Category Archives: Daf Yomi

The Colossal Statue of Shapur I, (239–270 CE ), the second king of the Sasanian Empire, stands in a cave located about 6 km from the ancient city of Bishapur in the south of Iran. Its height of about 6.7 m and breadth across the shoulders of more than 2 m make it one of the most impressive sculptures from the Sasanian period. Wikimedia

Concluding a Tractate with King Shapur’s Praise and Practice of Rabbinic Law

The Bavli’s editors noted the conclusion of some tractates with an edifying message. For tractates Bava Metzia and Avodah Zarah, they placed stories about Sasanian king Shapur I. In this way, they connected their rabbinic milieu to the Sasanian world in which they operated, and imagined Sasanian authority and approval of rabbinic law.

Dr. Jason Mokhtarian Continue reading Concluding a Tractate with King Shapur’s Praise and Practice of Rabbinic Law

Roman Senate. Ancient Images /Flickr

Rabbinic Battery Law in Light of Roman Rule

Dr. Yoni Pomeranz

Abstract: The rabbinic laws of personal injury differ markedly from those in the Torah. They are, however, substantially similar to the laws of personal injury that guided Roman courts in Palestine in the second century CE. Reading perek ha-ḥovel (m. Bava Kamma 8) alongside Roman law codes reveals the influence that Roman law had on rabbinic law. Roman models were responsible for the rabbinic rejection of a strict “eye for an eye” law, the calculation of נזק by valuing the victim as a slave, and the idea that an assailant could be liable for payments for בושת.

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Bava Kamma: Between Strict Liability and Negligence

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.

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Incantation bowl with an Aramaic inscription around a demon. From Nippur, Mesopotamia 6th–7th ce. Photographer Marie-Lan Nguyen

Naming Demons: The Aramaic Incantation Bowls and Gittin

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