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A Jew in the Roman Bathhouse

Cultural Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean

Yaron Eliav

ca. 47,99 (Lieferbar ab 16. Mai 2023)
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Sachbuch / Religion: Allgemeines, Nachschlagewerke


A provocative account of Jewish encounters with the public baths of ancient Rome

Public bathhouses embodied the Roman way of life, from food and fashion to sculpture and sports. The most popular institution of the ancient Mediterranean world, the baths drew people of all backgrounds. They were places suffused with nudity, sex, and magic. A Jew in the Roman Bathhouse reveals how Jews navigated this space with ease and confidence, engaging with Roman bath culture rather than avoiding it.

In this landmark interdisciplinary work of cultural history, Yaron Eliav uses the Roman bathhouse as a social laboratory to reexamine how Jews interacted with Graeco-Roman culture. He reconstructs their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about the baths and the activities that took place there, documenting their pleasures as well as their anxieties and concerns. Archaeologists have excavated hundreds of bathhouse facilities across the Mediterranean. Graeco-Roman writers mention the bathhouse frequently, and rabbinic literature contains hundreds of references to the baths. Eliav draws on the archaeological and literary record to offer fresh perspectives on the Jews of antiquity, developing a new model for the ways smaller and often weaker groups interact with large, dominant cultures.

A compelling and richly evocative work of scholarship, A Jew in the Roman Bathhouse challenges us to rethink the relationship between Judaism and Graeco-Roman society, shedding new light on how cross-cultural engagement shaped Western civilization.



Temple in Jerusalem, Roman festivals, Steven Mithen, Venice Biennale, Culture of ancient Rome, Hypocaust, Syria Palaestina, Swimming pool, Hellenistic Judaism, Revolutions of 1848, Epigraphy, Naples National Archaeological Museum, Diocletian, Nudity, Rabbi, Bathtub, Jewish Publication Society, Rabbinic Judaism, Babylonia, Mithraeum, Public bathing, Roman Baths (Bath), Greek art, Bathing, Hellenization, Roman aqueduct, Baths of Caracalla, Second Temple period, Ancient Greek, Ritual purification, Cornell University Press, The Bathhouse, Latrine, Jewish prayer, Judea (Roman province), Roman Religion, Hebrew language, Seleucid Empire, Jewish diaspora, Midrash, Thermostat, Cicero, Apodyterium, Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, Caesarea, Roman art, Contemporary art, Tepidarium, Greek Baths, Judaism, Rome and Jerusalem, Oil painting, Roman Senate, Woman Bathing (van Eyck), Roman Theatre (Cádiz), Rabbinic literature, Dominium, Gentile, Roman Empire, Regolith, Roman citizenship, The Bathtub, Aelius Aristides, Ashkelon, Jews, Take A Bath, Diodorus Siculus, Haredi Judaism, Jewish identity, Ramat HaNadiv