Nathan of Rome, Author of the First Jewish Dictionary

March 27 2019

Nathan ben Yeḥiel of Rome (ca. 1035-1110) was one of the most important talmudic scholars of his day, known above all for his Arukh, a massive and comprehensive dictionary of the famously difficult language of the Talmud—a work written in a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic with heavy doses of Greek and Persian. Not satisfied merely to define words, Nathan compiled a great deal of other reference information for each entry, creating a work unlike anything that preceded it. Henry Abramson, after a swift survey of Roman Jewish history in the first millennium, tells what is known of Nathan’s life and work. (Video, 50 minutes.)

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Read more at Lectures in Jewish History and Thought

More about: History & Ideas, Italian Jewry, Middle Ages, Rome, Talmud

The U.S. Has Managed to Force a Stalemate in the Syrian Civil War, at Least for Now

In a little remarked-upon statement in May, James Jeffrey, the State Department’s envoy for Syria policy, said that his goal was to turn the war-torn country into “a quagmire for the Russians.” By using economic leverage, this policy has achieved modest success, writes Jonathan Spyer:

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy