The Archaeology and Material Culture of the Babylonian Talmud

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The Babylonian Talmud remains the richest source of information regarding the material culture and lifestyle of the Babylonian Jewish community, with additional data now supplied by Babylonian incantation bowls. Although archaeology has yet to excavate any Jewish sites from Babylonia, information from Parthian and Sassanian Babylonia provides relevant background information, which differs substantially from archaeological finds from the Land of Israel. One of the key questions addresses the amount of traffic and general communications between Jewish Babylonia and Israel, considering the great distances and hardships of travel involved.
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Biographical Note

Markham J. Geller, Ph.D (1974), Brandeis University, is Professor of Semitic Languages and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at University College London, currently on secondment to the Freie University Berlin as Professor für Wissensgeschichte. He is Principal Investigator of BabMed, an Advanced ERC Project.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements
The Contributors
Introduction: The Archaeology and Material Culture of the Babylonian Talmud, Markum. J. Geller
Land behind Ctesiphon: the Archaeology of Babylonia during the Period of the Babylonian Talmud, St John Simpson
‘Recycling economies, when efficient, are by their nature invisible.’ A First Century Jewish Recycling Economy, Matthew Ponting and Dan Levene
The Cedar in Jewish Antiquity, Michael Stone
Since when do Women go to Miqveh? Archaeological and Rabbinic Evidence, Tal Ilan
Rabbis in Incantation Bowls, Shaul Shaked
Divorcing a Demon: Incantation Bowls and BT Giṭṭin 85b, Siam Bhayro
Lilith’s Hair and Ashmedai’s Horns: Incantation Bowl Imagery in the Light of Talmudic Descriptions, Naama Vilozny
The Material World of Babylonia as seen from Roman Palestine: Some Preliminary Observations, Yaron Eliav
Travel Between Palestine and Mesopotamia during the Hellenistic and Roman Periods: A Preliminary Study, Getzel Cohen (z’’l)
Shopping in Ctesiphon: A Lesson in Sasanian Commercial Practice, Yaakov Elman
Substance and Fruit in the Sasanian Law of Property and the Babylonian Talmud, Maria Macuch
Rabbinic, Christian, and Local Calendars in Late Antique Babylonia: Influence and Shared Culture, Sacha Stern
‘Manasseh sawed Isaiah with a Saw of Wood:’ an Ancient Legend in Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Persian Sources, Richard Kalmin
Biblical ‘Archaeology’ and Babylonian Rabbis: On the Self-Image of Jews in Sasanian Babylonia, Isaiah Gafni
Loanwords in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic: Some Preliminary Observations, Theodore Kwasman
The Gymnasium at Babylon and Jerusalem, Markham J. Geller and D. T. Potts
Index

Readership

All interested in the text of the Babylonian Talmud from the perspective of its material culture, geography, and technical knowledge (e.g. metallurgy, magic, ritual baths).

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