Download Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine by Richard Kalmin PDF

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By Richard Kalmin

The Babylonian Talmud was once compiled within the 3rd via 6th centuries CE, by means of rabbis dwelling lower than Sasanian Persian rule within the sector among the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. what sort of society did those rabbis inhabit? What influence did that society have on vital rabbinic texts?In this e-book Richard Kalmin deals an intensive reexamination of rabbinic tradition of overdue old Babylonia. He exhibits how this tradition used to be formed partially by way of Persia at the one hand, and via Roman Palestine at the different. The mid fourth century CE in Jewish Babylonia used to be a interval of quite extreme “Palestinianization,” while that the Mesopotamian and east Persian Christian groups have been present process a interval of severe “Syrianization.” Kalmin argues that those heavily comparable approaches have been speeded up by way of third-century Persian conquests deep into Roman territory, which led to the resettlement of millions of Christian and Jewish population of the jap Roman provinces in Persian Mesopotamia, jap Syria, and western Persia, profoundly changing the cultural panorama for hundreds of years to come.Kalmin additionally bargains new interpretations of numerous attention-grabbing rabbinic texts of overdue antiquity. He indicates how they've got usually been misunderstood through historians who lack attentiveness to the function of nameless editors in glossing or emending previous texts and who insist on attributing those texts to 6th century editors instead of to storytellers and editors of past centuries who brought adjustments into the texts they discovered and transmitted. He additionally demonstrates how Babylonian rabbis interacted with the non-rabbinic Jewish global, usually within the type of the incorporation of centuries-old non-rabbinic Jewish texts into the constructing Talmud, instead of through the come across with real non-rabbinic Jews within the streets and marketplaces of Babylonia. every one of these texts have been “domesticated” sooner than their inclusion within the Babylonian Talmud, which was once quite often complete via the rabbinization of the non-rabbinic texts. Rabbis remodeled a story’s protagonists into rabbis instead of kings or monks, or portrayed them learning Torah instead of carrying out different actions, because Torah research was once seen by means of them because the most crucial, might be the one vital, human task. Kalmin’s arguments shed new gentle on rabbinic Judaism in overdue old society.

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At first glance, the issue seems to be quite simple: can the ritually unclean ba’al keri 32 jewish babylonia between persia and roman palestine recite the shema out loud or not? The sages say yes, and R. Meir says no. As ‘‘proof,’’ however, R. Meir quotes a story about ritually clean individuals who chant the shema quietly in the presence, but not within earshot, of a Roman quaestor. This story does not seem to prove Meir’s point, since the individuals who chant the shema quietly in Meir’s story are not ritually impure.

The version of the story in the Sifrei, a Palestinian compilation, does not explain why the Romans arrested Hanina ben Teradion. The Sifrei is con_ roman persecutions of the jews 25 cerned with zidduk ha-din, with dramatizing Hanina’s as well as his wife’s and _ _ daughter’s acceptance of their cruel fate without the slightest murmur of complaint against God. In contrast, at first glance the reason for Hanina’s and _ Elazar’s arrest appears to occupy the center of the Bavli’s concern. Closer examination, however, reveals that this concern is front and center at some points in the Bavli’s narrative but absent at others.

92 The Mishnah and Tosefta concentrate on the rabbinic norm rather than on extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary individuals. To a far greater extent, on the other hand, the Bavli tells stories and reports traditions that deliver a didactic message or a moral lesson rather than simply prescribe the norm. The Bavli’s more abundant corpus of traditions that describe Roman interference with Jewish observances during the Bar Kokhba period is very likely a function of literary genre rather than explicable in terms of the differing chronology and geography of the Babylonian and Palestinian compilations.

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