Saturday, June 04, 2016

Pomeranz, "Ordinary Jews in the Babylonian Talmud"

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight | Jonathan Pomeranz.
Ordinary Jews in the Babylonian Talmud: Rabbinic Representations and Historical Interpretation

Jonathan Aaron Pomeranz, Yale University, 2016.

This dissertation addresses two questions. What was the nature of the relationship between rabbis and ordinary Jews in Babylonia? And what can be discovered about ordinary Jews from the evidence of the Babylonian Talmud? The dissertation argues that rabbis in Babylonia developed closer relationships with ordinary Jews over the course of the rabbinic period. The Babylonian rabbis transformed themselves from a relatively isolated elite group into a group that was much more integrated with ordinary Jews. Unlike their Palestinian counterparts, Babylonian sages seem to have achieved this integration largely on their own terms. Their closer social contacts with ordinary Jews were accompanied by a rise in their authority and the respect with which ordinary Jews treated them.