Abstracts

STATUS

J.D. Amusin, "Die Gerim in der sozialen Legislatur des Alten Testaments", Klio 63 (1981), 15-23. - The various allusions to the gerim "sojourners" in the social legislation of the Old Testament are noted, e.g. Lev. 19:9-10, 23:22; Deut. 14:28-9, 24:19, 20-21, 26-12. When we read of "the poor, the ger, the widow and the orphan" it is probable that "the widow and orphan" were those of dead gerim, whose position in foreign countries was especially precarious. So far as the laws in the Mishnah concerning the gerim are concerned, it is not impossible that some of them embody early material. The Old Testament contains a number of admonitions employing the negative imperative (e.g. "do not oppress ...") concerning the gerim, for the purpose of protecting them (e.g. Ex. 22:20-21, 23:9; Lev. 19:33-4; Deut. 24:14-15; Ezek. 22:7; Ps. 94:6; Mal. 3:5). These remained only admonitions but the Talmud tried to introduce sanctions for their enforcement. Like native Israelites the gerim had the right of asylum (cf. Num. 35:15) and they were also on an equal footing with respect to the lex talionis (cf. Lev. 24:22). They lacked the right to own property, however. (J.D.)

Michael Corinaldi, The Personal Status of the Karaites (Heb.), Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 1984, ISBN 965-09-0036-0, Pp. 288 + 44, Price: $20.00. - This is a pioneering study of modern Karaite law, written by a lawyer expert in the subject from both the academic and practical points of view. An introductory chapter traces the history of the Karaites, and is written by a Karaite collaborator, with the author's assistance. Part One deals first with the arrangement of marriage, and then with divorce by judicial decree in Karaite halakhah. An English version of this last section, previously published in Diné Israel IX (1978-1980), 101-144, is conveniently provided in a pocket attached to the back cover. It traces the topic through the principal Karaite sources, in historical sequence, and thus serves also to introduce the reader to the classical sources of the Karaite system. Part Two deals with intermarriage between Karaites and other Jews, from the viewpoint of rabbinic authorities. Particular attention is paid to the contemporary position in Israel, and Appendices reproduce a letter of Chief Rabbi Ovadya Joseph on the permission of intermarriage, and that of a rabbinical court in Haifa. Part Three deals with the personal status of the Karaites in Israel, including their status as a "religious community" and the millet system as received under the Mandate and later in Israel; and the question of the applicability of the Rabbinic Courts Jurisdiction (Marriage and Divorce) Law 1953, culminating in a parallel Bill for Karaite courts, presented to the Knesset in 1979 (and reproduced in an Appendix), a Bill which the Knesset decided to "refer back to the government". A further Appendix publishes for the first time a study of the Karaite problem by a 16th century scholar, Rabbi Shmuel Ibn Hakim Halevi. This is an invaluable work to both historians of Jewish law and those concerned with its modern application. (B.S.J.)

Ernst Roth, "The Definition of Childhood and Adulthood in Talmudic Literature" (Heb.), Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division C (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1982), 29-34.

 

 

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