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The Three BlessingsBoundaries, Censorship, and Identity in Jewish Liturgy$
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Yoel Kahn

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373295

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373295.001.0001

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Defining Oneself against the Other

Defining Oneself against the Other

Sources and Parallels in Late Antiquity

(p.9) 1 Defining Oneself against the Other
The Three Blessings

Yoel H. Kahn

Oxford University Press

According to the Talmud, tractate Menahot 43b, Rabbi Meir taught that a Jewish man should thank God daily for “not making me a gentile, a woman or a slave.” These Jewish blessings have parallels in a variety of classical Hellenistic sources and are attributed to Socrates and Plutarch, as well as other notable figures. The origins of the Jewish liturgical blessings probably began as a boundary-marking aphorism whose content was easily changed as it was adapted by Jewish, Zoroastrian and Hellenistic communities. The earliest Greek and Hebrew texts are parallel to each other; the oppositions they inscribe, internally and with each other, are dissolved by and explain the force of NT Galatians 3:26.

Keywords:   BT Menahot 43b, Galatians 3:26, Socrates, Plutarch,”, Rabbi Meir

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