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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Jews and Judaism in the Rabbinic Era: Image and Reality – History and Historiography
Gafni, Isaiah

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019 pp. x + 547. $237.00

Series Information
Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, 173

Description: This collection of essays by Isaiah M. Gafni reflects over forty years of research on central issues of Jewish history in one of its formative eras. Questions relating to representations of the past, beginning with Josephus but primarily in rabbinic and post-rabbinic literature, represent an axial theme in this volume. Throughout the collection the author addresses the tension between realities on the ground and the historiography that shaped the image of that reality for all subsequent generations. Two specific clusters of studies analyze the emergence and development of the Babylonian rabbinic community, as well as the complex relationship between the Judaean centre and the Jewish diaspora in Late Antiquity. A final selection of essays examines the impact of modern ideologies and revised methods of research on the image of Jewish life and rabbinic leadership in late antique Judaism.

Subjects: Bible, Mishnah, Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Literary Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches, Reception History

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Review by Eliezer Diamond
Published 6/4/2020
Citation: Eliezer Diamond, review of Isaiah Gafni, Jews and Judaism in the Rabbinic Era: Image and Reality – History and Historiography, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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