In their discussion of King Herod’s reconstruction of the Second Temple, Talmudic storytellers emphasize themes of sight, blindness, and illegitimate rule. They also make a surprising suggestion about who really should get credit for this renovation.
Prof. Jeffrey L. Rubenstein Continue reading Herod’s Renovation of the Temple – The Talmudic Version
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
The Babylonian Talmud as an Oral Library for Rabbinic Collections
Dr. Shai Secunda Continue reading Why the Talmud is the Only Rabbinic Work from Babylonia
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
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
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
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 rabbinic rules of restoring lost property (השבת אבידה) include a requirement to announce the finds that possess identifying marks – סימנים. This post-biblical innovation is described in a variety of ways that highlight the manner in which the rabbis reworked and reinterpreted their traditions.
Dr. Shai Secunda Continue reading Innovating, Adapting, and Historicizing the Rules for Returning Lost Objects