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Meanings of Death in Rabbinic Judaism

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Overview

There are many books devoted to explicating Jewish laws and customs relating to death and mourning and a wealth of studies addressing the significance of death practices around the world. However, never before has there been a study of the death and mourning practices of the founders of Judaism - the Rabbis of late antiquity. The Meanings of Death in Rabbinic Judaism fills that gap.
The author examines the earliest canonical texts - the Mishnah, the Tosefta, the Midrashim and the Talmud of the Land of Israel. He outlines the rituals described in these texts, from preparation for death to reburial of bones and the end of mourning. David Kraemer explores the relationships between the texts and interprets the rituals to uncover the beliefs which informed their foundation. He discusses the material evidence preserved in the largest Jewish burial complex in antiquity - the catacombs at Beth Shearim. Finally, the author offers an interpretation of the Rabbis' interpretations of death rituals - those recorded in the Babylonian Talmud.
The Meanings of Death in Rabbinic Judaism provides a comprehensive and illuminating introduction to the formation, practice and significance of death rituals in Rabbinic Judaism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415211833
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

I. The Presence of Death

II. Jewish Death Customs Before the Rabbis

III. Early Rabbinic Death Practices: The Evidence of the Mishnah

IV. Early Expansions and Commentaries: The Testimony of the Tosefta and Tannaitic Midrashim

V. Jewish Death Practices in Reality: The Catacombs and Beth Shearim

VI. Jewish Death Practices in Early Byzantine Palestine: The Yerushalmi and Aggadic Midrashim

VII. Law as Commentary: The Bavli on Death and Burial

VIII. The Bavli Interprets the Mourner

IX. Post-Talmudic Developments in Jewish Death Practice

X. Personal Theological Postscript

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