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Chapter Summary

This book has three goals: first, to define Pesikta deRav Kahana's (PRK) special discourse; second, to show that its discourse is new in the history of rabbinic midrash; and third, to place this new special discourse into its historical context. The goal of the book is to place PRK in a literary history that shows the changes and developments in midrash over the years. Part of the goal is to draw connections between PRK's language of persuasion and the new conception of the gradual growth of rabbinic influence during this period. The book also participates in a growing interest among rabbinics scholars in questions of identity and conversion in late antiquity. In asking questions about how the rabbis managed to effect such conversions and thereby achieve some power and influence in the Jewish community, the book participates in a new interest in questions of power among rabbinics scholars.

Keywords: conversion; identity; Jewish community; language of persuasion; Pesikta deRav Kahana (PRK); power; powerlessness; rabbinic midrash



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