Babylonian Jews at the Intersection of the Iranian Economy and Sasanian Law

Yaakov Elman

in The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398625
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Babylonian Jews at the Intersection of the Iranian Economy and Sasanian Law


This article discusses the position of the Babylonian Jews at the intersection of the Iranian economy and Sasanian Jews. The article begins with a detailed analysis of the cultural background. The Babylonian Talmud with its detailed description of religious, lifestyle, economic, and social issues presents us with a portrait of the integration of Babylonian Jews within the economic life of the middle classes of the Sasanian Empire. The article states that unlike the Jews of Roman Palestine the Babylonian Jews were a significant minority in a vital province. This is followed by an analysis of the status of the Jewish community under the Sasanian regime. The Sasanian regime encouraged private initiative in both commercial and agricultural activities, and the rabbis did their best to enable the Babylonian Jewish community to take advantage of these opportunities. The article concludes by saying that the rabbinical Jews excelled in contemporary business practice.

Keywords: Babylonian Jews; Iranian economy; Sasanian Jews; Talmud; Sasanian Empire

Article.  9789 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Economic History

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