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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24303

Title: "Is she forbidden or permitted?" (bSanhedrin 82a): A Legal Study of Intermarriage in Classical Jewish Sources
Authors: Clenman, Laliv
Advisor: Meacham, Tirzah
Department: Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
Keywords: Intermarriage
Rabbinics
Jewish Law
Judaism
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2010
Abstract: This legal comparative study explores the nature and development of rabbinic thought on intermarriage. One could hardly phrase the query that lies at the heart of this work better than the Talmud itself: "Is she forbidden or permitted?" (bSanhedrin 82a). This challenge, posed to Moses as part of an exegetical exploration of the problem of intermarriage, asks so much more than whether an Israelite might marry a Gentile. It points to conflicts between biblical law and narrative, biblical and rabbinic law, as well as incompatibilities within rabbinic halakhah. The issues of status, national identity and gender loom large as the various legal and narrative sources on intermarriage are set on an hermeneutic collision course. In this way many rabbinic sources display a deep understanding of the complexity inherent to any discussion of intermarriage in rabbinic tradition. Considering intermarriage as a construct that lies at the intersection between identity and marital rules, we begin this study of rabbinic legal systems with an analysis of the notion of intramarriage and Jewish identity in halakhah as expressed through the system of the asarah yuchasin (ten lineages). Discussion of various systems dealing with intermarriage follows, including qiddushin (Jewish betrothal/marriage) and the status of the offspring of intermarriage, the concept of the qahal (congregation of God), the arayot (levitical incest laws) as well as the individual legal rules related to marriage and sexual relations between Jews and Gentiles. The role of narrative in the representation of case law and rabbinic engagement with these legal systems forms an integral part of our analysis of the law. The overall conclusion of the dissertation is that rabbinic approaches to intermarriage were characterized by multiplicity and diversity. Rabbinic tradition engaged with the issue of intermarriage through a wide variety of often unrelated and incompatible legal systems. Furthermore, it is apparent that conflicting attitudes towards the interpretation and implementation of these rules are represented in both tannaitic (c. 70-200 C.E.) and amoraic sources (c. 200-500 C.E.), such that several key problems related to intermarriage in early rabbinic tradition remain unresolved.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24303
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations - Doctoral theses

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