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JEREMIAH BEN ELEAZAR:

  • 1. Palestinian scholar of the second century; contemporary of Simeon b. Gamaliel, the father of Judah I. He is known through one haggadah, transmitted by his pupil Bar Ḳappara, and giving various reasons for the death of the two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu (Pesiḳ. xxvii. 112b; Lev. R. xx. 8; Tan., Aḥare Mot, 7). Ephraem Syrus ("Opera," i. 240) adopted an explanation by Jeremiah without mentioning his name (comp. Graetz in "Monatsschrift," iii. 319). Jeremiah's son Eleazar is mentioned in Pesiḳ. R. 23 (ed. Friedmann, p, 117b) and Soṭah 4a.
  • 2. Haggadist of the third amoraic generation (second half of the third century). Bacher places him among the Palestinian haggadists, although several of his haggadot are found in the Babylonian Talmud, while only one is recorded in Yerushalmi (Shab. vi. 10).

Jeremiah's haggadot are numerous; and a whole group of them is found in 'Er. (18a-19a). He inferred from Ps. cxxxix. 5 that Adam was created with two faces, one of a man and one of a woman, and that God afterward cleft them asunder ('Er. 18a). In Gen. R. viii. 1 this opinion is ascribed to Samuel b. Naḥman, while Jeremiah's opinion is stated to have been that Adam was created a hermaphrodite (see Androgynos). From Gen. v. 3 Jeremiah concluded that all the time that Adam lived under the curse (that is, till the age of 130) he begot demons and spirits ('Er. 18b; see Lilith). According to Jeremiah, the builders of the Tower of Babel were divided into three different groups, which respectively had the intention of dwelling there, of establishing there the cult of idolatry, and of waging war against God. The first group was dispersed; the second was punished by a confusion of language; and the third was transformed into one of apes, demons, and spirits (Sanh. 109a). Jeremiah also indicated the crow as a bird of prophecy (Lev. R. xxxii. 2).

Bibliography:
  • Bacher, Ag. Pal. Amor. iii. 583-587.
S. S. M. Sel.
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