From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah: Tannaitic Inheritance Law in its Legal and Social Contexts

From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah: Tannaitic Inheritance Law in its Legal and Social Contexts

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Jonathan S. Milgram

ISBN: 9781644690277 (paperback)
Pages: approx. 230 pp.
Publication Date: March 2019

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Employing text critical methods, Jonathan S. Milgram argues that, in the absence of the hermeneutic underpinnings for tannaitic innovations, the inheritance laws of the tannaim were not the result of the rabbinic penchant for inventive interpretation of Scripture. Turning to biblical, ancient near eastern, Second Temple, Greek, Elephantine, Judean desert, and Roman sources, the author finds conceptual and terminological parallels adopted and adapted by the tannaim and argues for a close affinity between some Roman institutions and their tannaitic counterparts. Since the tannaitic traditions reflect the social and economic contexts of the tannaitic period—the nuclear family on privatized landholdings in urban centers—the author also considers the degree to which the laws may have emerged out of these contexts.


Jonathan S. Milgram (PhD, Bar Ilan University) is Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York) and was previously the Sam and Vivienne Cohen Lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Fellow of the London School of Jewish Studies.


Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition
Preface
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations, Terminology, and Transliteration

Introduction
Chapter 1: Gifting and Inheriting in Tannaitic Law and in the Ancient World
Chapter 2: Firstborn Inheritance in Tannaitic Law and in the Ancient World
Chapter 3: Testate Succession in Tannaitic Law and in the Ancient World
Chapter 4: Inheritance by Daughters in Tannaitic Law and in the Ancient World
Chapter 5: Inheritance by Wives in Tannaitic Law and in the Ancient World
Conclusions: How Jewish is Jewish Inheritance Law?

Appendix: Gifts in Contemplation of Death in Tannaitic Law and Ancient Parallels
Bibliography
Index of Foreign Terms
Index of Contemporary Authors
Index of Sources
Index of Subjects
Postscript to the Paperback Edition