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Purity Of Lineage In Talmudic Babylonia

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Chapter Summary

The Jews of Babylonia in the Talmudic period saw themselves as responsible not only for the heritage of Jewish halakhah, but also as the faithful guardians of the purity of Jewish lineage. The Jews of Babylonia took care not to include in their community any proselytes whose conversion was not according to halakhah. Instructive evidence for the precedence of Babylonia over the Land of Israel in respect of the purity of lineage, in the eyes of the Babylonian amoraim is to be found in the description of the move of Ze'iri from Babylonia to the Land of Israel. The main expression of the importance of purity of lineage for the Jews of Babylonia can be seen from their definition of the borders of Talmudic Babylonia according to a yardstick which examined the strictness of observance of purity of lineage in every single town or village.

Keywords: Babylonia; Babylonian Amoraim; Jewish halakhah; Jews; purity of lineage; Talmudic Babylonia; Talmudic period



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