Law and Truth in Bib­li­cal and Rab­binic Literature

Chaya T. Halberstam
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By – August 26, 2011
Can we ever be sure we know the truth? Does being reli­gious mean you are sure you know what God wants? Hal­ber­stam explores these ques­tions in the Bible and among the rab­bis of the Mish­nah, in both legal and the­o­log­i­cal con­texts. Ana­lyz­ing large swaths of texts from the Mish­nah, Mekhil­ta, Sifra, and Sifre, Hal­ber­stam focus­es on case stud­ies from three areas — rit­u­al laws of puri­ty, civ­il law, and cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. In each case, she empha­sizes the
things that the Bible took for grant­ed and the ways in which the Rab­bis prob­lema­tized thoseassump­tions, replac­ing them with legal constructs.Trained in bib­li­cal stud­ies and expand­ing those skills into rab­binics, Hal­ber­stam is more sen­si­tive than most to the ways in which the Rab­bis depart­ed from their bib­li­cal sources. She applies the lat­est the­o­ries in the study of rab­binics to the texts before her, teas­ing out a basic under­ly­ing world­view. The spe­cif­ic analy­sis is thought-pro­vok­ing, and the over­all the­sis is con­vinc­ing. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes

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