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Jewish Slavery in Antiquity (review)

Jewish Slavery in Antiquity (review) and to the task of thinking theologically in dialogue with the Hebrew Bible. It deserves careful attention. Paul Dafydd Jones University of Virginia Jewish Slavery in Antiquity, by Catherine Hezser. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 439 pp. $77.00. This is an outstanding book: wide-ranging, thorough, well-balanced, and unfailingly insightful. It should become the standard volume for anyone wishing to know about the institution of slavery among Jews from biblical times through to the Amoraic period (third to fifth centuries CE). To be sure, the book is as much, perhaps more, about Graeco-Roman slavery as it is about Jewish slavery. The reason is clear. The differences are really rather negligible, and the Graeco-Roman sources tell us more than Jewish sources do about the institution. "Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil" (Edmund Burke). Similar socio-economic circumstances, especially in Rome, Roman Italy, and Roman Palestine, produce the conditions that make the institution an indispensable one. Hezser has no difficulty in disposing of the unnecessary apologetic exercises by previous scholars who extol the Jewish situation at the expense of other societies in antiquity. Throughout her study she has little difficulty in arguing that literary http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

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Publisher
Purdue University Press
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Copyright © 2008 Purdue University
ISSN
1534-5165
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Abstract

and to the task of thinking theologically in dialogue with the Hebrew Bible. It deserves careful attention. Paul Dafydd Jones University of Virginia Jewish Slavery in Antiquity, by Catherine Hezser. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 439 pp. $77.00. This is an outstanding book: wide-ranging, thorough, well-balanced, and unfailingly insightful. It should become the standard volume for anyone wishing to know about the institution of slavery among Jews from biblical times through to the Amoraic period (third to fifth centuries CE). To be sure, the book is as much, perhaps more, about Graeco-Roman slavery as it is about Jewish slavery. The reason is clear. The differences are really rather negligible, and the Graeco-Roman sources tell us more than Jewish sources do about the institution. "Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil" (Edmund Burke). Similar socio-economic circumstances, especially in Rome, Roman Italy, and Roman Palestine, produce the conditions that make the institution an indispensable one. Hezser has no difficulty in disposing of the unnecessary apologetic exercises by previous scholars who extol the Jewish situation at the expense of other societies in antiquity. Throughout her study she has little difficulty in arguing that literary

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Feb 13, 2009

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