Diasporas in Antiquity by Shaye J. D. Cohen, Ernest S. Frerichs

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By Shaye J. D. Cohen, Ernest S. Frerichs

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Megillah 3:2 74a. 22 Diasporas in Antiquity He (Antoninus) came (back) to him (and) said to him, my master, look at my circumcision. He (Rabbi) said to him (Antoninus), never in my life have I looked at my own - (shall I look) at yours? ** Even Rabban Gamaliel and company did not check the circumcision of the Roman spies that came to the academy (see above). The shock that emerges from Suetonius' story quoted above might imply that even the Romans did not regularly check circumcisions publicly, but the Romans had the authority to do so if they needed to, but the Jews did not.

2 pp. 108-109. "^Trebilco, Asia Minor 78-80 with n. 101. "''But note the ambiguity in the Philonic passage just quoted. v. Antioch. The same conclusion emerges from Carl H. Kraeling, "The Jewish Community of Antioch," Journal of Biblical Literature 51 (1932) 130-160, at 140-145. "'For the archaeological evidence see the recent survey by L. Michael White, Building God's House in the Roman World (Baltimore; Johns Hopkins, 1990) 60-101 ("Synagogues in the Graeco-Roman Diaspora"). 30 Diasporas in Antiquity Jewishness of gentile-named witnesses on writs of divorce that are sent from the diaspora to the land of IsraelP'^" R.

2, reports that circumcision is widely "laughed at" (gelatai). * ' M . Avodah Zarah 3:4. Even in Jewish bath-houses men would be naked in the presence of other men; see T. Berakhot 2:20 p. 10 L. **ln the bath one normally would be able to tell if a neighbor was circumcised; see Martial 7:82 = Stern #243 (if indeed verpus here means circumcised; see appendix A below). *'The Maccabees roamed the countryside checking to see whether babies were circumcised; later, we imagine, they roamed the countryside checking the Idumaeans and Ituraeans.

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