Perpetual Fires in the Jerusalem Temple through a Mediterranean Perspective Regularity, Eternity, Exemplarity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The fires of the Jerusalem temple altar were said to be perpetual. Various writers from the fourth century bce to the third century ce added explanations and perspectives to this practice: the argument that the fire came from heaven, that it continued even during the destruction of the temple, or that it remained lit only when the high priest was righteous. Though these texts are well known, they were never examined in a comparative context: how special were these practices and discourses in their Mediterranean and Persian contexts? Maintaining a perpetual fire on the altar or lamps was a known practice in Mediterranean sanctuaries. The discourses surrounding these fires, developed especially by Greek and Roman writers of the first century bce and the first century ce, are in many ways similar to those in the Jewish texts. I will consider in detail the differences and similarities and their significance.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal for the Study of Judaism
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • altar
  • Delphi
  • fire
  • Jerusalem temple
  • menorah
  • perpetuity
  • Plutarch
  • ritual

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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