Shmuel Safrai [1919-2003]

Shmuel Safrai [1919-2003]

Professor and Rabbi Shmuel Safrai died on July 16, 2003. He was buried the following day in a section of Jerusalem's Har ha-Menuhot Cemetery reserved for faculty of the Hebrew University. His grave is only a few feet from the grave of his close friend and research colleague, Professor David Flusser. Safrai was 84.

Safrai was the last of a scholarly triumvirate that included David Flusser (1917-2000) and Robert Lindsey (1917-1995). Together, the three created a new school of thought, the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research.

A founding member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, Safrai was professor emeritus of Jewish History of the Mishnaic and Talmudic Period at the Hebrew University.

Safrai was born in Warsaw in 1919, and at the age of three immigrated to Palestine with his family. He was ordained as a rabbi at the age of twenty at the prestigious Mercaz Harav Yeshivah in Jerusalem. He later received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the fields of Jewish History, Talmud and Bible.

Safrai was the recipient of many literary prizes for his research, including the Jerusalem Prize (1986), and the Israel Prize (2002), the State of Israel's most prestigious honor. He wrote over eighty articles and twelve books, including Pilgrimage in the Period of the Second Temple (in Hebrew), Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef: His Life and Teachings (in Hebrew) and Haggadah of the Sages, co-written with his son Ze'ev Safrai. Shmuel Safrai also edited scholarly volumes including The Jewish People in the First Century (2 vols.), and The Literature of the Sages, Part I.

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Articles by Shmuel Safrai [1919-2003]

Blogs by Shmuel Safrai [1919-2003]

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  • The Apostolic Decree and the Noahide Commandments
  • The Centurion and the Synagogue
  • Could Bethsaida Be West of the Jordan?
  • Counting the Omer: On What Day of the Week Did Jesus Celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost)?
  • Did Jesus Wear a Kippah?
  • Did Jews in the first century know their tribal affiliation?
  • Did women go through a mikveh (ritual immersion pool) after childbirth?
  • A Friend of Tax Collectors
  • Insulting God’s High Priest
  • Jesus and the Hasidim
  • The Jewish Cultural Nature of Galilee in the First Century
  • John the Nazirite
  • Master and Disciple
  • Matthew 24:20: Why did Jesus advise people to pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath?
  • Naming John the Baptist
  • No Room in the Inn?
  • Pilgrimage in the Time of Jesus
  • The Place of Women in First-century Synagogues
  • A Priest of the Division of Abijah
  • Purchase JP’ Complete Shmuel Safrai Premium Content Collection ($24)
  • The Role of Women in the Temple
  • Sabbath Breakers
  • Spoken Languages in the Time of Jesus
  • Synagogue and Sabbath
  • The Synagogue the Centurion Built
  • Trees of Life
  • The Value of Rabbinic Literature as an Historical Source
  • Were Women Segregated in the Ancient Synagogue?
  • With All Due Respect…
  • Zechariah’s Prestigious Task