Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine

Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine

3.66 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Babylonian Talmud is the most important text of Rabbinic Judaism. Produced between the third and sixth centuries from both Babylonian and Palestinian sources, it records debates among the Rabbis over matters of law and custom, and forms the backbone of much of Jewish practice even today. In this book, Richard Kalmin probes the fault lines between Palestinian and Babylonian sources, and demonstrates how the differences between them reflect the divergent social attitudes of these two societies. At the time of composition of the Talmud, Palestine was a Roman province and was therefore more attuned to western cultural norms. Babylonia, by contrast, was oriented much more strongly toward the east and drew more on the cultural influence of Persian society. Babylonian Rabbis were also much more insular than their more cosmopolitan Palestinian counterparts, and for this reason the early Babylonian materials are much more coherent. By contrast, later Babylonian materials have much more in common with Palestinian portions of the text. Kalmin convincingly demonstrates that this shift can be traced to the opening of Babylonian society in the fourth century.
This was precipitated by the conversion of neighboring Armenia to Christianity, which brought Roman influence to bear on Persian society. Kalmin's work sheds important new light on the origins of Rabbinic Judaisms most important text and should be of interest to scholars of early Judaism and the Hebrew Bible.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 300 pages
  • 157.5 x 236.2 x 25.4mm | 567g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195306198
  • 9780195306194

Review quote

The book nicely employs the comparative lens not only on rabbanic materials, but also on second temple materials such as 2 Maccabees, Megillat Ta'anit, and the writings of Josephus. Perhaps most significantly, the book demonstrates the possibility of solid Talmudic historiography. * Barry Scott Wimpfheimer, Journal of the American Academy of Religion * Kalmin's care with his sources is inspiring, as is his passion to share specialised methods with his reader. * Susan Marks, New College of Florida * it is difficult not to be impressed by the range and perception of what is set out here...It is itself a compliment that so wide a range of concerns arises from this study. * Richard Coggins, Journal of Theological Studies * Kalmin presents a multi-faceted picture of the culture of the Babylonian rabbinate with some intriguing conclusions...his work is exemplary in its careful argumentation * Helen Spurling Journal of Jewish Studies *
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About Richard Kalmin

Dr. Richard Kalmin is Theodore R. Racoosin Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at Jewish Theological Seminary.
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