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Jewish Slavery in Antiquity [Hardcover]

Catherine Hezser
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

February 16, 2006 019928086X 978-0199280865
This book is the first comprehensive analysis of Jewish attitudes towards slavery in Hellenistic and Roman times. Against the traditional opinion that after the Babylonian Exile Jews refrained from employing slaves, Catherine Hezser shows that slavery remained a significant phenomenon of ancient Jewish everyday life and generated a discourse which resembled Graeco-Roman and early Christian views while at the same time preserving specifically Jewish nuances. Hezser examines the impact of domestic slavery on the ancient Jewish household and on family relationships. She discusses the perceived advantages of slaves over other types of labor and evaluates their role within the ancient Jewish economy. The ancient Jewish experience of slavery seems to have been so pervasive that slave images also entered theological discourse. Like their Graeco-Roman and Christian counterparts, ancient Jewish intellectuals did not advocate the abolition of slavery, but they used the biblical tradition and their own judgements to ameliorate the status quo.

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Editorial Reviews


...a comprehensive and absorbing study Margaret H. Williams, Journal of Roman Studies a carefully crafted study that is ambitious in scope, and her scholarship makes this book a significant contribution to Jewish and Roman history in late antiquity. THES a comprehensive book on Jewish slavery ... a mine of information David Rokeah, Journal of Theological Studies Catherine Hezser has produced an impressive work, erudite and marked by a keen social and literary sensitivity. It will be indispensable not only for the student of Jewish Studies, but also for everyone interested in the social history of Judaism under Roman imperial rule. European Journal of Jewish Studies

About the Author

Catherine Hezser is Reader in Middle Eastern Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019928086X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199280865
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,189,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewish Slavery in Antiquity August 1, 2012
Surely, this book is not inexpensive (but unfortunately all these books are expensive), BUT I rarely enjoyed reading a book more than reading this book.
Professor Hezser does not only give an excellent introduction into Jewish Slavery, but also compares it with slavery in the Hellenistic and Roman world. Thus she provides much more than the title of the book suggests. The entire text is based on ample evidence (it was for me surprising to learn how much there still is).
Having read this book one sees "slavery" in antiquity more authentic (closer to the facts) than one may before reading this book.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in social life in Roman times.
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