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Christian Julien Robin

Published On


Page Range

pp. 165-270

Print Length

105 pages

7. The Judaism of the Ancient Kingdom of Ḥimyar in Arabia

A Discreet Conversion

  • Christian Julien Robin (author)
Christian Robin’s ‘The Judaism of the Ancient Kingdom of Himyar in Arabia: A Discreet Conversion’, surveys the prominent Yemenite kingdom, which plays an important role in both Christian and Muslim historiography but is utterly neglected in Jewish sources. This is surprising, since Judaism was the official religion of the kingdom from the fourth to the sixth centuries (c. 380-530 CE). Robin carefully analyses the primary evidence, epigraphy, to assess our knowledge of Himyarite Judaism. He arrives at the conclusion that it was grounded in priestly rather than rabbinic currents. The Himyarite inscriptions mention neither the rabbis nor belief in resurrection, yet there is an important inscription mentioning the twenty-four priestly courses in the Temple. The scant evidence, however, obscures the exact nature of Himyarite Judaism. Robin characterizes this as calculated religious minimalism in a pluralistic society.


Christian Julien Robin