Rabbinic law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Rabbinic law contains legal rulings and analysis, and deals with both practical and theoretical issues. It includes ritual, civil, criminal, and marital law. Its sources include rabbinic biblical exegesis, custom and tradition, rabbinic legislation, and various types of logical reasoning. Rabbinic law is distinguished from earlier Jewish legal writings in its great detail, systematization, and preoccupation with legal matters. Affinities exist between rabbinic law and ancient Near Eastern law, Greek-Hellenistic law, and Roman and Iranian law. Nevertheless, it is generally difficult to speak of influence. Numerous specific disputes and general differences in approach obtain between rabbinic law and Qumran law. The nature and scope of rabbinic legal authority in rabbinic times are hotly debated. Rabbinic law is characterized by pluralism; a primarily case-based approach to law; and the frequent use of analogy in legal reasoning. Rabbinic law is often formalistic, although many rabbinic rulings were apparently based on policy considerations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Biblical Law
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2019

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Jewish law -- History
  • Judaism -- History
  • Law -- Middle East -- History
  • Rabbinical literature -- History and criticism


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