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In the first book-length study of Takkanot Kandiyah, Martin Borýsek analyses this fascinating corpus of Hebrew texts written between 1228 –1583 by the leaders of the Jewish community in Candia, the capital of Venetian Crete. Collected in the 16th century by the Cretan Jewish historian Elijah Capsali, the communal byelaws offer a unique perspective on the history of a vibrant, culturally diverse Jewish community during three centuries of Venetian rule. As well as confronting practical problems such as deciding whether Christian wine can be made kosher by adding honey, or stopping irresponsible Jewish youths disturbing religious services by setting off fireworks in the synagogue, Takkanot Kandiyah presents valuable material for the study of communal autonomy and institutional memory in pre-modern Jewish society.
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Many laws in the Old Greek translation of the Covenant Code do not say the same thing as the Hebrew text. In the past, various idiosyncrasies in the Greek translation of laws that involve the death penalty had been glossed over and considered stylistic variations or grammatical outliers. However, when the text-linguistic features of the Greek translation are compared to contemporary literary, documentary, and legal Greek sources, new readings emerge: cursing a parent is no longer punishable by death; a law about bestiality becomes a law about animal husbandry; the authority of certain legal commands is deregulated. This work explores these and other new readings in comparison with contemporary Greco-Egyptian law.
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Studies of Bactrian Legal Documents deals with legal texts written in Bactrian, an eastern Middle Iranian language, between the 4th and 8th centuries CE. The work aims to give insight in the Bactrian legal formulary as well as its historical context. In order to achieve that, the author carefully examines the terms and phrases in the legal documents and clarifies their function. Then he explores the historical background of expressions and wordings. To this end, he uses documents from other regions of the Near East spanning from Egypt to Turkestan.
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This work focuses on the conception of God of the medieval Jewish philosopher and legal scholar, Hasdai Crescas (1340-1410/11). It demonstrates that Crescas’ God is infinitely creative and good and explores the parallel that Crescas implicitly draws between God as creator and legislator, which is rooted in his understanding of the Deity as continuously involved in generative activity through the outpouring of goodness and love as manifest by multiple, simultaneous and successive worlds and a perpetually expanding Torah. It also reviews the Maimonidean background for Crescas’ position and suggests that Crescas is countering Maimonides’ stance that creation is limited to a single moment and Maimonides’ notion of the Torah as perfect and immutable.
When Jews literate in Hebrew (a group that until recently was mostly men) wanted to learn from traditional Jewish sources how to behave in their conjugal bed, what did they find? Did the guidance differ between generations, places, or cultural contexts? How did thinkers in a tradition based on supposedly binding texts deal with changing sensibilities, needs, and realities in this intimate domain? This study explores sources from the Bible to contemporary publications, showing both stability and change in what Jews were instructed to do, or to avoid doing, when having sex with their spouse.
This volume is devoted to the texts, traditions, and practices of the Land of Israel from the end of the Second Temple period through late antiquity. Based upon a conference organized by the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies, this collection uses a range of critical methodologies and sources, including the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmudim, archaeology, and Samaritan and Jewish liturgical poetry. It presents a vibrant, complex, and multi-layered series of snapshots of rabbinic culture, written by leading contemporary scholars.
In 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte created the Duchy of Warsaw from the Polish lands that had been ceded to France by Prussia. His Civil Code was enforced in the new Duchy too and, unlike the Catholic Church, it allowed the dissolution of marriage by divorce.

This book sheds new light on the application of Napoleonic divorce regulations in the Polish lands between 1808-1852. Unlike what has been argued so far, this book demonstrates that divorces were happening frequently in 19th century Poland and even with the same rate as in France. In addition to the analysis of the Napoleonic divorce law, the reader is provided with a fully comprehensive description of parties as well as courts and officials involved in divorce proceedings, their course and the grounds for divorce.
David Novak is widely recognized as one of the most prominent Jewish thinkers in North America today and his most important contribution to philosophy has been his work on natural law. This book is an exploration of the shift in the content and context of that theory by reference to the metaphysical meaning that Novak ultimately assigns to reason. This change is then analyzed within the framework of Novak’s covenantal theology and his developing view of redemption in particular. Through this examination, this book highlights the contribution of Novak's natural law theory to the continuing debate over the role of reason in Judaism.
11Q19, 11Q20, 11Q21, 4Q524, 5Q21 with 4Q365a
In this volume, Schiffman and Gross present a new edition of all of the manuscript evidence for the Temple Scroll from Qumran. It includes innumerable new readings and restorations of all of the manuscripts as well as a detailed critical apparatus comparing the manuscripts of the Temple Scroll as well as Qumran biblical manuscripts and the ancient versions. Each manuscript is provided with a new translation, and a commentary is presented for the main text. Also included are a general introduction, bibliography of published works on the text, catalog of photographic evidence, and concordance including all vocables in all the manuscripts and their restorations. This work promises to move research on the Temple Scroll to a new level.
In Intention in Talmudic Law: Between Thought and Deed, Shana Strauch Schick offers the first comprehensive history of intention in classical Jewish law (1st-6th centuries CE). Through close readings of rabbinic texts and explorations of contemporaneous legal-religious traditions, Strauch Schick constructs an intellectual history that reveals remarkable consistency within the rulings of particular sages, locales, and schools of thought. The book carefully traces developments across generations and among groups of rabbis, uncovering competing lineages of evolving legal and religious thought, and demonstrating how intention gradually became a nuanced, differentially applied concept across a wide array of legal realms.