Classical rabbinic law grew up in the shadow of the Roman empire, and must be understood in relationship to its legal legacy. Yet few, especially in the anglophone world, have mastered both corpuses—the remarkable Boaz Cohen was one; an undisputed pioneer, he built bridges between the legal cultures of these great civilizations. The essays collected here are a treasure of insight and erudition for all students of rabbinics, provincial Roman history, and comparative law.
For the classicist seeking to understand rabbinic writings or the scholar of Jewish law searching the Roman legal traditions, the barriers to access are high—disciplinary, linguistic, and cultural. The studies that make up Jewish and Roman Law, here reissued, offer an accessible gateway to the complex labyrinth of legal sources for a new generation of classicists and rabbinicists, a rigorous if humbling training ground, and vital conceptual foundation from which to assess cultural contact, sympathy, and divergence.
This two-volume set of essays by Boaz Cohen, late professor of law at the Jewish Theological Seminary and one of the leading talmudic scholars of his generation, was first published in 1966. The essays are accompanied here by a new introduction by Natalie B. Dohrmann of the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.