Persian Persecutions of the Jews

Richard Kalmin

in Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195306194
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784998 | DOI:
 Persian Persecutions of the Jews

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This chapter attempts to exemplify the contention first presented in the introduction that significant aspects of the history of the Jews of late antiquity will have to be rewritten once the latest developments in Talmud text criticism are taken into account. Although these developments greatly complicate the historian's task, they add depth and subtlety to the historian's arguments and ensure that conclusions rest on a firmer literary foundation. Among the more significant findings will be the discovery that there is less reason than earlier scholars thought to view early Babylonian rabbis as important players in the Jewish community's interactions with the Persian government. The chapter strengthens and adds subtlety to one of the central arguments of this book: that the Babylonian Talmud tends to portray Babylonian rabbis as inward-looking, with the study house to a significant extent the sum total of their experience, even in situations where it had been the consensus of earlier scholarship that they served as the pre-eminent leaders of the Jewish community.

Keywords: Jews late antiquity; Talmud; Babylonian rabbis; Persian government; Jews; Judaism; study house

Chapter.  13562 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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