Publication details [#5580]

Harland, Philip A. 2007. Familial dimensions of group identity (II): "Mothers" and "fathers" in associations and synagogues of the Greek world. 23 pp.


Fictive parental language (e.g. "mother of the synagogue," "father of the association") has drawn limited attention within two scholarly circles, namely, those who study diaspora synagogues, on the one hand, and ancient historians, on the other. This article brings these two scholarly interests together and argues, based on inscriptional evidence, that parental metaphors were more widespread and significant in cities and associations of the Greek East than often acknowledged. Such terminology was an important way of expressing honour, hierarchy, and/or belonging within the association or community, and it could also pertain to functional leadership roles (rather than mere honorifics) in certain cases. The Jewish practice of calling figures "mother" or "father" of the synagogue can be better understood within this cultural framework and in relation to associations specifically. (LLBA, Accession Number 18522444, (c) CSA [2008]. All rights reserved.)