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Private Law

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Chapter Summary

Cases of private law could be brought before four different courts. During the Second Temple period cases would mostly be brought before the local archons. Even after the destruction of the Temple many actions were adjudicated by local arbitrators. Sometimes petition was made to the gentile authorities for their decision according to Roman or even according to Jewish law. However, the sages insisted on the exclusive jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts. Anyone who turned to any other court was accused of acting illegally, even though the judgment in such a court may have been in agreement with the rabbinical law. The judicial office was taken as part of the right of teaching the law reserved to ordained rabbis, so that laymen and gentiles were excluded.

Keywords: Jewish law; private law; rabbinical courts; rabbinical law; Roman law; Second Temple period

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