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Limitations of “Jewish” as a Label in Roman North Africa

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image of Journal for the Study of Judaism

Selective attentions to “normative” Jewish archaeological materials and exclusions of ambiguous or complex evidence from Jewish archaeological compendia have diverted attention from those artifacts that might otherwise have yielded more productive observations about the cultural ranges of ancient Jewish populations. Application of more critical approaches to the classification of archaeological evidence, contextual approaches for the analysis of archaeological materials, and the replacement of essentialistic or syncretistic cultural models with more realistic ones, yield vastly improved understandings of ancient Jewish archaeological materials, and, by extension, better articulated pictures of the continua between early Jewish and Christian cultural identities.

Affiliations: 1: The Getty Villa, Getty Research Institute, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100V, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1748, USA;, Email:


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