Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests

Jason Mokhtarian
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This book engages the complex interface between texts and contexts, a longstanding problem in the field of rabbinics. When scholars research ancient corpora such as the Talmud, the word “context” denotes a wide range of possible meanings. For instance, rabbinic literature is fruitfully analyzed, often simultaneously, within interrelated literary, cultural, and sociohistorical contexts. Indeed, academic debates in rabbinics are constantly reinvigorated by the inherent tensions and interdependencies that exist between rabbinic texts and contexts, with scholarly methods falling along a spectrum according to which type of context a given researcher emphasizes. On this spectrum of approaches, this book on rabbinic culture in Sasanian Iran intentionally foregrounds the ties between Talmudic texts and Sasanian sociohistorical contexts.