In “King Agrippa I: The last Maccabee” (Comment & Features, May 30), Eli Kavon echoes the oft-repeated assertion that Agrippa I was a descendant of Herod the Great and his Jewish wife, Mariamme (Miriam), making him a scion of the Hasmonean dynasty.
While this view of events is recorded by Josephus, the Talmud states that Herod’s Jewish wife committed suicide, and that all of his descendants were through his non-Jewish wives, who had slave status, making anyone who claimed to be descendant from the Hasmoneans a slave.
Moreover, Kavon cited the historian Martin Goodman, who identified the Agrippa mentioned in different Mishnaic sources as Agrippa I. The traditional view identifies the figure in those sources Agrippa II.
CLARIFICATION The graduation ceremony reported in “Bar-Ilan’s Safed medical school graduates its first class, with 48 new physicians” (June 2) took place at Beit Yigal Allon, a cultural center in Safed, and not as stated.