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Grant number like: FB-52726-06

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FB-52726-06Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent ScholarsSeth R. SchwartzToward a History of Ancient Jewish Social Relations7/1/2006 - 6/30/2007$40,000.00SethR.Schwartz   Columbia UniversityNew YorkNY10027-4649USA2005Ancient HistoryFellowships for College Teachers and Independent ScholarsResearch Programs400000400000

I begin with the observation that the canonical texts of the Jews reject the norms of Mediterranean culture--pervasive institutions of social reciprocity, a profound concern with honor, etc.--a disposition shared with Athenian democracy, philosophical sects, and some "mystery religions". The texts prescribe instead a society based on dependence on God and corporate solidarity. But such a vision was necessarily at odds with a life shaped by harsh economic conditions. I propose to examine three texts--Ben Sira, Josephus, Palestinian Talmud--to see what their accommodations can tell us about ancient Jewish social life.