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“Look through Your Book and Make Me a Perfect Match”: Talking about Genealogy in Amoraic Palestine and Babylonia

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Yedidah Koren1
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  • 1 Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
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Abstract

Rabbinic literature is concerned with lineage when determining appropriate marital partners. For the rabbis, not all Jews may marry all other Jews. Some Jews have a lower lineage status and may only marry others of similar status. Scholars have assumed that the Amoraim of Babylonia were more stringent towards matters of lineage than their Palestinian counterparts. However, the talmudic sources themselves do not neatly fit with this dichotomy. Additionally, this generalization does not capture the variety of ways that the Amoraim perceived lineage. In this article, I propose a shift of focus towards the different terminologies and discourses in Amoraic sources, which provide a richer understanding of the ways in which they viewed genealogy, and wished to shape it. These terminologies reflect different ways in which the rabbis constructed the idea of a Jewish people, and its components.

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