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“Go And Enjoy Your Acquisition”: The Prostitute In The Babylonian Talmud

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Chapter Summary

The term zonah (prostitute) or znut (prostitution) in the Babylonian Talmud is employed differently in distinct situations. This chapter examines the Babylonian Talmud's prostitute, as portrayed by its editors, primarily through the parable. It searches the message conveyed by the Talmud's redactors that clarify the social status of the prostitute in rabbinic society. Prostitution is portrayed as the most contemptible form of moral and social behavior in rabbinic society. To depict "this worldly" materialistic behavior in contrast to spiritual actions or the holiness of the Rabbis, the prostitute is employed. The Talmud's illustrations concerning the prostitute can be divided into four areas: a. The Rabbis or halakha's strength and superiority; b. The prostitute as the object of man's world; c. To depict the total negative or this-worldliness of the prostitute; d. A basis for repentance.

Keywords: Babylonian Talmud; prostitute; rabbinic society

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