This study discusses the historical evolution of inns and innkeeping in Jewish society in Roman Palestine and examines their social implications, and in particular, the relationship between opposite ends of the social ladder, and what this meant for the status of women. After a sketch of innkeeping in the Ancient Near East from the third millennium B.C.E., the focus is on the Roman period. During that period, it is argued, innkeeping, originally associated with sexual promiscuity and the lowest strata of society, gained acceptance only with difficulty in the religiously conservative Jewish society of the time. Nevertheless, in time it became quite common and rabbinic sources of the 2nd and 3rd centuries C.E. take it for granted.
This book analyses the data about Torah centers and rabbinic activity in Palestine during Mishnaic and Talmudic times, 70–400 CE—the Roman and early Byzantine periods. The research is an interdisciplinary inquiry. It encompasses rabbinic literature as well as archeology, geography, and sociology, thus enriching the discussion of the history and scope of rabbinic activity in the different regions of Palestine. Arranged in chronological order, the book highlights the changes generated by historical events, in particular the relocation of rabbinic centers following the upheaval of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. In spite of this upheaval, Torah centers continued to develop in Palestine for several hundred years, until the end of the period under discussion.
The article deals with the understanding of the historical and legal components of the law prohibiting fraud (honayah) as appears from the Bible to Rabbinic literature. The first section reviews this law and its understanding from Biblical times until the destruction of the Second Temple. Then follows a discussion of the changes that arose after this period, based on the information gleaned from the rabbinic literature, on fraud, its development, and its structure. The law declares that every deviation of one sixth of an accepted price is called fraud. The article analyzes the main issues of the law such as: is this sixth of the gross price or of the net price? How can one set the legal definitions of profit and fraud for an object that was resold several times. The authors analyze cases in which it is difficult to set a price due to various reasons, or items that both the buyer and seller cannot complain of fraud. The rabbinic law is compared and contrasted to the contemporary Roman law.
This book analyzes Jewish society in Roman Palestine in the time of the Mishnah (70–250 CE) in a systematic way, carefully delineating the various economic groups living therein, from the destitute, to the poor, to the middling, to the rich, and to the superrich. It gleans the various socioeconomic strata from the terminology employed by contemporary literary sources via contextual, philological, and historical-critical analysis. It also takes a multidisciplinary approach to analyze and interpret relevant archeological and inscriptional evidence as well as numerous legal sources.
The research presented herein shows that various expressions in the sources have latent meanings that indicate socioeconomic status. “Rich,” for example, does not necessarily refer to the elite, and “poor” does not necessarily refer to the destitute. Jewish society consisted of groups on a continuum from extremely poor to extremely rich, and the various middling groups played a more important role in the economy than has hitherto been thought.
The book presents a variety of topics relating to the market in Roman Palestine. The book deals with the main elements of commercial life – the different types of markets and the entities and figures that played a part in it. It portrays the process by which the flow of goods in the market occurs – from the end of the production process, via the entire range of middlemen, to the end user.
A chapter is devoted to the pricing of merchandise in the economy of Roman Palestine. It offers a comprehensive framework which includes the techniques by which prices were determined and enforced. Other chapters deal with the image of the different market vendors, as viewed by the public and by the Jewish sages, and the commercial activity that took place in and around the synagogues.
The book is based on a combination of rabbinic, literary and archaeological sources as well as epigraphic findings. It depicts the economy of Roman Palestine against the backdrop of the Roman Empire.