Jewish Studies

Tal Ilan

Massekhet Hullin

Volume V/3. Text, Translation, and Commentary

[Massekhet Hullin.]

2017. XIII, 671 pages.
139,00 €
including VAT
ISBN 978-3-16-155200-7
Published in English.
In this book, Tal Ilan analyzes all the passages in the Tractate Hullin of the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud that touch on women and gender. The issues discussed include the question of whether women may participate in kosher slaughter, and to what extent a female beast's anatomy is like that of a woman.
The Babylonian Talmud's Tractate Hullin is the longest in the Order of Qodashim with twelve chapters and over 140 pages. The Order of Qodashim (»holy things«) deals with the Temple in general. The word hullin, however, means »profane things« and actually describes the kosher slaughter of beasts for human consumption outside the temple. Even though this topic is not overtly gendered, and neither does it pertain specifically to women, Tal Ilan discusses over 100 traditions that touch on women and gender in this book, She shows that »women« forever served as good »tools« with which to discuss various topics such as halakhic reliability, or the use of magic, but more specifically that while the tractate is intensely interested in beasts and beast anatomy, women most often serve as points of comparison with beasts for authors of the Talmud. In this way, the rabbinic world view of the intermediate position of women between human and beast is repeatedly demonstrated throughout the tractate.

Tal Ilan Born 1956; 1991 PhD on Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; 2003–22 Professor for Jewish Studies at the Freie Universität, Berlin; 2022 retired; since 2008 she is the editor of the Feminist Commentary on the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud (FCBT).


The following reviews are known:

In: Theologische Revue — 114 (2018), S. 247–248 (Christine Elisabeth Treu)
In: Recherches de Science Religieuse — 105 (2018), S. 137–138 (André Paul)
In: AJS Review — 43 (2019), pp. 212–214 (Jonathan S. Milgram)