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Referring to the Temple or priesthood.


Central region of ancient Palestine. Unlike Judaea and Galilee it was not an area of dense Jewish settlement during the intertestamental period.


Inhabitants of the region of Samaria in Palestine who were not exiled with the Judaeans to Babylonia. They maintained belief in the holiness of the Pentateuch to the exclusion of other writings deemed holy by the Jews and included in the Hebrew Bible. Their center was Neapolis (Nablus), and they offered sacrifices not on the Temple Mount but on Mt. Gerizim, a few hundred still survive today.


The Jewish council of state, with political and judicial functions, meeting under the presidency of the high priest. While still in debate, many scholars hold that there were two sanhedrins; the primarily Sadducaean political council (to which Josephus often refers) and the primarily Pharisaean Great Sanhedrin of seventy members, with religious and legislative functions, under rabbinic control.


A room in which texts are copied, especially in mediaeval monasteries.


A roll of parchment, papyrus, or other material containing written texts, with the sheets being sewn or otherwise fastened together one next to the other so as to facilitate the rolling up of the joined text. In biblical times, the Hebrew term sefer designated not a codex but a scroll, which preceded the codex throughout the Mediterranean world.

Second Temple Period

ca. 520 BCE - 70 CE
A time of crucial development for monotheistic religions; ended with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE Period in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were composed, transcribed and/or copied. The period from the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem to the victory of the Romans over the Jews during the First Revolt.

Seleucid Empire

Created out of part of Macedonian Empire after the death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE) and, at its height, extended from the southern coast of modern Turkey south through Palestine and east to India's border; spanned the period 312 - 64 BCE


The Greek translation of the Jewish (Old Testament) scriptures, but including also the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, that was in use among the Jews of Alexandria. Translated by Jewish scholars in the third to second centuries BCE; the first vernacular translation of the Bible and still used in the Eastern Orthodox Church.


The assassins or "daggermen" lead by Menahem b. Jair, Eliezer b. Jair, and Simeon bar Giora, who took the leading role in the First Revolt against Roman rule. It remains a matter of debate whether or not they were a cadre recruited from among the Zealots.

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