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First Came Marriage


The Rabbinic Appropriation of Early Jewish Wedding Ritual


Ritual and historical perspectives each provide only a partial view of early Jewish weddings. Combining these approaches allows for a new look at practices rejected or highlighted by early rabbis and their successors, and First Came Marriage: The Rabbinic Appropriation of Early Jewish Wedding Ritual investigates the process by which early Jews married and the various moves they used to minimize, elaborate or codify these practices.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-59333-585-4
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Publication Status: In Print

Series: Judaism in Context 13
Publication Date: Jan 8,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 272
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-59333-585-4
$95.00

Competing ritual and historical perspectives each provide only a partial view of early Jewish weddings. Combining these approaches allows for a new look at practices rejected or highlighted by early rabbis and their successors. First Came Marriage: The Rabbinic Appropriation of Early Jewish Wedding Ritual investigates the process by which early Jews married and the various moves they used to minimize, elaborate or codify these practices. By focusing on ritual, we come to reconsider the limitations placed on slaves and mamzerim marrying, laying the groundwork for a fuller understanding of how the rabbis construct citizenship. Other sources alluding to wedding processions and feasts provide an important counterpoint to mishnaic and talmudic texts that do explore wedding customs, revealing the limits of a rabbinic stake in these practices. The earliest rabbis, the Tannaim, emerge as less concerned with weddings than previously thought. Only the later rabbis, the Amoraim, develop an interest in articulating Jewish wedding blessings. These explorations point to the need for new ways of understanding the relationship of rabbis to the larger community, recognizing that other events in neighboring communities might help explain why weddings gradually become meaningful in later rabbinic circles.

Susan Marks is Associate Professor and Klingenstein Chair of Judaic Studies at the New College of Florida. She received her Ph.D in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvannia. Her research concerns the importance and challenge of examining ritual within history, specifically within the history of Early Judaism. This includes ritual actions performed by women and the construction of gender within ritual practice. She has been an active member of the Meals in the Greco Roman World Seminar and Group of the Society of Biblical Literature. Her interest in community, history and ritual has also been fueled by her experience as a rabbi, ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988.

Competing ritual and historical perspectives each provide only a partial view of early Jewish weddings. Combining these approaches allows for a new look at practices rejected or highlighted by early rabbis and their successors. First Came Marriage: The Rabbinic Appropriation of Early Jewish Wedding Ritual investigates the process by which early Jews married and the various moves they used to minimize, elaborate or codify these practices. By focusing on ritual, we come to reconsider the limitations placed on slaves and mamzerim marrying, laying the groundwork for a fuller understanding of how the rabbis construct citizenship. Other sources alluding to wedding processions and feasts provide an important counterpoint to mishnaic and talmudic texts that do explore wedding customs, revealing the limits of a rabbinic stake in these practices. The earliest rabbis, the Tannaim, emerge as less concerned with weddings than previously thought. Only the later rabbis, the Amoraim, develop an interest in articulating Jewish wedding blessings. These explorations point to the need for new ways of understanding the relationship of rabbis to the larger community, recognizing that other events in neighboring communities might help explain why weddings gradually become meaningful in later rabbinic circles.

Susan Marks is Associate Professor and Klingenstein Chair of Judaic Studies at the New College of Florida. She received her Ph.D in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvannia. Her research concerns the importance and challenge of examining ritual within history, specifically within the history of Early Judaism. This includes ritual actions performed by women and the construction of gender within ritual practice. She has been an active member of the Meals in the Greco Roman World Seminar and Group of the Society of Biblical Literature. Her interest in community, history and ritual has also been fueled by her experience as a rabbi, ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988.

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Contributor Biography

Susan Marks

Susan Marks is Associate Professor /Klingenstein Chair of Judaic Studies at New College of Florida, the Honors College of the State of Florida, in Sarasota, Florida.

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Acknowledgments (page 7)
  • Abbreviations (page 9)
  • Introduction: The Paradox of Ritual and History (page 11)
  • Chapter One: Recognizing Betrothals After the Fact (page 21)
  • Chapter Two: Preparing the Bride (page 81)
  • Chapter Three: Debating Wedding Processions, Negotiating Post-Temple Jewish Practice (page 117)
  • Chapter Four: Wedding-Feast Blessings and Rabbinic Communal Mobility (page 145)
  • Conclusion (page 199)
  • Excursus: Tosefta Qiddushin (page 203)
  • Appendix: Selected Texts and Translations (page 211)
  • Bibliography (page 217)
  • Index (page 261)