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The social and institutional context: The changing world of late Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores some ways in which PRK's special discourse may be understood as a unique product of the period, shaped by the period's historical changes and peculiar concerns and anxieties. It begins with a simple consideration of the literary pressures and trajectories implied by rabbinic literary history, and moves on to a consideration of the ways in which PRK fits into the larger historical movement of rabbinic Judaism outward, toward the people, during this period. Finally, the chapter looks at larger trends in Roman Christian society, noting the general mood of change in the air, as well as the new sense of openness and populism, the increasing sense of fixity of religious borders, the mounting hostility toward Jews, and the search for a personal God. The chapter limits itself to PRK's social and institutional context.

Keywords: anxieties; historical changes; personal God; PRK's social and institutional context; PRK's special discourse; rabbinic Judaism; Roman Christian society



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