A history of the Jews: Ancient and Modern by Ilan Halévi

By Ilan Halévi

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The Hebrew name for Egypt, Misrayim, from which the Arabic Misr is derived, means "the straits", and also "the frontiers". It refers to the land of Goshen, the eastern edge of the Nile delta, nearest to the Sinai desert. 6. In addition to the Song of Songs and the Book of Job, Solomon is credited with the authorship of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. 7. Mao Tse-Tung, Combat Liberalism, 8. This experience of the prophet physically possessed by his prophecy is analysed by André Neher in Jérémie (Paris, Plon, 1960).

There we learn that a Byzantine emperor had offered president Gamaliel IV a praetorian guard made up o f . . Gothic slaves! The presidency was only abolished in 429, when Gamaliel V I died without a male heir, under the twin pressure of the rabbinical class and the Christian opposition. The institution had lasted three centuries, the time of the Jerusalem Talmud. " 19 The Talmud Gradually, there came to be an interplay between the constants and the variants in this history. The appearance of new rabbinical institutions marked a turning-point in the formation and representation of power in the community.

After this episode, the hereditary presidency returned to the House of Hillel, symbolizing the continuity between the opposition of the Pharisees to the administration of the Temple and the new rabbinate. The heirs had neither the qualities nor the stature of the founders: Byzantium encouraged them to extend their administrative, fiscal and material privileges at the expense of the whole social category of sages and scholars. The Jerusalem Talmud gives enlightening indications about the struggles that the latter waged against the increased prerogatives of this central authority, judge and collector of taxes of all the Jews in the empire.

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