Iudaica Romana: A Rereading of Evidence for Judean Expulsions from Rome

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This article situates expulsions of Jews/Judeans from Rome within a broader pattern of legislation aimed at freelance experts in foreign or otherwise novel religious teachings and practices. Such experts proliferated in the early imperial period and seem to have spurred an escalation in the frequency and severity of measures issued to suppress their activities. However, whenever Judeans appear in this context, scholars tend to attribute the incidents not to the activities of individual specialists, but to concerns about Judaism or the Roman Jewish community. In this article I argue, to the contrary, that freelance experts in Judean religion were the intended recipients of these expulsions and proscriptions, an interpretation that locates some Judeans within a salient and multi-ethnic class of activity and contributes to a more diversified picture of Judean religiosity in the first century.



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