Hezser Catherine

Education in Roman Palestine. Part 4. Higher education among jews in Palestine

Hezser Catherine (2019) "Education in Roman Palestine. Part 4. Higher education among jews in Palestine ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia IV : Pedagogika. Psihologiia, 2019, vol. 55, pp. 72-93 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIV201955.72-93


Dealing with the higher education among Palestinian Jews, Catherine Hezser notes that its spread must have been even more limited. Only a small percentage of those who completed primary education continued their studies. One of the most serious restrictions was the economic aspect. The study was apparently oral. Only those rabbinical students and rabbis who had received training from scribes or were taught writing by their parents or private teachers were able to write properly. In contrast to primary education, rabbinic learning does not seem to have been focused on reading Torah. It rather consisted of the students’ repeating aloud and memorising of doctrines and opinions expressed by their teachers. Hezser emphasises that the preference for the oral over the written was also noticeable within Greco-Roman educational tradition. She also draws a parallel between institutions such as the Jewish “study house” and Greco-Roman scholasteria. Not all Jews who wanted to pursue a higher education would study with rabbis or visited study houses. Some Jews who had been educated in the Greek or Latin languages by private tutors were likely to proceed to higher studies with grammatici, rhetors, and philosophers. The rabbinic concern with “Greek wisdom” suggests that obtaining a higher Greek education was meaningful, at least among certain circles of the Jewish population of Palestine.


Roman Palestine, Jews, higher education, study house, rabbinic texts


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Information about the author

Hezser Catherine

Place of work: SOAS University of London;
Post: Professor;