Time and Life Cycle in Talmud and Midrash: Socio-Anthropological Perspectives

Time and Life Cycle in Talmud and Midrash: Socio-Anthropological Perspectives

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Nissan Rubin

Series: Judaism and Jewish Life
ISBN: 9781934843079 (hardcover) / 9781936235032 (paper)
Pages: 236 pp.
Publication Date: May 2008

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Focusing on the concepts of time and the life cycle, this collection of articles examines Jewish life in the Talmudic period through the lens of Jewish law and custom of the time. The essays are the work of Nissan Rubin (one of them written in collaboration with Admiel Kosman) and come together to present the cultural perspective of the sages and scholars who produced the stepping-stones of Jewish life and custom. By using a structural approach, Rubin is able to identify processes of long-term change in a society that remains largely traditional and stable. Symbolic analysis supplies an additional dimension to these studies, enabling the reader to experience the cultural subtexts. 

Nissan Rubin (PhD Bar-Ilan University) is professor emeritus in the department of sociology and anthropology at Bar-Ilan University. His published books include: Research Methods in Social Science: Strategy, Design and Measurement (1978); The Beginning of Life: Rites of Birth, Circumcision and Redemption of the First-Born in the Talmud and Midrash (1995); The End of Life: Rites of Burial and Mourning in the Talmud and Midrash (1988); The Joy of Life: Rites of Betrothal and Marriage in the Talmud and Midrash (2004).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1. The Sociology and Anthropology of Talmudic Texts
Part Two. TIME
Chapter 2. The Clothing of the Primordial Adam as a
Symbol of Apocalyptic Time in the Midrashic Sources (With Admiel Kosman) 
Chapter 3. Brit Milah: A study of Change in Custom
Chapter 4. Coping with the Value of the Pidyon Ha’ben Payment in Rabbinic Literature: An Example of a Social Change Process
Chapter 5. Birth and Marriage Rituals: Women’s Status in a Critical Reading of the Texts
Part Four. DEATH
Chapter 6. The Sages’ Conception of the Body and Soul
Chapter 7. From Corpse to Corpus: The Body as a Text in Talmudic Literature
Chapter 8. Birkat Avelim—The Blessing of Mourners: Ritual Aspects of Social Change

General Index
Authors Index
Sources Index