Inscribing Devotion and Death: Archaeological Evidence for by Karen B. Stern

By Karen B. Stern

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Additional resources for Inscribing Devotion and Death: Archaeological Evidence for Jewish Populations of North Africa (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 161)

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In other cases, political conÁict accidentally precipitated the destruction of Jewish archaeological evidence. Catacombs that were initially documented in the late 1920s in Oea, Tripoli (Bartoccini 1928–1929), were actually bombed during World War II. These are only a sample of those sites and artifacts which have been eradicated from the archaeological record by war and political events. 16 One small pamphlet of Delattre reÁects this—it consists of a letter from a monk, quoted in its entirety (1904).

Among scholars of North African 39 Whether particular authors, such as Commodian, were actually North African matters less in this case. Only scholars’ choices to use of these texts and terminologies are relevant here. See Setzer’s related critique (1997, 190, 198). 40 Scholars frequently date Commodian’s writings to the late third and early fourth centuries. On the dating of Commodian’s texts see Thraede (1959) and Daniélou (1977, 100). Still others have debated Commodian’s origin. Some have ascribed his origins to North Africa, while others have suggested Syria as his place of origin.

21 See Schwartz’s discussion of scholars’ presumptions about the identiÀability of Jewish materials and the intrinsic “groupness” within Judaism (2001, 5). The most recent evaluations of African “Jewish” and “Judaizing” materials exhibit the general tendencies Schwertz critiques; Le Bohec, for example, does not detail precisely what qualiÀes an artifact or inscription as “Jewish” or “Judaizing” and how such differences might be meaningfully discerned. Some edited collections of Jewish materials from other regions, such as Rome, do clearly articulate their parameters.

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