"look through your book and make me a perfect match": Talking about genealogy in Amoraic Palestine and Babylonia

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Abstract

Rabbinic literature is concerned with lineage when determining appropriate marital partners. For the rabbis, not all Jews may marry all other Jews. Some Jews have a lower lineage status and may only marry others of similar status. Scholars have assumed that the Amoraim of Babylonia were more stringent towards matters of lineage than their Palestinian counterparts. However, the talmudic sources themselves do not neatly fit with this dichotomy. Additionally, this generalization does not capture the variety of ways that the Amoraim perceived lineage. In this article, I propose a shift of focus towards the different terminologies and discourses in Amoraic sources, which provide a richer understanding of the ways in which they viewed genealogy, and wished to shape it. These terminologies reflect different ways in which the rabbis constructed the idea of a Jewish people, and its components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-448
Number of pages32
JournalJournal for the Study of Judaism
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Keywords

  • family
  • genealogy
  • lineage
  • Talmud Bavli
  • Talmud Yerushalmi

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