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Full-Text Articles in Islamic World and Near East History

Can “Law” Be Private? The Mixed Message Of Rabbinic Oral Law, Natalie B. Dohrmann Jan 2015

Can “Law” Be Private? The Mixed Message Of Rabbinic Oral Law, Natalie B. Dohrmann

Departmental Papers (Religious Studies)

A great deal of ink has been spilled on the question of early rabbinic literary culture and the rabbinic dedication to the development of an explicitly oral legal tradition. In this essay I will argue that given that the manifest content of early rabbinic discourse is law, it is productive to look to the very public practices of communication inscribed, literally and figuratively, in the Roman legal culture of the east. Within this context, the rabbinic legal project makes sense as a form of provincial shadowing of a dominant Roman legal culture. This paper will explore the paradoxical rabbinic deployment ...


Manumission And Transformation In Jewish And Roman Law, Natalie B. Dohrmann Jan 2013

Manumission And Transformation In Jewish And Roman Law, Natalie B. Dohrmann

Departmental Papers (Religious Studies)

In Roman and rabbinic legal and literary sources from the first centuries of the Common Era, the institution of slavery exhibits a double nature. For both Jews and Romans, slavery is a dreaded state of denigrated non-personhood, and yet in both legal worlds, slavery can be a site of acculturation, even conversion, to the dominant status and ideals of rabbinic and Roman civilization. Initial research into key symbols and ideas on this topic reveal some suggestive similarities--structural and conceptual homologies between Roman and rabbinic constructions of slavery and the modes and cultural valuations of the manumission of slaves. The slave ...


The Boundaries Of The Law And The Problem Of Jurisdiction In An Early Palestinian Midrash, Natalie B. Dohrmann Jan 2003

The Boundaries Of The Law And The Problem Of Jurisdiction In An Early Palestinian Midrash, Natalie B. Dohrmann

Departmental Papers (Religious Studies)

In this paper I look at one particular exegetical complex through which, I will argue, the rabbis grapple with the question of legal jurisdiction and the status of revelation in the shadow of Roman legal hegemony. I will try to show that rabbinic midrash in its literariness (that is, as a source for the history of ideas, rather than a repository of more or less viable data for reporting history on the ground) is a valuable site for mining the mentalité of tannaitic culture (to the extent that we can posit such a thing), and specifically of tannaitic constructions of ...