The Rabbinic Movement from Pharisees to Provincial Jurists

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In this article I argue that the rabbinic movement reinvented itself during the second century by expanding the boundaries of Jewish law to include all spheres of private law, and thereby claiming juristic expertise in these matters. A variety of sources from the Second Temple period indicate that Jewish law at this stage included primarily ritual laws, while private law was not considered unique to the Jewish way of life and was not treated by scholars of Torah until the second century CE. This far-reaching change resonates with other concurrent developments in provincial legal culture, primarily the emergence of the local nomikoi (legal experts) and legal profession during this period and the dissemination of legal knowledge in the Roman East. The provincial situation served to reshape the rabbinic movement in the guise of the local jurists, and ultimately to establish their political and social standing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-43
Number of pages43
JournalJournal for the Study of Judaism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Jewish law
  • Mishnah
  • Roman Empire
  • Roman law
  • Second Temple
  • courts
  • jurists

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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