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Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism$
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Kattan Gribetz Sarit

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192857

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192857.001.0001

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Rabbinic and Roman Time

Rabbinic and Roman Time

(p.35) Chapter One Rabbinic and Roman Time
Time and Difference in Rabbinic Judaism

Sarit Kattan Gribetz

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the differentiation and synchronization of rabbinic and Roman time by examining rabbinic attitudes toward the Roman calendar and its annual festivals. Mishnah Avodah Zarah begins with a list of Roman festivals and prohibitions against participating even in the non-cultic commercial activities that surrounded them. Ironically, by trying so deliberately not to observe the Roman calendar and by formulating laws intended to limit interactions between Romans and Jews on certain calendar days, the rabbis of the Mishnah actually integrated the rhythms of the Roman calendar into their own daily lives, embedding Roman temporal sensibilities into the Jewish calendar. However, the Roman calendar became integrated into the Jewish calendar not only through the formulation of rabbinic laws intended to limit interactions between Romans and Jews on certain calendar days but also through the Judaization of the Roman calendar in the rabbinic imagination. These illuminate just how integral past and present Roman time was for the rabbis — a grave threat from which the rabbis sought to protect and distance their community, and so pervasive in the rabbis' environment that they sought to Judaize the Roman calendar.

Keywords:   rabbinic time, Roman time, Roman calendar, Mishnah Avodah Zarah, Roman festivals, Jewish calendar, rabbinic laws, Romans, Jews, Judaization

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