefore the theme that you had mentioned about Jewish philosophy changing from Greek to Hebrew, I don’t believe is correct. The Talmud and Midrash that you have mentioned pre and post-date those philosophers and are largely written in Aramaic and Hebrew. These languages have remained the primary literature of Jewish study until this day.

    • I don’t believe I called either of them philosophers I’m afraid. “Back in the first century AD major Jewish scholars like Philo and Josephus had written works in Greek.” My point was simply that they assumed that literate readers around the Eastern Mediterranean would read Greek whereas by Byzantine times Jewish writers could no longer take that for granted.

  3. Spencer

    Thank you for this interesting overview of the Jewish community in Byzantium (sorry, Romania). Together with several episodes from the History of Rome podcast, several episodes from the History of Philosophy podcast, a few mentions in the History of England podcast, ten episodes from the Literature and History podcast, and dozens of episodes from the History in the Bible podcast, I’ve learned a lot about my forebearers the last few years. Well done!

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