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Hezser, Catherine (2005) Jewish Slavery in Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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This book is an historical-critical study of Jewish slavery in antiquity, comparing the Jewish discourse on slavery with Graeco-Roman and Christian attitudes, and the first comprehensive analysis of Jewish attitudes towards slavery in Hellenistic and Roman times. It subverts many traditional views of Jews and slavery in antiquity; for example, showing against the traditional opinion that after the Babylonian Exile Jews refrained from employing slaves, that slavery remained a significant phenomenon of ancient Jewish everyday life, and generated a discourse which resembled Graeco-Roman and early Christian views while at the same time preserving specifically Jewish nuances. It examines the impact of domestic slavery on the ancient Jewish household and on family relationships, discusses the perceived advantages of slaves over other types of labor, and evaluates their role within the ancient Jewish economy. The ancient Jewish experience of slavery seems to have been so pervasive that slave images also entered theological discourse. Like their Graeco-Roman and Christian counterparts, ancient Jewish intellectuals did not advocate the abolition of slavery, but they used the biblical tradition and their own judgements to ameliorate the status quo.

Item Type: Authored Books
Keywords: ancient Judaism, rabbinic literature, slavery
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions
ISBN: 9780199280865
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 02 May 2008 14:58

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