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Yonatan Adler

Yonatan Adler


Postdoctoral research topic: The Leather Tefillin Cases from the Judean Desert: An Analysis and Full Scientific Publication of the Finds

Advisor: Prof. Zeev Weiss


Twenty-five tefillin (phylactery) cases dating to the Late Second Temple era and the Bar Kokhba period were discovered in the mid-twentieth century in the Judean Desert in caves near Qumran, at Wadi Murabba‘at and in Cave 34 at Nahal Se’elim (Wadi Seiyal). While most of these finds have been reported upon in the past, almost all were published only in a perfunctory manner. The goal of the present project is to analyze these artifacts in order to prepare a full scientific publication of the finds. Morphological and chemical investigations of the leather cases will be aided by various technologies, including 3-D scanning, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and X-ray computed tomography (CT). Finally, a critical textual investigation of the early rabbinic sources which contain both prescriptive and descriptive references to tefillin will be brought to bear on the study of the archaeological artifacts.

Research interests

  • Archaeology of Israel in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods
  • Archaeology of ritual and halakhah
  • Material culture of early Judaism
  • Second Temple period and early rabbinic literature

List of Publications