A New Reading of the Midrash of R. Akiva and the Fox on the Temple Mount.
Dr. Meir Ben-Shahar
|Abstract: In recent years, a growing consensus has emerged that the Bar Kokhba revolt should be connected to Rome’s establishment of the city of Aelia Capitolina on the ruins of Jerusalem. A new interpretation of Rabbi Akiva’s famous consolation upon seeing a fox emerge from the Holy of Holies (Sifre Deuteronomy 43) suggests that this homily can actually be read as a call to arms against Rome.
Continue reading Rabbi Akiva’s Laugh: The Hidden Call for the Bar Kokhba Revolt
Dr. Shana Strauch-Schick
|Abstract: Tractate Bava Kamma deals primarily with tort law – the area of law that determines liability and fault for damages caused to the person or property of others. The Mishnah and the Talmudim present a seemingly bewildering variety of perspectives in terms of how to make such determinations. Nevertheless, it is still possible to trace a chronological development of how the tannaim and amoraim dealt with these issues. This evolution conforms to theoretical models described by contemporary legalists and may fit its Sasanian context.
Continue reading Bava Kamma: Between Strict Liability and Negligence
In the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem, rabbinic literature’s presentation of mothers donating their children’s weight in gold to the Temple – following the rabbinic interpretation of ‘Arakhin – comes to exemplify both piety and tragedy. Continue reading Memorializing the Temple through the Maternal Practice of ‘Arakhin
Dr. Shai Secunda
The end of the first chapter of b. Megillah preserves the only complete Babylonian midrash on an entire biblical book. Continue reading Why and How a Complete Midrash on Esther was Preserved in the Babylonian Talmud
Excessive drinking on Purim is recommended by the amora Rabbah, in a rare Aramaic ruling that is followed by a strange account of a drunk Rabbah slaughtering his colleague, R. Zeira, at a Purim feast. What are we to make of this shocking law and story, and what do can they teach us about the unique, carnivalesque quality of Purim?
Dr. Barry Wimpfheimer
Continue reading Purim: A Day Beyond Full Rabbinic Control
The historical context within which to read the Talmudic discussions of kiddushin.
Prof. Michael Satlow Continue reading A Detached Kiddushin
What the unique corpus of magical texts inscribed on bowls can teach us about the diffusion of the rabbinic laws of divorce in late antique Babylonia.
Avigail Manekin Bamberger Continue reading Naming Demons: The Aramaic Incantation Bowls and Gittin
The Midrashic Development and Antiquity of the Oral Torah, and the Source Critical Demonstration of the “First Mishna”
Prof. Michael Chernick Continue reading The Modern Study of Mishna: Rabbi Dr. David Zvi Hoffmann’s Approach
A Talmudic story (b. Sanhderin 19a-b) explores the separation of sovereign and judicial powers and the escalation that results when a judge seeks to exert his own authority Continue reading The Story of Shimon B. Shetah’s Attempt to Judge King Yannai
The Dead Sea Scrolls Tefillin and the Making of an Urban Legend
Dr. Yehudah Cohn Continue reading The Real Origins of the Rashi, Rabbenu Tam Tefillin Dispute
Justice beyond the Boundaries of Human Jurisdiction
Dr. Rabbi Avraham Walfish Continue reading The Measure of Tractate Sotah
The Mishnah’s rewrite of the Biblical ritual
Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi Continue reading The Sotah Spectacle
How and why the Bavli reworked the tale and turned the Sadducee into an inglorious martyr
Dr. Yonatan Feintuch Continue reading The Tale of the Sadducee who Incorrectly Prepared the Yom Kippur Ketoret
The Mishnah states there are four Rosh Hoshanah’s and periods of Judgment. How is the 1st of Tishre different?
Dr. Rabbi Avraham Walfish Continue reading Composing Rosh Hashanah as a Day of Judgment