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Marriage in the Talmud : its concepts, laws and customs

Marriage may be viewed from several aspects: social, economic, religious, ethical, political, legal and anthropological. In recent years, several books on Marriage in the Talmud have been published in which their authors deal with the legal aspect of this institution. A study of Talmudic literature, however, leaves no doubt that the religious aspect of marriage constituted the main consideration of the Rabbis in formulating their Marriage laws. Conditions prevailing in Palestine and in Babylon during the first century B.C.E. and the four following centuries, compelled the Rabbis to stress the paramount importance of marriage as a religious duty. The nature of these conditions and how they influenced the Rabbis in their concept of marriage are fully discussed in the first two chapters. At the same time, the Rabbis felt that the social and economic aspects must not be overlooked. It may seam strange that for the purpose of marriage, Palestine should have been divided into three districts: Judea, Galilee and Transjordan. What is even more strange is the fact that a number of Babylonian scholars refused to marry into Palestinian families. This attitude of the Rabbis is fully explained in chapter three and various reasons are given to support their point of view. To the best of my knowledge, no complete picture of the various customs and ceremonials connected with betrothal and marriage in Talmudic times, has so far been presented. I have tried to rectify this omission. In my final chapters, I have tried to give not only a clear picture of the type of betrothal and wedding that took place in Palestine and Babylon during the Talmudic period, but I have also tried to analyse the various customs, ceremonials and rites in order to gain a clear understanding of their religious and social aspects. I have limited myself to the subjects indicated above as I considered them interrelated and of primary importance to the understanding of marriage in the rabbinic ideology. I have,therefore, omitted to deal with the rabbinic concept of divorce and other aspects of the relationship between husband and wife, as these topics require detailed treatment and could not, in my opinion, be included in the same dissertation.
Date January 1959
CreatorsWeinberg, Jacob
PublisherUniversity of Cape Town, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Religious Studies
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeDoctoral Thesis, Doctoral, PhD

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