Beth A. Berkowitz

in Execution and Invention

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780195179194
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784509 | DOI:

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This chapter introduces the book’s thesis that death penalty discourse helped both Rabbis and Christians to invent themselves in the first centuries of the common era. It reviews recent historiography of the early rabbinic movement, presents the book’s approach to reading rabbinic literature, and surveys the culture-critical concerns at the heart of the book: the politics of punishment, the politics of ritual, and the politics of imperialism. It addresses questions readers may bring to the subject, such as the historical reality of Jewish execution in antiquity, and the question of whether the classical Rabbis were for or against the death penalty. It also gives the plan of the book and describes the texts that the book will analyze.

Keywords: death penalty discourse; invention; historiography of rabbinic movement; rabbinic literature; cultural criticism; politics; punishment; ritual; Imperialism; historical reality

Chapter.  11402 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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