Jewish Slavery in Antiquity

Jewish Slavery in Antiquity

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This book is the first comprehensive analysis of Jewish attitudes towards slavery in Hellenistic and Roman times. Against the traditional opinion that after the Babylonian Exile Jews refrained from employing slaves, Catherine Hezser shows that slavery remained a significant phenomenon of ancient Jewish everyday life and generated a discourse which resembled Graeco-Roman and early Christian views while at the same time preserving specifically Jewish nuances. Hezser examines the impact of domestic slavery on the ancient Jewish household and on family relationships. She discusses the perceived advantages of slaves over other types of labor and evaluates their role within the ancient Jewish economy. The ancient Jewish experience of slavery seems to have been so pervasive that slave images also entered theological discourse. Like their Graeco-Roman and Christian counterparts, ancient Jewish intellectuals did not advocate the abolition of slavery, but they used the biblical tradition and their own judgements to ameliorate the status more

Product details

  • Hardback | 452 pages
  • 139.7 x 218.4 x 30.5mm | 680.4g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 019928086X
  • 9780199280865

About Catherine Hezser

Catherine Hezser is Lippert Professor of Jewish Studies, Trinity College more

Table of contents

I.THE STATUS OF SLAVES ; 1. The Denationalization of Slaves ; 2. The Slave as Chattel and Human Being ; 3. Women, Slaves, and Minors ; 4. Hierarchical Equations and Differentiations ; 5. Between Slavery and Freedom ; 6. Summary ; II. SLAVES AND THE FAMILY ; 1. Slaves within the Household ; 2. Master-Slave Relationships ; 3. Prostitutes and Concubines ; 4. Power Relationships ; 5. Summary ; III. SLAVES AND THE ECONOMY ; 1. The Sources of Slaves ; 2. The Acquisition and Sale of Slaves ; 3. Slaves as Intermediaries in Business Transactions ; 4. The Location of Slaves in Ancient Jewish Society ; 5. The Manumission of Slaves ; 6. Summary ; IV. THE SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE OF SLAVERY ; 1. Slavery as Metaphor ; 2. Slave Parables ; 3. Slavery and the Exodus Experience ; 4. Summary ; CONCLUSIONSshow more

Review quote

...a comprehensive and absorbing study Margaret H. Williams, Journal of Roman Studies a carefully crafted study that is ambitious in scope, and her scholarship makes this book a significant contribution to Jewish and Roman history in late antiquity. THES a comprehensive book on Jewish slavery ... a mine of information David Rokeah, Journal of Theological Studies Catherine Hezser has produced an impressive work, erudite and marked by a keen social and literary sensitivity. It will be indispensable not only for the student of Jewish Studies, but also for everyone interested in the social history of Judaism under Roman imperial rule. European Journal of Jewish Studiesshow more