A 5th-Century Gold Coin Found in Israel Commemorates the Emperor Who Took Away Jews’ Rights

Created recently under the auspices of the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Sanhedrin Trail is designed for hikers, especially students, looking for Jewish archaeological sites in the Galilee from the first half of the first millennium CE. In February a group of such students discovered a solid-gold coin, which experts have now identified as dating to the reign of the emperor Theodosius II—who abolished the rabbinical high council for which the trail is named. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

Emperor Theodosius II (401-450) began his reign over Byzantium, the eastern part of the Roman empire whose capital was in Constantinople, at the age of seven. His name is enshrined in the Codex Theodosianus, . . . a set of laws published in 438 that collected and redacted the thousands of imperial laws of the sprawling empire.

Unfortunately for the Jews of the era, who had enjoyed relative freedom, the codex officially demoted their status. Although the coin depicts the goddess Victory, Theodosius was a defender of the Christian faith, which he promoted as the official religion of the empire. As such, the rights and privileges of Jews were circumscribed. They were barred from military and civil service—aside from the thankless profession of tax collector—and no new synagogues could be constructed.

In an even more resonant blow, the emperor’s codex also diverted the taxes paid to the head of the Sanhedrin, which led to [its] eventual abolishment. Gamaliel VI (400–425) was the final holder of the office of nasi [or president of the council].

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Byzantine Empire, Sanhedrin


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University