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Series - 1. Gorgias Press imprint series (new books) - Judaism in Context (1935-6978) - The Rabbis’ King-Parables
By Alan Appelbaum
(Judaism in Context 7)


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Buy this book together with Judaic Logic by Andrew Schumann
The Rabbis’ King-Parables: Midrash From the Third-Century Roman Empire examines the ancient Rabbis at work using parables about kings; parables that reflect the Rabbis' ideas about the role of the ruler in society, and the relationship of humanity to God. It considers the parables as resistance literature in light of the work of theorists of dominated groups. It is the first systematic attempt to read the parables as sources for Roman history in over 100 years.+Judaic reasoning is discussed from the standpoint of modern logic. Andrew Schumann defines Judaic logic, traces Aristotelian influence on developing Jewish studies in Judaic reasoning, and shows the non-Aristotelian core of fundamentals of Judaic logic. Further, Schumann proposes some modern approaches to understanding and formalizing Judaic reasoning, including Judaic semantics and (non-Aristotelian) syllogistics.Save $57.14
Total List Price: $380.90
Buy both books for only $323.77


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The Rabbis’ King-Parables
By Alan Appelbaum
(Judaism in Context 7)

 E-mail this product to your librarian or to a friend

Title:The Rabbis’ King-Parables
Subtitle:Midrash From the Third-Century Roman Empire
Series:Judaism in Context 7
Availability:In Print
Publisher:Gorgias Press

By Alan Appelbaum
Availability:In Print
Publication Date:6/2010
Format:Hardback, Black, 6 x 9 in

The Rabbis’ King-Parables: Midrash From the Third-Century Roman Empire, shows the ancient Rabbis at work in different ways and with different purposes, but always with the same tools, parables of kings. As it attends in detail to the king-parables’ form, structure, functions, settings and characters, it emphasizes the Rabbis’ distinctive ideas about the relationship of humanity to God, and it engages with studies by scholars such as David Stern, Daniel Boyarin, Martin Goodman and Clemens Thoma and with the method of dating rabbinic material advocated by Jacob Neusner. It considers the parables as resistance literature in light of the work of theorists of dominated groups, and it is the first systematic attempt to read the parables as sources for Roman history in over 100 years.

Alan Appelbaum, Research Affiliate in the Yale Department of Religious Studies and Program in Judaic Studies for the past three years, holds a Ph.D. from Yale and an M. A. J. S. degree from Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion. He is Senior Counsel to the international law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. His published work includes articles on Roman imperial history, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, and the applicability of contemporary theory to rabbinic literature.


An essential resource for scholars and students with an interest in rabbinic parables at any level, including the most advanced, and one that emphasizes and illuminates the ancient Rabbis’ own reasons for composing them. -- Steven D. Fraade, Yale University

The Rabbis’ King-Parables takes scholarship on the rabbinic parable to a new stage through careful, comprehensive and highly readable analysis of the genre and powerful interpretation of individual examples. -- Beth A. Berkowitz, Jewish Theological Seminary

In a study that deftly employs rabbinic and Greek and Latin sources, Appelbaum reveals and corrects misconceptions about the ancient Rabbis´ parables that rabbinics scholars have been passing along among themselves for decades. -- Seth Schwartz, Columbia University

In this methodologically rigorous examination of 3rd-century C.E. rabbinic king-parables, Appelbaum takes the ongoing debate over the historical usefulness of rabbinic sources one step further, arguing that these sources can be profitably utilized not only by students of rabbinic Judaism but also by Roman historians. -- Christine E. Hayes, Yale University

"Appelbaum’s study is reflective of a methodological watershed in the study of rabbinic narratives. . . This approach should be extended to synoptic parables. . . and 2nd c. rabbis. Thus, [his] well-written book shows promising ways for studying the mesmerizing literature called parables."

Eric Ottenheijm, Journal for the Study of Judaism 43 (2012): 381.

"Appelbaum’s analysis adds a detailed historical dimension to the study of parables that is invaluable to any scholar of midrash. For the historian of Roman imperial history, this work provides key access to “documents” that would otherwise remain obscure, sealed in the Hebrew/Aramaic works of rabbinic texts."

Rachel Adelman, Hebrew College, review of Alan Appelbaum, The Rabbis' King-Parables: Midrash from the Third-Century Roman Empire, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).

Table of Contents
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Acknowledgments (page 9)
  • Introduction (page 11)
  • Chapter 1: Methodology for Identifying Third-Century King-Parables (page 17)
    • Introducing the Rabbis (page 17)
    • Using DocumentsŽ (page 28)
    • Identifying Third-Century Documents (page 36)
    • Identifying Third-Century Material in Later Documents (page 40)
  • Chapter 2:Identifying and Classifying the Third-Century Rabbinic King-parables (page 47)
    • Kings and Their Sons (page 51)
    • Kings, Their Friends and Their Wives (page 57)
    • Periodization (page 60)
    • The Parables by Period (page 64)
    • King-parablesŽ in Zieglers Work that Are Not Third-Century King Parables (page 68)
  • Chapter 3: Form and Structure (page 75)
    • Direct Parables (page 75)
    • Antithetical Parables (page 94)
    • Formless Parables (page 100)
  • Chapter 4: The Figure of the King (page 107)
  • Chapter 5: Functions (page 129)
    • King-Parables Used in the Work of Interpreting Scripture (page 129)
      • Using Parables in Exegesis (page 130)
      • Assigning all the work to the entire parable (page 132)
    • Employing King-Parables to Illustrate, Expand, Augment, Supplement or Complete Earlier Exegesis (page 138)
      • Reading Verses Together (page 144)
      • Tying verses together (page 145)
      • Reconciling verses (page 148)
      • Interpreting a verse via another verse (page 150)
    • When Exegesis Using King-Parables Included the Rabbis PoliticalŽ Views (page 158)
    • Using King-parables in the Rabbis Pastoral Work (page 163)
  • Chapter 6: Settings (page 167)
  • Chapter 7: The Figure of God (page 185)
  • Chapter 8: Third-century King-Parables as Resistance Literature (page 203)
    • Introduction (page 203)
    • First Readings (page 205)
    • Getting Help from Contemporary Theory (page 211)
      • Postcolonial Studies (page 213)
      • James C. Scott: Domination and the Arts of Resistance (page 221)
  • Chapter 9: Third-Century King-Parables as a Source of Roman History (page 233)
    • The T4/Early Severan Period: Severus and Caracalla (page 242)
    • The T5/Later Severan Period: Macrinus, Elagabal and Severus Alexander (page 248)
    • The A1/Midcentury Period: Maximinus, the Gordians, Philip, Decius, Gallus and Aemilianus (page 252)
    • The A2/Divided Empire Period: Valerian, Gallienus, A Separate Empire in the West, Odenathus of Palmyra, and Claudius II (page 260)
    • The A3/Reunited Empire and Transitional Periods: Aurelian, Zenobia of Palmyra and Others (page 274)
    • In Conclusion (page 278)
  • Appendix: Jesus King-Parables (page 281)
    • Introducing Jesus (page 282)
    • Using Documents (page 285)
    • Identifying and Categorizing Jesus King-Parables (page 287)
    • Sayings That Are Not King-Parables (page 289)
    • The Form and Structure of Jesus King-Parables (page 290)
      • Jesus Direct Parables (page 291)
      • Jesus Antithetical King-Parables (page 293)
      • Jesus Formless King-Parables (page 294)
    • The Figure of the King in Jesus King-Parables (page 297)
    • The Functions of Jesus King-Parables (page 298)
      • LegalŽ Parables (page 299)
      • An Excursus on Scriptural Exegesis with Parables (page 299)
      • Instructional Parables (page 302)
      • Comforting and Encouraging Parables (page 302)
      • Rhetorical Parables (page 303)
    • The Settings of Jesus King-Parables (page 303)
    • The Figure of God in Jesus King-Parables (page 305)
    • Bibliography (page 307)
    • General Index (page 323)
    • Scripture Index (page 341)

The Rabbis’ King-Parables
By Alan Appelbaum
(Judaism in Context 7)
Weight:2.4 LBS.
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