On the dippings and the changes in the “child’s questions,” see endnote 10.


Haroset is still served at Passover seders. Recipes vary in different parts of the world, but they always include chopped fruit and nuts, often bound together with wine and seasoned with spices.


See Anthony J. Saldarini, Jesus and Passover (Ramsay, NJ: Paulist Press, 1984), p. 58.



Philo, Special Laws, 2:145–146, 148, transl. F. H. Colson et al., Loeb Classical library (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1929–1962), Vol. 7, pp. 394–397.


See, e.g., Josephus, Wars, 6:423–424, transl., H. St.J. Thackeray et al., Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1926–1965), Vol. 3, pp. 498–499; Baruch M. Bokser, The Origins of the Seder (Berkeley: University of California 1984), pp. 24–25 and notes.


This may even be attested in the Elephantine sources; see Bokser, Origins, pp. 20–21.


Additionally, if there is credibility in the belief of certain first- or second-century rabbis, some Diaspora Jews might have broiled meat in imitation of the Passover lamb. See Bokser, Origins, pp. 101–106.


Victor Turner, “Pilgrimage as Social Process,” in Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors (Ithaca: Cornell University, 1974), pp. 166–230.


See M. J. Cook, “Judaism, Early Rabbinic,” in Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Suppl. vol. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976), pp. 499–504.


See the enactments attributed to Rabban Yohanan Ben Zakkai in Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 4:1, 3, 4; Gedaliah Alon, The Jews in Their Land in the Talmudic Age, Vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Magness, 1980), especially pp. 107–118, 253–86; Isaac Gilat, R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University, 1984), passim, e.g., pp. 12, 313–317, 447–450; E. E. Urbach, The Sages, 2nd English ed. (Jerusalem: Magness, 1979), pp. 432–434; and Louis Finkelstein, “Additional Teachings of R. Nehunya ben HaQana” (in Hebrew), Tarbiz 50 (1980–1981), p. 93.


Jacob Neusner, Judaism: The Evidence of the Mishnah (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1981). See also Yonah Fraenkel, Studies in the Spiritual World of the Aggadic Tale [in Hebrew], (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1981), pp. 119–21.


Alon, The Jews in Their Land, pp. 261–265; Samuel Safrai, “He‘erot histariyot le Mishnah Pesahim Pereg Asiri,” in Bible and Jewish History. Studies in Dedication to the Memory of Jacob Levir, ed. B. Uffenheimer (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1971), pp. 297–306, spotted the transformation in Mishnah 10:5 but, as I argue in Origins, it is present in the contents and formulation of the entire Pessahim chapter 10. While Tabory (“Towards a Characterization of the Passover Meal,” [in Hebrew], Bar-Ilan Annual 18–19 [1981], pp 68–78 and “The Passover Eve Ceremony—An Historical Outline,” Immanuel 12 [1981], pp. 32–43) independently recognized that the seder transforms a pre-70 sacrificial meal of the Passover offering, he (like Alon and Safrai) does not consider the impact of the Mishnah’s “rhetoric.”


For example, Mishnah Pesahim 10:3 reads:

A. [They] served him—he dips the lettuce (HHZRT) [the vegetable used for the bitter herbs] before he reaches the bread condiment.

B. [They] served him unleavened bread and lettuce and hharoset [a mixture, e.g., of nuts, fruit, and vinegar pounded together (a post-mishanaic gloss adds “and two cooked foods,” a phrase which is not found in the MSS, which breaks the flow of the passage, which is not attested in the Tosefta analogue, and which is not assumed by the Gemarah); see Bokser, Origins, pp. 118–119, note 7, and David Halivni, Sources and Traditions, Tractates Erubin and Pesahim (Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1982), p. 574, note 5)] even though the hharoset is not a commandment R. Leazar b. Sadoq says, [It is a] commandment.

C. And in the Temple [they] [post-mishnaic gloss adds: “used to”] serve him the carcass of the Passover offering.

While in current printed editions, clause C contains a HYW, making the verb into a past tense, Mishnah manuscripts and the Tosefta analogue to this teaching (Tosefta Pesahim 10:9) lack this word, leaving the verb as a participle. Saul Lieberman notes that with the extra word, the Mishnah contrasts a later stage of the law with an earlier Temple practice. But without it, the text speaks of two simultaneous procedures, one outside the holy precincts and one inside it The former (A–B) would make up the standard protocol while the latter (C) would comprise a supplementary procedure. (Saul Lieberman, Tosefta Ki-FshuufdotutO8tah, 8 volumes to date (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1955–), vol. 4, p. 654. See Bokser, Origins, p. 119, note 9.) Building on this observation we can say that the Mishnah’s original reading provides an anachronistic view of the rite, for, as we have seen, no earlier account mentions that the evening rite took place without the sacrifice. Current—post-70—practice is thus being read into pre-70 days. This reworking of the earlier tradition is repeated throughout the chapter and is reflected in the position of the chapter as a whole.

Other evidence:

Mishnah Pesahim 10:1, requiring one not to eat until it becomes dark, synchronizes the time of the rite to accord with the time of the sacrificial meal and thereby strengthens the identification between the two.

Mishnah Pesahim 10:2 in the form of a dispute between the Houses of Hillel and Shammai as to the sequence of the blessings over the wine suggests that the wine was used in this context in the days of the Houses, pre-70.

Mishnah Pesahim 10:4 demonstrates that the Bible’s pedagogic device of a parent instructing a child can continue without the sacrifice. Instead of the simple question of Exodus 12:25–27, which refers to putting blood on the doorposts and to making other preparations contingent on the sacrifice, the Mishnah suggests three questions treating the three elements given prominence by Gamaliel as to why we eat the Passover offering, the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs. (The number and substance of these questions have changed from an original three to a current set of four; E. D. Goldschmidt, The Passover Haggadah [in Hebrew] [Jerusalem, 1960], pp. 10–13 and Bokser, Origins, p. 119, note 11.)


See Halivni, Sources and Traditions, pp. 581–582, and Bokser, Origins, pp. 77–79.


On the post-mishnaic glosses to this passage and the change in the sequence of C.1–3, see Bokser, Origins.


The Christian use of paschal motifs to explain the message of Jesus underscores the significance of Passover symbolism in the minds of first- and second-century Jews and may also have contributed to the urgency of the problem. But it cannot be said that the seder was created in response to Christian developments. Similarly, Hellenistic banquets or accounts of symposia did not cause the restructuring of the Passover rite beyond its biblical parameters, as suggested, for example, by Siegfried Stein, “The Influence of Synposia Literature on the Literary Form of the Pesah Haggadah,” Journal of Jewish Studies 7 (1957), pp. 13–44. Indeed, Mishnah, Pesahim 10:7–8 takes concrete steps to differentiate the seder from such meals. Rather, the phenomenon of banquets and the literary genre of the symposium, at most may have affected the form that the seder took. But whatever features were adopted (and they are generally details in the seder’s later stages) were made subservient to the religious ideology of the seder and structured around its protocol. See Bokser, Origins, especially pp. 4–32, 50–66 and notes, to which add, for the ancient Near Eastern background, R. D. Barnett, “Assurbanipal’s Feast,” Eretz Israel 18 (1985), pp. 1–6 and the literature cited there.


Neusner, Judaism, The Evidence.


Alan Mintz, review of Baruch M. Bokser, Origins of the Seder, in The New Republic, April 22, 1985, p. 42 (italics in original).


On the hour, see Jacob N. Epstein, Introduction to Tannaitic literature (Jerusalem: Magness, 1957) pp. 327–328 and Bokser, Origins, p. 38 and note 3.