From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah 978-3-16-154421-7 - Mohr Siebeck
Jewish Studies

Jonathan S. Milgram

From Mesopotamia to the Mishnah

Tannaitic Inheritance Law in its Legal and Social Contexts

[Von Mesopotamien zur Mischna. Tannaitisches Erbrecht in seinen rechtlichen und gesellschaftlichen Kontexten.]

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Tannaitic inheritance law is best explained against the backdrop of the legal and social contexts in which the laws were formulated. Jonathan S. Milgram charts laws in other ancient legal traditions adopted and adapted by the tannaim and considers the degree to which the tannaitic laws may have emerged out of the social and economic contexts of tannaitic Palestine.
In this study, Jonathan S. Milgram demonstrates that the transformation of inheritance law from the biblical to the tannaitic period is best explained against the backdrop of the legal and social contexts in which the tannaitic laws were formulated. Employing text and source critical methods, he argues that, in the absence of the hermeneutic underpinnings for tannaitic innovations, the laws were not the result of the rabbinic imagination and its penchant for inventive interpretation of Scripture. Turning to the rich repositories in biblical, ancient near eastern, Second Temple, Greek, Elephantine, Judean desert, and Roman sources, the author searches for conceptual parallels and antecedents as well as formulae and terminology adopted and adapted by the tannaim. Since the tannaitic traditions reflect the social and economic contexts of the tannaitic period – the nuclear family on privatized landholdings in urban centers – the author also considers the degree to which tannaitic inheritance laws may have emerged out of these contexts.
Authors/Editors

Jonathan S. Milgram Born 1971; 1995 BA, Columbia University; 1995 BA, The Jewish Theological Seminary; 1997 MA, Yeshiva University; 2002 Rabbinic Ordination, Yeshiva University; 2007 PhD, Bar Ilan University; formerly Sam and Vivienne Cohen Lecturer in Jewish Studies, The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (UK) and Fellow, London School of Jewish Studies; currently Associate Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Reviews

The following reviews are known:

In: TheBiblicalReview.wordpress.com — https://thebiblicalreview.wordpress.com/ (09/2016) (William Brown)
In: Salesianum — 79 (2017), S. 768–769 (Rafael Vicent)
In: Revue Biblique — 125 (2018), S. 154 (Étienne Nodet)
In: Religious Studies Review — 43 (2017), S. 189 (Joshua Schwartz)
In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 41.5 (2017) (Sandra Jacobs)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 142 (2017), S. 1175–1177 (Catherine Hezser)