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This book contributes to a new understanding of the interaction between Jews and Christians in the ancient world, particularly in the Persian Empire, and of the development of the Babylonian Talmud, the most central book for the development of Jewish culture.
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'The comparisons that Bar-Asher Siegal makes between the rabbinic texts and Christian monastic texts are extraordinarily enlightening and thought-provoking ...' Joshua Kulp, Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History
'This book will certainly be a necessary reading not only for Talmudic scholars, but for students of Christian monastic literature as well.' Jonathan L. Zecher, Reviews in Religion and Theology
'This book is a truly pioneering endeavor. ... The excitement of this book is in its particular readings of well-studied talmudic narratives, and its demonstration of how points of obscurity (either known or unknown unknowns) are illuminated when compared with stories from the Desert Fathers. One of the most impressive of these is her work on the Bavli's narrative of the conversion of Resh Lakish: Resh Lakish was some sort of brigand and perhaps a gladiator as well as a pursuer of women.' Daniel Boyarin, Los Angeles Review of Books
'Few first books of a scholar based on a doctoral dissertation can be described as both pioneering and outstanding. While it might be an exaggeration to state that Michal Bar-Asher Siegal has established a brand new cutting-edge field in talmudics, she has come close ... Bar-Asher Siegal's groundbreaking work is just the beginning. It sheds light not only on talmudics and rabbinic literature but also on the understanding of the history of Jew and Christian and their religions in the ancient world and the relationships between them. One looks forward to the future work of the author as well as of those who will also continue the study of the cultural and historical phenomena that she began.' Joshua Schwartz, Reviews of Biblical Literature
This book examines literary analogies in Christian and Jewish sources, culminating in an in-depth analysis of striking parallels and connections between Christian monastic texts (the Apophthegmata Patrum or 'The Sayings of the Desert Fathers') and Babylonian Talmudic traditions. The importance of the monastic movement in the Persian Empire, during the time of the composition and redaction of the Babylonian Talmud, fostered a literary connection between the two religious populations. The shared literary elements in the literatures of these two elite religious communities sheds new light on the surprisingly inclusive nature of the Talmudic corpora and on the non-polemical nature of elite Jewish-Christian literary relations in late antique Persia.
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