Reading Talmudic Sources as Arguments: A New Interpretive Approach elucidates the unique characteristics of Talmudic discourse culture. Approaching Talmudic literature from a linguistic perspective, the book shows the extensive and hidden ways in which later rabbis used early formulations. Applying Quentin Skinner's interpretive question “What was the author doing in composing the text in this particular way?" to Talmudic literature reveals that Talmudic debate is not only about ideas, concepts and laws but also about the latter's connection to pre-existing formulations. These early traditions, rather than only being accepted or not, are used by later generations to build their own arguments. The book articulates the function of tradition at the time that Rabbinic Judaism was forged.
Author: Marc Michaels
In A Critical Edition, Commentary and Reconstruction of Two 10th/11th Century Manuscripts of Parts of Sefer Tagin from the Cairo Genizah, Marc Michaels transcribes and recreates fragments of arguably the earliest found manuscript of the manual for sofrim (scribes) concerning the decorative tagin (tittles) and 'strange' letter forms that adorn certain words in the Torah. Comparing these found fragments from the Cairo Genizah that now reside in the Taylor-Schechter Cairo Genizah Collection at Cambridge University Library against the other core and secondary sources of Sefer Tagin (including several pages of a new secondary source also from Cambridge), Michaels establishes the most likely readings to assist the reconstruction of the fragments and shed light on the original intention of the author of Sefer Tagin.
Editors: Zvi Stampfer and Amir Ashur
The articles in this volume focus on the legal, linguistic, historical and literary roles of Jewish women in the Islamic world of the Middle Ages. Drawing heavily on manuscript evidence from the Cairo Genizah, the authors examine the challenges involved in the identification and interpretation of women’s letters from medieval Egypt, the registers of women’s written language, the relations between Jewish women and the Muslim legal system, the conversion of women, visions of women in Hell and gendered readings in the aggadic tradition of Judaism.
In: Language, Gender and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu
In: Language, Gender and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu
In: Language, Gender and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu
In: Language, Gender and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu
In: Language, Gender and Law in the Judaeo-Islamic Milieu
Jewish Community, Religion, and Family in Early Modern Metz
In Law’s Dominion, Jay Berkovitz offers a novel approach to the history of early modern Jewry. Set in the city of Metz, on the Moselle river, this study of a vibrant prerevolutionary community draws on a wide spectrum of legal sources that tell a story about community, religion, and family that has not been told before.
Focusing on the community’s leadership, public institutions, and judiciary, this study challenges the assumption that Jewish life was in a steady state of decline before the French Revolution. To the contrary, the evidence reveals a robust community that integrated religious values and civic consciousness, interacted with French society, and showed remarkable signs of collaboration between Jewish law and the French judicial system.

In Law’s Dominion, Jay Berkovitz has gathered and meticulously mined a dazzling array of rich and complex rabbinic texts and records from Western Europe during the early modern period, including the pinkas of the rabbinic court of Metz that he previously rescued from oblivion. What emerges is a remarkably fresh depiction and incisive comparative treatment of central aspects of Jewish law, religion and family, which will have far-reaching ramifications for all future studies in these disciplines.
-Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature, and Law at Yeshiva University