By Alan Brill (auth.)
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Additional resources for Judaism and World Religions: Encountering Christianity, Islam, and Eastern Traditions
E. Urbach considered the sun imagery as merely figurative whereas the scholar of Hellenistic Jewry Erwin R. Goodenough considered these synagogues as inhabited by non-Rabbinic syncretic Jews. Emmanuel Friedman, a contemporary scholar, thinks that there were Jews who did indeed worship the sun. He notes that the Bible finds the worship of the sun as a continuous temptation for Israel and that the Talmud had to warn against the sun imagery (Deut 4:19 17:3, 2 Kings 21:5, 23:11-12 Jer 8:2, Ezekiel 8:16).
R. Judah said: [On that day] there was a day of idolatrous sacrifice to the Nile; everyone went to see it, but he [Joseph] did not go. R. Nehemiah said: It was a day of a theatrical performance, which all went to see, but he went into the house to work on his master’s accounts. The Mishnah warns against objects with “the image of a breastfeeding woman or of Serapis” as amulets with the Egyptian-Hellenistic deity, Serapis, and his consort, Isis. There are other representations of Isis lactans (Isis as a breastfeeding mother) as well that were prevalent in late antiquity.
Yes,” said he. ” Said R. Johanan to him: “Let your ears hear what you utter with your mouth! Precisely so is this spirit a spirit of uncleanness. ” (Zachariah 13:2) When the idolater had gone, R. Johanan’s disciples said to their master: “Master! ” Said he to them: “By your life! It is not the dead that defiles nor the water that purifies! The Holy One, blessed be He, merely says, ‘I have laid down a statute, I have issued a decree. ’”5 Helios During the second and third centuries, there was a rise in the worship of the sun as “Sol Invictus” (Invincible Sun).