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The Case Of The Modified Mamzer In Early Rabbinic Texts

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Chapter Summary

Throughout cultural history the illegitimate child has been a source of concern to societies. In Jewish literature, the first reference to the illegitimate child or bastard (mamzer) is found in the Torah Deuteronomy 23:2: "No mamzer shall be admitted into the congregation (assembly or community) of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of the decedents shall enter the congregation of the Lord.&t; The Mishnah, the first published rabbinic document (200 CE) with a specific logic governing its coherent discourse seems particularly concerned with the issue of mamzer. Examination of the text reveals a contemporary and sociological concern of the Rabbis that contrasts with the primary agenda of Mishnah. The early Rabbis of the Mishnah continued to view being a mamzer or bringing one into the world as an evil and immoral action.

Keywords: illegitimate child; Jewish literature; mamzer; rabbinic document; Rabbis of the Mishnah



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