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The Sage in Jewish Society of Late Antiquity (review)

The Sage in Jewish Society of Late Antiquity (review) THE SAGE IN JEWISH SOCIETY OF LATE ANTIQUITY. By Richard Kalmin. pp. x + 180. London and New York: Routledge, 1999. Paper, $27.99. This book argues that rabbinic exegesis was never simply Scripturedriven but was the product of specific environments; thus important differences between Sassanian Babylonia and Roman Palestine produced important and consistent differences between Palestinian and Babylonian midrash, in fact important variations in rabbinic narrative of all sorts as it developed in those two centers. Rabbis are portrayed in Palestinian sources as deeply engaged with their non-rabbinic fellow Jews, indeed as dependent on them for political. social. and fmancial support, while Babylonian rabbis are depicted as holding aloof from others in all these same respects. Richard Kalmin claims these differences are so pervasive as to preclude any explanation through sheer chance or fabrication. They must echo reality. This argument depends on identifying certain fundamental differences between Persian and Roman society. Sassanian Persia was marked by a rigid social hierarchy and by relatively little movement across the boundaries that separated groups from one another: social classes did not mingle, nor did individuals readily move from one to another. In this environment. rabbis constituted a distinct estate with little http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hebrew Studies National Association of Professors of Hebrew

The Sage in Jewish Society of Late Antiquity (review)

Hebrew Studies , Volume 41 (1) – Oct 5, 2000

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Publisher
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
Copyright
Copyright © National Association of Professors of Hebrew
ISSN
2158-1681
Publisher site
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Abstract

THE SAGE IN JEWISH SOCIETY OF LATE ANTIQUITY. By Richard Kalmin. pp. x + 180. London and New York: Routledge, 1999. Paper, $27.99. This book argues that rabbinic exegesis was never simply Scripturedriven but was the product of specific environments; thus important differences between Sassanian Babylonia and Roman Palestine produced important and consistent differences between Palestinian and Babylonian midrash, in fact important variations in rabbinic narrative of all sorts as it developed in those two centers. Rabbis are portrayed in Palestinian sources as deeply engaged with their non-rabbinic fellow Jews, indeed as dependent on them for political. social. and fmancial support, while Babylonian rabbis are depicted as holding aloof from others in all these same respects. Richard Kalmin claims these differences are so pervasive as to preclude any explanation through sheer chance or fabrication. They must echo reality. This argument depends on identifying certain fundamental differences between Persian and Roman society. Sassanian Persia was marked by a rigid social hierarchy and by relatively little movement across the boundaries that separated groups from one another: social classes did not mingle, nor did individuals readily move from one to another. In this environment. rabbis constituted a distinct estate with little

Journal

Hebrew StudiesNational Association of Professors of Hebrew

Published: Oct 5, 2000

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