Tuesday, February 11, 2014

JSIJ: Brody, "Petoterot and Benot Shuah"

JEWISH STUDIES, AN INTERNET JOURNAL has published a new article: Robert Brody, "Petoterot and Benot Shuah." Click on the latter link to download the article as a pdf file. Abstract:
This article discusses Mishnah Avodah Zarah 1:5, which lists items which Jews are forbidden to sell to pagans, apparently because they were likely to be used in idolatrous worship. These include pine cones "and/with their petoterot" and benot shuah; "and" is the reading of the so-called Babylonian manuscripts of the Mishnah while "with" is the reading of the so-called Palestinian manuscripts. The author argues that "and" is the more original reading and that the traditional understanding of petoterot as stalks is correct. He further contends that Lieberman's identification of benot shuah needs to be corrected slightly: this term should be understood as referring specifically to the fruit of a certain variety of pine tree and not to the tree itself, which was called simply shuah.