Cases and Rabbinic Authority
Rabbis appear as judges in cases in approximately 200 narratives, more or less divided between the “tannaitic” texts (putatively describing figures before the early third century), and “amoraic texts” (involving Rabbis from the third and fourth centuries). A detailed table of cases and some statistical discussion appears in the Appendix. Based on these cases, examination of provincial practice as attested in papyri, and Roman law, the chapter argues that Rabbis functioned primarily as decisors and arbitrators for their adherents. There are, however, some significant differences between the earlier and later cases. In particular, the earlier cases appear to reflect the concerns of a movement of pietists, while the later cases reflect a somewhat broader set of legal issues.
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