Jewish Letter Writing in Late Antiquity

Doering, Lutz

Research article (book contribution)


The chapter reviews the evidence of Jewish letters and letter writing in Tannaitic texts, where it is sparse, and Amoraic texts, where it becomes more frequent; specific groups of letters are those ascribed to the Patriarch, those between rabbinic colleagues, mostly in regards to halakhic topics, and those addressed by “the people” of a given place to rabbis, again concerning halakhic questions, which can be considered a forerunner of the responsa literature from the Gaonic period onwards. In addition, the chapter discusses the evidence of extant Jewish documentary letters in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew from Late Antiquity (from ca. the fourth century C.E.). Finally, the chapter briefly considers the debated question of potential Jewish literary letters transmitted in Latin (Letter of Mordecai to Alexander, Epistola Anne ad Senecam).

Details zur Publikation

Publisher: Hezser, Catherine
Book title: The Routledge Handbook of Jews and Judaism in Late Antiquity
Release year: 2024
Publishing company: Routledge
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish
Event: London