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Prayer Rescue and Redemption in the Mekilta

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image of Journal for the Study of Judaism

It is generally acknowledged that activist Jewish opposition to Rome waned after the futile Bar Kokhba revolt. This judgement has been based on the historical record, in which such opposition is absent. In this paper I show that this shift in policy has left literary traces, particularly in the Tannaitic midrash, Mekilta. Such traces show the rabbis disparaging physical violence in their reading of the exodus from Egypt, and then urging prayer as the most appropriate and potent tactic in the struggle for freedom. In all this, the release from Egyptian bondage symbolizes the ultimate deliverance from Roman power.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Jewish ought, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel


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