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Jewish Marriage in Antiquity
 069100255X

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
CONTENTS
Abbreviations and Conventions
Preface
Introduction
PART I. Thinking about Marriage
CHAPTER ONE: Why Marry?
CHAPTER TWO: Metaphor and Myth
CHAPTER THREE: Marriage and Law
PART II. Marrying
CHAPTER FOUR: Shreds of Real Marriage
CHAPTER FIVE: Making a Match
CHAPTER SIX: Endogamy and Exogamy
CHAPTER SEVEN: Customs and Rituals of Marriage
CHAPTER EIGHT: Irregular Unions
PART III. Staying Married
CHAPTER NINE: The Economics of Marriage
CHAPTER TEN: The Ideal Marriage
CONCLUSIONS
Notes to the Chapters
Bibliograpy
Subject Index
Index of Premodern Sources
Index of Modern Authors

Citation preview

Jewish Marriage in Antiquity

Jewish Marriage in Antiquity Michael L. Satlow

PRINCETON

UNIVERSITY

PRINCETON

AND

PRESS

OXFORD

Copyright © 2001 by Princeton University Press Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 In the United Kingdom: Princeton University Press, 3 Market Place, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1SY All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Satlow, Michael L. Jewish marriage in Antiquity / Michael L. Satlow. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and indexes. ISBN 0-691-00255-X (alk. paper) 1. Marriage customs and rites, Jewish. History—To 1500. I. Title. BM713.S27 2001 296.4'44'0901—dc21 00-045330

2. Marriage—

This book has been composed in Times Roman The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (R 1997) (Permanence of Paper) www.pup.princeton.edu Printed in the United States of America 1 3 5 7 9

10

8 6 4 2

In memory of my father Frank P. Satlow, 1942-1997

CONTENTS

ix

Abbreviations and Conventions xiii

Preface

xv

Introduction

Thinking about Marriage

PART I. CHAPTER O N E

Why Marry?

3

CHAPTER T W O

Metaphor and Myth

42

CHAPTER THREE

Marriage and Law

68 PART II.

Marrying

CHAPTER FOUR

Shreds of Real Marriage

93

CHAPTER FIVE

Making a Match

101

CHAPTER SIX

Endogamy and Exogamy

133

CHAPTER S E V E N

Customs and Rituals of Marriage

162

CHAPTER EIGHT

Irregular Unions

182 PART III.

Staying Married

CHAPTER NINE

The Economics of Marriage

199

CHAPTER T E N

The Ideal Marriage CONCLUSIONS

225 259

viii

CONTENTS

Notes to the Chapters

273

Bibliography

367

Subject Index

401

Index of Premodern Sources

410

Index of Modern Authors

425

ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS

All Hebrew translations, unless otherwise noted, are my own. Translations from the Hebrew Bible are taken or modified from the New Jewish Publica­ tion Society translation; those from the New Testament derive from either the Revised Standard Version or New English Bible. Texts and translations of Greek and Latin sources, except where noted, are drawn from the appro­ priate volume of the Loeb Classical Library. When transliterating Hebrew I have used the following conventions: ' = , h = n, t = CD, k = D, = I?, s = q = p, s =tf,t = n. I have attempted to transliterate consistently, but have de­ parted from this system for some proper names and other terms that are more commonly known by other spellings. e

ABD Abr Agr ANET Anim Ant. APOT Ar ARN Ath. Pol. AZ B. BASOR BB BDB Bek. Ber. Bes. BGU Bik. BM BQ BS C. Th.

Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. D. Freedman Philo, De Abrahamo Philo, De Agricultura Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. J. Pritchard Philo, De Animalibus Josephus, Antiquities The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testement, ed. Charles Arakin (tractate) Avot d'Rabbi Nathan, ed. Schechter Aristotle, Athenian Politics Avodah Zara (tractate) Babylonian Talmud Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research Bava Batra' (tractate) A Hebrew and English Lexicon, ed. F. Brown, Driver, and Briggs Bekorot (tractate) Berakot (tractate) Besah (tractate) Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Griechische Urkunden Bikkurim (tractate) Bava Mesia Bava Qama (tractate) Beth She'arim, ed. Mazar et al., 1973-76 Codex Theodosianus, ed. Pharr

c

c

ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS

X

CIG CIJ CJ Cont. Life CPJ D. Dem. Det Deus Deut. Rab. DJD DS Eccl. Rab. Ed. EJ EPE Eruv. ET Place Fug Gen. Rab. Gig Git. Hag. Hahiluqim Heres Hor. HTR HUCA Hul. Hyp IEJ JAAR JBL JIGRE JTWE JJS Jos JQR JRS JSS JTS

Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaicarum, ed. Frey Codex Justinianus Philo, Contemplative Life Corpus papyrorum Judaicarum, ed. Tcherikover The Digest, ed. Mommsen et al. Demai (tractate) Philo, Quod Deterius potiori insidiari soleat Philo, Quot Deus immutabilis sit Deuteronomy Rabba, ed. Lieberman Discoveries in the Judaean Desert Diqduqe soprim, ed. Rabbinovicz Ecclesiastes Rabba, ed. Hirshman Eduyot (tractate) Encyclopaedia Judaica Elephantine Papyri in English, ed. B. Porten Eruvin (tractate) Encyclopedia Talmudit (Hebrew) Philo, In Flaccum Philo, De Fuga et inventione Genesis Rabba, ed. Theodor and Albeck Philo, De Gigantibus Gitin (tractate) Hagiga (tractate) Hahiluqim sebene *anse mizrah, ed. Margoliot Philo, Quis Rerum diviarum heres Horayot (tractate) Harvard Theological Review Hebrew Union College Annual Hullin (tractate) Philo, Hypothetica Israel Exploration Journal Journal of the American Academy of Religion Journal of Biblical Literature Jewish Inscriptions of Graeco-Roman Egypt, ed. Horbury and Noy Jewish Inscriptions of Western Europe, ed. Noy Journal of Jewish Studies Philo, De Iosepho Jewish Quarterly Review Journal of Roman Studies Journal of Semitic Studies Journal of Theological Studies

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e

ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS

K Ker. Ket. Kil. Lam. Rab. LCL Legatio Lev. Rab. LXX M. Ma. S. MAMA Meg. Men. MGWJ Mid. Mig Abr Mos MQ Naz. Ned. NH Nid. Nov. Oec. OED Op Mund OTP P. Hev. P. Mur. P. Oxy. P. Yadin Pe. Pes. PG Pol. Post Pr. Ev. Praem Probus PRK PW

xi

Kraeling papyri Keritot (tractate) Ketubot (tractate) Kilayim (tractate) Lamentations Rabba Loeb Classical Library Philo, De Legatione ad Gaium Leviticus Rabba, ed. Margulies Septuagint Mishnah, ed. H. Albeck Ma aser Sheni (tractate) Monumenta Asiae Minoris Antiqua Megilla (tractate) Menahot (tractate) Monatsschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums Middot (tractate) Philo, De Migratione Abrahami Philo, De Vita Mosis Mo ed qatan (tractate) Nazir (tractate) Nedarim (tractate) Pliny, Natural History Nidda (tractate) Justinian, Novels Xenophon, Oeconomicus Oxford English Dictionary Philo, De Opificio mundi Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. Charlesworth DJD, vol. 27, ed. Cotton and Yardeni DJD, vol. 2, Les grottes de Murabba 'at The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Papyrus Yadin Pe*a (tractate) Pesahim (tractate) Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, ed. Migne Aristotle, Politics Philo, De posteritate caini Eusebius, De evangelica praeperatione Philo, De Praemiis et poenis Philo, Quod omnis probus liber sit Pesiqta d'rav Kahana, ed. Mandelbaum Paulys Real-Encyclopadie der classichen Altertumswissenschaft e

c

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ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS

Qiddushin (tractate) Qid. Qodshim Qod. Quest Gen Philo, Quaestiones et solutiones in Genesin Rabbi or Rav R. Revue Biblique RB Revue des Etudes Juives REJ Rosh Hashana (tractate) RH Revue de Qumran RQ Sanhedrin (tractate) Sanh. Sacred Books of the East, ed. Muller SBE Scripta Classica Israelica SCI Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum SEG Shabbat (tractate) Shab. Sheviit (tractate) Shev. Shevuot (tractate) Shevu. Philo, De Somniis Somn Song of Songs Rabba Song Rab. Sota (tractate) Sot. Philo, De specialibus legibus Spec leg. Sukka (tractate) Suk. Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, ed. Arnim SVF Tosepta, ed. Lieberman or Zuckermandel T. Tdanit (tractate) Ta. Textbook of Aramaic Documents, ed. Porten TAD Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament TDOT S. Lieberman, Tosefta Ki-Fshuta TK Taylor-Schechter K Series, Geniza fragments at Cambridge T.S. K University Taylor-Schechter New Series, Geniza fragments at Cambridge T.S. NS University Philo, De Virtutibus Virt Philo, De Vita contemplativa Vit Cont Vetus Testamentum VT Yerushalmi ( = Palestinian) Talmud Y. Yevamot (tractate) Yev. Zevahim (tractate) Zev. Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik ZPE

PREFACE

T H E TITLE of this book is deliberately misleading. It is fashionable today to deconstruct the "family" in order to show how historically sensitive the con­ cept is: a "family" is whatever a society wants it to be, and over time there have been a good number of radically different understandings of the term. "Mar­ riage" too is a culturally dependent concept, and each society works to under­ stand its ideological assumptions, the formal (or legal) necessities for its con­ stitution (and dissolution), and the rights and responsibilities that it confers. To a certain extent, this book continues this scholarly interrogation of marriage, attempting to understand what it meant to different Jewish communities in antiquity, and thus also highlighting the instability of the institution itself: What do we mean when we talk about "marriage"? Yet it is the other critical word in the title, "Jewish," that I subject to a more searching interrogation. It is, indeed, a central assertion of this book that in antiquity there was no single concept of "Jewish marriage": Jews understood marriage, and married, much like their non-Jewish neighbors. On a local level, Jews did attempt to "Judaize" their marriages, flavoring their local understand­ ings and customs in order to make them seem Jewish. The fact that this title is misleading (it could have been the more accurate but bland Jews and Marriage in Antiquity) also indicates one of my goals for the book. This is, for sure, a scholarly study. But it is also meant to be accessi­ ble, and to challenge its readers on many different levels. How can a scholarly study of the past contribute to burning contemporary societal issues? What does it mean to call something "Jewish"? What did "marriage" mean then, and what does it mean now? These, it seems to me, are questions about which it is worth being challenged. Writing this book has been a terrifying pleasure. Terrifying because it has brought me into many areas in which I have had little or no previous exposure. It has been a pleasure for exactly the same reason. Many colleagues and insti­ tutions have given to me generously of their knowledge, time, and resources. I am sincerely delighted to acknowledge publicly at least a few of these debts. I could never have completed this book, nor enjoyed it as much, without the support of many people. Judith Hauptman, Hayim Lapin, Robert Orsi, Jeffrey Rubenstein, and Adiel Schremer all read and critiqued parts of the manuscript. Over the lastfiveyears I have presented many of these ideas at conferences and universities and have benefited greatly from the discussions (both formal and informal) that they provoked. I am particularly grateful to Ranon Katzoff, Athalya Brenner, and Jan Willem van Henten for inviting me to two out­ standing conferences, and for their desire to publish my papers. These papers

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PREFACE

include some of the ideas now found in chapters 2, 4, and 9. Some of the ideas presented in chapter 10 were published as "'One Who Loves His Wife as Himself: Love in Rabbinic Marriage," Journal of Jewish Studies 49 (1998): 67-86. I drafted much of this book while on leave at Tel Aviv University in 199798. I am indebted to Gideon Spiegel, the secretary of the School of Jewish Studies, who made me feel welcome and helped me to obtain the necessary resources. Albert Baumgarten, Gideon Bohak, Jeremy Cohen, Mordechai Friedman, Aharon Oppenheimer, and Joshua Schwartz all extended far more than professional courtesy in helping to make my year productive and exciting. I even thank those who attended my Tuesday afternoon lecture at the School of History, whose brutally honest reaction caused me to moderate some of my claims. I am grateful for an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for providing crucialfinancialsupport during this year. Most of the work for this book was conducted while I was a faculty member at the University of Virginia. My colleagues there were always supportive, and continually encouraged me to grow in ways that I never would have predicted. The expansive support of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Hu­ manities, under the leadership of John Unsworth, contributed to my apprecia­ tion of the importance of inscriptions for this project. Several summer research grants and the award of a Sesquicentennial Associateship from the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Virginia enabled me to com­ plete this project in a timely manner. I have finished this book as a member of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University. I thank my new colleagues for their hospitality and support, especially George Alter, who generously helped to teach me basic techniques of historical demography. I am also grateful for the generous re­ search support provided by the department and university, which has helped ease the burden of the preparation of the manuscript. My first editor, Deborah Malmud, supported the project before I had de­ cided whether it was worth supporting. My second editor, Brigitta van Rheinberg, was helpful in shepherding the project to completion. I thank the referees for their incisive comments and their help in catching many errors. For those errors that remain I have only myself to thank. I thank my wife, Jacqueline Romm Satlow, for her patience: she never ceased to remind me that marriage was not only for the dead. While working on this book we have been blessed with two wonderful children, Daniel and Penina. They have brought only joy to our lives. My father did not live to see this bookfinished.Since his death, not a day has passed in which I have not thought of him, and missed him. With sadness, and in love, I dedicate this book to his memory.

INTRODUCTION

MARRIAGE IS crumbling. That, at least, appears to be the gist of overheated political rhetoric over the last two decades. Politicians have regularly be­ moaned the "decline" of modern American marriage and its relationship to the family, and attributed to this decline any number of social ills. "In a nutshell," former Vice President Dan Quayle said in a much discussed speech, "I believe the lawless social anarchy which we saw [in the L.A. riots] is directly related to the breakdown of family structure." More recently, Congress has found it necessary to propose legislation in defense of marriage. Marriage in America, once pure and good, all sweetness and light, is today being battered by a va­ riety of forces that have sent the institution into a precipitous decline. If the pitch of discourse about marriage in modern American society is fe­ verish, the discourse on Jewish marriage is virtually hysterical. Alarmists cite the fact that 32 percent of Jewish men surveyed in the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey have non-Jewish spouses, an increase from the 7 percent reported in the 1971 National Jewish Population Survey. This intermarriage rate, it is claimed, heralds the end of "Jewish continuity." Indeed, the threat is perceived as so palpable that Jewish communities have invested heavily in programs to promote Jewish continuity by seeking to discourage intermarriage or to encourage the conversion of the non-Jewish spouse. Whatever the real, concrete threat of the "decline of marriage" in both com­ munities, in this respect both share the same narrative. Marriage, the story goes, was much better (e.g., more stable) in the past, and today it is corrupted. This modern corruption of marriage, in turn, bodes ill for society generally. Yet this is not the only story today afloat. Against these positions of alarm stands a counternarrative. Crudely put, instead of positing a decline in the state of marriage, it glorifies the great moral advance that our understanding and practice of marriage has over those of the past. Sometimes labeled "feminist," this understanding critiques the "patriarchal" marriage of the past while cele­ brating a modern understanding of marriage that promotes gender equality. This change of understanding of marriage, in fact, should not stop at gender equality, but should make the designation and rights (along with legal respon­ sibilities?) of "marriage" accessible to any loving monogamous couple, of whatever gender. Marriage, in other words, has become a hot topic. In all of these modern discourses, there seems to be an assumption of uniqueness, that marriage has entered an unprecedented crisis (or a period of exciting reform). Whether or not the institution of marriage really is at a watershed, the discourse itself— 1

2

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INTRODUCTION

the assumption that marriage is uniquely threatened—is anything but new. Marriage was a controversial topic even in antiquity. Jews, Christians, Ro­ mans, and Greeks all responded to the marital "crisis" of thefirstcenturies of this era. This is a book about the dead, not the living. It is about how different Jewish groups in antiquity understood marriage, how they practiced it, and how they reconciled the messy realities of marriage with their ideals. Yet this book is also timely, and careful study of the past can contribute both to the contem­ porary discussion of marriage and to the blossoming academic study of the family. Three primary arguments run through this book. First, that Jewish groups in antiquity had fundamentally different understandings of the goals and func­ tions of marriage. This holds true even for the rabbis themselves. Palestinian rabbis in thefirstcenturies of this era understood marriage in terms more sim­ ilar to their Roman and Greek contemporaries than to those of Babylonian rabbis. Palestinians understood the function of marriage as the creation of a household, or oikos, which would bring social respectability to (primarily) a man, whereas Babylonian rabbis saw marriage more as a necessary evil, a legitimate channel of the sexual urge that might also bring some personal, supernatural reward. My second conclusion flows from this recognition of the fundamental dif­ ferences in marital ideologies. There is nothing essentially Jewish about "Jew­ ish" marriage in antiquity. By this I mean that there was no "essence" of Jewish marriage, no single quality that must have been present for a marriage to be termed Jewish. Jews throughout antiquity did attempt to mark their mar­ riages as Jewish. They did this, however, only within their own unique histor­ ical contexts. Hence, they frequently "translated" ancient texts, traditions, and rituals into their own idiom. In chapter 2, for example, I examine the biblical metaphor that compares the relationship of God and Israel to husband and wife, and argue that (relatively late) Palestinian rabbis adapt this metaphor in order to create a Jewish version of an essentially Christian idea. Finally, I focus attention on the gap between marital ideologies and ideals and their realities. Whereas many scholars have read the ancient Jewish legal prescriptions regarding marriage as descriptive, as statements of what actually happened, I argue that these prescriptions should be interpreted precisely as a response to a world that did not function that way. The ancient Jewish realities and the ideals, no less than today, diverged significantly, and this very diver­ gence must be the focus of interpretation. Why does any of this matter for the modern American, Jew or non-Jew, or for scholars whose areas of interest lie outside of antiquity? Bluntly, these conclusions are important because they expose the bulk of the modern discourse on marriage as nonsensical. The very fact that the discourse of societal marital "crisis" is so old at minimum should alert us to the possi-

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bility that we are dealing with a matter of rhetoric more than reality. The dominant narrative of marital "decline," which assumes a past golden age of marriage, is simply wrong. Marriage has always been an extremely complex institution that seeks to balance economic necessity, social ideals, ethnic iden­ tity, and the personal quirks and desires of fragile humans. Marital stability in antiquity was no better than—and was possibly much worse than—marital stability today. When they had the choice in antiquity, Jews may well have engaged in exogamy to a significant degree: in any case, they often appear much more worried about not intermarrying other groups of Jews than they do about marrying non-Jews. Marriage is and has always been a moving target, a dynamic set of relationships that are difficult to pin down in order to analyze. The creation of a reified "golden age" of marriage so blurs any true under­ standing of what marriage really was like as almost to be a parody. The heuristic creation of the "bad days" of marriage, against which modern progress in marriage can be measured, is equally flawed. Marriage in what appears to be the most patriarchal of patriarchal societies, Judaism in antiquity, was a great deal more complicated than is normally portrayed. The veneer of patriarchal control, I will argue, conceals a fluid dynamic in which both men and women were attempting to reconcile ultimately irreconcilable values and desires. The prescription of absolute male control by a group that had little or no social power, coercive or not, itself might indicate how weak such control actually was. Moreover, at least one rabbinic articulation of marital ideals is based so strictly and consistently on the reciprocal rights and responsibili­ ties of spouses—set down in concrete detail—as to rival our own egalitarian notions. A second, more constructive, contribution that this book makes to the issues of contemporary marriage is that which is ideally provided by any historical study. Within the limits of the evidence (discussed below), I attempt to de­ scribe "thickly" the contours of Jewish marriage in antiquity. Minimally, this description shows conceptions and practices of marriage very different from our own, and in so doing, forces us to confront those things that we take for granted about marriage. The dominant view of marriage today is that it is an institution through which loving couples find happiness and personal fulfill­ ment; the formation of a household, procreation, and social respectability are at best secondary. This understanding of marriage is a response both to our political organization, which presupposes the individual (rather than family or tribe) as the fundamental unit, and to our capitalistic and increasingly serviceoriented economic system, which demands a highly mobile labor force. To deride our "selfish" understanding of marriage without addressing the social and economic forces that helped to create this very construction of marriage misses the mark entirely. Only by formulating the right questions, which a historical perspective helps us to do, can we even begin to conduct a fruitful discussion of the state of contemporary marriage. 3

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This book makes a different kind of contribution to the study of Judaism. For almost two centuries the Jewish community has struggled to define its religion: Should the "essence" of Judaism be separated from ritual and cere­ monial accretions? That is, can the abiding truth of Judaism be separated from those features and customs that are historically dependent? Despite its long pedigree, the question is just as urgent today, both to Jewish practitioners in the modern world as well as to scholars who seek to define and analyze Juda­ ism. This study, in line with a number of recent works that more directly address this issue, suggests that it is time to retire this essentialist model of Judaism. Jews lived, and live, in the real world, with all of its social and personal complexities. At the same time, they have traditions, in the form of rituals and texts, which they sincerely engage. Jewish "culture" emerges from the intersection of these two realms, from the attempt to engage with and translate tradition into contemporary idiom. The extent to which this is done in Jewish marriage was recently driven home to me at an exhibit on Afghanistinian Jewish marriage at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The marriage cus­ toms of these Jews resembled those of their Moslem neighbors to a far greater degree than they resembled the marriage customs of European or American Jews. Yet both understood what they are doing as "essentially" Jewish! More directly, this study also contributes to the study of the family. There have been many recent studies of marriage in antiquity. These studies rarely take the Jews into account, although we have more information about them than we do about any other western non-Roman ethnic group in antiquity. The approaches and questions raised in these studies have informed much of my own thinking and discussion, and my conclusions in turn contribute generally to the study of marriage and the family in antiquity. Christians faced the same problems that Jews did in making their marriage distinctive within what is ultimately a pagan mindset: Did they use similar strategies? Ancient discus­ sions of endogamy and exogamy are too often treated as descriptive rather than as doing certain things rhetorically. The problem of interpretation of prescrip­ tive and idealized sources is a constant issue for scholars throughout this and otherfields.My hope is that scholars who deal with similar non-Jewish mate­ rial will find material and approaches that will enrich their own work. APPROACH AND ORGANIZATION

The sources for a study of Jewish marriage in antiquity are highly eclectic. For the Persian period, for example, we have only the later biblical books, whose interest in marriage focuses on exogamy, and the legal documents of a small group of Jewish mercenaries residing in Egypt. The only source of later Baby­ lonian Jewish marriage are the rabbis, who are of course far more interested in its legislation than in the mechanics of matchmaking. As with all ancient soci­ eties, the elite and their ideals are represented to a much greater extent than the

INTRODUCTION

xix

marital ideals and practices of the lower classes. One of the several problems with the extant sources is that they often make a full reconstruction of the marital ideals and practices of any single historical community impossible. These limitations have influenced the organization of this book. This book flows chronologically through the formation of a marriage, from forming a match to the wedding to living as a married couple. This organization allows me to contrast the stances and practices of Jewish communities in these differ­ ent areas within a coherent narrative framework. The downside of this decision is that it fractures what we do know about individual communities. In the Conclusion I attempt to describe, within the limits of the evidence, the marital ideologies and assumptions of these individual communities. The available material has also influenced my approaches to it. Different types of evidence call for different treatments, and I have attempted to use methodological approaches that are most appropriate for the data under discus­ sion. By coming at the same problems from different angles my goal is to "model" Jewish marriage, to create a multidimensional picture of the inter­ action between a set of complex forces. There are three parts to this study. In part 1,1 lay out the ideological, theo­ logical, and legal understandings of marriage. These are the "ideals" of mar­ riage, its conceptualization or ideology. In chapter 1, I argue that Jews who lived in the Greco-Roman world had fundamentally different conceptions of the purpose of marriage than did Babylonian rabbinic Jews. Jews under Greek and Roman influence understood marriage much as their non-Jewish neigh­ bors did: the purpose of marriage was to establish a household and thus allow a man to establish himself in the civic body. For a woman, first marriage was seen as a sexual initiation. Babylonian rabbis, on the other hand, had a far more conflicted view of marriage, which they saw as competing with Torah study for their time and energy. Ultimately, for them, the purpose of marriage was for a man both to channel his sexual desire and to accrue personal divine blessing through the production of legitimate childen. Chapter 2 discusses the ancient understandings of marriage as myth and metaphor. For Christians, in antiquity and today, the metaphor of the relation­ ship of Jesus and the Church as a marriage has had a decisive impact on the theological understanding of marriage itself. Such a theological conceptualiza­ tion never took hold in Judaism in antiquity, and in fact many Jewish writers went to great lengths to expunge this metaphor. Only later Palestinian rabbinic writers (mainly liturgical poets), returned to the metaphor, most likely under Christian influence. Similarly, only Palestinian rabbis used the biblical mar­ riage of Adam and Eve as a model for contemporary marriage. In this case, they were developing a Jewish argument for the "naturalness" of marriage that would correspond to an equivalent Stoic notion. Until very recently, little defined a contemporary marriage as Jewish as strongly as the legal forms used in its formation. In chapter 3 I argue that these

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INTRODUCTION

legal forms, for the most part, are rabbinic inventions. The vast majority of Hellenistic Jews did not have a distinctive "law of marriage," and even the rabbis had trouble convincing other Jews to adopt their own legal forms until relatively late. Part 2 turns, to the extent possible, to the realities of marriage, tracing chro­ nologically the formation (and reformation) of marriage. Chapter 4 briefly sketches the most accurate pictures of real Jewish marriage that survive, those from actual ancient family papers. Because these papers are entirely legal and economic, the descriptions are necessarily skewed, but they nevertheless are useful in evaluating much of the other evidence. Chapter 5 examines the matchmaking process. Its focus is on the gap be­ tween the ideals of this process and its realities, and the meaning of this gap. I develop in more depth here an argument that I allude to in part 1 and use through the rest of the book: the ideals expressed in these texts are in direct response to competing, ultimately irreconcilable, social forces. The texts medi­ ate between social values and the impossibility of their implementation. In this chapter, by contextualizing marriage in a Jewish society that valued honor and shame highly, the idealized process of matchmaking takes on a new hue. In chapter 6,1 turn to a topic that is really a subquestion of chapter 5, Jewish preference for endogamy ("marrying in") or exogamy ("marrying out"). The reality can be disposed of quickly: we do not have the vaguest idea about the extent to which Jews in antiquity married kin or married non-Jews. What we have instead is a fascinating play on the definition of "in" and "out." Many Jewish writers from antiquity praised endogamy and condemned exogamy, but they diverged widely in their definitions of the "in" and "out" groups. They also had very different motives for these prescriptive statements. Defining en­ dogamy and exogamy necessitates defining what it means to be "family," and this chapter explores the dynamics of that process. Chapter 7 resumes with the chronological narrative, following the couple through betrothal and the wedding. One of the primary goals of this chapter is to understand how and why a wedding custom was ritualized. That is, Jews had wedding customs that were, again, similar to non-Jews, although there were areas in which they asserted their identity in these customs. The rabbis, though, took some of these customs (discarding others) and turned them into rituals. While even by the end of the rabbinic period Jewish marriage remained relatively "unritualized," we can see the beginning of a process that would culminate in the elaborate, "sacramental" marriages of the Middle Ages and even today. Nearly all discussions of "marriage" in antiquity focus onfirstmarriage. Yet the demographics alone suggest that there were many "irregular" forms of marriage, from second marriages to polygynous to levirate marriage. Chapter 8 offers a brief discussion of these different marital formations. Even here one can see the basic differences between Jewish ideologies of marriage.

INTRODUCTION

xxi

Part 3 is a discussion of two aspects of married life that at first glance might seem disconnected from each other. Chapter 9 examines the economics of marriage, both in its formation and its role between spouses. There is a great deal of Jewish legal writing on this topic, much of which seems to institution­ alize such a strong mistrust between these parties that it leads one to question whether they are reflecting real marital ideals or whether they are simply doing what marital economic laws are supposed to do. Chapter 10 attempts to answer that question by turning to other sources for an examination of marital ideals. I begin with a discussion of the explicit sources on the "ideal" spouse, using these conclusions as a baseline. I then turn to Jewish marital exempla from antiquity and inscriptions (mainly epitaphs) to test the baseline. While there are several important differences between the ways that Hellenistic Jews, Palestinian rabbinic Jews, and Babylonian rabbinic Jews understood the ideal marriage, all shared the conviction that marriage was a relatively weak relationship when compared to relationships of blood. Because my goal in this book is to make a scholarly contribution to the study of the social history of the Jews in antiquity, the argument at times delves into more detail than might be of interest to the nonspecialist. For rea­ sons of style and space, this work is not comprehensive, nor is the annotation exhaustive. I have sought in the notes to provide enough evidence to document and support (or sometimes qualify) my claims, but they fall far short of full histories of scholarship on each topic. At the same time, I have attempted to keep this book accessible. Several of the conclusions in this book have broad applicability: the approach to the gap between ideals and realities, for example, can be applied to and tested against other data, and chapter 7 contributes to the continuing discussion on the nature of ritual. Below, the nonspecialist will find a very brief introduction to the sources and methods that I have used. These discussions should allow the reader to follow the arguments in this book fully. SOURCES

This section is intended to give the nonspecialist a brief introduction to the sources and their context that I use throughout this book. The specialist may want to skip to my discussion of methodology, or at this point abandon the Introduction entirely. When the Babylonians destroyed the first Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and deported many (but not all) of the inhabitants of Judah to Babylonia, the Jews arrived in their new homeland without the Torah as we know it today. Over the next century to century and a half, the Torah and Jewish canon would develop, first under the rule of the Babylonians and then the Persians (who conquered Babylonia). While much of the Hebrew Bible was shaped and re­ dacted at this time, several biblical books were written entirely during the Persian period. The late prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, along with 4

xxii

INTRODUCTION

the histories of Ezra and Nehemiah, serve as our primary sources for Jewish history of this period. These books end in the late fifth century BCE, as some of the Jews have returned to Judah from Babylonia and have rebuilt the Temple. This time marks the beginning of what is called the Second Temple period, which will last until the destruction of this Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Some small and eclectic archaeological sources supplement the biblical his­ tories for this period. The most relevant of these sources for this study are the Jewish papyri found in Elephantine. A group of Jewish mercenaries, working for the Persians, lived in a military colony in Egypt. Many of their documents, almost all legal, have been found. A problem with using these documents is determining how representative the evidence may be for Jews outside of this small colony. We know very little of the history of the Jews from about 420 BCE until the Hellenistic period, which begins around 330 BCE. From this period there are many Jewish writings in Greek, probably beginning with the Greek translation of the Bible, the Septuagint (LXX). Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus), who wrote in Hebrew and was translated into Greek in antiquity, represents the view of an aristocratic scribe living in Jerusalem in the third or early second century BCE. The most prolific Jewish Greek authors (whose works survive) from the period were Philo, a philosopher and exegete living in Alexandria, Egypt, and Josephus, a historian who was born and raised in Palestine before relocating to Rome. Both lived in the first century CE. The New Testament, especially the letters of Paul, are another important source for this period. Most of the other Jewish Greek works have been collected in the Apocrypha and the Old Testa­ ment Pseudepigrapha; their dates and provenance can rarely be established with any certainty. The Dead Sea scrolls were also produced at this time (c. 200 BCE-first cen­ tury CE). I will address the issue of the connection of these documents to the Essenes later; here I should note that I accept the thesis that most of these scrolls were produced by or were authoritative for those who lived at Qumran, a settlement very close to the caves in which the scrolls were found. I will thus correlate the archaeological data from Qumran with the evidence from the scrolls themselves. Finally, from the Second Temple period we have scattered archaeological remains of relevance and literary references to Jews by non-Jewish Greek and Latin authors. While it appears that there was some kind of protorabbinic movement (Phar­ isees?) prior to 70 CE, the Roman destruction of the Second Temple marks the beginning of the rabbinic movement. The rabbis produced several distinctive types of literary artifacts throughout the rabbinic period, which ends about 500 CE with the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud. We have no direct writ­ ten record of rabbinic activity before 200 CE, when the Mishnah was redacted.

INTRODUCTION

xxiii

This book, organized topically, reads like a cross between a law code and record of debate; scholars today continue to debate its exact purpose. It was followed closely (it seems) by the redaction of the Tosepta. These documents are called "tannaitic," produced by the tannaim—rabbis who lived until the early third century CE. After this time, the rabbis are called amoraim (thus, the amoraic period). The tannaim lived entirely in Palestine. Along with the Mishnah and Tosepta, there are a few other tannaitic docu­ ments, collections of tannaitic midrashim. Midrash is a rabbinic genre of bibli­ cal interpretation. Hence, the Mekilta d'Rabbi Yishmael is a tannaitic midrashic commentary on Exodus; Sipra comments on Leviticus; Sipre Numbers and Sipre Deuteronomy on their respective books. It is important to keep in mind that as a genre, midrash can and does occur in any rabbinic document. Similarly, there are many sources that are identified as tannaitic, but found only in posttannaitic documents. A source that is labeled as tannaitic in the Babylonian Talmud, but is not found in other extant tannaitic documents, is called a baraita. Just as the Mishnah was a redaction of sources produced by earlier rabbis, so too the discussions of the Mishnah were redacted along with other material into the Talmuds. Discussions of the Mishnah occurred among the amoraim in both Palestine and Babylonia. Organized by the topics of the Mishnah, the Talmuds are an amalgam of different rabbinic discussions, often cast in an argumentative form. The Palestinian Talmud (also called the Jerusalem Tal­ mud or Yerushalmi) was redacted in Palestine around 400 CE. The Babylonian Talmud (also called the Bavli) was redacted in Babylonia about a century later. This issue of redaction is critical, as I will frequently refer to the distinctions between the original sources and their interpretations by later redactors, and between Palestinian and Babylonian amoraim. Supplementing the talmuds from the amoraic period are nonlegal (i.e., aggadic) midrashic collections, all from Palestine. Genesis Rabba and Leviticus Rabba are the two that will be referred to most often. Both were redacted in the late fourth or early fifth centuries CE. I will refer to many other sources throughout this book, but these are the primary ones. METHODOLOGY

As Clifford Geertz has pointed out, just because a source says something does not make it true. Sources are, and were, up to things. This issue motivates the plan of the book, which must shuttle between the perspectives of using a text as a source of reality, while at the same time evaluating that same text as a cultural artifact in its own right, as up to something. While most scholars in the humanities are used to approaching their texts with this "hermeneutic 5

xxiv

INTRODUCTION

of suspicion," the refusal to accept a source—even such a seemingly simple text as a story about a rabbi—on its face might initially seem odd to the nonspecialist. In few fields are the methodological battles over use of texts as pitched as they have been in rabbinics. The field is pulled between the poles of the ex­ treme positivists—those who find rabbinic texts fully transparent—and those who deny completely the recoverability of certain kinds of historical data in rabbinic texts. Yet while still inchoate and unarticulated, there does seem to be an emerging consensus on the methodological use of these texts. Redacted texts (such as the Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud) are precisely that, compo­ sitions redacted from earlier sources. Along with many (but not all) scholars today, I think that redactors did not significantly modify most of the sources they cite. So should, for example, the Babylonian Talmud attribute a statement to a third-generation Palestinian amora, I would tend to trust that attribution (at least by date and provenance, if not to the individual himself) unless there are reasons to be suspicious of it. 6

The weakness of such an approach, as I realize, is that it is not methodologi­ cally "rigorous": it does not start with a set of methodological guidelines, rigidly applied to the data. Thus, some of the distinctions that I make require a degree of subjectivity. On the other hand, life, and even the formation of texts, is messy. The rigid application of a method or theory to the data itself distorts the record, tidying up what is clearly not tidy. Here are some more specific methodological considerations that inform this book, especially in regard to rabbinic literature: Prescriptive is not descriptive. Many texts say what ought to be done, but the prescriptions are not necessarily descriptive. While this statement might seem obvious, it actually points to a more tangled problem in the evaluation of rabbinic texts. What kind of power did the rabbis have over Jews (where? when?) in antiquity? Did they have the coercive powers of the state at their disposal? Did they lack coercive powers, but nevertheless were viewed by the great mass of Jews as having moral authority? Did they simply codify existing laws and customs? On the one hand, I think that the rabbis had virtually no coercive power in the classical period, aside from, perhaps, a brief moment when R. Yehudah served as patriarch (ha-Nasi). They also appear to have had little persuasive influence. Yet one cannot at the same time say that their ideas and literature were divorced from a historical reality. The rabbis did live in the world, and their ideas were informed by and to some extent turned toward the worlds in which they lived. Rabbinic law weaves together existing law, custom, and idealism. Rabbinic texts are the products of human beings in concrete material conditions wrestling with traditional texts. So I think that there is some de­ scription in rabbinic prescription, but that description must be pried loose from its complex moorings.

INTRODUCTION

XXV

Not all rabbis were alike in this respect. Palestinian rabbis appear to have been more a part of the larger Jewish society than their Babylonian counter­ parts. It could be that by the time of the redaction of the Talmud, Babylonian rabbinic society itself was closing its ranks. Thus, what emerges from Baby­ lonian sources has far more limited ramifications of the values and customs of marriage of Jews who were not rabbis. Aggadah is not transparent. The rabbis tell many stories. Most of these stories, in my opinion, arefictions.They are folktales or anecdotes, created or embellished for the moment. Yet when analyzed as a story, conveying its own message and values in a particular literary context, aggadah is quite valuable for a study like this. When I look at a rabbinic story or legend my interest is not whether the thing reported actually happened, but what values the storyteller assumes, and what message he (or she?) wants to convey. Identifying misreadings are critical. A ramification of the position on attri­ butions sketched above is that later sources will read earlier (or foreign) sources in light of their own cultural presuppositions—they will inevitably misread many of these texts. If one can see a Palestinian tradition serving one function in a Palestinian document, but conveying an entirely different mean­ ing in its context in the Babylonian Talmud, then one can isolate the cultural work that led to the misreading. Similarly, sensitivity to the way that the sources are organized by a redactor, especially if the redactor twists the mean­ ings of previous sources, provides a glimpse of the redactor's values. External sources, while never decisive, are valuable. Throughout this study I cite contemporary non-Jewish sources in my attempt to demonstrate the fun­ damental similarities between Jewish marital ideologies and practices and those of their neighbors. The similarities by themselves are meaningless; they prove nothing. Nor does the fact that nearby non-Jews did something prove anything about what Jews did. Rather, external data can serve two useful func­ tions. First, it helps to confirm the plausibility of a claim. There has been much research establishing the deep interaction between Jews and non-Jews in an­ tiquity, and their similarities in many areas. We might expect this in Jewish marriage too, although this external data should not lead the interpretation of the sources. Second, sometimes external data does help us to interpret our sources, to interpolate the line between two isolated dots. Palestinian rabbinic dicta on marriage, for example, resemble at several points statements that are found in long and comprehensive Stoic discussions of marriage. Due to its very nature, however, the rabbinic material never draws the line between these dicta to create a complete picture. In this case, given the several points of correspondence, I feel relatively safe using the Stoic material to flesh out the rabbinic statements. Arguments from historical analogy, of course, are even more tentative. By comparing two very different historical communities, separated widely in both space and time, I do not mean in any way to suggest any historical relationship. 7

xxvi

INTRODUCTION

Analogy simply helps to illustrate certain claims, and again to establish the plausibility of an argument. Theory is useful, to a point. Just as this is not a methodologically rigid book, so too it cannot be called theoretical. I use theoretical models throughout this work as an aid for the interpretation of the evidence. I do not, however, attempt to prove or disprove any one theoretical model. Nor do I explicitly advocate adjustments to certain theoretical models, although I think that some adjust­ ment might be warranted on the basis of my conclusions. Some theoretical models help me to think through certain problems, but for better or worse they have not dictated the path of the inquiry as a whole.

PART I

Thinking about Marriage

Chapter One WHY MARRY?

"THERE ARE TWELVE good measures in the world, and any man who does not have a wife in his house who is good in [her] deeds is prevented from [enjoy­ ing] all of them. He dwells without good, without happiness, without blessing, without peace, without a help, without atonement, without a wall, without Torah, without life, without satisfaction, without wealth, [and] without a crown." So begins a beautifully calligraphied page found in the Cairo Geniza, which then continues with proof texts for each of these twelve assertions. The nucleus of this "sermon in praise of a wife," as S. D. Goitein calls it, is found in a single talmudic sugya. For the darshan, marriage to a good wife is an unqualified good; he goes as far as to embellish the core of his sermon with laudatory aspects of marriage found outside of his base sugya and even of classical rabbinic literature as it has reached us. This obscure, nameless darshan's interpretation of B. Yevamot 62b has been particularly enduring. Yet while such an interpretation of this sugya makes a good sermon, it makes poor history. The sugya as a whole is in fact an attempt to answer the question, Why should a man marry?, and the answer that it gives is far more complex than recognized by our darshan. 1

2

3

For any society that supports marriage as a social institution—which is to say virtually every society—the question, Why marry?, and the answers to it, are crucial. On the one hand, they serve the concrete function of convincing people to marry, thus physically reproducing the institution. Thus societies, like those of Jews and non-Jews in antiquity, that offer quite distinct social roles to men and women frequently deploy different persuasive means to con­ vince men and women to marry. On the other hand, within a given society's justification of marriage can also be found an articulation of how that society understands marriage, which in turn is a key to understanding more complex issues of group values and identity. When, for example, modern Americans say that one should marry for love, they are also reflecting the value placed on the individual and his/her "happiness," and are thus also reinforcing other so­ cial institutions (e.g., democracy) that depend on this same value. Our darshan states clearly that a man should marry because it brings him twelve "goods," some abstract and some quite concrete. The full sugya upon which he bases himself, B. Yevamot 61b-64a, does not provide nearly as clear, nor as positive, an answer. But what this sugya, like the many classical works upon which it appears to have been modeled, does reveal are the ten­ sions of the culture that created it. Hence, this chapter has two primary goals.

4

CHAPTER 1

First, by closely reading and placing this sugya within two larger contexts, that of contemporary non-Jewish views of marriage and that of themes found else­ where in the Babylonian Talmud, I will try to recover the function of this sugya, that is, how it might have been read and used as an argument for mar­ riage. Second, beginning from the justifications for marriage given by the tra­ ditions that comprise this sugya, I will thematically survey how, and why, the varied Jewish communities in antiquity answered the question, Why marry?

BABYLONIAN TALMUD: YEVAMOT 61B-64A

According to the Mishnah, "A man should not cease from [attempting to fulfill the commandment] of procreation unless he has children. The School of Shammai says, '[In order to fulfill the commandment to procreate he must have] two boys.' The School of Hillel says, 'A boy and a girl, as it is written, "Male and female he created them" [Gen. 5:2].'" The Babylonian Talmud's discussion of this mishnah is composed primarily of two intertwined, but independent, commentaries. One of these commentaries is on the mishnah proper (i.e., the obligation to procreate), the other is on marriage. Because, as we shall see, there are fundamental differences between the ways that Pales­ tinians and Babylonians discussed marriage, I have italicized dicta attributed to Palestinians. The Talmud begins its commentary thus: 4

(I) But if he has children, he may abstain from procreation, but he may not abstain from having a wife. This is a help to Rav Nahman who said in the name of Shmuel, "Even if a man has several children, he is forbidden to live without a wife, as it is said, 'it is not good for man to be alone' [Gen. 2:18]." But some say that if he has children, he may abstain both from procreation and from having a wife. You could say that this is an objection to the saying of Rav Nahman in the name of Shmuel! No. If he has no children he marries a woman capable of bearing children. But if he has children, he [can] marry a woman not capable of bearing children. What is the practical difference? That he may sell a Torah scroll [in order to contract a marriage only] in order [to marry a woman capable of bearing] children. 5

6

7

If the reason that a man marries is to bear "legitimate" children, then once he has borne the number of children legally required of him, he no longer has any reason, or at least obligation, to marry. Not so, the redactor argues, following the opinion of the single amoraic authority (Shmuel) that he cites. Marriage is in itself an obligation. Because, though, marriage to a woman incapable of procreation is of a lesser "level" than marriage to a fertile woman, a man is not permitted to sell a holy object (Torah scroll) in order to raise the money needed

5

WHY MARRY?

to contract such a marriage. The redactor cites this originally Palestinian halaka as part of his attempt to reconcile two seemingly conflicting statements. After a long discussion (omitted here) of the scriptural foundations of the views of the Schools of Hillel and Shammai, the sugya returns to the topic of marriage, enumerating the benefits of a wife: 8

(II) Rabbi Tanhum ben R. Hanilai said, "Any man who lives without a wife lives 9

without happiness, without blessing, and without good. 'Without happiness,' as it is written, And you shall... rejoice with your household'[Deut. 14:26]. 'With­ out blessing,' as it is written, 'that a blessing may rest upon your home' [Ezek. 44:30]. 'Without good,' as it is written, 'It is not good for man to be alone' [ Gen. 2:18]." 10

In the West [i.e., Palestine] they say, "Without a help, without wisdom, without 11

Torah, without a wall, without a dwelling. 'Without a help, 'as it is written, 'I will make afittinghelper for him' [Gen. 2:18]. 'Without wisdom,' as it is written, 'Truly I cannot help myself; I have been deprived of resourcefulness' [Job 6:13J. 'Without a wall,' as it is written, '. . . a woman encircles a man' [Jen 31:21]. 'Without a dwelling,'as it is written, 'You will know that all is well in your tent; when you visit your home you will never fail' [Job 5:24]." 12

This is the basis for the "sermon in praise of a wife" cited above. Eight laud­ atory aspects of marriage, all somewhat abstract, are ascribed to Palestinians, and nearly each one is given a proof text. The choice of proof texts is not arbitrary. Almost every proof text is based on the appearance of some word for "house," thus tacitly identifying a man's "house" with his "wife." That is, the assumption underlying the use of these proof texts is that marriage is not only about procreation, but also is about the creation of a household. The introduction of Job 5:24 serves as a pivot that allows the redactor to insert the following brief exchange: 13

(III) Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, "Any man who knows that his wife is a 'fearer of heaven' and does not visit her is called a sinner, as it is written, 'You will know that all is well in your tent. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, "A man is required to visit his wife before he goes on a trip, as it is written, 'You will know that all is well in your tent.

But is it from here [Job 5:24] that we learn [that a man should have sex with his wife before going on a trip]? Rather, it is from the verse "your urge shall be for your husband . . . " [Gen. 3:16], which teaches that a woman desires her husband when he sets off on a journey. R. Yosef said, "This [i.e., visiting] is only necessary near her period." How near? Rabbah [said,] "A phase." These words apply only to a voluntary journey, but for a journey done for the sake of a misvah, [the obligation to visit one's wife does not apply because] he is preoccupied. 14

15

16

CHAPTER 1

6

Read as a whole, this section reduces a husband's sexual obligation to his wife. According to a baraita attributed to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, a man should have sex with his wife whenever he sets out on a journey. The sugya then twice limits the obligation. First, the husband's obligation to have sex with his wife before beginning a journey is limited to the time when her "desire" is strong, which was thought by the rabbis to be near to her period. Now an additional limitation is imposed: not only is a man no longer obligated to have sex with his wife whenever he begins a journey, but he is not even obligated when his wife actually experiences sexual desire if this desire does not occur at the time thought by the rabbis to be most appropriate for female sexual desire. According to Rashi's interpretation of Rabbah (which is based on a discussion in B. Nid. 63b), this sexual obligation is limited to the twelve-hour period before her period is expected, yet is forbidden if her period usually begins during that "phase," i.e., day or night. At the end of the section this redactor further limits a man's sexual obliga­ tion. The obligation applies only when a man is going on a "voluntary" jour­ ney, one made not for the sake of a commandment. Overall, then, the redactor limits a husband's obligation to have sex with his wife before departing on a journey to the cases when he is leaving for a "voluntary" journey twelve hours before his wife expects her period. This is not the only place where the redactor of the Babylonian Talmud attempts to limit a man's sexual obligations to his wife. The sugya continues with a baraita also based on Job 5:24: 17

18

19

(IV) Our Rabbis taught: One who loves his wife like himself and honors her more than himself and raises his sons and daughters along the straight path, and mar­ ries them close to their reaching puberty, about him Scripture says, "and you will know that your tent is in peace." One who loves his neighbors, and draws his relatives close, and marries the daughter of his sister, and loans a sela to a poor person in need, about him Scripture says, "Then when you will call, the Lord will answer; When you will cry He will say, Here I am''" [Isa. 58:9]. e

This baraita is unattested in any Palestinian document. In chapter 10 I dis­ cuss the marital ideals expressed in thefirstpart of the baraita. In this sugya, at least the first part of the baraita appears to have been included for its ger­ mane exposition of Job 5:24. In any case, it is afittingconclusion to the first discussion of the merits of marriage. The second discussion of the merits of marriage opens with a mnemonic and then continues: 20

21

(V) R. Eleazar said, "Every man Cadam) without a wife is not a man, as it is said, 'When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; male and female He created them. [And when they were created, He blessed them] and called them Man'[Gen. 5:1-2]."

7

WHY MARRY?

And R. Eleazar said, "Every man who does not have land is not a man, as it is said, 'The heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He gave over to man' [Ps. 115:16]. " And R. Eleazar said, "Why is it written, '... I will make a fitting helper for him' [Gen. 2:18]? If he merits, she will help him, but if he does not merit, [she will be] against him." 21

And some say: R. Eleazar objected, "It is written 'against him' but we read 'for him'—if he merits, [she is] for him, but if he does not merit, she opposes him." Rabbi Yosi found Elijah and said to him, "It is written, 'I will make for him a helper'—how does a wife help a man?" He said to him, "A man brings wheat—is the wheat ground? [A man brings]flax—canhe wearflax? When she is present, she causes his eyes to shine, and causes him to stand on his feet." And R. Eleazar said, "Why is it written, 'This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of myflesh'[Gen. 2:23]? This teaches that Adam had intercourse with every beast and living creature and his mind was not cooled until he had intercourse with Eve." 23

With the exception of a single interpolation ("and some say"), this is a collec­ tion of four dicta attributed to R. Eleazar, a third-generation Palestinian amora. In the first, he seems to advance a kind of argument from nature for marriage: the first human (Adam) was created both male and female; hence a man's attainment of complete being as a "man" {adorn) depends on recreating this unity, through the social institution of marriage. R. Eleazar appears to be ex­ pressing a similar idea in his last dictum, which implies that Adam and Eve were "naturally" made for each other. R. Eleazar's other two dicta, and the story about R. Yosi attached to the second one, connect marriage and household more explicitly than the cited verses. R. Eleazar's stress on owning land at first glance appears out of place, for it is the only one here that neither mentions marriage explicitly nor cites a verse from Genesis. The continuation of this section, though, clarifies the logic of its inclusion: together, a wife and land create a household, and only through the household does a man attain "manhood." Thefirsthint of discord in the sugya is found in the next dictum (which is reported in two different versions). The midrash plays on the Hebrew word (kngdo) in Gen. 2:18, which, depending on vocalization, can mean either "for him" or "against him." This same midrash is found elsewhere, and taken alone is an ambivalent endorsement of marriage. The succeeding story about R. Yosi smooths over this ambivalence and brings us back again to the theme of the importance of a wife for establishing a household. Because the sugya continues with a number of other statements attributed to R. Eleazar, it is likely that these dicta, probably in this order, "traveled" together. That is, the Palestinian who composed the collection of sayings of R. Eleazar under­ stood the topics "wife" and "land" to go together, and the redactor of the Babylonian Talmud then included it in the sugya. It is unclear who spliced in the story about R. Yosi (although I believe it is Palestinian), or the origin of 24

25

26

8

CHAPTER 1

this story (it is otherwise unattributed), but whoever did so also linked a wife to a household. Most of the statements attributed to R. Eleazar that follow emphasize either that other nations are blessed through Israel, or that agriculture is difficult and unprofitable work. After this brief digression the sugya returns to marriage. Perhaps the discordant dictum of R. Eleazar was meant to prepare us for the dropping of the other shoe: (VI) R. Pappa said: ". . . Be quick to sell land, but wait to marry a wife. One should marry a wife one degree lower, but should choose a groomsman one step up." R. Eleazar bar Abina said, "Punishments come into the world only on account of Israel, as it is said, 'I wiped out nations: Their corner towers are deso­ late; I have turned their thoroughfares into ruins . . . ' [Zeph 3:6], and it is written, 'And I thought that she would fear Me, would learn a lesson .. . ' [Zeph. 3:7]." Rav left from before Rabbi Hiyya. He said to him, "May God save you from something harsher than death." Is there anything harsher than death? He went out, examined and found "Now Ifindwoman more bitter than death . . . " [Eccl. 7:26]. 27

28

29

Rav was troubled by his wife. When he said to her, "Make me lentils," she made him peas, [if he said, "Make me] peas," she would make him lentils. When his son Hiyya grew, [the son] would [tell] to [his mother] the reverse [of what his father really wanted]. He said to him, "Your mother has improved." He said to him, "I am the one who [tells] to her the reverse." He said to him, "That is like the proverb that 'Reason will come out of your offspring.' But do not do this, as it is said, '. .. they have trained their tongues to speak falsely' [Jer. 9:4]." [Although] Rabbi Hiyya was upset with his wife, when he wouldfindsomething he would wrap it up in his turban and bring it to her. Rav said to him, "But does she [not] trouble the master?" He said to him, "It is enough that they [f. pi.] raise our children and save us from sin." The end of R. Pappa's statement returns the topic of the sugya to marriage. R. Eleazar bar Abina's statement, I think, serves as the crucial segue from one half of the sugya to the next. Through its attribution (almost certainly under­ stood by the redactor as simply R. Eleazar) and its symmetry to R. Eleazar's statement that blessings come into the world only on account of Israel, it links to the previous part of the sugya. But its intimations of "punishments" clearly points to this second half of the sugya, in which the evil wife is discussed. These stories about Rav, his son Hiyya, and Rabbi Hiyya (no relation to Rav's son) introduce the "evil wife." Although out of spite she does exactly the reverse of what her husband wants, Rabbi Hiyya suggests that one should not divorce such a woman because (1) she raises the children, and (2) she serves as a licit sexual outlet for her husband. This is not, as we shall see, the domi­ nant attitude of the sugya:

9

WHY MARRY?

(VII) Rav Yehudah recited to Rav Yitzhak his son, "Now Ifindwoman more bitter than death...." He said to him, "Like who?" He said to him, "Like your mother." But Rav Yehudah taught to Rav Yitzhak his son, "A manfindstran­ quility only with hisfirstwife, as it is said, 'Let your fountain be blessed;findjoy in the wife of your youth' [Prov. 5:18]." And he said to him, "Like who?" And he said to him, "Like your mother." She is irascible, but easily appeased with a word. Who is an "evil woman"? Abayye said, "She prepares a tray [of food] for him, and then directs her mouth to him." Rabba said, "She prepares a tray [of food] for him, and then turns her back to him." Rabbi Hama bar Hanina said, "When a man marries a woman his sins are 30

stopped off, as it is said, 'He whofindsa wife has found happiness and has won the favor of the Lord' [Prov. 18:22]." In the West when a man marries a wife they say to him, does "find" or "finds" apply? "Finds"—as it is written, "He whofindsa wife has found happiness and has won the favor of the Lord" [Prov. 18:22]. "Find"—as it is written, "Now I find woman more bitter than death ..."

[Eccl. 7:26].

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This, in my opinion, is the heart of the sugya. The wives of rabbis such as Rav and Rabbi Hiyya are not unique, or even rare: All wives, to some extent, are evil. In Palestine, according to the tradition at the end, a wife is either "find" (bad) or "finds" (good), and the one Palestinian amora cited here gives a favor­ able opinion of marriage. But for Rav Yehudah and the redactor (who tries to reconcile Rav Yehudah's statements with the answer "she is irascible, but easily appeased with a word"), a wife can be both good and evil. Marriage in the abstract might be a God-given good, but in reality it involves actual people (wives) who frequently seem to do the wrong thing. For Abayye and Rabba, bad table manners can define a wife as "evil." Now a series of statements attributed to Rabba illustrate the evil wife: 32

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(VIII) Rabba said, "It is a misvah to divorce an evil wife, as it is written, 'Expel the scoffer and contention departs, quarrel and contumely cease' [Prov. 22:10]." Rabba said, "In the case of an evil wife who has a large ketubba [i.e., marriage settlement] he should marry another [in addition], as they say, 'With a rival and not with thorns [should one deal with his wife].'" Rabba said, "A bad wife is as difficult as a stormy day, as it is said, 'An endless dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike' [Prov. 27:15]." Rabba said, "Come and see how good is a good wife and how bad is a bad wife. How good is a good wife? As it is written, 'He whofindsa wife has found happi­ ness. . . .' If Scripture is referring to the woman, how good is a good woman that Scripture praises her! If Scripture is referring the Torah, how good is a good woman that Torah is compared to her! How evil is an evil wife? As it is written, 'Now Ifindwoman more bitter than death.. ..' If Scripture is referring to the 34

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woman, how evil is a evil woman that Scripture derides her! If Scripture is refer­ ring to Gehenna [i.e., Hell], how evil is an evil woman that Gehenna is compared to her!" Unlike Rabbi Hiyya, Rabba advises divorce of an evil wife. But what if a man cannot afford to divorce his wife? Then he should marry another, Rabba says, apparently in order to scare her into proper behavior. Rabba's mention of the possibility of having an evil wife whom one cannot afford to divorce raises the following discussion: (IX) "[Assuredly, thus said the Lord:] I am going to bring upon them disaster from which they will not be able to escape [lit.: they will not be able to escape from it/her]" [Jer. 11:11]. Rav Nahman said in the name of Rabbah bar Abuha, "This is an evil wife with a large ketubba" "... The Lord has delivered me into the hands of those I cannot withstand" [Lam. 1:14]. Rav Hisda said in the name of Mar Ukba bar Hiyya, "This is an evil wife with a large ketubba." 37

In the West they say that this is one whose food depends on his hand.

3S

"Your sons and daughters shall be delivered to another people . . . ," [Deut. 24:32]. Rav anan bar Rabba said in the name of Rav, "This is the wife of one's father." "[I'll incense them with a no-folk,] vex them with a nation of fools," [Deut. 32:21]. Rav Hanan bar Rabba said in the name of Rav, "This is an evil wife with a large ketubba" Rabbi Eleazar says, "These are the Sadducees ..." 39

The sugya cites a number of biblical verses that are, by and large, interpreted by Babylonian amoraim as referring to evil women (including one's step­ mother) whom one cannot escape. Although this interpretive line is not abso­ lutely consistent (the dicta from "the West," i.e., Palestine, and the short dis­ cussion that follows Rabbi Eleazar's statement have nothing to do with evil wives), its hyperbolic thrust is clear. An "evil" wife whom a husband cannot escape is as bad as any destruction that has befallen the people Israel. After some discussion of the correct interpretation of Deut. 32:21, this part of the sugya concludes with some quotations from Ben Sira: (X) It is written in the Book of Ben Sira, "A good wife is a gift to her husband," [Ben Sira 26:3] and it is written, "a good wife will be given to the bosom of God-fearing man. An evil wife is a scab to her husband" [cf. Ben Sira 26:3, 7]. How is thisfixed?He should divorce her and be healed from his grief. "Apretty wife, happy is her husband! His days will be double" [Ben Sira 26:1]. "Avoid looking at a beautiful woman, lest you become trapped in her snares" [Ben Sira 9:8]. "Do not turn to her husband to mix wine and drink, because through a pretty woman many have been ruined and many mighty [have been] her slain" [cf. Ben Sira 9:8, 9].

WHY MARRY?

11

"Many are the wounds of the perfume salesman for sex, like a spark that lights the coals" [Ben Sira 11:29]. These verses, a selective anthology of Ben Sira's view of women, express a clear ambivalence about marriage. Sex and marriage are potential traps, al­ though they also contain the possibility of happiness. After this long discus­ sion of marriage, the sugya returns to the topic of the mishnah, and concludes with several exhortations on the importance of procreation. 40

The Tensions of Marriage Our sugya is a well-edited and coherent composition. Only a relatively small part of the sugya comments on the mishnah proper. Two passages, neither cited above, directly engage the mishnah. The first, after unit (I), discusses the positions of the Schools of Hillel and Shammai articulated in the mishnah. In the Palestinian Talmud, this topic accounts for nearly the entire discussion of this mishnah. The second passage, at the very end, again returns to the issue of procreation. Most of the sugya is, instead, about marriage. Nowhere in the Mishnah (not to mention the Bible) is the commandment for a man to have a wife articulated. The redactor has taken advantage of the similarity of our mishnah's topic to that of marriage to insert a composition on the pros and cons of marriage. The redactor does not attempt to trick us: the very beginning alerts us that marriage, not procreation, is going to be the topic for discussion. Nor is the redactor unclear about his final, or normative, position, that a man should marry. Again, this is stated clearly at the beginning of the sugya, and strongly suggested toward the end, in the discussion on procreation. The first half of the sugya (I-V) articulates the reasons why a man should marry. Unit (II), composed entirely of dicta attributed as Palestinian, lists with scriptural proof texts the abstract goods that come upon a man who marries. The Palestinian dicta in (III) and (IV) advise men to treat their wives properly. It is also a Palestinian amora in unit (V) who provides two more arguments for marriage: it "naturally" completes a man and it is socially necessary in order to establish a household. The second half of the sugya stands in contrast to thefirsthalf. The discus­ sion moves from the abstract good of marriage to both the abstract and all-tooreal potential of its deficiencies. Evil wives are not abstract; we are provided with several examples of actual bad wives (VI, VII). It is also in (VII) that we are clearly presented with the dilemma of marriage, that at least from a male perspective has both a good and a bad side. Not only the stories, but also Rabba's four dire statements in (VIII), demonstrate that the bad side of mar­ riage is indeed quite bad. To make matters potentially worse, a man might not only find himself in a bad marriage, but he might also, forfinancialreasons (IX), be unable to escape it! This is the "nightmare scenario" presented by the 41

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sugya. Then, to conclude and recap the argument, the sugya cites relevant (and not so relevant) verses from Ben Sira (X). Nearly all of this "negative" material in the second half of the sugya is attributed to Babylonian amoraim. Hence, as a united composition our sugya clearly articulates two tensions. First, for a man marriage is a risk. A man is never quite sure whether the woman he is bringing into his home will be a blessing or a curse. Second, at its best, marriage is a mixed bag. Even a fantastic wife will have her faults, thus ruining the peace of her husband. Finally, as I argue below, there is a third tension lurking behind these two: How can one balance marriage, and espe­ cially the domestic and social obligations that attend it, and Torah study? What is the sugya doing? When the normative stance is stated so defini­ tively (i.e., men should marry), why does the rest of the sugya seem so ambiv­ alent? And why are nearly all of the "pro-marriage" dicta attributed to Pales­ tinians and the "anti-marriage" dicta to Babylonians? The answers to these questions lie in the wider contexts in which this sugya functioned. The most important of these contexts are the Greek ideology of marriage and the cultural concerns of the Babylonian Talmud's redactor. Only when interpreted within these contexts will the full force of our sugya emerge.

T H E JEWISH OIKOS

The Palestinian dicta within our sugya come into sharper focus when seen within their Greek and Roman background. Greeks, from their earliest writ­ ings, had seen the fundamental purpose of marriage as the creation of an oikos, which might loosely be translated as "household." This ideology not only sur­ vived into late antiquity, but even flourished precisely at a time when the power and significance of the real oikos had weakened. The classical notion that the primary purpose of marriage for a man was to form an oikos, within which he could gain respectability and a place in the wider society, provides a compelling context for the Palestinian statements on marriage in our sugya. Hesiod, writing around 700 BCE, succinctly articulated the importance of the oikos: "First a house, a wife, and an ox for ploughing." A man must establish himself physically, marry, and acquire the means for cultivation and produc­ tion. Later Greek writers approvingly echo this line and further develop the idea of the oikos. The oikos was seen as the basic institution for reproduction, production, and consumption. As a unit of reproduction, the oikos was seen as the ideal institution for creating and forming new citizens and soldiers As a unit of production, the oikos was seen as a small business, typically based in agriculture The oikos itself was typically seen as consuming most of what it produced, and Greek writers developed an elaborate "science" of household management According to the "Athenian Stranger" in Plato's Laws, who here was undoubtedly expressing a common assumption, the oikos was the 42

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fundamental unit of a society, the collection of which forms larger and more complex political institutions (e.g., cities). "Does not the starting-point of gen­ eration in all cities lie in the union and partnership of marriage?" he rhetori­ cally asks. For a man or woman to be located within the society, he or she must be attached to an oikos. An oikos conferred both identity and respect­ ability to its members. For both the Greeks and the Romans, marriage involved much more than emotions and personal relationships; for a man it was the initiation into full membership to the social body The heavy responsibilities that attended to marriage of upper-class men, and the relatively carefree life that these same men could afford to live as bache­ lors, naturally created a tension. This tension was expressed in the voluminous production in antiquity of books that addressed themselves precisely to the question, Why (should a man) marry? Seeds of this literature can be found in the discussions on the nature of love in Plato's Symposium, and in the "hand­ books" on household management by Aristotle and Xenophon. By the Hel­ lenistic period, though, "marriage" had become a topos. Fragments of several ancient, mainly philosophical, tracts titled "about marriage" survive, and these probably represent only a fraction of what must have existed. In his tract On Love (Erotikos), for example, Plutarch strongly affirms the value of marriage. Musonius Rufus, afirst-centuryRoman aristocrat, answers the central question of his composition "Is Marriage a Handicap for the Pursuit of Philosophy?" with a resounding no. Marriage was not only a topic for philosophers and moralists, but also for rhetors. Thefirst-centuryCE Quintilian uses the follow­ ing topos of marriage to illustrate the difference between "indefinite" (general scope) and "definite" (specific scope) questions for debate: "The question 'Should a man marry?' is indefinite; the question 'Should Cato marry?' is definite." At the turn of the era marriage was a hot topic. As marriage became increasingly contested and defended within the early Church, patristic writers too began composing works "on marriage." This topos was so popu­ lar and persistent that it appears as late as the eleventh century in the writings of al-Ghazali, who mounts a meticulous defense of the institution. The substance of this topos, as it crystallized in the late Hellenistic period, alternated between two poles that would become identified, very roughly, with "Stoics" and "Cynics." These writings are somewhat monotonous, and a pas­ sage by Antipater of Tarsus, writing in the second century BCE, nicely captures the flavor of the "Stoic" position: 48

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The well-born and high-minded youth, being, moreover, a product of civilization and a political being, perceiving that one's home or life cannot otherwise be complete except with a wife and children (for like a city-state it is incomplete, not only one composed [just] of women, but also one composed of single men: just as aflockis not good when it has no increase, nor a herd when it does not thrive, even more so neither a city nor a household)—having observed these things, and, being

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by nature political, that he must increase the fatherland, the well-born youth . For the city-states could not otherwise survive if the children best in nature, being of noble citizens, their predecessors withering and falling off, as it were, just as leaves of a good tree—if these children would not marry in due season, leaving behind, as it were, some noble shoots. . . . endeavoring both while alive and after having passed away to protect the father­ land and aid it, they consider joining with a woman in marriage to be among the primary and most necessary of those things which are fitting, being eager to com­ plete every task laid upon them by nature, most especially the duty that concerns the safekeeping and growth of the fatherland, and even more so, the honor of the gods—for if the race dies out, who will sacrifice to the gods? . . . Further, it so happens that he who has not experienced a wedded wife and children has not known the truest and genuine goodwill. For the other friendships and affections of life resemble juxtaposed mixings of beans or other similar things; but those of a husband and wife resemble complete fusions, as wine with water—indeed, this is mixed completely. 58

According to Antipater of Tarsus, the purpose of marriage was to establish an oikos that would produce and raise children. This, Antipater argues, is good for two reasons. First, it is part of a man's responsibility to his community (polis) and to the gods: it is a duty. Second, it is in accordance with "nature." A man can only realize his true nature and potential in legitimate marriage to a woman. These themes reappear in a number of Stoic writings on marriage from this time through the second century C E . For the Stoics, marriage was not "an entity in itself, but... an important component in a larger system of morality. The act of marrying was a sign of allegiance to a higher metaphysical order; it was the equivalent of acquiescing to the divine will." Roman law itself actually contains a social hierarchy that descends from married men with children, to those without children, to men who are not married. The striking parallels of this material to the Palestinian dicta in our sugya, in both form and content, should by now be clear. The Palestinian presentation of marriage as an unqualified good mirrors in many respects the classical de­ fenses of marriage. These Palestinian rabbinic statements, like near-contempo­ raneous (and more ancient) Greek and Latin writings, sought to encourage men to marry. The consistency of this Palestinian tone emerges clearly in our sugya when it is seen against that of the Babylonian amoraim. More significantly, the content of the Palestinian dicta in our sugya and the Stoic defenses of marriage are virtually identical. Palestinian rabbis emphasize the larger social aspects of marriage; the formation of a household as a unit of reproduction and produc­ tion; and marriage as a divine and natural institution, through which a man completes himself. 59

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The rationale that a man should marry in order to create a household is also pervasive in other Jewish Palestinian sources. Nearly all Jewish writings from

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the Second Temple period share this view. Ben Sira, for example, writes that "as beautiful as the sunrise in the Lord's heaven is a good wife in a wellordered home" (26:16). One of the problems of the adulterous wife is that she bears "bastard children" (23:38), thus corrupting the lines of estate inheri­ tance. Pseudo-Phocylides, probably an Alexandrian Jew who wrote in the first half of thefirstcentury CE, presupposes that marriage was strongly linked to the establishment of a household when he concerns himself sequentially with the topics of labor, marriage, the education of children, and the treatment of slaves. For his contemporary Philo, the purpose of marriage is to establish a household: "Why," Philo rhetorically asks, "does Scripture call the likeness of the woman 'a building'?" (Gen. 2:22): 63

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The harmonious coming together of man and woman and their consummation is figuratively a house. And everything which is without a woman is imperfect and homeless. For to man are entrusted the public affairs of state; while to a woman the affairs of the home are proper. 66

Philo also emphasizes the connectedness of the home to the polls, stating that "a house is a city compressed into small dimensions, and household manage­ ment may be called a kind of state management." Elsewhere he states that "Parents pray that they may leave behind them alive the children that they have begotten to succeed to their name, race and property." Because marriage necessarily entails the domestic concerns of running a household, it hinders the pursuit of wisdom, he states, echoing contemporary Cynic arguments. For Philo, one should have sex according to the law of nature, that is, only for the purpose of procreation. At least one strain of Philo's thought, then, can be seen as (1) linking marriage to a much wider set of social relationships that (2) function according to some law of nature. A man must marry in order to set up a household and to do his duty to the state and to God. For Josephus as well, the point of marriage was to produce legitimate chil­ dren for the good of "the state and the household." Retelling the story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekkah (Gen. 24), Josephus has Abraham's slave say to Rebekkah, "May [your parents] marry you to their hearts' content into the house of a good man to bear him children in wedlock," and concludes this story with the line, "And Isaac married her, being now master of his father's estate." Respectable marriage is very much linked to estates and children. In his apologetic tract Against Apion, he explains the Jewish "laws concerning marriage" as geared toward procreation and education of children and the es­ tablishment of the proper place of the wife within the household. He also praises the Essenes for having sex only for procreation. Ben Sira, Pseudo-Phocylides, Josephus, and Philo all shared similar as­ sumptions of the nature of marriage. All agree that marriage is generally a good thing, and that a man should marry in order to establish a household, not simply to enjoy sex with his wife: the oikos was fundamentally a unit of 67

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physical and social reproduction. Although these authors were all highly Hellenized aristocratic Jews, the differences between them indicate that their views are not just limited to a single narrow class. Ben Sira and Josephus were Palestinians while Pseudo-Phocylides and Philo were Egyptians. Ben Sira wrote in Hebrew, Josephus's native tongue was Aramaic, and the other two wrote in Greek. Each of their writings belongs to a different literary genre. Their correspondence on this issue suggests that this rationale for marriage was pervasive. Similarly, Palestinian rabbinic sources outside of our sugya assume that the purpose of marriage is for a man to achieve social respectability through the establishment of an oikos. According to one Palestinian amora, for example, 76

"[And God saw everything that he had made and] behold, it was very good" [Gen. 1:31]—this is the good inclination. " . . . behold, it was very good"—this is the evil inclination. How can the evil inclination be "very good"? Were it not for the evil inclination, a man would not build a house, marry a wife, and bear children. 77

House, wife, children: these are the key ingredients in living according to the divine plan. According to the Tosepta, should a male orphan request to marry, they rent him a house, prepare for him a bed, and afterwards they marry him to a woman, as it is said, "lend to him sufficient for whatever he needs" [Deut. 15:8]— even a slave, even a horse, "to him [Id]"—this is a wife, as it was written before, "I will make afittinghelper for him [Id]" [Gen. 2:18]. Just as there it refers to a wife, so too here it refers to a wife. 78

A man, even an orphan, must establish a household at the same time that he takes a wife. The Mishnah presupposes that the primary, or basic, unit of the economy is the household, that is, a family that owns land and is headed by a male Jew. The Tosepta elsewhere clearly states that a man should make some money, buy some land, and then marry; after citing this tradition, the redactor of the Babylonian Talmud strings together several alternative interpretations of one of the key proof texts of this assertion as referring to the acquisition of Torah-knowledge. The Palestinian Talmud, at least hermeneutically, sug­ gests that there is a similarity between a wife's and a female slave's household roles, again emphasizing the purpose of marriage as the creation of a house­ hold. Genesis Rabba understands Isaac's marriage to Rebekkah within the wider context of her role within his new household, and a passage in Leviticus Rabba recounts the woe of a man who does not own land. A contemporary midrash that periodizes a man's life into seven stages compares marriage to "a donkey carrying a load," clearly alluding to household duties. "Who is counted as an adult male? Rabbi Zeira said, 'Any man who has a wife and children.' Rabbi Abbahu in the name of Rabbi Yohanan said, 'Any man who has a wife.'" The essence of adulthood, these Palestine amoraim both assert, is marriage. While this tradition is attached to a particular legal 79

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problem, it reflects the broader Palestinian view that marriage causes a man to enter society as an adult. Comparison with a parallel tradition in the Babylo­ nian Talmud buttresses this claim: in the Babylonian Talmud's version, pos­ session of a wife is erased from the definition of male adulthood. Babylonian rabbis, as I will argue below, do not understand marriage within the oikos framework of Palestinians. Among Palestinian Jews the connection between marriage and oikos was not limited to rabbis. An undated Jewish inscription in Greek from the North­ ern Galilee thanks the "one God" for helping to build a home and establish a marriage. A synagogue donation inscription commemorates a husband and wife, their two sons-in-law, and two grandsons. This inscription reinforces a patriarchal ideology that traces itself only through the male line (the daughters are missing) and accrues all honor back to the patriarch of the family. A latefourth-century synagogue inscription from Syria records the donations of ten women, several of whom contributed for the welfare of their households. One of the primary functions of the oikos was reproduction. Classical sources, especially from the second century BCE through the first few cen­ turies CE, emphasize the duty of procreation. As Antipater of Tarsus said, pro­ creation was the contribution that the oikos made to both the city and the gods, "for if the race dies out, who will sacrifice to the gods?" Hellenistic and Pales­ tinian Jewish writers subscribed to a similar, albeit somewhat modified, notion. Jewish authors from the Second Temple period were quite comfortable sub­ scribing to this classical conception. Josephus and Philo, as we have seen, articulate sentiments identical with those of their non-Jewish contemporaries. Josephus explicitly states that procreation was a duty to the state. PseudoPhocylides writes, "Remain not unmarried, lest you die nameless. Give nature her due, beget in turn as you were begotten." Playing off the old classical theme and fear of dying "without a name," Pseudo-Phocylides argues that nature demands that humans procreate within marriage. Procreation is the pay­ ment of one's debt to nature. The early rabbis continued to regard procreation as a duty. The locus classicus for the halakic obligation to procreation is the mishnah to our sugya. This text and the talmudic commentaries on it have been extensively discussed. Certainly by the time the Mishnah was redacted, and probably somewhat be­ fore that, the tannaim thought that procreation was a duty incumbent (at least) on men. The Tosepta is far more pointed than the Mishnah on the duty of both men and women (!) to procreate, forbidding both men and women to marry infertile partners and then condemning those who do not procreate Whenever procreation had become a halakic duty, by the tannaitic period it had become central to the argument for marriage. Several attempts have been made to explain the transformation of the bib­ lical blessing of procreation into a legal obligation. David Daube links the 85

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rabbinic obligation to procreate to "Hellenistic inspiration," the Augustan mar­ ital legislation, and the "desperate" population situation in Judaea following the Jewish revolt of 66 C E . There is, in fact, not a single rabbinic source that justifies the commandment to procreate as a solution to a perceived Jewish population shortage Jeremy Cohen notes that rabbinic interpretation of Gen. 1:28 mirrors the tension between the universal and particularistic tenden­ cies in rabbinic Judaism. "Briefly put, the rabbinic restriction of the law of procreation to free Jewish males bespoke the contention that they were the full-fledged partners of God in his divine covenant." Whereas the early and Palestinian sources reflect significant disagreement on the scope of the com­ mandment to procreate, the Babylonian Talmud consistently restricts the obli­ gation to Jews, and frames it as a matter of covenantal significance. A third explanation for the rabbinic understanding of the duty to procreate has recently been offered by Yair Lorberbaum, who has argued that some tannaim (Rabbi Akiba and his students) took Gen. 1:27 ("And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him") literally: because human beings are actual physical manifestations of God, procreation is good because it creates "more" God in the concrete world. This explanation accords with the univer­ sal justification of procreation noted by Cohen. 94

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This controversy is relevant to our discussion in two respects. First, that procreation was perceived as a duty, and that this duty appeared in Jewish sources at the same time that it wasflourishingin non-Jewish philosophical, moral, and legal tracts. Daube is probably mistaken to date its appearance as early as he does, and to ascribe it to a population crisis, but his instinct to link these phenomena is surely correct. Moreover, in the amoraic period Palestinian rabbis continue to justify procreation as a duty far more than their Babylonian counterparts. The mishnah, for example, cites one tanna (Yohanan ben Beroqa) as dissenting from the view that only men are required to procreate; women too, he argues, have this halakic obligation. Both the Tosepta and other Palestinian amoraim accept this position, whereas the Babylonian amoraim reject it. In a dispute recorded in the Babylonian Talmud over whether a man whose children had died has fulfilled the duty to procreate, the Babylonian amora (R. Huna) rules affirmatively while the Palestinian amora (R. Yohanan) demurs. The Talmud then cites a string of Babylonian amoraim attempting to show that one's grandchildren "count" toward fulfillment of the duty to procreate. Only a baraita brought in the name of R. Yehoshua attempts to set no limit on the number of children that a man is obligated to produce: "If a man married a woman in his youth, he should marry a woman in his old age. If a man had children in his youth, he should have children in his old age." Babylonian amoraim, to be sure, do not challenge the halakic status of procre­ ation. Ultimately a late Babylonian amora (Rav Matnah) accepts R. Yeho­ shua's ruling as binding. On the other hand, the Babylonian amoraim also do 99

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not seem to put the same halakic weight on procreation as do the tannaim and Palestinian amoraim. Both talmuds, for example, affirm a mishnaic ruling that if a man and woman live together for ten years without a child, they should divorce and the husband must pay his wife her ketubba money. In the Baby­ lonian Talmud's discussion we find the following three statements: 102

Rav Yehudah son of Rav Shmuel bar Shilat said in the name of Rav, "They only taught this [mishnah] for the earlier generations, who lived a long time. But for the later generations, it should be two and a half years, corresponding to three periods of pregnancy." Rabbah said [that] Rav Nahman said, "Three years for the three 'visitations,' as the Master said, on Rosh HaShanah Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah were 'visited' [and became pregnant]." Rabbah said, "Don't follow these principles. Who compiled our Mishnah? Rabbi. And already in the days of David the length [of life] were shortened, as it is written, ' . . . the span of our life is seventy years' [Ps. 90:10]." 103

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Rav was a transitionalfigure,who lived both in Palestine and Babylonia, and was among the first amoraim. If attributed accurately, his view, decreasing the amount of time that a couple should spend without children before di­ vorcing, might well reflect a Palestinian attitude. The next two comments ap­ pear to try to counter this view. Rav Nahman's statement, read alone, appears to argue that at least three years must pass before a man can divorce his wife on the grounds of infertility, for God's typical time for visiting infertile women is once each year, and among biblical women he did this three times. Nothing in his statement suggests that this was intended to reduce the ten-year pe­ riod. Perhaps this too is how Rabbah understood it, for when he gives his own opinion he rejects Rav's argument. It would be a little odd if he thought he was disagreeing with Rav Nahman that after reporting his statement he records his own rejection of it. Similarly, a discussion in the Babylonian Tal­ mud that attempts to determine how many children are necessary, in the views of the Schools of Hillel and Shammai, to fulfill one's obligation to procre­ ate ends with the suggestion that a single child, male or female, is suffi­ cient. In these cases there is a Babylonian tendency to reduce the "burden" of procreation. Palestinian rabbinic views of the purpose of sex mirror their emphasis on the procreative goals of marriage. As we saw, the Jewish Hellenistic writers, fol­ lowing Stoic models, thought that one should only have sex within marriage for procreation. Nonprocreative sex is simply lustful, a sign of loss of selfcontrol. Palestinian amoraim appear to have shared this opinion. In contrast to their Babylonian counterparts, who had a more lenient attitude toward sex within marriage, the Palestinian rabbis emphasized that nonprocreative sex within marriage serves no good purpose. In brief, while accepting the earlier 106

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Palestinian traditions regarding the duty to procreate, Babylonian authorities tend to contextualize and justify this duty differently. We will return below to the Babylonian contextualization. The second aspect of the rabbinic discussion of procreation that is important for our purposes is its universal justification in earlier and Palestinian sources. As Jeremy Cohen has noted, there is a shift in rabbinic justifications for pro­ creation from the universal to the particularistic. Earlier rabbis, and some later Palestinian rabbis, assume that the reason for procreation is that it is for the good of the world. God's grand plan is to fill the earth (or, in Lorberbaum's reconstruction of some rabbinic views, to increase His own presence in the world), and humans—all of them—participate in and benefit from this plan through procreation. Hence, one justification for marriage in this scheme is procreation, and the reason for procreation is that it is a duty not only to God, but also to the rest of humanity. By limiting the scope of application of the commandment to procreate, as well as the number of children needed to fulfill it, Babylonian amoraim reflected a different understanding of the purpose of procreation. In sum, Jewish writers during the Second Temple period had entirely con­ ventional assumptions about the purpose of marriage, assumptions that they shared with much of the Greek and later Roman intelligentsia. The purpose of marriage was to create an oikos, through which (1) its members gained iden­ tity; (2) a man achieved respectability and "manhood"; and (3) new members of the state and household were reproduced and raised. Marriage was by no means an end in itself, but carried many social expectations, obligations, and privileges. This justification for marriage also makes sense when seen within the larger economic context of ancient Palestine. For the most part, our sources are pre­ dominantly written by and for the relatively wealthy, and these individuals were most likely to have made their living as landowners. Prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt, Judaean landowners frequently lived on their estates in villas or manor houses. In the Galilee, both before and after the revolts, land­ owners more commonly lived in cities or big towns and left the daily admin­ istration of their lands to others. The difference between Judaean and Gali­ lean practice was to some extent due to the nature of the landholdings, which was in turn dependent on topological differences between Judaea and the Gal­ ilee. Whereas Judaean landowners could own large contiguous tracts of land, a typical Galilean landholder most likely held several small and noncontiguous tracts, thus obviating the need of living on an "estate." For both, though, the oikos worked. An oikos ideology reinforced the self-conception of the resident Judaean household as a family business that was tightly bound to and depen­ dent on the land. But even the Judaean and Galilean landowners who did not live on their own land found in the oikos a suitable ideology that linked them both to the past and to their land. An implication of this economic logic is that 110

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as a society's dependence on agriculture decreases, the strength of its oikos ideology should also weaken. I will return to this point toward the end of the chapter. In most respects, Palestinian rabbinic justifications for marriage were simi­ lar to those of the earlier Jewish writers. They differ in their justification for procreation. Palestinian sources never suggest that a couple should procreate for the good of the oikos itself, or even for the good of the state (i.e., Jewish people). Rather, their justification is universal. Not all Palestinian or Hellenized Jews subscribed to this understanding of marriage. Yet a brief discussion of two of the best documented of these dissi­ dent groups—the Essenes/Dead Sea community and the early Christians— only highlights the pervasiveness of this common Palestinian understanding of marriage. Essenes/Dead Sea Community Josephus famously observes that there were two groups of Essenes. One order "disdained marriage," because they "wished to protect themselves against women's wantonness." 113

There was yet another order of Essenes, which . . . differs from them in its views on marriage. They think that those who decline to marry cut off the chief function of life, the propagation of the race, and, what is more, that, were all to adopt the same view, the whole race (genos) would very quickly die out. They give their wives, however, a three years' probation, and only marry them after they have by three periods of purification given proof of fecundity. They have no intercourse with them during pregnancy, thus showing that their motive in marrying is not self-indulgence but the procreation of children. 114

Philo and Pliny also report the existence of an ascetic order of Essenes, al­ though the former links this asceticism to the incompatibility of philosophy and domestic life, and the latter locates them in the desert, against Josephus's report that they lived throughout the cities. Those in Josephus'sfirstgroup of Essenes show great attachment to each other, adopt other men's children, "and regard them as their kin." He reports that for the second group, the sole purpose of marriage was procreation, and thus the men did not marry a woman until she has been through three menstrual cycles. "Race" probably refers generally to the "Jews." The correspondences between Josephus's general description of the Es­ senes and the picture of the group that emerges from the Dead Sea scrolls make it likely that Josephus—even if he may have erred or modified his sources— had the Qumran community in mind when writing his description of the Essenes. Yet the Dead Sea documents offer no evidence at all for the prac­ tice of celibacy in this community. These documents, in fact, offer compelling 115

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evidence that their members married. 1 will discuss this evidence in different contexts throughout the remainder of this book. In a programmatic essay, Joseph Baumgarten attempts to reconcile the testi­ monies of Essene celibacy with the Dead Sea documents themselves. He con­ cludes "that celibacy at Qumran was never made into a universal norm. It was confined to those who emulated a 'perfection of holiness' requiring uninter­ rupted purity, and even for them perhaps only in the later stages of their lives." His strongest evidence for this assertion is (1) a passage from the Damascus Document that suggests (but never explicitly states) that there were those who did not dwell in camps, take wives, and have children, and (2) the Utopian ritual purity laws in the Temple Scroll, which bans sexual relations in the "city of the Sanctuary." The problem with Baumgarten's interpretation of the passage from the Damascus Document is that it would require that it was written by the "normative" group (the unstated celibate "we" who set themselves against those who dwell "in the camps"). Given the concern with and implicit acceptance of marriage elsewhere in the Damascus Document, as well as Baumgarten's own acknowledgement that celibacy could hardly have been the norm in the community represented in the Dead Sea documents, his interpretation of this passage is hardly compelling. Elisha Qimron has more extensively argued Baumgarten's second point, extrapolating from these pu­ rity laws (also found elsewhere in the Dead Sea scrolls) to communal prac­ tice. Such a movement from ideal to descriptive or normative is equally unpersuasive. 120

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In fact, the only evidence outside of the Greek sources that the Qumran community did not marry is archaeological. In thefirstcenturies BCE and CE, wealthier Jews from Jerusalem and Jericho preferred to be buried in family tombs. I will discuss these tombs more fully in chapter 10, but for now it is important to note that these tombs reflect a value placed on the family, espe­ cially as traced through the male line. That is, they reinforce the literary evi­ dence that these married couples organized themselves, or wanted to give the impression of having organized themselves, in oikoi. The graveyards found at Qumran differ in two crucial respects from these family tombs. The primary graveyard, at least, was almost certainly used by the members of the adjoining settlement. It contains about 1,100 graves. Most of the tombs, which are well ordered and marked with an oval pile of stones, contain a single individ­ ual oriented north-south. There are no inscriptions and few grave goods. All except three of the (relatively few) excavated graves from the primary ceme­ tery contain the remains of men. In the extensions of the cemetery a few women and children were found. Aboutfifteenkilometers south of Qumran a cemetery at En el-Ghuweir contains a similar design and orientation of graves, but this graveyard contained twelve men and six women. The (ap­ parent) absence of women from the main cemetery at Qumran lends credence to the view that the community at Qumran really was composed of celibate 125

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men. The women and children found in the ancillary gravesites, it appears, post-date the Qumran community. More important, the occupants of Qumran, unlike (upper-class) Jewish fam­ ilies from Jerusalem and Jericho, did not bury in families. Rachel Hachlili comments, 128

The individual burial should be stressed, it proves that the community did not follow the old Jewish tradition of burying the dead with their ancestors which seems to indicate that the residents of Qumran were not families. Thus the impor­ tance of the individual rather than the family is indicated by the burial customs at Qumran. 129

Hachlili's two observations should be untangled. Her first conclusion, that the residents of Qumran were not families, does not necessarily follow from the evidence. They may have been families who were simply not buried together. But it is precisely the fact the community chose this burial method that is ideologically significant. Qumran burial practices deemphasized the family; they reflected a non-, perhaps even anti-, oikos orientation. Hachlili ascribes these burial customs to an emphasis on the individual, but I think that these burial customs instead emphasize group adherence, in accord with Josephus's account that the first group of Essenes created Active kin. Unadorned, name­ less graves, neatly and uniformly ordered, indicate equality in death and subor­ dination of the individual to the group, an ideology that is very much in accord with the writings of the community. The community, at least for men, was more important than one's biological family. Men were buried with their "brothers." 130

I am suggesting that the sectarian community at Qumran was not, at least in any significant way, antimarriage. They were, however, antifamily. When the Dead Sea documents mention marriage, they, according with Josephus's description of the second order of Essenes, primarily discuss the regulation of sexual conduct and reproduction. Marriage remains a reproductive unit, but there is no hint here of the importance of oikos, biology (aside from the priesthood), and family. The origins of the Dead Sea community remain obscure, but it almost cer­ tainly began as, and appeared to remain, a sectarian group opposed to conven­ tional social and power structures. Because the family is typically a conserva­ tive institution, sectarian groups throughout history have tended to attack it as part of their protest against the status quo. In Palestine during the Hellenistic period, a society that largely conceived of itself as composed of oikoi rather than individuals, the attack on "family values" by a disgruntled sectarian group is predictable. Josephus claims that the Essenes generously gave to the desti­ tute, "but it is not permitted [for them] to give gifts to relatives without [assent] of the overseers [epitropon]" This restriction only makes sense in a com­ munity that is trying conciously to rip the bonds that tie individuals to their 131

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biological families. Albert Baumgarten has proposed that the first members of the Dead Sea community came from disaffected aristocratic (maybe priestly) backgrounds, a plausible if not provable assertion. If this is correct, then by restructuring their own community along more egalitarian lines—except for the priests, whose prestige was recognized and perhaps even increased over the life of the community—these aristocrats launched a critique of the power sys­ tem from which they felt excluded. The Dead Sea community is one exception that highlights the rule. The community rejected the idea that the primary function of marriage was the establishment of an oikos and social respectability. This rejection served social as well as ideological purposes. By favoring and reinforcing communal loyal­ ties over familial and biological ones, the Qumran community sought to solid­ ify group cohesion. In the process they were also, perhaps, implicitly attacking the "corrupt" power order, in which family played a large role. As the com­ munity moved toward an increasingly more dualistic and eschatological stance, the rejection of biological family reinforced their belief that the end time was just around the corner: procreative couples continue to be necessary in the here and now, but families will lose relevance in this next stage of history. 134

135

The Early Christians The Dead Sea scrolls never explicitly connect their rejection of the prevalent understanding of marriage and importance of forming an oikos to group or ideological goals. The early Christians, on the other hand, do. Although he had little to say about marriage, Jesus himself, it appears, re­ jected the value of family and oikos. You must not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man will find his enemies under his own roof. No one is worthy of me who cares more for father or mother than for me; no one is worthy of me who cares more for son or daughter; no one is worthy of me who does not take up his cross and follow me. 136

Elsewhere Jesus is reported to have counseled a man to leave his dead father unburied in order to follow him: "Leave the dead to bury their dead; you must go and announce the kingdom of God." For Jesus, the "family" are those who do his will. Where Jesus does evoke the image of marriage, the "mar­ riage" is between himself (the groom) and those who anticipate the kingdom of God. Untangling Jesus' original words from those of the Gospel writers is, of course, a notorious problem. Gerd Theissen has convincingly argued that the 137

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synoptic Gospels reflect communities that eschewed social respectability, and hence the establishment of households; they lived in anticipation of Jesus' imminent return. Among the synoptic Gospel writers, Luke rejects the value of the oikos most stridently. Yet here these writers appear to be following Jesus' own trajectory. Whatever else Jesus was and said, he preached that the kingdom of God was now} Marriage was at best irrelevant, and households and family networks hindered both the individual who wished to join God's kingdom as well as the establishment of the new social order. Paul, as usual, is somewhat difficult to pin down on his view of marriage and family. On the one hand, Paul rejects the value of marriage for the same reason of Jesus and the Gospel writers: "What I mean, my friends, is this: the time we live in will not last long. While it lasts, married men should be as if they had no wives" (1 Cor. 7:29). Better, Paul says, to be unmarried than married. Marriage is a "concession," lest "through lack of self-control you may be tempted by Satan" (1 Cor. 7:6, 5). Paul, then, would appear to under­ stand the purpose of marriage as the legal ordering and channeling of sex­ uality. Men and women should marry not in order to establish a social unit, or even reproduce, but to channel their sexual desires. This understanding, one might expect, would leave Paul free to restructure the conventional view of marriage more in line with his idealized elimination of gender roles (Gal. 3:28). Remarkably, despite his ambivalence about marriage and his own under­ standing of its purpose, Paul articulates an entirely conventional code for household behavior. To the Corinthians he expresses shock that a woman would talk in public rather than ask her husband at home; to the Colossians he gives a lesson in household management. The Pseudo-Pauline letters consistently advocate a conventional view of the household and the roles of its members. These Christian household codes have been discussed extensively by scholars and need not detain us here. My point is that what­ ever Paul really thought about the purpose of marriage, when he operated in the real world, addressing household churches whose members subscribed to highly conventional views of marriage and oikos, he echoed their own values. The bulk of Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman cultural orbits subscribed to a fundamentally Greek understanding of the purpose of marriage. Because this understanding of marriage was intrinsically linked to the larger social order, it is no surprise that those Jewish groups that rejected this social order also re­ jected the ideology of marriage that reinforced it. Sectarian understandings of marriage take their force only when seen against the views to which they are reacting. That is, how one understood marriage had repercussions well beyond the bedroom walls: it spoke to how the individual perceived his or her place in the world at large. 140

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CHAPTER 1 BABYLONIAN JEWISH VIEWS OF MARRIAGE

When seen against the volume of Palestinian rabbinic material, scattered as it may be, on the purpose and defense of marriage as the establishment of an oikos, the lack of such a stance attributed to Babylonian amoraim and the Babylonian Talmud's redactor is striking. Babylonian rabbis nowhere justify marriage as the establishment of a household tied to larger social networks. Nor do they offer the kind of univocal and stylized defense of marriage attrib­ uted to Palestinians. As our sugya demonstrates, the Babylonian rabbinic ideology of marriage was more complex and ambivalent. Babylonian rabbis, I will argue, saw the purpose of marriage as legitimately channeling male sexual desire and seed for the purpose of procreation, which they saw as an individual, rather than social, good. They did not subscribe to an ideology of the oikos as a social and productive unit. This Babylonian understanding gains comprehensibility when seen in its cultural context of Sassanian Babylonia. After examining this Babylonian ideology, I will return to the Babylonian ambivalence toward (but never rejection of) marriage expressed in our sugya. Sex and Salvation In our sugya, only Rabbi Hiyya, a Palestinian, is credited with the argument that a man should marry in order to contain his sexual desires: "They save us from sin," he replies to Rav (VI). The form and language of the dictum alone makes the attribution problematic. Many stories found in the Babylonian Tal­ mud that contain Palestinian protagonists are Babylonian inventions. The language of the dictum itself is suspicious, as the term "save us from sin" never appears in any Palestinian document. And the justification for marriage, that it channels sexual desire, is nowhere else attributed to Palestinian rabbis. Rather, it is Babylonian amoraim and the redactor of the Babylonian Tal­ mud who commonly express this concern: 148

Rav Huna.. . said, "If he is twenty years old and still unmarried all of his days are spent in sin." In sin? Rather, I can say that all of his days are spent in the thought of sin. Rabba said, and thus taught those of the School of Yishmael, "The Holy One, blessed be He, sits and waits for a man to marry until he is twenty. When he is twenty and still unmarried, He says, 'Cursed be his bones!'" Rav Hisda said, "I was better than my colleagues because I married when I was sixteen, but had I married at fourteen, I would have said to Satan, 'An arrow in your eye!'" 149

According to the two amoraic statements attributed to Rav Huna and Rav Hisda, men marry in order to avoid sexual sin. Should a man not find a licit outlet for his sexual urge, it threatens to overwhelm him. The redactor is 150

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slightly uncomfortable with Rav Huna's statement and so interprets it dif­ ferently: an unmarried man will think constantly of fornication, although he will not necessarily engage in it. Rav Hisda sees early marriage as a foil to the temptations laid by Satan. It is also interesting to note here that the tannaitic statement attributed to the School of Yishmael, taken by itself, recommends early marriage but says nothing about sexual temptation. Only its contextualization in this sugya allows it to be read as referring to sexual temptation. The redactor of the Babylonian Talmud recontextualizes several Palestinian amoraic statements in line with the assumption that the purpose of marriage is to provide a licit sexual outlet. R. Yohanan, for example, is (probably cor­ rectly) attributed with the position that a man should first study and then marry. Yet in another sugya, the Babylonian Talmud's redactor ascribes to him the opposite position, that for a man to study Torah in purity he must be married. The redactor also glosses a statement attributed to Rabbi Hiyya, namely that one should study Torah in purity, to mean that one should marry before studying Torah. In both of these examples, the underlying assump­ tion is that the purpose of marriage is to serve as a sexual outlet for men, protecting them against their evil inclination. Another Babylonian tradition interprets Ps. 144:12 ("For our sons are like saplings, well-tended in their youth; our daughters are like cornerstones trimmed to give shape to a palace") as referring to "the young men of Israel who never tasted sin" and "the daugh­ ters of Israel who bind up their openings for their husbands"; Palestinian inter­ pretations of this verse tend to apply it to the Temple. This function of marriage has value independent of the goal of procreation. 151

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Procreation is the second goal of marriage, but Babylonians interpret the "good" of procreation as being individual rather than societal. As we have seen, Palestinian sources emphasize the duty of procreation, and the common good to which it contributes. One should procreate because it is a good thing to do, an activity in harmony with the divine plan. Only rarely do Palestinian traditions make a negative argument concerning procreation, that is, that bad things will happen should one restrain from it. Telling is a midrash that states that one of the sins of Nadav and Avihu, whom in the cryptic biblical account God kills because they brought a "strangefire"before the altar (Lev. 10:1-7), was that they were too proud of their aristocratic status to marry. Even here the concern is with their abdication of their duty due to their haughtiness. One of the few Palestinian sources to make this argument is a single, remarkable, if hyperbolic, tannaitic passage that compares restraint from procreation to murder. Babylonian aggadah, on the other hand, frequently makes the argument that one should procreate in order to avoid punishment. Attributed to Babylonian amoraim are the statements that Hezekiah was denied life in the next world because he did not procreate; one is asked on judgment day if one engaged 158

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in procreation; a Jew who does not procreate is banned from heaven; and Joshua was punished for preventing Israel from procreating for a single night. For Babylonian rabbis, procreation has national and salvific significance: it causes God to dwell amidst Israel, and can even bring the Messiah, as the following baraita and its gloss demonstrate: 162

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Our Rabbis taught: "'Return, O Lord, You who are Israel's myriads of thou­ sands' [Num. 10:36]. This teaches that the Shekina [i.e., divine presence] does not dwell amidst less than 22,000 Israelites, and should there be 22,000 Israelites less one, and he did not engage in procreation, does he not cause the Shekina to depart from Israel?" Abba Hanin said in the name of R. Eliezer, "He deserves death, as it is said, 'they left no sons' [Num. 3:4], but if they had had sons they would not have died." Others say, "It is the cause of the Shekina departing Israel, as it is said, T will maintain My covenant between Me and you, and your offspring to come . . . ' [Gen. 17:7]. When your seed comes after you, the Shekina dwells, [but] when your seed does not come after you, on whom should the Shekina dwell? On trees and rocks?" 165

166

According to the parallel tannaitic versions of the baraita, should there have been 21,199 Israelites at Mt. Sinai, Israel "would not have been worthy to receive [the Torah]." The Babylonian Talmud has modified this baraita in order to stress the national goal of procreation. R. Eliezer's comment, if genu­ ine, was most likely a general condemnation of one who does not procreate, using the deaths of Nadav and Abihu as an example. Originally, that is, it was independent of the baraita. The midrash attributed to the "others" also occurs only in the Babylonian Talmud. The redactor appears to have modified the first baraita, a Palestinian source, in line with the Babylonian idea expressed in the last midrash that procreation is necessary for the presence of God, and linked the two through R. Eliezer's statement. A second example of how the redactor appropriated tannaitic sources and modified them to reflect his own view of the importance of procreation can be found in a tradition about the "body of souls." According to this tradition, attributed to Rav Assi, the Messiah will come when the souls in the "body" (guf, perhaps "treasure house") are exhausted. A parallel to this tradition appears in Genesis Rabba, but there it is relatively isolated. The Babylonian Talmud's redactor, however, incorporates this tradition only in discussions on procreation, and then as part of an argument for it (albeit one whose normative implications are ultimately rejected). While the messianic age has, of course, universal significance, its interest to the Babylonian amoraim was primarily limited to the salvation of Israel. 167

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Comparing these scattered Babylonian rabbinic statements to some of the presuppositions of their Zoroastrian contemporaries can help us to understand

WHY MARRY?

29

what might lie behind them. During the Sassanian period, Zoroastrians appar­ ently attached great spiritual significance to childbirth. To bear children was to increase the forces of good against evil, thus contributing to the cosmic battle against evil. Men were to procreate because it achieved for them salvific merit by contributing to the cosmic battle. According to one Pahlevi text, a man should have (male) offspring because their good works are credited back to him. Dastur Sanjana writes: 170

[The purposes of marriage] were based or concentrated in the revealed hope of the spiritual elevation of the good creation in the end. The Zoroastrian faith aspires to a high state of spiritual progress which is to be consummated about the time of the resurrection, when the spirit of man will reach its purest or angelic stage. Human­ ity, according to Zoroaster, is born tofightout its struggle against evil in this world, and to adhere to and strengthen the cause of good. The principal impetus to a marriage conclusion is, consequently, the desire to contribute to the great renovation hereafter, which is promised for humanity. This renovation cannot be carried out in the individual self, but must be gradually worked out through a continuous line of sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons. The motive of marriage for the Iranians was, therefore, sacred. 171

The purpose of marriage was to help light gain victory over darkness. Another line of argument in Pahlevi texts is that the benefit of offspring is that it ensures their father's immortality. There is no hint in the Zoroastrian sources that the purpose of marriage could be strictly social, to form a unit that contributes to the direct (and natural) civic good. The primary difference between the Zoroastrian and Greco-Roman justifica­ tion for procreation lies in the social emphasis of the latter. While Zoroastrian works also occassionally justify procreation as increasing the "people" (i.e., Zoroastrians), the main emphasis is on personal rather than social benefit. For both Athenians in the fifth century BCE and Romans in the fifth century CE, procreation was an individual duty to the local community. For Zoroastrians during the Sassanian period, procreation was justified as accruing benefit to the individual, with failure to procreate resulting in divine punishment for that individual. In broad terms, Babylonian rabbinic justifications for procreation are con­ sistent with that of their Zoroastrian neighbors. Babylonian rabbis inherited a Palestinian rhetoric rich with the language of the social duty of procreation, and in their halakic discussions they worked within this discourse. But when it came to formulating their justifications for procreation independently, they dropped all references to household and social duty. The primary reason to procreate, according to Babylonian rabbis, is for a man to achieve individual merit through his contribution to cosmic salvation. This Babylonian rabbinic/Zoroastrian justification for marriage and procre­ ation logically leads to their high valuation. Zoroastrian literature fulfills this 172

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expectation, uniformly and unambivalently praising the value of marriage. Yet although Babylonian rabbis unwaveringly advise marriage, they are not, as we have seen, unambivalent in their discussion of it. To understand why this was, we must turn back to the Talmud itself.

Marriage or Torah? Babylonian rabbis were torn between their commitments to marriage and to the study of Torah. In their eyes, these two pursuits were irreconcilable. The very end of our sugya suggests this tension when it cites a tannaitic tradition found in the Tosepta: It is taught: R. Eliezer said, "Anyone who does not engage in procreation, it is as if he spilled blood, as it is said, 'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed . .. ' [Gen. 9:6] and it is written after it, 'be fertile, then, and increase .. . ' [Gen. 9:7]." Rabbi Akiba said, "It is as if he lessened the divine image, as it is said, ' . . . for in the image of God did God make man' [Gen. 9:6], and it is written after it, 'be fertile, then, and increase.'" Ben Azzai said, "It is as if he spilled blood and lessened the divine image, as it is said 'Be fertile then and increase . . . ' [Gen. 9:7]." They said to Ben Azzai, "There is one who preaches well and conducts [himself] well, and there is one who conducts [himself] well but does not preach well, but you preach well but do not conduct [yourself] well!" Ben Azzai said to them, "What should I do? My soul longs for Torah. It is possible for the world to be maintained by others." 173

This is one of the very few Palestinian rabbinic texts that addresses the issue of sexual asceticism. Everyone agrees that procreation is good, but, Ben Azzai says, there can be a conflict between this good and the (better) good of Torah study. Ben Azzai feels that he can have only one erotic attachment, and "lusts" for Torah rather than women. That the redactor of our sugya incor­ porates this Palestinian tradition here, I think, points toward the "problem" that really underlies our sugya. From a number of texts in the Babylonian Talmud, we know that Babylo­ nian rabbis were troubled by the (perceived) conflict between Torah study and the duties of marriage. This attitude is most clearly expressed in the following exchange: 174

175

The sages have taught: On studying Torah and marrying a woman? He should study Torah and then marry, but if he cannot manage without a wife, he should marry and then study Torah. Said Rav Yehudah that Shmuel said, "The halaka is that he should marry and then study Torah."

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Rabbi Yohanan said, "A millstone around his neck and he will study Torah?!" And they do not disagree; that is for us and that is for them. 176

The redactor has pithily posed the problem and then two solutions, one of which he locates in Palestine and the other in Babylonia: Palestinians marry after studying, Babylonians before. Although Rabbi Yohanan was a Palestin­ ian rabbi, no such exchange or formulation of this "problem" appears in any Palestinian document. The "problem" itself is a Babylonian one. In a collection of stories in B. Ket. 62b-63a, the Babylonian Talmud works this problem out in more depth. Toward the end of its discussion of the sexual obligation that a man has to his wife, the Talmud includes a series of stories about rabbis who marry and then leave their wives for extended periods of time in order to study Torah. As a composition, these stories present an ambiva­ lent view of this practice. On the one hand, when done in a particular fashion they support it, viewing this practice as a good solution to the problem of reconciling marriage and Torah study. The paradigm of this solution is told in one of the stories, that of Rabbi Akiba: 177

Rabbi Akiba was a shepherd of Ben Kalba Savua. When his daughter saw how modest and noble he was, she said to him, "If I were betrothed to you, would you go to the House of Study?" "Yes," he said to her. She was betrothed to him secretly and she sent him away. Her father found out, and expelled her from his home and vowed that she not have any use of his property. [Rabbi Akiba] stayed for twelve years at the House of Study. When he returned, he brought with him 12,000 students. He heard an old man say to [his wife], "For how long will you stay as a living widow?" She said to him, "If he would listen to me, he would spend another twelve years [at the House of Study]." [Rabbi Akiba] said, "With her permission I am doing this," and he returned and spent another twelve years at the House of Study. When he returned, he brought with him 24,000 students. When his wife heard, she went out toward him. Her neighbors said, "Borrow nice clothes and put them on." She said to them, "A righteous man knows the needs of his beast" [Prov. 12:10]. When she got to him, she fell on her face and kissed his knees. [His students] were thrusting her away. [Rabbi Akiba] heard her and said to them, "Leave her. What is mine and what is yours are hers." 178

The story goes on to relate how Akiba freed his father-in-law from his vow, thus allowing him to give half of his wealth to his daughter and son-in-law. This is the "ideal" Babylonian solution to the problem of the conflict between marriage and Torah study. Rabbi Akiba's self-sacrificing (and nameless!) wife sends her husband away to study, and all are rewarded as a result. Jonah Fraenkel and Daniel Boyarin are certainly correct that this version of the story is a Babylonian invention, created in order to promote an ideological agenda. The core of the story, though, appears to be Palestinian: 179

180

Once R. Akiba made a headdress of gold for his wife. The wife of Rabban Ga­ maliel saw and was jealous of her. She told her husband. He said to her, "When

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you have done for me as much as she has done for him [I will make you such a headdress]." She sold the braids from her head and gave [the proceeds] to him so he could study Torah. 181

There seems to have been a Palestinian legend about Rabbi Akiba's wife sup­ porting him while he studied Torah. That this legend has not been fully pre­ served in any Palestinian document is telling; it was not seen as particularly interesting. The Babylonian Talmud, though, reports two versions of the leg­ end, apparently modified and expanded in accordance with Babylonian sen­ sibilities. In the Babylonian Talmud the story of Rabbi Akiba and his wife was advanced as the "ideal solution" to the conflict between Torah study and marriage. After analyzing this evidence, Boyarin concludes: A set of directly contradictory social demands was current within the culture; on the one hand, the highest of achievements was to devote oneself entirely to the study of Torah, and on the other hand, there was an absolute demand on everyone to marry and procreate. The Palestinians resolved this tension by following a common Hellenistic practice of marrying late after an extended period devoted to "philosophy"—for the Jews, Torah. The Babylonians, on the other hand, having a strong cultural model of the necessity of sexual activity for post-pubescent men, were prevented from such a pattern. They produced at some point, therefore, the impossible "solution" of men marrying young and leaving their wives for ex­ tended periods of study, creating, as it were, a class of "married monks." 182

As far as he goes, Boyarin is compelling. But it is possible to go further: the "problem" itself is Babylonian. The Palestinians did not attempt to solve the problem because they never problemicized it. In the Palestinian sources there are hints of an ascetic impulse that saw a conflict of erotic attachments. Only the Babylonian Talmud, though, problemicizes the conflict between Torah and marriage. When seen in the larger context of the sitz-im-leben of Babylonian Talmud's redactor, this focus on Torah and its conflict with all other commitments is not surprising. The Talmud's redactor apparently worked within the context of the academy, some kind of formal structure in which men would come to study. The entire thrust of the Talmud's argumentation appears targeted to an audi­ ence of students within such a setting. In a series of readings of aggadot from the Babylonian Talmud, Jeffrey Rubenstein has shown the Babylonian Talmud's redactor's frequent concern with the dynamics of the House of Study, and the wide range of issues and conflicts that arise in it. That is, the redactor tends to view issues through the lens of Torah and its institutionalized study. Marriage, when seen through this lens, could naturally appear to be in conflict with Torah study. Palestinians, who did not have the same kind of formalized academies, would not have felt the same tensions. 183

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It is worth noting that this difference between Babylonian and Palestinian rabbinic approaches to marriage is neither natural nor unique. The stalwart defense of marriage offered by Palestinian (and Stoics) does not have as its logical opposite the more ambivalent view that it conflicts with the pursuit of Torah and wisdom. Yet this very difference is also well attested in classical sources. If the Stoics so insistently pressed the value of marriage, they did so in part in response to attacks on the institution. These attacks came to be known as the "Cynic" position. The Cynics maintained that marriage was at best a distraction that was unworthy of the philosopher. Musonius Rufus inveighs against those philosophers who decline to marry. He no doubt has in mind the attitude expressed by Diogenes in his letter to Zeno: 188

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One should not wed nor raise children, since our race is weak and marriage and children burden human weakness with its troubles. Therefore, those who move toward wedlock and the rearing of children on account of the support these prom­ ise, later experience a change of heart when they come to know that they are characterized by even greater hardships. But it is possible to escape right from the start. Now the person insensitive to passion, who considers his own possessions to be sufficient for patient endurance, declines to marry and produce children. 190

Even sex, for Diogenes, was a waste of time: "as for intemperate intercourse with women, which demands a lot of spare time, bid it farewell." Or, as Callicratidas, the champion of pederasty puts it, "marriage is a remedy in­ vented to ensure man's necessary perpetuity, but only love for males is a noble duty enjoined by a philosophic spirit." In this line of thought, the (male) pursuit of philosophy and that of women were incompatible, and philosophy was the clear winner. This Cynic position sets up a conflict between biological and disciple ties similar to the tensions found in the New Testament. Consistent with their problemicizing of the conflict between marriage and study, Babylonian rabbis— and not their Palestinian counterparts—are vexed by the priorities with which one should honor one's biological parents and one's teacher. The Baby­ lonian Talmud gives ideological preference to one's teacher over one's biolog­ ical family, and to some degree, "disciple" over natal descent. It is telling that a Palestinian statement that curses a man who does not leave an heir is followed by a lengthy Babylonian discussion about whether this means a true heir, or a disciple. The tension between biological and ascribed lineage is not limited to the Greco-Roman world. A Pahlevi Babylonian text that probably dates from the seventh century CE or earlier points in the same direction: 191

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The rule is this, that a man, when he does not wed a wife, does not become worthy of death; but when a woman does not wed a husband it amounts to a sin worthy of death; because for a woman there is no offspring except by intercourse with

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men, and no lineage proceeds from her; but for a man without a wife, when he shall recite the Avesta, as it is mentioned in the Vendidad, there may be a lineage which proceeds onwards to the future existence. 196

Women must marry and procreate in order to participate in the cosmic battle against evil. Should they restrain from this participation by remaining celibate they incur guilt. Men, however, have an option: they can recite the proper texts, thus ensuring a "lineage." While not explicit, this text sets up a tension between biological and "religious" lineage, leaving the latter option available only to males. PALESTINIANS AND BABYLONIANS

Two further examples, drawn from our sugya, will illustrate the differences between Palestinian and Babylonian approaches to marriage more concretely. Thefirstexample is drawn from a Palestinian midrash on Gen. 2:18 that paral­ lels R. Tanhum ben R. Hanilai's statement in unit (II) that enumerates and "proves" from Scripture the benefits of marriage. It is taught: "Anyone without a wife dwells without good, without help, without happiness, without blessing, and without atonement.. . ." R. Simon in the name of R. Yehoshua ben Levi (said), "Even without peace, as it is written, ' . .. peace to you and to your household .. . ' [1 Sam. 25:6]." R. Yehoshua of Saknin in the name of R. Levi (said), "Even without life. . . ." R. Hiyya bar Gomdi said, "He even is not a complete man. . . ." And some say, "He even lessens the divine image. . . ." 197

198

This is a coherent composition in praise of marriage. The statements are not ordered randomly; they progressively increase their praise of marriage. Unlike our sugya, where the qualities are attributed to R. Tanhuma ben Hanilai or to the general attitude of Palestinians, the tradition is here attributed as tannaitic. There are also some differences in the enumeration of qualities: "atonement" and "life" are missing in our sugya; "Wisdom," "dwelling," "Torah," and "wall" are missing in Genesis Rabba; and the concept of the "complete man" is brought elsewhere in the sugya (V). Either both of these versions spring from a common source, or the Babylo­ nian Talmud modified the Palestinian tradition. In either case, the differences are telling. The Talmud's redactor has integrated this tradition into both the thrust and the structure of the sugya. It no longer carries the weightier "tan­ naitic" attribution, and the difference in qualities also detracts from the stronger praise of marriage found in the version in Genesis Rabba. The addi­ tion of the proof text for "dwelling" in our sugya allows the redactor a segue into (III), in which he could lessen the marital obligation (again showing am­ bivalence toward marriage). Similarly, the transfer of the dictum on the "com-

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plete man" to another part of the sugya was made because it fits better in that part of the sugya. "Torah" and "wall" are found in no other early Palestinian source and could well have been added by the redactor to foreground the sugya's underlying tension. The "wall" means that a wife will protect her hus­ band from sexual misconduct, a characteristically Babylonian argument. Thus, it is possible, even likely, that they did not say in the West all of the things that were attributed to them. A second example of the difference between Palestinians and Babylonians on marriage can be seen in the use of the trope, "an evil wife with a large ketubba," reported in (VIII) and (IX). This trope is found elsewhere in rabbinic sources, as well as in contemporary classical literature. One collection of "evil wives with large ketubbas" stories is found in Genesis Rabba almost immediately after the section just cited above: 199

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"I will make afittinghelper for him." If he merits, [she is a] help, but if not, [she is] against him. R. Yehoshua bar Nehemia said, "If he merits, [his wife will be] like the wife of Hanania ben Hakinai, but if not, [like the] wife of Yosi HaGalili." R. Yosi HaGalili had an evil wife. She was the daughter of his sister, and she would abuse him. His students said to him, "Rabbi, leave this woman who tortures you and does not pay you honor." He said to them, "Her dowry is large, and I don't have [enough money] to divorce her." Once he and R. Eleazar ben Azariah were studying Torah. When they came [to R. Yosi HaGalili's house, R. Yosi] said to him, "Watch [your tongue], Rabbi, and we will go into the house." [R. Eleazar ben Azariah] said, "Sure." When they entered, her face fell and she retreated. He looked at the pot standing at the hearth and said to her, "Is there anything in this pot?" She said to him, "A vegetable stew." He went and uncovered it and found chicken. R. Eleazar ben Azariah knew what he heard. When they sat down to eat, he said to him, "Rabbi, didn't she say vegetable stew when we found chicken?" He said, "A miracle must have occurred." When they left, [R. Eleazar ben Aza­ riah] said to him, "Rabbi, leave this woman who tortures you and does not give you honor." He said to them, "Her dowry is large, and I don't have [enough money] to divorce her." He said to him, "We will raise the dowry money so that you can divorce her." Thus they did: they raised the money and he divorced her and took another wife, better than [thefirst].The sins of [hisfirstwife] in­ creased, and she went and married a city guard. After some time, misfortune came upon them, and she went around, leading him through the whole city [beg­ ging]. She went through all the neighborhoods, but when she came to the neigh­ borhood of R. Yosi HaGalili, she would turn away. Because the man knew the city, he said to her, "Why don't you lead us into the neighborhood of R. Yosi HaGalili, for I heard that he gives charity." She said to him, "I was divorced from him, and I am unable to see his face." Once they came begging in the neighbor­ hood of R. Yosi HaGalili. He began to hit her and she cried out [until] they were 201

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despised throughout the city. R. Yosi HaGalili looked, and saw that they were despised in the markets. He took them and lodged them in one of his houses and supported them for the rest of their lives, as it is written, " . . . and not to ignore your own kin" [Isa. 58:7]. 203

There are several similarities between this story and the shorter tradition in our sugya on the "evil wife with a large ketubba" I have argued that our sugya alludes to the tension between marriage and Torah study, which parallels the narrative context of the story from Genesis Rabba. Unlike his students, R. Yosi HaGalih's wife does not honor him. His students also offer him a way out of his marriage; they will "pay off" (in the version in Leviticus Rabba, a word meaning "clear the debt" is used) his debt to her, thus allowing him to take a wife who is "good" (and therefore uninteresting to the storyteller) and to de­ vote himself to his studies and teaching. This story, like our sugya (VI and VII), exemplifies the "evil" wife by her conduct concerning, and at, the table. There is, though, one major difference between the versions of this story found in Palestinian documents and in our sugya. The tradition in our sugya suggests that the solution to the "evil wife" is to neutralize her, either by di­ vorcing her or by scaring her into submission by the addition of another wife to the family. In the Palestinian story, however, the solution is not at all clear. After his divorce R. Yosi HaGalili, according to the logic of our sugya, should now live happily ever after. Instead, he ends up supporting his ex-wife and her blind husband. To some extent, the purpose of this narrative is to praise R. Yosi HaGalili. At the same time, though, it leaves the reader conflicted: divorce may have been the correct solution, but it is not without consequences. This Palestinian ambivalence toward divorce is reflected in the application of the prooftext, Isaiah 58:7, to one's divorcee, even when she is "evil." These two examples demonstrate the different ways in which the redactor of our sugya and the Palestinian redactor of Genesis Rabba understood and dis­ cussed marriage. They shared material, but each appropriated it differently. These traditions in Genesis Rabba are more positive about marriage than their parallels in the Babylonian Talmud. Where Genesis Rabba strongly defends marriage, the Talmud demonstrates ambivalence. 204

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PERFORMING FRUSTRATION

To this point I have attempted to explain why all of the Palestinian dicta in our sugya strongly defend marriage, and the underlying tensions and understand­ ings of marriage that led to the more ambivalent Babylonian contributions. Now I want to return to another question that I posed earlier in this chapter: How is one to interpret the sugya as a whole, as a literary composition of its redactor? Why does it combine such an affirmative normative stance that a

WHY MARRY?

37

Jewish man must marry with such a negative portrayal of married life, espe­ cially as it progresses? In antiquity, Talmud was not "read" as much as performed. Its sources were oral, and emerged out of the oral matrix of the House of Study. Its formal, redacted characteristics preserve the oral flavor of these sources, putting chro­ nologically and geographically remote rabbis into "dialogue" with each other. And most importantly for this discussion, it was intended for oral use and study. To "read" Talmud in a House of Study meant to read it aloud and engage it in a group context. Group readings, that is, were performances of text. As public performance, the text was meant to do things, to become trans­ formative in a wide variety of ways. When seen as a performance piece, this sugya clicks into focus. Our sugya vents frustration. Underlying our sugya is the perceived tension between mar­ riage and Torah study. Its dialectical form mirrors this tension. Theologically, the redactor cannot escape the conclusion that "marriage" is good; but he also cannot ignore the feeling that in the reality and practice of the academy, mar­ riage is a mixed bag. The "antimarriage" material in our sugya is not meant to be read "oppositionally," as opposing the halakic norms detailed in the same sugya. It is, rather, meant to be in tension, a literary artifact of frustration. The "conflict" between the marital (and procreative) imperative and Torah study is ultimately irresolvable. The purpose of our sugya is not to solve the problem, but to gripe about it; to release the frustration of being caught be­ tween two poles in the controlled environment in which these texts were pro­ duced and read, the House of Study. A modern analogy illustrates how this might have worked. There is today in American culture a number of women or wife aphorisms and jokes. One such aphorism is, "Women: you can't live with them and you can't live without them," or in its more misogynistic rendering, "Women: you can't live with them and you can't shoot them." These aphorisms and jokes are "per­ formed" among groups of men in certain almost ritual contexts, such as while drinking in bars or at bachelors' parties. The purpose of these performances is not to oppose, or seek to change, social relationships with women or the insti­ tution of marriage itself, but rather to express in a controlled environment frustrations endemic to certain formations of marriage (perhaps in this case bounded by social and economic class) in modern American society. This, I believe, is what the redactor is doing in our sugya. The redactor "knows" that nobody is going to use this composition to subvert marriage because the institution is too strong; it is taken for granted. This text is in­ tended for performance in the controlled male environment of the House of Study. Through these performances, sages and their students are given an op­ portunity, before returning to their wives and homes, to vent the tensions that they felt between their Torah study and marital obligations. 207

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This is why the dicta on marriage attributed to Babylonian amoraim are far harsher than those of Palestinians. Both the redactor and the Babylonian amo­ raim perceive a conflict between married life and Torah study, and both are free in their criticism of marriage. In the language of the Greco-Roman philos­ ophers, they might be said to take a modified "Cynic" stance toward marriage. Like the Cynics, the Babylonians admit a conflict between marriage and study. Unlike the Cynics, however, they would never think of undermining the insti­ tution of marriage. W O M E N AND MARRIAGE

Little could better illustrate the androcentric nature of rabbinic sources than the preceding discussion. Babylonian rabbis articulately, and at length, express their feelings of tension between a man's married life and his study of Torah, while Palestinian rabbis attempt to persuade men that it is in their best interest to marry: neither group attempts to argue that women should marry. The closest that one gets to such an argument is Yohanan ben Broqa's position, accepted by Palestinian amoraim, that women are obligated to procreate. Yet this receives such little attention, even in the Palestinian Talmud, that it could hardly be said to constitute an argument as to why women should marry. The rabbis, like Greek and Roman aristocrats throughout antiquity, did not attempt to persuade women to marry because it would hardly have crossed their minds that women would need to be persuaded. They simply assumed that women wanted to and would marry. As the Tosepta bluntly puts it, "a woman wants to marry more than a man, and furthermore, the shame of a woman is greater than that of a man." The shame here is that of remaining unmarried. After a discussion of how to establish the marriage settlement of a deaf woman so that men will want to marry her, the Babylonian Talmud raises, for the first and only time, the possibility that a woman might not want to marry a deaf man. The possibility is quickly dismissed with the citation of this tosepta. Other rabbinic sources relate stories of women who possess charac­ teristics that men desire (e.g., money), or tell men how to "spruce up" their daughters so that men will desire them. A Palestinian amora is credited with the observation that for a woman, "it is better to dwell [with] grief than to dwell [in] widowhood." There thus appears to be a rabbinic unawareness of, or at least a lack of concern with, female ascetic movements. Female asceticism was a growing phenomenon in Christian circles in late antiquity. As many scholars have noted, asceticism gave women a "way out" of the social structures in which they would move directly from being "daughters" to being "wives." Both pagans and the Christian defenders of marriage attacked these female ascetic movements, which threatened the social order. 210

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During the Second Temple period, there appears to have been at least one ascetic group that Jewish women could join, the Theraputae. Jewish litera­ ture from the Second Temple period praised female modesty, particularly of the widow who did not remarry. By the rabbinic period, though, we cease to hear about Jewish female ascetics. The rabbis certainly know of, and regard ambivalently, Jewish male ascetics, but they never mention Jewish female ascetics. This silence suggests either that there were no significant Jewish fe­ male ascetic outlets in the rabbinic period, or that the rabbis were so andro­ centric and Utopian that they ignored female asceticism, even while comment­ ing on male asceticism. With the absence of any other evidence that testifies to Jewish female ascetics at this time, the former alternative seems more likely to me. 218

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ADAPTING A COMMON MENTALITY

Why marry? Hellenistic Jewish writers and Palestinian rabbis offer reasons remarkably close to those articulated by the Stoics: it is a man's duty to marry in order to create a household, an essential goal of which is the reproduction of children. Together, these households comprise a "natural" social order, one that is in accordance with the divine plan. Babylonian rabbis justify marriage for men as necessary to protect them from sexual improprieties and to increase their supernatural merit through procreation. At the same time, Babylonian rabbis acutely perceive a conflict between their domestic responsibilities and their quest for Torah within the context of the House of Study. Throughout this chapter I have drawn attention to the parallels between Jewish and proximate non-Jewish attitudes. I have done this more to elucidate than to explain. The non-Jewish sources frequently preserve an argument in more detail than its Jewish parallel, thus allowing us to "connect the dots" of our more fragmentary Jewish sources. Moreover, they offer a corroborating context that reinforces the plausibility of the reconstruction. What they do not do is offer an explanation for why Palestinians understood marriage in one way and Babylonians in another. The themes and ideas that are commonly ascribed to the "Stoic-Cynic debate" were part of a common mentality in the Near East from around the turn of the millennium and later. One need not posit that the rabbis had direct acquaintance with these texts to suggest that the ideas in them were commonly available for adaptation. The explanation for these Jewish differences in their justification of mar­ riage is to be found in the different social and economic contexts of these communities. Ironically, the form of rabbinic justifications of marriage suggest an exactly opposite reality. The strong and unequivocal support of marriage in Hellenistic and Palestinian rabbinic sources indicates that there was a threat to marriage: not only among non-Jews was marriage a contested institution. 220

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Hellenistic (elite) Jews and Palestinian rabbis both assumed a relatively high age for marriage (see chapter 5). As I will argue later, marital age provides one explanation for the Palestinian arguments for marriage. A relatively high age at marriage had two consequences. First, it gave men more freedom to ques­ tion whether they really wanted to marry. Blandishments and encouragement would be particularly important in maintaining marriage. Second, by the time they married, most men would not have living fathers. This would allow them to establish their own households rather than being assimilated into those of their fathers. Continuation of the social and economic fabric of the elite Jewish community depended on the society's ability to persuade its sons to "buy in" by marrying and establishing oikoi of their own. The changing economics of Roman Palestine also may have contributed to an attack on the oikos. From the third century CE, Palestine saw increasing urbanization. Archaeological surveys of the Galilee indicate that popula­ tions increased even in smaller villages, and rabbinic sources suggest that peasants and smaller landowners werefindingthemselves increasingly in debt and disenfranchised. The result, as I suggested above, would have been a need for a different family structure that could accommodate the new eco­ nomic realities. To effectively respond to the opportunities presented by trade and commerce, a family must be mobile, unencumbered by land. The time at which this economic change was occurring, the fourth to sixth centuries, was precisely when Palestinian rabbis produced some of their strongest support for a marital ideal based on the oikos. Marriage, as they understood it, was under attack. On the other hand, the Babylonian ease in complaining about marriage com­ bined with their unwillingness to undermine it indicates that marriage was uncontested, and unlikely to be damaged by the venting of frustration. Here again social and economic considerations determined the adaption of this approach. Babylonians married when they were younger. Consequently, they had fewer opportunities to question marriage. Once married, the new couple would live with or near the husband's father's family, integrating into that family. Hence the lack of emphasis on the establishment of a household, and the concern with controlling sexual passion. An additional factor in the Baby­ lonian understanding of marriage is the context of the House of Study. Babylo­ nian rabbis appear to have been more internally oriented than Palestinian rabbis, and spoke more to rabbinic concerns than to common ones. In the context of the House of Study, economic activity and societal responsibil­ ity mattered less than the personal pursuit of Torah and the master-disciple relationship. When Jews in antiquity turned outside of their own tradition for understand­ ings and justifications of marriage, they did so because they thought that those understandings worked in their own contexts. They did not, however, simply adopt these ideas out of whole cloth. Rather, they Judaized them, modifying 221

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the "common mentality" in a way that made sense both against their traditions and within their material contexts. At bottom, the Jewish justifications for marriage in antiquity were hardly uniquely Jewish. To see what made Jewish marriage "Jewish," we must turn to the Jewish myths and metaphors of mar­ riage, and then to its juridical structure.

Chapter Two METAPHOR AND MYTH

IDEOLOGY IS ONLY one way through which societies understand and promote marriage. Societies also use metaphors and myths to construct, reinforce, and enrich marriage. These metaphors and myths interact in complex ways with marital rituals and understandings. In Rome at the time of Augustus, for ex­ ample, novels and art depicted marriage as a metaphor for harmonious social relationships within the state as a whole. Such an understanding of marriage cuts two ways: it influences the model of ideal citizenship in domestic (hence more personal) terms, and it constructs the marital relationship as a microcosm of the state. This chapter will explore the Jewish use of marital metaphors and myths in antiquity. The Hebrew Bible, as we will see, contains both a marital metaphor and a myth. Both the biblical myth and metaphor of marriage were, of course, part of the Jewish heritage. The focus of this chapter is not on the biblical material in its original contexts, but on the way that later Jewish groups in antiquity understood and appropriated the biblical metaphor and myth of mar­ riage in their contexts. When and why did different Jewish groups use Scrip­ ture in the ways that they did? The argument of this chapter is that the Jewish elite from the immediate postbiblical period on were uncomfortable with the biblical marital metaphor, which compared the relationship of God and Israel to a human marriage. Their discomfort arose from both sociological factors and the theological ramifica­ tions of this metaphor. Despite their difficulties with the metaphor, however, it did have an interpretive life later in more popular circles. The myth of mar­ riage (i.e., the marriage of Adam and Eve), on the other hand, is well attested in Palestinian sources throughout antiquity. Palestinian adaptation of this myth buttresses the argument of the last chapter: it provides a Jewish idiom for the expression of the "Stoic" idea that marriage is rooted in nature and part of the fabric of the cosmos. 1

MARRIAGE METAPHORS

Hosea was thefirstbiblical prophet to have compared, explicitly and systemat­ ically, the relationship between God and Israel to a marriage. God commands Hosea to marry a prostitute, bear children with her, and then send her away, thus reenacting the tumultuous relationship between God and Israel: God "married" Israel by means of the covenant, Israel was unfaithful to this cove-

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nant by means of her "whoring," and God sent her away. In later, happier, days, God will return to His people, "And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call [Me] Ishi, and no more will you call me Baali" (Hos. 2:18). The verse is a beautiful pun, for the word "Baal" can mean the (false) god Baal, husband, and master. Not only does it imply that Israel will abandon Baal for the true God, but also that Israel and God will live in a kind of marital intimacy in which God is no longer her "master." Isaiah 62:5, probably penned some two centuries later, implies a similar intimacy: "As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." By comparing the covenant to marriage, these prophets are suggesting that the covenant between God and Israel is intimate and reciprocal. The image of a "whoring" Israel with which Hosea begins is also found in Ezekiel 16, which describes such straying in almost pornographic detail. Several of the other prophets too either mention or allude to the "marriage" between God and Israel. While Hosea is the first to use this metaphor explicitly, it might also be lurking in the background of the earlier Pentateuchal sources. Gerson Cohen has argued that the prophets did not invent the description of the relationship between God and Israel as a marriage, "they had inherited it from more ancient circles of popular and priestly monotheism." For support, Cohen points to the Pentateuch's description of God as "jealous," a technical term applied also to a human husband; the Pentateuchal use of the metaphor of Israel "whoring" after other gods; and the flowering of this sentiment, in his view, in Song of Songs. Even if Cohen is not correct that the authors of the Pentateuchal pas­ sages to which he refers understood the relationship between God and Israel as a marriage, he has demonstrated that a reader—modern or ancient—who ap­ proaches the Hebrew Bible looking for the marriage metaphor will not be disappointed. Despite the clear, if scattered, references to this metaphor throughout the Bible, two qualifications should be noted. First, the marital metaphor is by no means the only or even most common way of describing the relationship be­ tween God and Israel. The Bible far more commonly describes God as king, among other things, than it does as husband. Second, it is very difficult to ascertain if the marital metaphor was "live" during the postexilic period. That is, did the postexilic Jewish communities themselves use the older biblical metaphor? Most, if not all, of the postexilic writings completely ignore the metaphor; only Malachi might allude to it, but he more explicitly portrays the relationship between God and Israel as father-son. Before following the later trajectory of this metaphor, it is worth consider­ ing its practical implications. Human marriage should, at least to some extent, mirror the ideal of the relationship between God and Israel. A husband should be to God as his wife is to Israel. As the relationship between God and Israel is covenantal, specifying mutual obligations, so too should human marriage be reciprocal. But within this reciprocal relationship, the male partner (God or the 2

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husband) holds the upper hand. As God has the right to take as many nations as He desires as partners, so too should the human husband. And as Israel has no right to "whore" after other men, so too should a human wife be forbidden from adultery. Because the relationship is mutual, either partner should have the right to divorce. Biblical marital legislation appears to confirm all of these implications. From a theological perspective, this metaphor contains three potential prob­ lems. First, it gives to God the right of divorce. What is to prevent God from sending away His covenanted spouse, Israel? Second, it gives God the right to take other nations as "co-wives." Within the strict confines of this meta­ phor Israel cannot be guaranteed a permanant place as God'sfirstlove. Finally, it implies a degree of intimacy between God and Israel that is not always compatible with an asexual and transcendent understanding of God. If Malachi 2:16 really does mean that God detests divorce, then it would reflect some awareness of the theological flaw of the marital metaphor by this late prophet. The prophet wants to preserve the legal possibility of human di­ vorce, but to voice the uneasiness with which this possibility coexists with the metaphor of God and Israel as a married couple. A more consistent way to preserve this marital metaphor would be to eliminate the possibility of human divorce, a strategy, as we will see below, adopted by some later Jewish groups. 10

11

Jewish Hellenistic Authors Among Jews writing in Greek, the description of the relationship between God and Israel as a marriage was stunningly uninfluential. With the exception of Paul (discussed below), no Jew writing in Greek uses this metaphor. These same writers do use marriage as a metaphor, but as one that describes other things. Jewish Greek writers, for example, compare the relationship between an individual and Wisdom in erotic terms. Solomon's desire in Wisdom of Solomon (8:2-16) to make the personified Wisdom his mistress, with its man­ ifest erotic overtones, goes far beyond the portrayal of Lady Wisdom in Prov­ erbs 8. One of Philo's favorite metaphors is the description of the "marriage" of one's soul to wisdom (sophia) or reason (logos). The image in both Wis­ dom and Philo relies more on Greek classical and philosophical precedents than on the biblical metaphor of covenant as marriage. An intriguing, and enigmatic, use of a marital metaphor occurs in the pseudepigraphical work Joseph and Aseneth (which I will call Aseneth). Putatively, this is a Greek expansion of the bald report in Gen. 41:45: "Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him for a wife Aseneth daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On." Aseneth begins with the pagan heroine holding herself as superior to all men. This changes when she sees the magnificently handsome Joseph, who in turn scorns her: "It is notfittingfor a man who worships God . . . to kiss a strange woman who will bless with her mouth dead and dumb idols." Crushed by this rebuke, Aseneth begins a 12

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period of repentance and contrition, which culminates with her encounter with a heavenly being who transforms her, renaming her "City of Refuge, because in you many nations will take refuge with the Lord God, the Most High, and under your wings many peoples trusting in the Lord God will be sheltered, and behind your walls will be guarded those who attach themselves to the Most High God in the Name of Repentance." The heavenly being informs Jo­ seph of her transformation, and on his insistence, Pharaoh marries them, put­ ting golden crowns on their heads and blessing them before he "turned them around toward each other face to face and brought them mouth to mouth and joined them by their lips, and they kissed each other." The book then con­ tinues with only a vaguely related adventure story in which Pharaoh's son seeks to kidnap Aseneth for himself. Joseph is virtually absent from this part of the story. Although the parallels between Aseneth and Greek romance novels have been noted, the comparison should not be overdrawn. Like all the Greek novels, Aseneth begins with a chaste pair of lovers in a distant past and ancient, mythical land (but who nevertheless display good Greek values) who, after circumventing several intervening obstacles, eventually marry. Aseneth and the Greek romance novels share "the elite status of the lovers; their mu­ tual chastity; their extraordinary beauty; their virtual identification with the gods; the role of the divine in ordaining the marriage; the relatively egalitarian quality of the marriage; and the linkages of death, initiation, and marriage." But whereas the Greek novels focus on the couple's ability to remain true to each other in the face of many external trials, the first part of Aseneth con­ tains no external obstacles. Aseneth must surmount only her own haughtiness and paganism, and she ultimately requires an angelic being to complete her transformation. An evaluation of the degree of similarity between Aseneth and the Greek romance novels is important for the interpretation of the story. For our pur­ poses, it is clear that the marriage of Aseneth and Joseph in this story is a metaphor. It is, however, not at all clear what it is a metaphor for. Judith Perkins has recently argued that the erotic attachments and marriages within the Greek romance novels are images for the relationship of the citizen to his polls and class. By remaining faithful to each other despite the attempts of others to "penetrate" them, the lovers in these novels symbolize the impene­ trability of their social class. The Greek romance, according to Perkins, re­ inforces social and class cohesiveness and boundaries. Catherine Hezser has extended this argument to Aseneth, arguing that Aseneth "serves to confirm the particular religious identity of Jews living within such poleis. Unlike the social and civic boundaries which are presented as impermeable, however, according to Joseph and Aseneth the religious boundaries between Jews and non-Jews can be crossed from the gentile to the Jewish side." Both of Hezser's claims are implausible. The group boundaries in Aseneth are fuzzy: remember that it is Pharaoh, at Joseph's urging, who sanctifies the 16

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marriage. Erich Gruen, in fact, sees in this book a story of permeable bound­ aries between Jews and Gentiles, a combination of tales of harmonious re­ lations and an ironic view of Joseph's own haughtiness. It is difficult to imagine the "intended reader" of such a work in its supposed context (in this interpretation), urban Egypt around the turn of the millennium. Aseneth is clearly directed at an aristocratic audience, and a message preaching imperme­ able social and civic boundaries would hardly have been welcomed by a Jew­ ish aristocratic communityfightinga very bitter and public battle to gain civic rights. The claim that a central message of Aseneth is the openness of Juda­ ism to true converts has a long scholarly history, but remains problematic. Aseneth requires an encounter with an angelic being to complete her transfor­ mation. Even if this work was intended to be read by non-Jews, the potential convert could hardly be encouraged by this requirement. 24

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While acknowledging the parallels between Aseneth and the Greek romance novels, Ross Kraemer works from a radically different point of departure. She tends to see Aseneth not as a Jewish work from Egypt produced sometime between the first century BCE and the second century CE, but as a Christian work written in (perhaps) third-century-CE Syria. In this context, the mar­ riage of Joseph and Aseneth represents the marriage of Christ and the Church. This interpretation nicely explains the use of marriage in this work: it both takes seriously Aseneth's new name as "City of Refuge" and contextualizes well with Paul's use of this metaphor (see below). It is still unclear, however, whether Aseneth can truly be seen as an entirely Christian composition. Following Larry Wills's suggestion, it is possible that the original "loveadventure story" was Jewish, with a Christian allegorical addition. I have dwelt on Aseneth because it contains the most developed use of a marital metaphor of any Jewish literary work written in Greek, if it is indeed Jewish. The very centrality of the metaphor, and its uniqueness when seen against other Greek-Jewish literature, could support Kraemer's argument that Aseneth is essentially a Christian composition. However, if it is Jewish, then whatever the meaning of this marital metaphor, it is not a description of the relationship between Israel and God. Nor does it appear to be a metaphor for civic and social harmony, as in the Greek romance novels. When seen in a Jewish context, in fact, the metaphor is so obscure that one wonders if an ancient Jewish reader would have been as perplexed at its interpretation as the modern scholar. Why did this biblical metaphor comparing the relationship between God and Israel as a marriage fare so poorly? Four factors, I believe, played a role in the rejection of this metaphor by Greek-speaking Jews in the Hellenistic and early Roman periods. First, the biblical marital metaphor is at odds with the ideological under­ standing by these Jews of the purpose of marriage as formation of an oikos. An understanding of marriage as patterned after or related to the relationship be28

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tween God and Israel would privilege the relationship of husband and wife over other kinship relations. An oikos ideology, however, privileges the rela­ tionship of parents and children as primary. Adoption of the biblical mar­ riage metaphor would not have fit well into this valued hierarchy of kinship relations. Nor would it fit well into a fundamentally androcentric understand­ ing of marriage. Understanding marriage as a covenant, with reciprocal obliga­ tions, would have been too egalitarian for the comfort of most Greek men. A second reason why Jewish Hellenistic authors might have abandoned the biblical metaphor of covenant as marriage was that at least one large part of this metaphor would have been incomprehensible to them. Biblical texts draw a certain correspondence or equivalency between human fornication and aban­ donment of God. To fornicate is to act out, even participate in, idolatry. Postbiblical Jewish writers do not share this understanding. For them, the problem with human fornication was that it demonstrated a lack of control, which would in turn lead down the slippery slope to idolatry. With this conceptual shift, the image of "whoring" after other gods ceases to make much sense. Although he did not write in Greek (despite being thoroughly Hellenized), Ben Sira provides a nice example of this conceptual shift. At 26:10 (11)—12 (14) he writes in uncomfortable detail of the adulterous wife. Although he uses differ­ ent metaphors, Ben Sira evokes Ezek. 16:25. Yet whereas Ezekiel only uses such language to denote Israel's betrayal of God, Ben Sira refers literally to an adulterous woman. Ben Sira, that is, uses the biblical images of a "whoring" Israel as referring to the activities of human women while avoiding any hint of the biblical metaphor. He has totally leveled the metaphor, probably because it made little sense to him. 30

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The third reason why Jewish-Greek authors would have rejected the biblical marital metaphor is its portrayal of God and Israel is too intimate a bond. The marriage-covenant metaphor implies a sexual intimacy with God that would have made these authors uncomfortable. The tendency of the Greek translators of the Hebrew Bible to expunge anthropomorphic images of God is well known; the image of God and Israel making love would have seemed scan­ dalous. Whatever Philo's true opinion of the nature of "wisdom" or "reason," even if he views it as an emanation of God, Philo can far more easily use marital imagery when describing their relationships to the human soul or mind. The discomfort of this metaphor in the Aramaic translation of the Bible (the targum) is even more explicit. Perhaps composed in Palestine in the decades or century immediately after 70 CE, the Aramaic translation of Hosea completely obliterates its key metaphor. Hence, the targum translates Hos. 2:18 as "And at that time, says the Lord, you shall eagerly follow my worship, and no more shall you worship idols." Finally, the social condition of the Jews may have played a factor in the cold reception given to Jewish use of the metaphor. As noted, beginning around the turn of the millennium both Romans and Greeks began to use marriage as a 33

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metaphor for social relations. The Romans mapped ideals of harmony and concord within the Empire onto marital relationships. Greek romance novels, at least on one level, use marriage to reinforce social relationships between members of the aristocracy and the polls and to increase aristocratic group cohesion. Most Jewish communities in poleis at this time, though, had a mar­ ginal and often strained relationship with the host polls? The metaphor would have fallen flat to Jews who were on the margins of the polls and the Empire. The rejection of the metaphor on this ground might then have led to a wider discomfort with applying it in any context outside of the individual's relation­ ship to knowledge or wisdom. Comparison with one contemporary Jewish group that did compare the rela­ tionship of God to His people to a marriage highlights the choices made by these more "mainstream" Jewish authors. The early Christians explicitly em­ ployed this metaphor, and as a sectarian group believing itself to be on the cusp of the end of time, had the luxury of dictating human marital practices that accorded with their use of the theological metaphor. Early Christians explicitly compared God's (or Christ's) relationship to the church with a human marriage. Jesus apparently compared himself to the "bridegroom," and his disciples to the "bride." Paul appropriates this meta­ phor to much greater effect. In 1 Cor. 6:15-17 Paul asserts that Christ is in everyone. He then goes on with an appeal to Gen. 2:24 that sex (or by exten­ sion, marriage) is the making of one flesh. Ergo, sex with a prostitute is equiv­ alent to uniting Christ with a prostitute. Elsewhere Paul asserts to the Corin­ thians that he "betrothed you to Christ, thinking to present you as a chaste virgin to her true and only husband" (2 Cor. 11:2). In Romans, Paul develops a somewhat obscure marital analogy in which the only thing that really is clear is that the Christian believer is "now" married to Christ. The perhaps pseudoPauline letter to the Ephesians (5:25-32) expands on this concept: 1

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Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it, to consecrate and cleanse it by water and word, so that he might present the church to himself all glorious, with no stain or wrinkle or anything of the sort, but holy and without blemish. In the same way men ought to love their wives, as they love their own bodies. In loving his wife a man loves himself. For no one ever hated his own body; on the contrary, he keeps it nourished and warm, and that is how Christ treats the church, because it is his body of which we are living parts. "This is why" (in the words of scripture) "a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become oneflesh"[Gen. 2:24]. There is hidden here a great truth, which I take to refer to Christ and the church. Here human marriage, and conduct within marriage, is directly linked the met­ aphor of Christ's relationship to the church. A man should treat his wife as Christ treats the church. Moreover, human marriage itself is a "great truth," a

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"mystery" (as the Greek literally reads) patterned after the marriage of Christ and his church. Early Christian writers advocate marital practices that concord with this metaphor. As mentioned, the comparison of the relationship of God and Is­ rael—or the church in this case—has some potentially thorny ramifications on marital practices, primarily divorce. For the metaphor to work, it should obvi­ ate the possibility of divorce: should a couple be allowed to divorce, the logic of the metaphor leads to the possibility that God can divorce His people, a theological nightmare. It is significant, and in my view related to their use of the marital metaphor, that early Christians foreclosed this human possibility. Jesus, apparently, cited both Gen. 1:27 and 2:24 in his prohibition of divorce Paul too subscribes to this prohibition A second potential problem is that of polygyny—might God have more than one "wife"? Although the New Testa­ ment never explicitly condemns human polygyny, it does appear to assume monogyny. Here again human marital practice is brought into line with a theo­ logical metaphor Just as looking at the earliest Christian uses of this metaphor highlights its absence among contemporary Jewish writers, so too its adaptation by later Christian writers will highlight its relative absence from rabbinic sources. Writing in the late fourth century, for example, John Chrysostom says on Eph. 5:31, 42

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[Paul] is showing that the person who has left those who begot him and nourished him will be joined to his wife. Then the "oneflesh"is the father, the mother, and the child that is conceived from their intercourse. For the child is formed when the seeds mingle together; in this way they are three in oneflesh.Similarly, we be­ come onefleshwith Christ by participation, and in an even greater way than the human child 4 6

Chrysostom goes on to develop this analogy, that marriage is a reenactment of the divine drama in which Christ "left his Father and came down and took a bride and became one spirit with her." About twenty years later, Paulinus of Nola used the image of the integration of a married couple into Christ's body in a Christian epithalamium (marriage poem): "a wife must in all humility receive Christ within her spouse, so that she may be equal to the holiness of her husband. Thus she will grow into his holy body and be woven into his frame, that her husband may become her head, just as Christ is his." By the Byzantine period, the Christian use of the marital metaphor had spread beyond theological circles. According to Gary Vikan, the art on marital items (e.g., rings, belts) reflects a Christianization of Roman and Stoic marital iconography. The intention of the iconography on these items was "to con­ vey symbolically the single, simple message that this marriage was one sanc­ tioned by Christ." The iconography seems to me not only to convey the 47

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notion that marriage is a divine gift, but also to link marriage to the theologi­ cal metaphor of the marriage of the Church and Christ. This art, although con­ fined to the wealthy, demonstrates the appeal of the New Testament marital metaphor. The Christian use of this metaphor highlights the lack of any equivalent metaphor, as we will see, in the classical rabbinic literature. At the same time, as we will also see, it might also inform the increasing Jewish use of this metaphor in Palestinian sources in the Byzantine period. The Rabbis In all of tannaitic literature the metaphor of the relationship of God and Israel as a marriage appears very infrequently. One source passingly compares God coming from Sinai to a groom coming toward a bride. A second midrash appears in the Tosepta and asks about the difference between the two sets of tablets that Moses brought down from Sinai. According to the account in the Hebrew Bible, the first tablets were the work of God (Exod. 32:16), but the second tablets were made by Moses, although the writing was that of God (Exod. 34:1). The midrash illustrates this with a parable: 51

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To what is the matter similar? To a human king who betrothed a woman. He brings the scribe, the pen, the ink, the contract, and the witnesses. [But] if she sins, she brings everything, [and] it is enough that the king gives to her clear writing [i.e., his signature] [in] his own hand. 53

When God gave thefirsttablets, He was like a man betrothing a woman. God set up the entire betrothal ceremony. After Israel sinned with the golden calf, though, it is she who brought the betrothal contract to her groom, asking only that he sign it clearly. The midrash compares Israel to a woman who cheats on the man to whom she is about to be betrothed. In the parable, God is com­ pared to the husband, Israel to the wife, the Torah is the contract, and Moses lurks in the background as the scribe. The use of this metaphor to illustrate Israel's past transgressions, as we shall see, is in many ways typical of the rabbinic use of the metaphor. Later rabbinic sources use the marital metaphor with only slightly greater frequency. Ofra Meir, surveying the monumental collection of 937 rabbinic king parables made by Ziegler, found only sixty that involve marriage. Only ten of these parables both date from the talmudic period and compare the marriage of God and Israel to human marriage, and nearly all of these are from later Palestinian homiletical midrashic works. To my knowledge, the meta­ phor does not occur at all in the Palestinian Talmud. Prior to the homiletical midrashic works, midrashim tend to use the marital metaphor to illustrate God marrying off a son or daughter rather than God actually marrying. Genesis Rabba, for example, contains parables that identify either the world, the Sab54

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bath, or humankind as the daughter (or son) that God is marrying off. A baraita in the Babylonian Talmud also contains the latter identification. A few parables advance the metaphor that Israel "married" God's daughter, Torah. One tannaitic interpretation of Song 3:11 asserts that "Solomon's wedding day" refers to "the day that the Shekina dwelt in the Temple." In the very few places outside of the later homiletical works that the image of God's "marriage" to Israel does appear, it is transformed. A midrash on Hos. 2:18, for example, changes the message of the intimacy of God and Israel in future days into a teaching about the conduct of a human couple; God has no part in this new teaching. One sugya that contains this midrash then con­ tinues with a sustained analysis of the beginning of Hosea that radically changes the prophet's meaning. In Hos. 1:2 God commands Hosea to marry a prostitute who clearly represents Israel's unfaithfulness to God. The Baby­ lonian Talmud presents a series of exegeses of her name (Gomer) that em­ phasize her promiscuity, but do so in a fashion that completely obliterates the fact that she represents Israel. By emphasizing her human promiscuity this sugya also emphasizes Hosea's lot: he has sinned and is punished, in part, by having to marry a woman "who is as sweet in the mouth of all as a figcake." The Babylonian Talmud's leveling of Hosea's marital metaphor is even clearer in the continuation. In Hosea, Hosea's divorce and remarriage of Gomer symbolize God's relationship with Israel. The marital relationship is primary. When, in the midrash, God orders Hosea to divorce Gomer, the prophet responds: 58

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"Master of the universe, I have children from her and I am able neither to send her away nor to divorce her." The Holy One said to him, "And you—whose wife is a prostitute and whose children are the children of whoring and you don't know if they are yours or of other men—[say this]; then Israel, My children, the children of my tested ones, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, one of my four worldly possessions . . . and you say, 'Exchange them for a different people.' " 65

The precise meaning of the passage is obscure, but its exegetical thrust could hardly be clearer. God has become Israel's father rather than husband. Per­ haps this accounts for the tortuous syntax of God's response. The analogy that the darshan wants to make, between Hosea being unable to send his wife away and God not wanting to send His children away, simply does not work very well. Thus the darshan buried this lack of correspondence in a cumbersome sentence, hoping that his readers would not notice. In any case, Hosea's meta­ phor is completely transformed: Israel is the child, not the wife. In thefirsthalf of the metaphor (before this breaks down as well), Israel is child of adultery rather than the adulteress. A second example of rabbinic sources subverting the metaphor of God's marriage to Israel is more complex. In a sugya that ends up discussing how 66

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disheartening it is for a man to lose his first wife we find the following four traditions: 67

A. Rabbi Eleazar said, "Anyone who divorces hisfirstwife, even the altar sheds tears for him as it is written, 'And this you do as well; You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, weeping, and moaning, so that He refuses to regard the oblation any more and to accept what you offer' [Mai. 3:13], and it is written, 'But you ask, "Because of what?" Because the Lord is a witness between you and the wife of your youth with whom you have broken faith, though she is your partner and covenanted spouse' [Mai. 2:14]." B. Rabbi Yohanan also said, "For any man whosefirstwife died while he was alive, it is as if the sanctuary was destroyed in his day, as it is said, 'O mortal, I am about to take away the delight of your eyes from you through pestilence; but you shall not lament or weep or let your tearsflow'[Ezek. 24:16], and it is written, Tn the evening my wife died, and in the morning I did as I had been commanded,' [Ezek. 24:18], and it is written, 'I am going to desecrate My Sanctuary, your pride and glory, the delight of your eyes . .. ' [Ezek. 24:21]." C. R. Shmuel bar Nahman said, "To everything there is a recompense, except the wife of one's youth, as it is said,'... Can one cast off the wife of his youth?' [Isa. 54:6]." D. Rav Shmuel bar Onia said in the name of Rav, "A woman is a golem [i.e., unformed lump] and she only makes a covenant with the one that forms her [into a] vessel, as it is written, 'For He who made you [bo'alayik] will espouse you— His name is "Lord of Hosts . . . " [Isa. 54:5]. 68

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The first three traditions explicitly ground sorrow at the loss of afirstwife in the metaphor between human marriage and the covenant between God and Israel. Each of these traditions uses a different biblical base for its marital metaphor. (A) uses the metaphor found in Malachi; (B) the one found in Ezekiel; and (C) the one in Isaiah. Despite its prominence, the metaphor is not developed in these traditions. The traditions use the metaphor to illustrate the grief that a man might feel on losing his first wife, but they do not articulate any theological ramifications. That is, they do not understand this grief as stemming from a broken covenant. Nor do the rabbis understand from these verses that a man should not divorce his wife, just as God would not divorce Israel. Covenant language becomes a convenient "hook" for these traditions, but they are formulated independently of any notion or metaphor of covenant. The fourth tradition cited here is significant for both its midrashic brilliance and logical incoherence. Sex with her husband, Rav says, transforms a woman ontologically, "creating" her, as it was. The Hebrew word b l means master, husband, and lover. Rav reads the verse as meaning "the one who has sex with you makes you." On one level, the analogy works. Just as God made a cove­ nant with His people, so too does a woman make a covenant with her "creator" (her husband). But on a deeper level, it too falls apart. First, the analogy is not 70

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53

symmetrical. What does it mean that the woman makes the covenant, and what is the meaning of "only"? Second, the temporal succession does not work: Does the woman make a covenant (i.e., marry) only after she has sex? The thrust of the tradition is that man "creates" his wife just as God created man. The midrash obliterates any trace of intimacy or reciprocity that the compari­ son of marriage to covenant might apply, focusing instead only a wife's subor­ dination to her husband. The tendency to emphasize a wife's subordination to her husband, as we will see in chapters 9 and 10, is not uncommon among Babylonian amoraim. Before considering the later Palestinian homiletic midrashim that do de­ scribe the relationship between God and Israel as a marriage, it is worthwhile to consider another kind of rabbinic marital metaphor. Below I argue that the "grooms' blessing," really a collection of six blessings, as reported in the Babylonian Talmud contains essentially Palestinian ideas. Two of these bless­ ings evoke a metaphor of marriage to describe the relationship of God to Zion: 4. Let the barren one rejoice and cry out when her children are gathered to her in joy. Praised are You, Lord, who causes Zion to rejoice with her children. 6. Praised are You, Lord our God, king of the universe, who created gladness and joy, groom and bride, rejoicing, song, mirth, delight, love, friendship, peace, and companionship. Lord our God, may there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of gladness and the voice of joy; the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride; the joyous shouts of grooms from their bridal chambers, and of youths from their [marriage] celebrations. Praised are You Lord, who causes the groom to rejoice with the bride. 71

These blessings present a pastiche of biblical citations and allusions that evoke the metaphor of the relationship between God and Israel as a covenant. The fourth blessing uses the language of Isa. 54:1 ("sing, barren one") as a refer­ ence to Zion, and strongly alludes to Isa. 61:10 and 62:5. The blessing is more or less faithful to the image from Deutero-Isaiah, which uses the metaphor of marriage to describe the relationship between God and Zion. The blessing is apparently included here in order to underline the (somewhat unclear) connec­ tions between human marriage, procreation, Israel's Diaspora, and ultimate redemption. Zion should rejoice for her (and God's?) children when they marry, in anticipation of the day in which God will gather her children to her. The sixth blessing returns to this theme, connecting human marriage to the divine redemption of Zion, citing the consolation passage of Jer. 33:10-11. Only in restored Zion can humans celebrate marriage to its fullest. Signifi­ cantly, however, even in the six blessings that comprise the grooms' blessing there is no description of the "marriage" between God and Israel. The description of God and Israel as married is not totally absent from rab­ binic literature. Some relatively late Palestinian homiletical midrashic com­ positions do contain coherent forms of this metaphor. Most typically, these 72

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works use the marital metaphor to illustrate Israel's unfaithfulness to God, much in line with the example that we have already seen from the Tosepta. The metaphor, and its message, can be quite complex. Lamentations Rabba, for example, contains a parable comparing God's behavior toward Israel to a king who abandons his wife for a long period of time; only her marriage contract (i.e., the Torah) and the material comforts contained in it comfort her in his absence. David Stern has shown that the use of this metaphor here is far from innocent, pointing to an implicit critique of God's abandonment and "a critical interrogation of God and His treatment of Israel." A parable that might have been formulated as a response to Christian supercessionist teaching compares Israel to an imperfect, but still loved, wife. Deuteronomy Rabba contains several marital parables in which Israel marries, is unfaithful, and then is brought back into a covenantal relationship with God. Expectedly, the few unambivalently positive uses of this metaphor in rab­ binic literature appear in the midrashic commentary on Song of Songs, Song Rabba. While patristic writers read Song of Songs as a sustained allegory for the relationship between Christ and the Church, the rabbis, even in Song Rabba, read the same biblical book far more episodically. Hence, Song Rabba devotes relatively little space to understanding the Song of Songs as a metaphor for the marriage of God and Israel. One tradition, ascribed to a thirdgeneration Palestinian amora, identifies the ten places in Scripture that Israel is called a "bride," and concludes from this that Israel "wears" the ten com­ mandments like a bride wears her ornaments. Other traditions talk of Israel as bashful before God's courting her, or of the newly betrothed couple praising each other's physical attributes. Rabbis were not the only Jews infifth-and sixth-century Palestine using the marital metaphor homiletically. Yannai, a Palestinian liturgical poet who prob­ ably lived in the sixth century, wrote one poem comparing the marital relation­ ship of Jacob and Leah to that of God and Israel. In two much longer compo­ sitions for the seventh day of Passover, Yannai develops the Song of Songs as a metaphor for the love between God and Israel, their meeting at Sinai, the establishment of the Temple, and God's unquenchable and irrevocable love for His people. On the verse "Before I knew it, my desire set me mid the chariots of Ammi-nadib" (Song 6:12), for example, Yannai writes, 73

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Like bride bound up / with jewelry adorned She sits in a chariot / bedecked and perfumed.

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The language in the first line alludes to Isaiah 49:18, in which God consoles Zion. Yannai, though, has transferred the metaphor to Israel: in this reading Israel, not Zion, is God's bride. Just as God and Israel once enjoyed a marital intimacy, so yet again, God says, "you will be Mine, and I will be yours." Yannai's student (?) Eleazar ben Kallir, who most likely worked in Pales­ tine close to the time of the Moslem conquest, also used the metaphor of 83

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God's marriage to Israel. In one piyut, Kallir describes a dialogue between Zion and God: My husband has abandoned me and turned away, And has not remembered my love as a bride. He has scattered and dispersed me far from my land; He has let all my tormentors rejoice at my downfall. He has cast me off like an unclean woman, banished me from his presence; He has harshly ensnared me, given me no respite; He has chastised me till my eyes failed. Why has he forsaken me, forgotten me forever? 0 my dove, O plant of delight in my garden bed, Why do you cry out against me? 1 have already answered your prayer, as I did in days of old, When I dwelt crowned in your midst. 84

The putative female here is Zion, but Kallir blurs the lines between Zion and Israel, mother and wife. In the first stanza (not cited), Zion is compared to a mourning mother, while the second is the lament of the bride, exiled "far from my land." God, again, assures Zion or Israel that He still looks after her, and concludes "I shall not forsake you or forget you." In a poem that Kallir composed for a marriage, his use of this metaphor, and its assimilation into human marriage, is even more striking. This lengthy poem was to be recited during the first Sabbath after the marriage, during the Qedusa prayer (which is embedded in it). In the middle of this long composition, he turns to the married couple: 85

Bound by affection, may your joy increase, In love and in gladness today with your marriage; Be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God. Delight, groom, in your glorious huppah, Excel in beauty among your companions, And may your heart rejoice in the wife of your youth. Your radiant face [O bride] shall glow like wine; Your enemies shall be as nothing; My [silver] parapet, your love is sweeter than wine. Like one drinking wine Or hearing the song of a swallow or a crane, I will rejoice in the Holy One! I shall crown My dove with grace and kindness, as once I did When I revealed myself in theflameof the consuming fire, For you have ravished My Heart, My sister, My bride. . . .

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Arise, My beloved, and be married in love, Give hymns and thanks to your [f. sing.] King; Sing and make music in my bridal huppah: "Under the apple tree you have roused me" [Song 8:5].

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The opening stanza links human marriage to divine joy. The next two stanzas praise the groom and bride, respectively, with a string of biblical allusions. Now the poet turns away from the human couple and recites the strophe, a set of verses that recurs throughout this poem and which brings attention back to the theme of the Qedusa, holiness. Here, the strophe also divides the poet's praise of the human couple from his next subject, the praise of Israel by God. First God is portrayed as promising His future "wedding" with Israel, which will rival the one that God and Israel had on Mt. Sinai. Finally, the last stanza blurs the line between the human wedding and the "wedding" of God and Israel, each, as it were, melting into the other. Human marriage is a kind of representation of the marriage between God and Israel. These piyutim, like the patristic writings, illustrate the choices that the rabbis did not make. Like their counterparts in the prerabbinic period, the earlier rabbis did not use the metaphor of the marriage of God and Israel for both social and theological reasons, sometimes tightly intertwined. For these rabbis, the primary human relationship was that between parents and children; marriage ranked a distant second. As the Babylonian Talmud's reinterpretation of Hosea shows, the rabbis were far more comfortable using the parental meta­ phor to represent the relationship between God and Israel. Alon GoshenGottstein has demonstrated that the tannaim preferred to see the relationship between God and Israel as that between a father and a son. However one understands the correspondence between the valuation placed on this relation­ ship among humans and its use as a theological metaphor, it is clear that the father-son metaphor may have offered to the rabbinic mind certain theological advantages. As a biological fact, the parent-child relationship was unbreak­ able; it did not offer the possibility of God's divorce of Israel and His remar­ riage to another people, a consideration that may have gained importance as Christian claims to be the "true Israel" increased. By making Israel a "son" rather than a "wife" the rabbis do not have to deal with reconciling the image of a feminized of Israel with their own self-image as "masculine." The rela­ tionship was hierarchical, thus allowing in the metaphor the preservation of a sufficient distance between God and His creation. Finally, the father-son meta­ phor places the covenantal onus squarely on the son, rather than the more reciprocal relationship implied by a marital metaphor. Despite the points of theological and social dissonance that the marital metaphor would have raised, the metaphor continued to have a poetic appeal. The metaphor was one of many stock images that the rabbis could use to present a rich picture of Israel's unfaithfulness. The marriage metaphor may 87

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have posed certain theological problems when used to indicate the intimacy between God and Israel, but was far less dangerous when used as an image of distance. Later homilists and paytanim would return to the positive associa­ tions of the metaphor because it offered enormous poetic potential. Moreover, the possibility of Christian influence, and its own popular use of the metaphor, cannot be excluded. What the metaphor offered to them in their creation of popular homilies and religious poetry outweighed the deeper theological dis­ advantages inherent in it.

T H E FIRST MARRIAGE

The Hebrew Bible contains a clear myth of marriage, developed in the two creation accounts of Genesis. In thefirstcreation account, God "created man in his image, male and female He created them" (1:27), and then He "blessed" them and commanded them to procreate (1:28). The second story has a more elaborate description of the creation of thefirsthuman couple. Because much of the later Jewish commentary on thefirst"marriage" hinges on its details, I cite the entire passage: 89

(18) The Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a fitting helper for him." (19) And the Lord God formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.... (20) And the man gave names to all the cattle... but for Adam no fitting helper was found. (21) So the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon the man; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot. (22) And the Lord God fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman (le'issa); and He brought her to the man. (23) Then the man said, "This one at last is bone of my bones andfleshof myflesh.This one shall be called Woman Cissa), for from man (me'is) was she taken." (24) Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife (beisto), so that they become one flesh. (Gen. 2:18-24) The relationship between the creation stories of Gen. 1-2:3 and 2:4-24 has vexed biblical commentators from antiquity to the present. Do they describe one creation or two? Why do there seem to be numerous contradictions be­ tween the two accounts? The contradictions regarding the creation of human­ kind are especially apparent. In Gen. 1:27 (and 5:1-2) did God create a single, hermaphroditic creature, or a separate man and woman? What are the implica­ tions of the relatively egalitarian creation in Gen. 1:27 and the "derivative" creation of woman in Gen. 2:21-24? Scholars have discussed these questions at length. The two accounts also differ in their emphasis on marriage. Genesis 1 records the creation of "male and female," and never uses the words "man" and 90

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"woman," which in Hebrew can also denote a married state. But the second account not only uses language that denotes marriage, but then slides from one meaning of *issa, "woman," to its other meaning, "wife." In verse 23, Adam refers to "Woman"; in verse 24, an etiological aside, the same word is used to mean "wife." Verse 25, which begins the story of the serpent's tempta­ tion, continues this usage. Throughout the rest of the Hebrew Bible the word *issa customarily denotes a "wife." Hence, while the first creation story might be seen as describing the creation of a natural order, the second creation story describes the divine creation of a social institution. When the two stories are read in conjunction, human marriage appears as a natural part of the divine order. Did the redactor of these chapters intend to present marriage in this light? Do they teach us anything about the attitude of Jews in the exilic period? It is, unfortunately, impossible to answer this question. Elsewhere, the Hebrew Bible shows no familiarity with the divine origin or nature of marriage. The biblical narratives of marriage are the result of human interaction; even the divine help provided to Eliezer in his quest for Isaac's wife (Gen. 24) can hardly be said to offer divine sanction for marriage per se. Nor do biblical laws reflect an understanding of marriage as anything other than a human civil ar­ rangement. Unfortunately, the only extrabiblical evidence that could conceiv­ ably contribute to this question, the documents from the Jewish community at Elephantine, do not. The Jewish marriage contracts from this community do contain some mutual obligations between the spouses that might hint at a rela­ tively egalitarian conception of marriage, but it is risky to extrapolate from these legal instruments to marital ideologies. 93

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The First Marriage in Second Temple Literature

If the biblical redactors themselves were not terribly influenced by the marital myth of Gen. 2, later Jewish (and Christian) writers were. Unlike the biblical metaphor of marriage, the biblical myth of the first marriage is relatively well attested among Jewish writers in the Second Temple period. The myth appears in Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew sources from this period. In each, it is adapted in accord with its author's broader ideological understanding of marriage. The clearest and perhaps first extrabiblical text to link contemporary marital practice with the primal marriage of Adam and Eve is Tobit. After burning some fish entrails to confuse the demon, Tobias called on his new wife Sarah to pray with him before they consummate the marriage: Blessed art thou, God of our fathers, and blessed is thy name for ever and ever; let the heavens bless thee, and all thy creation to all the ages. Thou madest Adam, and madest Eve his wife for a helper and a stay for him: of them both came the seed of men: and thou didst say, it is not good that the man should be alone; let us make

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him a helper like unto him. And now I take not this my sister for lust, but in truth: command that I and she mayfindmercy and grow old together. And they said together, Amen. 96

And with that, Tobias becomes thefirstman to survive his wedding night with Sarah. Tobias reminds God that He Himself created and sanctioned marriage through His creation of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis 2, which he cites. Tobias goes on to link, implicitly, the creation of marriage in Genesis 2 to procreation (in contrast to nonprocreative intercourse, "lust") and to the desire for an enduring marriage. Probably composed originally in Aramaic (although this passage survives only in Greek), Tobit's date and the provenance of its composition remain obscure. It is difficult to know to what extent Tobias's prayer reflected a common understanding of a link between Gen. 2 and contemporary human marriage. Nevertheless, it is significant that Adam and Eve are invoked not as part of a regular marital liturgy, but as part of a charm. Before the marriage, the angel Raphael instructs Tobias on what to do in order to insure that he will survive the night with Sarah: 97

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When you enter the bridal chamber, take some of thefish'sliver and its heart, and put them on the burning incense.... When you are about to go to bed with her, both of you mustfirststand up and pray, beseeching the Lord of heaven to grant you mercy and protection. Have no fear; she was destined for you before the world was made. You will rescue her and she will go with you. I have no doubt you will have children by her and they will be very dear to you. (6:16-17) The prayer that Tobias recited fulfilled Raphael's vague instructions. It asked for mercy; emphasized the primordial justification of marriage; and mentioned children. The purpose of the prayer was to protect the couple from the evil demon. It also served to reinforce the divine sanction for this particular match, upon which the plot turns. Where this prayer does seem to reflect wider as­ sumptions is its insistence that the purpose of marriage is procreation. Tobit grounds this common assumption, discussed in the last chapter, in the biblical creation story. Tobias's prayer, that is, "Judaizes" an otherwise ubiquitous understanding of marriage. Among other Jewish texts from the Second Temple period, only those from Palestine mention or allude to the biblical marital myth. The earliest reference in these texts to the marital myth might occur in Ben Sira, who refers to a man's wife as a "help," using the same language as Gen. 2:18." The docu­ ments from Qumran use the language of the biblical creation stories in a clearer fashion. A relatively early document from the Qumran community, the "Halakic Letter" (4QMMT), uses the phrase "become one bone" as a synonym for marriage, clearly echoing Gen. 2:23. Nonsectarian sapiential texts found at Qumran use the phrase "one flesh" (Gen. 2:24) for marriage. Another, 100

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more controversial, source that evokes the story of Adam and Eve is 4Q502, entitled by M. Baillet, "Rituel de mariage." This text is very fragmentary, and Baillet's identification is open to challenge. Nevertheless, the "Group I" fragments of this manuscript preserve the word "his wife" in close proximity to the phrases "to make seed" and "his companion." If, as I think is likely, this fragment is referring to creation (where "his wife" means "Adam's wife"), then the appearance of these other phrases, which are not found in Gen. 2, indicates that the author of this text in some way linked marriage to the crea­ tion account. The biblical creation account is also used to justify some of the commu­ nity's marital legislation. One of the Qumran community's marital "boundary markers" was the rejection of polygyny. The Damascus Document justifies this rejection by citing Gen. 1:27 ("male and female He created them") and 7:9 ("two of each, male and female, came to Noah into the ark"), with a further appeal to Deut. 17:17, which prohibits a king from "multiplying" wives. Contemporary marriage should be patterned, monogamously, on God's crea­ tion and (implied in the Noah story) recreation of the world. Both the very fact of the community's rejection of polygamy and the use of Gen. 1:27 to justify that rejection are significant. As we shall see in chapter 8, the explicit rejection of polygyny, which is clearly seen in the Hebrew Bible itself as a norm, is a radical break with tradition. Moreover, nothing in the biblical story of creation compels an antipolygynous interpretation; Jesus, as mentioned above, inter­ prets Gen. 1:27 as a prohibition of divorce, not polygyny. It appears likely to me that the Damascus Document's use of Gen 1:27 to justify rejection of polygyny combined two different trends within the community. First, there was a rejection of polygyny based originally on Deut. 17:17, as seen in the Temple Scroll. Second, there was from the beginning of the community a notion that contemporary marriage is patterned on the primal marriage. The innovation of the author of this passage in the Damascus Document was to invoke Gen. 1 rather than Gen. 2 to condemn polygyny. Among Jewish writers in Greek from this time, only Paul uses either biblical creation account as a justification for marriage. In his brief account of creation, for example, Josephus neglects to mention that Adam and Eve were mar­ ried. Philo too does not appear to connect to contemporary marriage the biblical accounts of the creation of male and female or the marriage of Adam and Eve. This evidence, scattered and scanty as it may be, indicates that throughout the Hellenistic period, especially (or perhaps exclusively, depending on where Tobit was written) in Palestine, there was an increasing tendency to see con­ temporary marriage as patterned on the biblical primal marriage. This view was probably far from common; the elite and sectarian writers themselves do not explicitly make this link until late in the Second Temple period. The reason that the Qumran and early Christian communities do explicitly link marriage 102

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to the creation accounts appears to lie in its normative utility. That is, I suggest that the reason that most writers do not develop the fuzzy relationship between the biblical creation accounts and contemporary marriage is that it was not useful: the link served no ideological or normative function. The single early source that does develop the link, Tobit, does so for entirely utilitarian (i.e., magical and literary) ends. When the Qumran and early Christian communities figured out how to apply Gen. 1 to their own marital norms, they did not hesitate.

Adam, Eve, and the Rabbis Like previous Jewish writers, the rabbis linked contemporary marriage to the primal myth of marriage when it suited their purposes. Palestinian rabbis found Gen. 2 of far greater use in justifying marriage than they did Gen. 1. While these Palestinian rabbis only rarely used the story of Adam and Eve to justify the establishment of marital legislation, they did understand it as a pattern for contemporary marital customs. The primary reason that they found Gen. 2 appropriate for application to contemporary marriage was that it fit well into their ideological understanding of marriage. In the last chapter I argued that the Palestinian rabbinic ideology of marriage could generally be termed "Stoic." One of the Stoic justifications for marriage was its "naturalness" and place in the divine order of creation. In this section, I argue that Palestinian rabbis found in Gen. 2 a useful analogue to this Stoic justification. By under­ standing contemporary marriage to be part of the original divine plan as mani­ fested in the creation and marriage of Adam and Eve, Palestinian rabbis both adopt a particularly Stoic notion that accords with their broader understanding of marriage and cast this notion in a particularly Jewish idiom. On the other hand, Babylonian rabbis—who do not share the Palestinian rabbinic under­ standing of marriage—have little use for the biblical myth. The vast bulk of rabbinic traditions that cite thefirstmarriage as a model for future marriages are found in the amoraic midrashic collection Genesis Rabba. Gen. 1:27 describes the creation of humanity: "male and female he created them." According to the very next verse, God blessed them. A midrash tries to explicate what this blessing was: A. We learn: A virgin is married on the fourth day [i.e., Wednesday], and a widow on thefifthday. Why? Because it is written [in Genesis 1] concerning [the days], "blessing." But it says "blessing" only concerning thefifth[Gen. 1:22] and sixth [Gen. 1:28] days! Bar Kapara said: "The fourth day is a light for thefifthday, and thefifthday a light for the sixth day. . . . " B. R. Abbahu said: "The Holy One took the cup of blessing and blessed them." C. R. Yehudah said in the name of R. Simon: "Michael and Gabriel were the marriage attendants of thefirstAdam."

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D. R. Simlai said: "We find that the Holy One blesses grooms, adorns brides, visits the sick, buries the dead, and recites the mourners' blessing. 'Blesses grooms'—as it is written, 'And God blessed them.' 'Adorns brides'—as it is written, 'And God fashioned the rib . . . ' (Gen. 2:22)." 108

This midrash is meant to answer the exegetical question, What did God bless in Gen. 1:28? The answer is that God blessed the first married couple, and did so with the "cup of blessing," a rabbinic institution. This verse, the darshan argues, does not simply refer to God blessing thefirstmarriage. It also contains within it the prototype for future marriage ceremonies: the day on which it is to take place; the presence of marriage attendants; the groom's blessing; and the adornment of the bride. Nothing in the verse, or in rabbinic commentary on it, compels such a uniform exposition. The result is a kind of primal myth of marriage, in which the marriage of Adam and Eve both justifies marriage as a social institution and serves as a model for its contemporary celebration. The darsharts originality here might better be appreciated when seen against the sources he (?) has reworked. The midrash'sfirstsentence is a cita­ tion of the first mishnah of tractate Ketubot, with the justification for it (the remainder of [A]) drawn from talmudic commentary on this mishnah. The rabbis frequently mention the "cup of blessing" (B) in reference to the bless­ ings after the meal, but humans, not God, generally take it. References to Adam's groomsmen appear only in literature contemporary with or postdating Genesis Rabba. The redactor returns at the end to incorporate earlier material in (D), but even here the earlier rabbinic parallels omit any mention of a bride and groom. This is not the only place that the editor of Genesis Rabba modifies older traditions to promote this primal myth of marriage. In (D), above, Gen. 2:22 is cited as the proof text for the assertion that God "adorns brides." This verse is the subject of another midrash on thefirstmarriage: 109

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A. R. Aibo, and some say in the name of R. Banya who taught it in the name of R. Shimon ben Yohai: "He [God] adorned her [Eve] like a bride and brought her to him." B. There are places that call braided hair banayta. C. R. Hama said in the name of Rabbi Hanina, "Do you think he brought her to him under a single carob or sycamore tree? Rather, he adorned her with twentyfour ornaments, and then brought her to him, in accord with what is written: 'You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your adornment: Carnelian, chrysolite, and amethyst; beryl, lapis lazuli, and jasper; sapphire, tur­ quoise, and emerald; and gold beautifully wrought for you, mined for you, pre­ pared the day you were created.'" (Ezek. 28:13). 111

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Here the problem for the darshan is thefirstverb: What does it mean that God "built" or "fashioned" (yayiben) Eve from the rib He took from Adam? The

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answer comes from colloquial language. According to (B), the colloquial word for a certain hairstyle (presumably one commonly used by brides) has the same linguistic root as the word "build" used in Gen. 2:22. This allows the rabbi to interpret the word "build" as also implying "adorn." Because the second verb of Gen. 2:22, "and he brought her," can also imply marriage, (A) can under­ stand the entire verse to refer to the preparation and marriage of Eve. Again, the darshan's work can best be appreciated by looking more closely at the traditions of which it is composed. (B) appears a few times in the Tal­ muds, but in the majority of cases it is cited in order to prove that braiding one's hair in this manner is a form of "building," and is hence forbidden on the Sabbath. Another talmudic tradition cites a variation of (B) and then goes on to explicate Gen. 2:22 as also teaching the way in which a woman is "built," and that God made marriage attendants for Adam, an action that "teaches proper behavior: one should ungrudgingly act as a marriage attendant for lesser man." The rabbinic explanation of Ezek. 28:13 in (C) is unique. The more common rabbinic explanation of the verse is that it refers to the number of huppot that God made for Adam. Instead of being wedding canopies, how­ ever, the huppot mentioned in these other sources refer to eschatological pro­ tective dwellings. There can be little doubt that the darshan modified this pre-existing interpretation of Ezek. 28:13; in this earlier interpretation, the correspondence of the number of things mentioned in the verse to the number mentioned in the midrash works far better than in the midrash cited above. That is, the darshan knew what he wanted to say, and then found a traditional "hook" that could more or less hold it. Not only is marriage per se part of the divine plan, but so too are rabbinic marital customs. The first wedding has become a model for all subsequent wedding practices. Hence, the Palestinian Talmud compares those dancing at a wedding celebration to the dancing of angels. 113

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The exegetical plan of Genesis Rabba—the sequential explication of the book of Genesis—no doubt accounts to some extent for the prominence of the marital myth here. At least one other midrashic tradition in the same work, however, demonstrates that these passages are not the result of "just" exegesis, but that they reflect a deeper mentality. I have cited and discussed above a lengthy passage from Genesis Rabba in which R. Yosi HaGalili supports his (evil) ex-wife because she is "kin," or more literally, "yourflesh,"using the language of Isa. 58:7. Gen. 2:24 underlies this exegesis. When a man and woman marry, they become "oneflesh."Even after they divorce, the darshan asserts, they remain one flesh, and thus Isa. 58:7 (morally) obligates a man to watch after his ex-wife. The entire story depends upon the appropriation of Gen. 2:24 and an understanding of the nature of marriage that is grounded in the biblical myth. The "grooms' blessing" is another extensive and explicit rabbinic applica­ tion of the primal marriage myth to contemporary Jewish marriage. Tannaitic 117

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literature refers to the grooms' blessing. These sources assume that it would be recited several times over the course of the week-long celebration following a wedding. Presumably, the blessings are to be recited at the meal, perhaps like today as part of the blessings after the meal. Nowhere, however, do tan­ naitic sources record the text of the blessing itself. The earliest text of the grooms' blessing, and the only one extant in rabbinic literature from antiquity, is found in the Babylonian Talmud attributed to Rav Yehudah, a Babylonian amora. As recorded, the grooms' blessing is really six distinct blessings: 118

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1. Praised are You, Lord our God, king of the universe, who created all for His glory; 2. And, [Praised are You, Lord our God, king of the universe,] who forms Adam; 3. And, [Praised are You, Lord our God, king of the universe,] who formed Adam in His image, in His likeness He fashioned him [tabnito] and established for him, from him, an abiding abode. Praised are You, Lord, who forms Adam. 4. Let the barren one rejoice and cry out when her children are gathered to her in joy. Praised are You, Lord, who causes Zion to rejoice with her children. 5. Surely You will make the lovers \reim *ahubitri\ rejoice, as You originally made Your creation rejoice in Eden. Praised are You, Lord, who causes the groom and bride to rejoice. 6. Praised are you, Lord our God, king of the universe, who created gladness and joy, groom and bride, rejoicing, song, mirth, delight, love, friendship, peace, and companionship. Lord our God, may there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of gladness and the voice of joy; the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride; the joyous shouts of grooms from their bridal chambers, and of youths from their [marriage] celebrations. Praised are You Lord, who causes the groom to rejoice with the bride. 120

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Several of these blessings explicitly evoke or allude to the marriage of Adam and Eve. The first blessing identifies God as creator of the world, using the same verb (bara') as in Gen. 1:1. The next two blessings allude to the second creation account, which uses the verb yasar, "formed," instead of bara. Bless­ ing (3) is the "long" version of blessing (2), both of which "close" with an identification of God as the creator of man. The dependence of blessings (2) and (3) on the second creation account suggests that the reference to "Adam" means specifically the primordial and contemporary "man" rather than "hu­ mankind." It is from Adam, in blessing (3), that God took and "fashioned" (vayiben, Gen. 2:22) the "abode" (binyan), that is, woman, as a helper "for him." Other biblical passages use this term (tabnit) to denote an image, and in the Dead Sea scrolls it sometimes simply denotes a human. Blessing (5) (like 4Q502) incorporates language from Song of Songs into a description of the primal marriage. The joy of the original marriage, the blessing explicitly states, is paradigmatic for that of present-day marriage. 122

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The provenance of these blessings is of some importance. The text is re­ corded only in the Babylonian Talmud, and is ascribed to a Babylonian amora. Yet the ideas contained within it are not necessarily Babylonian products. The Talmud goes on to record stories of Palestinian amoraim who recited some­ what different versions of these blessings. Unfortunately the Talmud does not inform us exactly what Levi (an early Palestinian amora) recited when he said five blessings at a wedding celebration, or the text of the six "long" blessings of R. Tahlipa (a third-generation Palestinian amora). It does, however, sug­ gest that the differences were primarily in the wording of blessings (2) and (3), which can be read as redundant. A later source found in the Cairo Geniza baldly states that Palestinians would recite only three blessings without, again, relating the text of the blessings. The talmudic reports of an early Palestinian amora reciting (what appear to be) these blessings, along with the similarity of the ideas in the first three blessings to ones present in Genesis Rabba suggest a Palestinian origin for the motifs contained in these blessings. Joseph Heinemann has noted the fluid­ ity offixedformulations for some prayers during this period and has shown the tendency of the Babylonian Talmud to standardize liturgy. The text of the grooms' blessing as recorded in the Babylonian Talmud was not normative; the Babylonian Talmud itself alludes to yet another, shorter version of the grooms' prayer that was in circulation in late amoraic Babylonia. Rav Yehudah's contribution was not the creation of the wedding liturgy, but its stan­ dardization. He was working with preexistent material. If this suggestion is correct, then the development of the primal marriage as an archetype for contemporary marriage occurred only among the Palestinian rabbis. As with the marriage blessings, the Palestinian traditions that pro­ mote this linkage do occassionally appear in the Babylonian Talmud, but they do so only in a scattered way, always attributed to Palestinians, and usually to prove something that has little to do with marriage. In the last chapter I argued that the Palestinian rabbis adhered to a Stoic view of marriage. Their adaptation of the myth of the primal marriage further supports this suggestion. The Stoics, it will be remembered, saw marriage as a "natural" or divine institution. Menander Rhetor, for example, advises that wedding toasts include the point that "the gods, desiring the increase of man­ kind, devised marriage and chaste intercourse." Palestinian rabbis found in the biblical story of Adam and Eve ideal material for developing this view in a Jewish idiom. Paradoxically, these rabbis used the biblical myth of the pri­ mal marriage to develop a Stoic notion, as they expressed that notion in a particularly Jewish way. Certainly the image had antecedents in Tobit, the Dead Sea community, and the New Testament. Yet Palestinian rabbis ex­ panded and shaped this image in a way that was entirely compatible with their own ideology of marriage, which was basically derived from nonbiblical sources. By linking contemporary marriage with the biblical story of creation, 125

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Palestinian rabbis assimilated it into the divine plan. Not only marriage itself, but so too were its attendant rituals (as defined by the rabbis) based on the first marriage. Babylonian rabbis, who were also familiar with the myth of thefirstmar­ riage, did not develop it or use it extensively. For Babylonian rabbis, the goal of marriage, for a man, was to avoid sexual sin and to reproduce. They saw reproduction as supernaturally good, with no necessary link to human society or social relationships. Acutely feeling the tension between desire to study and domestic responsibilities, Babylonian rabbis could be profoundly ambiva­ lent about marriage. Thus, while the biblical myth of marriage did not directly contradict the Babylonian understanding of marriage, neither did it advance it in any way. 132

Myths and metaphors do notfloatfreely in a society, divorced of social context or mechanically deterministic of social and religious practice. The Hebrew Bible provided a rich storehouse of materials for later Jews, who selectively activated these materials according to a wide range of criteria: it was a toolbox rather than a blueprint. Throughout this chapter I have argued that Jewish communities in antiquity did not slavishly adhere to biblical myths and meta­ phors of marriage, but selectively adapted those that were useful to them. The biblical metaphor of marriage is at once more powerful and more poten­ tially dangerous than the biblical myth of thefirstmarriage. Use of this meta­ phor is rare in most of the extant Jewish literature from antiquity, and I suggest that this is because most Jews would have found the metaphor theologically and socially problematic. Theologically, the description of God and Israel as married would have been at odds with the preferred metaphor of Israel as God's son. Socially, at a time when marital metaphors were frequently used to promote class harmony and boundaries within the polls, Jews—for the most part disenfranchised within the polls—would have little sympathy for such a metaphor. Early Christians on the other hand, who were working with different theological concerns, could and did more easily draw on this biblical meta­ phor. The power of the metaphor, and perhaps even its use by Christians, ultimately led later Palestinian rabbinic writers to use it, primarily in liturgical contexts. Tracing early Jewish use of the biblical myth of thefirstmarriage offers an intriguing case study of assimilation and adaptation. During the Hellenistic period some Jewish groups, especially in Palestine, did allude to this myth in some of the their discussions of marriage. Only, however, when Jews were able to integrate this myth into a wider framework did they develop it. As Stoic understandings of marriage as part of the divine order increased and were used increasingly even in Christian circles, Palestinian rabbis found in Gen. 1 and 2 a Jewish idiom for articulating the same idea. Their use of the myth of the primal marriage is an attempt to Judaize an otherwise ubiquitous ideology

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of marriage. But for Babylonian rabbis, who subscribed to a different ideology of marriage, the myth did not resonate. Because they could not easily integrate this myth into their own marital ideology, they by and large ignored it. The ideologies explored in this and the last chapter are mentalites, probably relatively common understandings of marriage in their historical contexts. This, though, is not to say that they were universal or even unchallenged. In the West today, people understand marriage to be the union of a male and female who love each other and who marry each other for personal satisfaction and fulfillment. But not everyone does marry for love and personal satisfaction, and the very idea that marriage is an institution exclusively available to male and female (rather than members of the same sex) is coming increasingly under interrogation. Precious little from antiquity survives to present the mari­ tal counterideologies, but we can be certain that they existed. Some Palestinian Jewish men probably did marry "unsuitable" women without regard for es­ tablishing an oikos, driven by passion or love. Many, probably most, Baby­ lonian Jews outside of the rabbinic academies did not feel a tension between their marital lives and their professions or vocations. The strong similarity of Palestinian rabbinic arguments for marriage with those of contemporary Stoics, and their stridency, suggests that they, like the Stoics, were attempting to refute a counterideology that downplayed or problemicized marriage. A mentalite works underneath the surface of a society by defining that which is taken for granted. It is a powerful and noncoercive societal strategy for creating order. Law, on the other hand, works above the surface: it explic­ itly sets the norms of a society while claiming the coercive powers of the state as its instrument for enforcing them. In the next chapter we turn to Jewish use of marital legislation in antiquity as another tool for defining "Jewish" marriage.

Chapter Three MARRIAGE AND LAW

L A W WORKS within a society on both an ideal and a concrete plane. On the one hand, the law of a society can be seen as the explicit articulation of its norms and values, the way in which that society conceives of itself. On the other hand, law functions within the world, compelling a society's members to obey these norms through threat of punishment. The extent to which the laws of a society are effective, then, depends both on the voluntary adherence to these norms by a society's members as well as on the strength of the coercive organs of the state to enforce them. Jewish marriage laws, I argue in this chapter, are more valuable to the mod­ ern scholar as a reflection of how their framers idealized marriage than they are as a guide to how people actually behaved. Postbiblical Jews in antiquity gen­ erally did not offer a legal definition of marriage that was particularly or uniquely "Jewish." There was, that is, little that can be said to represent "Jew­ ish marriage law" prior to the rabbis. Protorabbinic and rabbinic circles would formulate an intricate set of marital legislation that had two purposes. The first purpose of rabbinic marital legislation was to create a legal entity that could be called "Jewish marriage." This entity was, in part, a vehicle for establishing identity. The second purpose of this legislation was academic, and drew from both the rabbinic commitment to flesh out the will of God in every aspect of daily and contemporary legal trends within the Roman world. While I hope that the argument itself will justify this position, I should alert the nonspecialist reader that my argument will fall squarely in the middle of several scholarly controversies. There is no clear scholarly consensus on either the extent to which Jews had legal jurisdiction over their own affairs in an­ tiquity or the existence and effectiveness of the juridical organs that would have enforced this jurisdiction. Nor is there any consensus on the moral (as opposed to coercive) power of the rabbis in antiquity: Would their laws have been widely obeyed simply because they were seen by the people as their leaders? Or were the rabbis "men of the people" to the extent that even if they could neither coerce nor convince Jews to follow their laws, they nevertheless hued closely in their legislation to the laws that people already practiced? In this last scenario, rabbinic law could be seen as a mere reflection (with some minor modifications) of what people were actually doing. In the course of this chapter I will engage these positions as they arise, and at the end will suggest some implications of my conclusions for them. The reader, however, should be aware that the state of the field is not as solid as we would all like. 1

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MARRIAGE AND LAW T H E CONCEPT OF BETROTHAL

In the Hebrew Bible, betrothal had legal consequences. From the time at which the betrothal was formally concluded (probably with the payment of a mohar, or bride-price), the betrothed woman was considered, in some respects, to be married. Babylonian and other ancient legal systems ascribe a similar force to betrothal, which Driver and Miles have called "inchoate marriage." The wed­ ding itself, and the transfer of the bride from her father's to her husband's house, legally "completed" marriage and put into effect a wider range of mari­ tal regulations. Although the Hebrew Bible is nearly silent about betrothal customs and practices, it appears that there could be some delay between be­ trothal and the wedding, during which time the bride, if married for the first time, would live in her father's house and be subject to his authority, but would also be considered a married woman. Although inchoate marriage is typically Semitic, the scraps of what appear to have been a betrothal contract between Jews that were found at Elephantine specify only monetary penalties for its violation. That is, the betrothal does not appear to have legally constituted the marital state. Contemporary Greeks too practiced a strong form of betrothal, apparently requiring for a valid mar­ riage both engue (betrothal) and ekdosis (a "handing over" of the bride by her father or brother), but engue alone did not legally begin a marriage; it appar­ ently had no constitutive significance. By the Hellenistic period in Egypt, even this limited engue had gone out of vogue, folding into the ekdosis\ Despite the absence of a Greek notion of betrothal that is remotely parallel to the biblical (and Semitic) one, most scholars have argued or implied that during the Hellenistic period Jews continued to betroth along "biblical" lines. Scholars typically use three primary texts to make this argument. Before turn­ ing to these texts, I will develop exactly the opposite position: that during the entire Second Temple period, (most?) Jews neither customarily "betrothed" (in the biblical sense) nor did they even have afirmunderstanding of what such a betrothal would mean. Instead, they followed Greek practices, and understood the biblical institution of betrothal within their own Hellenistic contexts. In a powerful and influential article, Elias Bickerman has argued that the Septuagint's translators misunderstood the biblical institution of bride-price, consistently mistranslating the term mohar with the Greek pherne, which means "dowry." Unable to comprehend a marriage payment from the groom to his future father-in-law, they simply replaced it with a marital payment more familiar to them. An examination of the Septuagint's translation of the biblical term for "betrothal" Crs) reveals a similar phenomenon. The closest Greek translation of this Hebrew term would be engue. But the Septuagint never translates the Hebrew *rs with the Greek engue. The Septuagint almost uni­ formly uses another Greek word to translate *rs, mnesteuo. This word most frequently means "woo, suit," and as a passive means "be promised." The 2

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force of this word is along the lines of engue (an agreement between two men), but has even less legal nuance. Not fully understanding the biblical notion of inchoate marriage, the Septuagint's translators replace it with a word denoting a semiformal agreement that a marriage will take place. Only in two places does the Septuagint depart from this translation, and these exceptions support the interpretation that I have offered. One of the curses laid upon the man who does not follow God's commandments is that "you will betroth a woman and another man will ravish her" (Deut. 28:30). Here the Septuagint translates, "you will marry a. wife." It is likely that the translators were mystified by the "curse" of having a wife who was "promised" taken by another man; it would be regrettable, but hardly more. Hence, they opted for a translation that makes sense as a curse. The translators themselves saw the verb mnesteuo as denoting something that had even less legal sig­ nificance than the biblical inchoate marriage. Similarly, the Septuagint trans­ lates David's request that he be sent "my wife, Michal, whom I betrothed with 100 Philistine foreskins" (2 Sam. 3:14) with the term "took, married" (elaben) because the context here demands more than mere "promising." Close to three hundred years after the translation of the Septuagint, Josephus too writes as if he is not familiar with inchoate marriage. Although Josephus could have exploited the existence of a more "serious" form of betrothal than practiced by his readers, in his summaries of Jewish marriage laws he passes over betrothal in silence. Trying to explain Deut. 22:25, which prescribes the death penalty for the man who rapes the betrothed woman, Josephus uses the verb kateggued, which means something like "pledged," thus shunning both the Septuagint's translation (mnesteuo) and other traditional Greek terms for betrothal. Josephus is the only Greek writer to apply this verb to a woman, and it seems to reflect his own attempt to understand the biblical law in light of contemporary marital practices. Josephus's use of the Septuagint's term for betrothal, mnesteuo, is always nonlegal. When Josephus comes to describe the "real" marriages of the royal family, he uses good Greek words. Agrippa "pledged" (kathomologeo) his young daughters in marriage, but the marriage never took place: there is no hint of divorce, as would be expected in an incho­ ate marriage. Nor, in his descriptions of other royal marriages, is there men­ tion of betrothal. Even at the community at Qumran there is no evidence of the practice of betrothal. Aharon Shemesh has recently argued that the community did prac­ tice betrothal: "The institution of betrothal as a legal prenuptial form of ac­ quisition appears several times in the pentateuch, thus the sect could by no means ignore it." The sect does indeed use the biblical term for betrothal, 'rs(s), but only when paraphrasing biblical passages. The longest fragment from Qumran that deals with marital legislation, 4Q271 3, in fact, contains no hint of betrothal. The sect cited, but apparently did ignore, the biblical institu­ tion of betrothal. 12

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This background permits a reevaluation of some much-cited passages in Tobit regarding marriage. According to the Aramaic version of 6:13 (pre­ served in a fragment from Qumran), the angel Raphael tells Tobias that that very night they will speak to Sarah's father about her and do two things: "neqimenah and take her as a wife." Joseph Fitzmyer translates the first verb as "engage," which follows the Greek translation (mnesteuo). While finding fault with Fitzmyer's lack of explanation, Matthew Morgenstern confirms this translation, pointing to the use of the same Aramaic verb in Onkelos's transla­ tion of Exod. 22:15. At Exod. 22:15, however, the meaning cannot mean "inchoate marriage" but rather something more like "establish by means of payment," that is, simply marry. This, in fact, is precisely what happens: in Tobit 7:12-13 (for which we unfortunately do not have the Aramaic original) Sarah's father "gives" her to Tobias as a wife, with no sign of a betrothal. Originally, then, this passage made no mention of betrothal. Only the Greek translator of the work interpreted it as such, using Septuagintal vocabulary to indicate that Raphael and Tobias will extract from Sarah's father a "promise" of marriage. 19

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The second source that has frequently been interpreted as showing that Jews in the Hellenistic period maintained a form of inchoate marriage is from Philo: Some consider that midway between the corruption of a maiden and adultery stands the crime committed on the eve of marriage, when mutual agreements have affianced the parties beyond all doubt, but before the marriage was celebrated, another man, either by seduction or violence, has intercourse with the bride. But this too, to my thinking is a form of adultery. For the agreements, being docu­ ments containing the names of the man and the woman, and the other particulars needed for wedlock, are equivalent to marriage. 24

Philo clearly knows of the practice of couples "betrothing" (hyperenguesosi) by means of written "agreements" (homologiai) that contain the names of the husband and wife and other details relating to the marriage. Isaak Heinemann and Erwin Goodenough have noted the parallels between some of the language of this passage and papyri of (non-Jewish) marital agreements from ancient Alexandria. While Goodenough goes too far when he equates Philo's be­ trothal to a Hellenistic institution sometimes called an "unwritten marriage," he may well be correct that Philo is here talking about a Greek rather than Hebrew institution. "Some consider" that the homologiai are not legally binding, that these agreements have more moral than legal force. These people appear to me not to be "lawyers," but ordinary folk. 1 suggest that Philo is referring here to prenuptial agreements that have only pecuniary legal force. He is attempting, however, to interpret these customary Greek documents in line with the biblical institution of "betrothal" (hence, "to my thinking," oimai, and "form," eidos). That is, Philo is attempting to reconcile three discrete 25

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pieces of data: (1) the customary Greek premarital agreement; (2) popular dis­ approval of women who have intercourse with another man after having been engaged by such an agreement; and (3) the biblical institution of inchoate marriage. He is trying to show how biblical law can apply to contempo­ rary practice. He is not testifying that Alexandrian Jews practiced inchoate marriage. The only contemporary source that does suggest that Jews practiced a con­ stitutive form of betrothal is Matthew 1:18-19. Mary is described as "be­ trothed" (mnesteutheses) to Joseph but they had not yet "come together" (sunelthein); Joseph is termed "her husband" (ho oner autes); and he desired to "divorce her" (apolusai). The terms are technical and well attested, and this passage has correctly been interpreted as meaning that the betrothal of Joseph and Mary was a form of inchoate marriage that (1) reckoned Mary as fully married for the purposes of defining an adulterous relationship, and (2) re­ quired divorce or death to terminate. Matthew was probably originally (par­ tially) written in Aramaic in the latter half of the first century CE, and intended for a Jewish-Christian audience. The passage thus testifies that at least some Jews in the first century, probably in the rural Galilee, were practicing a form of inchoate marriage. Moreover, the fact that the author of Matthew does not find it necessary to explain the legal background of this passage indicates an assumption that such an institution was familiar to its intended audience. The parallel passage in Luke (1:26-38) mentions that Mary and Joseph were be­ trothed and had not yet had sex, but omits any mention of Joseph as "husband" or of his desire to divorce her. The author of Luke was writing for a non-Jewish audience. It is likely that this author, using the same material that was before Matthew, reworked it to eliminate the technical and legal nature of this be­ trothal, which would have seemed odd to his readers. One later source has also been used to show that Jews practiced inchoate marriage during the Second Temple period. According to a tosepta purportedly from the time of Hillel (late first century BCE), some Alexandrian men would abduct women who had already been betrothed to other men, but before they had married. Hillel asked to see the marriage contracts, and found that it con­ tained a condition: "When you enter my house you will be my wife according to the law of Moses and Israel." The tradition poses a number of interpretive and historical problems, and has been the topic of much scholarly discussion. All of these discussions have taken this tradition at face value, as referring to the wording of "real" Jewish marriage contracts from Alexandria. Yet it ap­ pears to me that the exceptional nature of the case, the attribution to the leg­ endary Hillel, the assumption of "rabbinic" power in the first century BCE, and some linguistic anachronisms all mitigate against the historical veracity of the account. If there is, however, a historical kernel to the story it would appear to be the wording of the condition in the marriage contract alone. The same conditional phrase is suggested by the Mishnah in a tradition that states that a man stipulates a marriage settlement (above and beyond the statutory mini30

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mum) for a woman only with the expectation that they will establish a full marriage. Here, the mishnaic condition is that the marriage must be com­ pleted in order for her to collect the full amount of the preagreed financial settlement; it is not a condition for betrothal. Perhaps, then, such a clause really was found in (some?) Jewish premarital agreements from Alexandria, but these documents had nothing to do with inchoate marriage per se. The phrase "enter my house" itself indicates that it is not dealing with the two marital phases of betrothal followed by the actual wedding. That is, if this phrase was meant to establish a conditional betrothal (i.e., inchoate marriage), it should read something more like "enter into marriage." Somewhere in transmission into the Babylonian Talmud someone understood this problem and subtly al­ tered the tradition to read "enter into the huppah" a synonym for marriage. The phrase "enter my house" instead suggests that this may have been found in an agreement that preceded some form of marriage, in which the man prom­ ises to treat this woman as his wife as soon as she moves in with him. Whether or not this suggestion is correct, the tradition itself can hardly be taken as evidence for Jewish marital practices in Hellenistic Alexandria. 35

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In sum, the only evidence that Jews practiced a form of inchoate marriage comes from the Gospel of Matthew. Jews outside of Palestine, and perhaps even within the more cosmopolitan areas within Palestine, did not appear to engage in inchoate marriages. Butfirst-century-CEJews in the rural Galilee may have practiced this biblical form of betrothal. RABBINIC QIDDUSHIN

The rabbinic evidence for betrothal as a legal act is far less ambiguous than it was for the Second Temple period: betrothal, as the formation of an inchoate marriage, is an established principle in rabbinic law. The rabbinic adaptation and legal development of this biblical institution raises several important is­ sues. First, if I am correct that Jews in the Second Temple period did not commonly form inchoate marriages, why would the rabbis resurrect this legal category at all? Second, how did they legally understand "betrothal"; from a legal perspective, what precisely did it do? Third, what significance is there to the rabbinic use of the nonbiblical term qiddushin, from the root meaning "holy"? Finally, how did the rabbis understand betrothal to work in the real world? Defining Marriage For most people at most times, the precise legal definition of marriage is largely irrelevant. Most of us "know" if we are married or not, as do our families and neighbors. Should a "married" couple, for example, discover twenty years after their wedding that their marriage license was technically invalid it would far more likely provide grist for a newspaper column on the

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stupidity of law than it would change the way that this couple was viewed, by themselves and others. Even those areas in which legal definitions do mat­ ter have been and continue to be resolved by intuitive rather than legal under­ standings. Adultery can technically only occur when a couple is married, yet had one of the partners in the above example slept with someone else, strict legal definition would not trump our own—not to mention the other partner's—assessment of the transgression. Similarly, in the case of economic ramifications on the dissolution of the marriage, most people resort to common sense in attempting to work these out. Despite the legal ramifications of defining marriage precisely, in antiquity also much was left to common sense. In Athens in the fifth century BCE, for example, citizenship status was granted only to one who was born of the legit­ imate union of two Athenian citizens. If one wished to attack a political opponent in this society, one could—and many did—attack the validity of his or her parents' marriage, thus also challenging the opponent's very citizen­ ship. The courtroom orations that do this vividly testify to the gray areas of marriage. Although Athens saw the granting of citizenship as within its purview, her legislators never established legal definitions for marriage. As Cynthia Patterson writes, "Marriage itself was not defined by Athenian law, nor were individual marriages certified or registered.... Marriage . . . should be understood as a social process rather than as a legal moment." Even when the definition of marriage had serious consequences, Athenians relied on com­ mon sense and observation of social criteria rather than an objective legal definition. Greek cities during the Hellenistic period continued to rely on social criteria rather than objective legal definitions of marriage. Couples married through a series of social acts that probably did not often include a written legal instru­ ment. At some later date, they might wish to draw up a legal contract outlining their (primarilyfiscal)obligations to each other and their children. But even this document did not actually "cause" or change the nature of the marriage. Romans to the time of Augustus behaved similarly. Marriage, and its defini­ tion, were largely family affairs, left to the families and their male heads (pa­ terfamilias) to arbitrate. Even the Augustan laws dealing with adultery and sexual impropriety—the enforcement of which heavily depended upon objec­ tive definitions of marriage—occasioned relatively little effort to define mar­ riage objectively. Generally, objective criteria for determining marital status are important only to the extent that the state has an interest in regulating marriage. In laws of the Ancient Near East, for example, this interest is usually economic, and these codes only attempt to define the limits of marriage in the context of economic ramifications. During the Christian era, Romans began assigning increasing importance to betrothal as constitutive of marriage. According to Lucien Anne, the reason for this was the increasing symbolic and metaphorical 37

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value ascribed to marriage by the Church. The Church's view of marriage influenced, in this case, Roman legislation on and attitudes toward betrothal. The rabbinic attempt to define marriage legally is (1) motivated by its understanding of the "state's" (i.e., God's) interest in (2) the sexual behavior of the couple. There is no evidence in prerabbinic Jewish writings of concern with the legal definitions of marriage. While this lacuna might simply be a function of arbitrary source preservation, a dating of this concern to the early or proto-rabbinic period is more plausible. Even the second-century-CE Jewish marriage documents from the Judaean desert appear not to be constitutive; the couples would have been recognized as "married" even without them. The rabbinic desire to define marriage objectively was almost certainly motivated by the rabbinic need to define "adultery" precisely: What is a "married" woman? The Augustan program, which asserted a state interest in the sexual behavior of its citizens, may have here further influenced the rabbis. The first mishnah of Qiddushin, "Betrothal," demonstrates this emerging concern with an objective definition of marriage: "a woman is acquired in three ways, and acquires herself in two ways. She is acquired by money, by contract, and by intercourse." The terminology, and the continuation that categorizes women together with chattels, will be discussed below. Here it is important to note that this mishnah says nothing about betrothal per se, only about "acquisi­ tion," i.e., marriage. Hillel and Shammai appear later in this mishnah, and J. N. Epstein has argued for its antiquity. If he is correct, then this mishnah is the earliest protorabbinic attempt to define marriage objectively, although the use of betrothal as the objective legal criterion even here is not yet evident. The earliest rabbinic attestation to the acceptance of betrothal as the legal criterion for marriage is to the Schools of Hillel and Shammai, which date to thefirstcentury CE prior to 70. Even the rabbis of Yavneh (c. 70 CE-132 CE), though, continue to develop some basic ideas about how betrothal is to work. By the end of the Yavnean period, betrothal is firmly established in rabbinic law. According to rabbinic law, a betrothed woman is considered to be in an inchoate marriage. For sexual and some economic purposes, she is considered married. Should she have sex (precisely defined by the rabbis) with another man, she would be guilty of adultery and would require a divorce to remarry. If her fiance died before the wedding, she would be entitled to a statutory marriage settlement from his estate. Her father, on the other hand, is still firmly in control of her economic production and maintains power to annul her vows if she is a minor. The ambiguity of her status as an unwed betrothed woman will be examined further below. "Betrothal" is a rabbinic institution, one that neither had a long and contin­ uous history nor one that was practiced by the majority of Jews in their own day. Why did the rabbis ultimately chose to utilize betrothal in order to define marriage objectively? One reason must be that although it was not typically 43

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used by Jews, it appears from the evidence in the Gospel of Matthew not to have been unknown in the Galilee. Yet more importantly, the rabbis gave Jewish marriage a juridical structure that was uniquely Jewish. Jewish mar­ riage is not only juridically unique, but also is conceptually linked to the Bible. Marriage thus becomes one of the many areas through which the rabbis created a collective past and identity by implying a common and continuous tradition from the Bible. This is law in the service of the creation of a collective mem­ ory, a formation of one Israel through the perception of continuous communal adherence to laws that stretch back to the primal myths. Within the sprawling system of rabbinic law, marital legislation is far from unique; the same phe­ nomenon can also be seen with the rabbinic discussion of courts, or even of the observance of the sabbath. I will return to this issue at the end of the chapter. The Term Qiddushin The rabbinic use of a new term, qiddushin, for "betrothal" in place of the biblical root *aras might reflect an awareness that rabbinic betrothal is not entirely continuous to its biblical predecessor. Although the biblical term for "betrothal" is 'erusin, the rabbis frequently (but not exclusively) use the term qiddushin. The use of qiddushin as a synonym for betrothal might date to the first century CE, as it is found in a mishnaic account of a dispute between the Schools of Hillel and Shammai. Although it is almost never ascribed to a Yavnean authority, it appears again in the dicta attributed to R. Yishmael and the generation of scholars following him (mid-second century). The rela­ tively late redactor of the first sugya in the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Qiddushin, already did not understand the origin and etymology of the term, explaining it as "he forbids her to everyone else as heqdes." Heqdes is a technical term that means "dedicated to the Temple"—from the moment that an object is dedicated, even before it is delivered to the Temple, it cannot be used. While not impossible, the talmudic etymology of qiddushin is unlikely. The root qds, widely used in the Bible, does mean "to set aside, sanctify," but is used exclusively to refer to things set aside for God as holy (or having some connection to these sanctified things). The "sanctified" thing is never set aside solely for human use. For a woman or thing to be heqdes for another human would be a unique use of the term. Legally too this derivation makes no sense. At the moment of betrothal, before the marriage ceremony itself, the husband has no right to "dedicate" her, or do any of those things that one is legally allowed to do with things that have been labelled heqdes. Moreover, a man can betroth through a variety of utterances, not all of which have the sense of "heqdes"'. "How [does he betroth] with money? He gives her the money and says to her, 'Behold you are sanctified [mequdeset] to me,' [or] 'Behold you are betrothed [mturesei] to me,' [or] 'Behold, you are a wife to me,' [or] 52

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'Behold, this one is sanctified.'" The point is that he has to recite some formula that shows that the intention of his monetary gift is to effect betrothal, not to "dedicate" her. It appears to me that the redactor is offering a colloquial rather than technical etymology that reflects the Babylonian emphasis on the sexual nature of marriage rather than providing an answer to why the tannaim adopted this term. The rabbinic use of the term qiddushin as a synonym for "betrothal" might instead have originated as a foreign loan word. The word might have been derived from the Greek term ekdosis, one of the standard terms for the "hand­ ing over" of the bride by her father to her husband. One can imagine the attractiveness of such an assimilation. The rabbis (or their immediate precur­ sors) would have read the "root" of the Greek word as qds(s), a known Hebrew root. Leqades then would become the Hebrew verb meaning "to cause an ek­ dosis." There are lexical problems with this suggestion and proof is lacking, but it would at least explain how a root (qds) that had a clear semanticfieldthat should not include marriage took on this meaning. The fact that the rabbinic legal understanding of betrothal is very much like the Greek one of ekdosis lends support to this suggestion. 55

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In any case, there is no evidence that the rabbis reflect in their use of the term qiddushin a notion that marriage is "holy." The redactor's (erroneous) etymology of this term in no way signifies a connection between marriage and God, and nowhere else in Palestinian rabbinic literature is the term "holy" (qds) applied to marriage. As Isaiah Gafni has emphasized, even use of the term qiddushin does not imply any rabbinic understanding of marriage as a sacrament. 57

The Legal Meaning of Betrothal "A woman is acquired in three ways," thefirstmishnah in tractate Qiddushin states. The implication of this passage is that men "acquire" women; they buy them like they might other chattels. The language of this mishnah has led some scholars to understand rabbinic marriage as a transaction between males in which the daughter/wife is treated as passive object. Several years ago P. Koschaker proposed that the standard marriage pay­ ment made by a man to the father of his bride in Old Babylonian law should be understood as a form of "Kaufehe," marriage sale. Despite its clear weak­ nesses, this theory has been remarkably influential. Hence, the biblical mohar payment has been understood as the price for the "purchase" of a bride from her father. The rabbinic qiddushin payment has been seen as a remnant of this practice, a token payment that symbolizes the "sale" of the bride. Such an interpretation of rabbinic betrothal, however, is incorrect. Rabbinic law in no way treats a wife like "chattel," and a woman past the age of majority is herself the agent of the betrothal, being free to enter into it or refuse it. Judith 58

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Romney Wegner has recently advanced a more sophisticated version of this theory. Wegner argues that the rabbis think that "the essence of marriage is the transfer of an object, namely, the woman's biological function.... [When­ ever a man owns, acquires, or disposes of a woman's sexuality, the law treats the woman as chattel for that purpose." Even this formulation is problem­ atic. First, an adult woman, not her father, serves as the agent of the transfer (thus receiving any symbolic payment); she herself is hardly "chattel." Sec­ ond, even her sexuality is not true chattel, for her husband has no legal right to alienate (i.e., rent out or pimp) her sexuality to another man. Moreover, rab­ binic literature explicitly sees a development of the biblical mohar into the woman's ketubba, her marriage settlement, rather than the money for the qiddushin. Yet Wegner is correct that on the juridical level the rabbis understood be­ trothal as some kind of transfer. All of the mishnahs in the first chapter of Qiddushin deal with different forms of transfer. This context makes it clear that the rabbis legally understood betrothal as analogous to other transfers, but at the same time saw it as sui generis, requiring its own separate category. The question is, What exactly is betrothal meant to transfer? Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman law from antiquity typically viewed women as under male guardianship. This guardianship could be strong (e.g., a father's power over his daughter or that of a man over his wife, married in manu) or weak (e.g., a "puppet" male who formally represented a woman in legal proceedings), but the law assumed that women were under male "con­ trol." The rabbis, like other jurists from antiquity, were extremely concerned with moments during which the control of a woman passed from one man to another. For a variety of legal reasons, it was important to be able to objec­ tively determine the exact moment of the transfer of these powers. Rabbinic betrothal is the legal means for the relinquishing of a right of male control over a woman. A betrothal does not establish the full power of the husband over his wife; the wedding does this. Legally the rabbis saw betrothal as the voluntary revocation of any claim over those aspects of a woman's life that require male guardianship. When the woman is a minor, it is her father (if alive) who contracts with the groom to revoke his rights over her. When she is an independent woman, she herself has to yield her own rights. This explanation explains several aspects of rabbinic marital law. The rabbis were fully aware that a betrothed woman was in legal limbo, being technically, if theoretically, under no one's guardianship (including her own!). Referring to Old Babylonian matrimonial law, which appears to have functioned under similar assumptions, Raymond Westbrook writes, "Small wonder, then, that standard inchoate marriage was such a favorite topic of law codes." Rabbinic law too spends much time trying to define the legal status of the betrothed girl. This task is made easier when the girl is still living in her father's home, for her father can continue to exercise the powers not yet given over to the 62

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husband. The independence of a betrothed woman, however, can lead to such complicated legal problems that the rabbis would prefer if these women were married as quickly as possible. This, too, is the reason that the rabbis declare that a minor, still under her father's control, has no legal power to contract a betrothal without her father's consent: because the father is the one who has legal "control" over her, he is the one who must yield his rights. When the Mishnah mentions the woman who "acquires herself," or who "is acquired for him from heaven," it is referring in the former case to the woman's (^acquisi­ tion of her rights from her husband, and in the latter case to the divine nature of the transfer of rights in the case of a levirate marriage. From a rabbinic juridical perspective betrothal was necessary. It was the first half of a bipartite transaction; the wedding completes the transfer, as the hus­ band actively takes the rights that have been relinquished to him. Betrothal is the "handing over," or ekdosis, by the one who formerly held them. Rabbinic adaptation of betrothal is not only linked to the need to set objective criteria for marriage, but also to a broader rabbinic legal understanding of women and their rights. 70

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Rabbinic Betrothal and Popular Behavior We do not know to what extent the rabbinic laws of betrothal either reflected common Jewish practice of that time or were themselves influential. It is clear, however, that rabbinic interest in betrothal was primarily juridical: it was hardly more than a legal formality. Hence, out of the three legal means of establishing a betrothal—money, contract, and intercourse—the rabbis appear to prefer that betrothal be effected through the transfer of a symbolic amount of money. Most likely they preferred using money because the writing of a contract, however short, could be a somewhat complex and expensive task, and betrothal by intercourse brought with it legal and social problems. Rab­ binic law attempts to make betrothal accessible to all. On the other hand, the rabbis also appear to recognize that inchoate marriage was problematic. Not only did it put the legal status of the girl/woman in limbo, but it had potentially serious legal ramifications. It is in this context that "conditional betrothals" should be seen. Rabbinic literature amply discusses betrothals that are made "on condition." Rabbinic conditions fall into two cat­ egories, factual and performative. Factual conditions make betrothal condi­ tional on objective criteria. "[If one says to a woman, 'Behold, you are be­ trothed to me] on condition that I . . . live in a city, and he really lives in a village . . . ' she is not betrothed. And so too if she misleads him." These conditions are meant for those who have not done a good job of due diligence: one spouse-to-be, whether husband or wife, is relying on the word of the other, and should the condition not be true the betrothal is retroactively nullified on the grounds that the betrothal was formed under false pretenses. 73

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Betrothals conditional on performance are a different beast. These betroth­ als become effective at the moment that the promised condition is completed. For example, a man who betroths a woman on condition that "I will speak about you to the ruler, or I will do work for you like a laborer," if he does these things he is betrothed from the moment of the fulfillment of the condition. Should the condition not be fulfilled, no betrothal would ever occur. The power of conditional betrothals should not be underestimated: it completely undermines any social purpose of betrothal. A couple might formulate a condi­ tional betrothal that would allow for one or both of them to "escape" the be­ trothal with no legal consequences. Should, for example, a man say to a woman, "If you give me 200 zuz, behold, you are betrothed to me with this dinar" both of them must fulfill the condition for the betrothal to take effect, and such fulfillment might come only at or very close to the time of the mar­ riage itself. Indeed, the rabbis had no trouble understanding the condi­ tion that they claim to have found in the Alexandrian ketubba (see above) as a condition for betrothal. A performative condition, that is, could be used to "formalize" the marriage without the legal ramifications of an inchoate marriage. Palestinian amoraim adopted a separate legal instrument to deal with the legal status of gifts and financial obligations incurred by a man during be­ trothal if the marriage does not occur. This is the simpon: 77

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R. Abbahu said in the name of R. Yohanan, "The order of the simpon is thus: I, so-and-so son of so-and-so, betroth [meqades] you, so-and-so daughter of so-andso, on condition that I give to you a certain thing, and cause you to enter [i.e., marry you] on a certain day. And if that day comes and I have not caused you to enter, there will nothing to me [i.e., you will have no claim against me]." 79

As several scholars have noted, simpon is a Greek loanword that generally means "codicil." The "order" described here, however, was likely oral. Basing himself on the context of this passage, Asher Gulak understands this statement as a dual condition: in the case that marriage does not occur, (1) the betrothal is invalidated retroactively, and (2) the "pledge" given by the groom ("I give to you a certain thing") is taken from the one who retracted. The primary function of the instrument is to establish the legal status for the pledge money if the marriage does not occur. Such an instrument, as Gulak points out, has many parallels in classical sources. Use of the simpon lessens the power of rabbinic betrothal. Rabbinic law provides that from the moment of betrothal a woman is entitled, on the dissolu­ tion of the relationship, to her ketubba, a stipulated sum of money. The woman's right to this sum would have made the divorce of a betrothed woman financially punishing. What the simpon does is to effect a (performative) con­ ditional betrothal while incorporating a monetary penalty for retraction, which we should probably assume would be less than the sum of the ketubba. Again, we do not know if and how many people would have used this rabbinic legal 80

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instrument, but in it I think we see an attempt by the rabbis to respond to popular goals. Conditional betrothal might underlie the rabbinic "historical" account of the time at which a woman betrothed to a priest was entitled to eat the priestly offerings. The Mishnah records a change in the law regarding the time at which an Israelite woman betrothed to a priest may first eat of the priestly tithes. The earliest mishnaic stratum allowed her to eat this holy food from the time of her betrothal, while the "the Court after them" allowed her to eat the tithes only after she was married. Scholars have generally taken this source at face value, as testifying to a real change in Jewish marital practice due to the Bar Kokhba revolt. But it can also be read as a logical juridical development that derives from the increased rabbinic recognition of the utility of conditional betrothals. A conditional betrothal between a nonpriestly Jewish woman and a priest leaves the woman in juridical limbo: Is she entitled to partake of her "hus­ band's" food, when such food can only be eaten by priests and their house­ hold? This mishnah neatly solves the problem by rejecting the right of any betrothed nonpriestly women to eat priestly tithes. The problem that this mish­ nah attempts to solve might not be purity per se, but an assumption that many of these women would be conditionally betrothed. Rabbinic (especially tannaitic) betrothal legislation, then, at once (1) at­ tempts to juridically fix betrothal, making it accessible to all, while (2) incor­ porating instruments that limit its legal effects. Given the fact that we have no outside testimony regarding Jewish betrothal practices at this time, what can we deduce about the relationship of this complex rabbinic betrothal legis­ lation to what people were actually doing? I suggest that this Palestinian rab­ binic legislation neither reflects, in all its jots and tittles, what contemporary ordinary Jews were doing, nor is it completely removed from common be­ trothal practices. Rather, it is a complex response to common social goals. Jews, like others, wanted to be able both to betroth and then to cancel the betrothal for any one of a number of factors. We should probably assume that many Jews did this, entering into nonrabbinic betrothals that both "pledged" a future match and dealt with some of thefinancialissues. Whether they took advantage of any standard way of entering into an inchoate marriage is un­ clear, although Matthew's account of Joseph and Mary does indicate that some Jews did establish, in some way, something that they regarded as inchoate marriage. The rabbinic legislation seems to target such people. It allows them the full range of options that they previously had, while technically adhering to their own laws of betrothal. The fact that the rabbinic betrothal law is so complex mitigates against the possibility that they were simply reflecting common practice. That the rabbis carefully and systematically reduce Jewish betrothal to a legal formality, though, mitigates against the possibility that this legislation is utterly removed from social practice. It is, rather, an attempt to standardize inchoate marriage while preserving the benefits of a "nonJewish" betrothal. 85

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Palestinian Jews had a second reason to be wary of rabbinic betrothal. In­ choate marriage is worse for women than nonconstitutive betrothal agree­ ments. Rabbinic betrothal offers no advantages for women: should a man wish to break the betrothal, he may unilaterally issue a divorce. This divorce would be accompanied by afiscalpenalty, but so too would any of the nonconstitu­ tive agreements that non-Jews used. Under rabbinic law women, though, could potentially suffer the consequences of divorce (e.g., prohibition to marry a kohen) or even worse, the abandonment of her fiance and her subsequent status of an agunah, a woman permanently prohibited from remarriage. A woman gets nothing in this arrangement that she could not get from a civil contract. Logically, that is, inchoate marriage should be positively correlated with the lack of status of women in a society. However disadvantaged Jewish women were in Palestine, they were worse off in Babylonia, where, as we will see, rabbinic betrothal was more successful. 88

BETROTHAL AND T H E BABYLONIAN AMORAIM

The rabbinic resurrection of betrothal was better received in Babylonia than it was in Palestine. Whereas the Babylonian amoraim accept the possibility of conditional betrothal from the Mishnah, their discussions of it suggest that it was, for them, more an academic than a real institution. As I will show in chapter 9, for Babylonians the betrothal (qiddushin) payment was an ordinary and substantial payment. When a man betrothed a woman (forming an incho­ ate marriage with her), he typically gave her family a monetary gift that served the same function as the constitutive betrothal payments found in Old Baby­ lonian law. An examination of rabbinic legal cases further buttresses this claim. A rab­ binic case is a story in which a person goes to a rabbi with a specific case in order to obtain a legal ruling. These rabbinic rulings allow us to catch a glimpse of some of the issues that at least some people might have thought appropriate to bring to a rabbi for adjudication. On the other hand, it is impor­ tant to keep in mind that these cases are not transparent reflections of reality: they do not necessarily record real cases. They are preserved arbitrarily, and those that are reported might befictitiousor, more commonly, academic rather than real cases. Like Roman jurists, rabbis frequently invented cases in order to explore particularly complex legal problems, and it is frequently difficult to discern the real cases from these academic examples. Nevertheless, if we ap­ proach rabbinic cases with sensitivity to these problems, they can be quite revealing. To my knowledge, there is only a single case attributed to a Palestinian rabbi—in either the Palestinian or Babylonian Talmud—that involves a ques­ tion dealing with a "normal" (i.e., unconditional) betrothal. Several cases dealing with betrothal, however, are attributed to Babylonian rabbis. While 89

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it is impossible from this smattering of evidence to make an argument concern­ ing the frequency with which Jews betrothed in Babylonia, this imbalance in the number of cases at least suggests that some Babylonian Jews betrothed as a matter of course. Perhaps more telling is a short discussion about rabbinic adjudication of betrothal cases: Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel, "Anyone who does not know the form of divorce and betrothal [documents] should not deal with them." R. Asi said in the name of Rabbi Yohanan, "And it is more difficult for the world than [in the] generation of theflood,as it is written, '[False] swearing, dishon­ esty, and murder, and theft and adultery are rife; crime follows upon crime!' [Hos. 4:2]." What is its meaning? According to the translation of Rav Yosef: "They bear children from the wives of their fellows. Sins upon sins they add." 93

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The sugya goes on to try to make the analogy between Hos. 4:2 and the gener­ ation of the flood, but what is important here for this discussion is the Baby­ lonian assumption that some people will turn to rabbis to adjudicate the status of their marriages. Even if Rabbi Yohanan genuinely said what was attributed to him, the referent of this statement (the "it") is entirely unclear. The redactor is reading the verse, and thus Rabbi Yohanan's dictum, in line with the "trans­ lation" of Rav Yosef, which the redactor then implicitly relates back to mar­ riages that have been improperly formed and dissolved. The redactor's move is directed at rabbis themselves, warning them of the gravity of adjudicating these cases. Such a warning would make little sense if there was not an as­ sumption that rabbis were called upon to adjudicate on these matters. 95

For Babylonian rabbis, betrothal was an excellent vehicle for the assertion of the "Jewishness" of Jewish marriage. Palestinian rabbis attempted to lessen the gap between rabbinic legislation on betrothal and popular norms through the development of legal loopholes. Not faced with popular resistance to in­ choate marriage, Babylonian rabbis incorporated common practice into their legal system. What Babylonian Jews were doing in any case thus became "Jewish." Babylonian rabbinic use of betrothal legislation as a means to es­ tablish identity thus parallels the Palestinian use of the myth of the primal marriage: both adapt understandings and practices common to Jews and nonJews alike in order to establish "Jewishness." NON-RABBINIC JEWS AND "JEWISH" MARRIAGE

Throughout this chapter I have argued that the rabbis developed a juridical structure of marriage that had more to do with their legal presuppositions and their desire to set objective standards for marriage than it did with common practice. One goal of this structure was also to "Judaize" marriage, to provide

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it with a unique identity and to give to those who practiced it a way to identify with the community of Israel, as understood and constructed by the rabbis. Betrothal appears to have met with a mixed response by the nonrabbinic com­ munity. Palestinian rabbinic law itself, which eases the ability of all Jews to enter into betrothal and then provides several legal methods of escaping its consequences, testifies to the lack of enthusiasm it most likely received among nonrabbinic Palestinian Jews. For these Jews, betrothal would have been more than a nuisance; it would have constrained their abilities to pursue a full range of marital negotiations. Babylonian Jews, however, who were in a society that still practiced mohar payments, who gave lower status to women, and who attempted to betroth their children when they were younger than their Pales­ tinian counterparts, found in rabbinic betrothal a way to Judaize their own marriages. Babylonian Jews found the legal institution of betrothal to be a convenient way to tag their own marriages ethnically. These conclusions are drawn, by necessity, almost entirely from rabbinic literature itself. Yet fragments of several early Jewish marriage contracts sur­ vive, and we can ask the extent to which these contracts reflect Jewish identity or an understanding of "Jewish" marriage. Seven fragmentary Aramaic mar­ riage contracts ("documents of wifehood") that date from the fifth-century BCE were found among the Jewish documents from Elephantine. Another eight Jewish marriage contracts from second-century-CE Judaea have been found: three were written in Aramaic and five in Greek. Finally, we have fragments of afifth-century-CEmarriage contract of Egyptian Jews. In the next chapter I will use some of these documents to reconstruct aspects of "real" Jewish marriage. Here a few comments on the "Jewish" aspects of these documents are relevant. These contracts were almost certainly not constitutive of marriage: the mar­ riage existed with or without the document. All marriage contracts in antiquity, whether Jewish or not, focused primarily on economic relations, occasionally giving some attention to the way that spouses should treat each other. The purpose of Jewish marriage documents was not to create the marriage, but to clarify and codify economic obligations within it. A woman (and her family), for example, wanted a concrete, legally actionable guarantee that her dowry would be returned or passed to her (male) children when the marriage ended. She wanted assurance that her husband would provide her with clothing and food. The marriage contract was a civil contract that ordered these relations. The surviving Jewish marriage documents are very similar to their nonJewish counterparts. Little in them can be said to be distinctively "Jewish." The only legal condition that is unique to the Jewish documents is a stipulation that should the wife predecease her husband, her male children (by her current husband) will inherit her marriage settlement and her female children (by her current husband) will be entitled to support from her husband's estate. That 96

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this is the only uniquely Jewish legal stipulation in these documents highlights the lack of any uniquely Jewish marital, as opposed to testamentary, legal tradition. The significance of this inheritance stipulation should not be overlooked. The Hebrew Bible specifies that when a man has both sons and daughters, only the sons inherit him. Greek and Roman intestate inheritance laws were more egalitarian; we do not know the Near Eastern or Nabataean law during the Hellenistic period. At least some Jews appear to have retained a distinctive law of inheritance. Yet the way in which they formulated this law in these legal documents is additionally revealing. Hannah Cotton is most likely correct when she states that "the provision for sons to inherit their mother's dowry/ ketubba was meant to protect sons in polygamous marriages against the loss of part of their mother's property to sons of another woman." Jewish inclu­ sion of this testamentary provision indicates their continued acceptance of polygyny. Two of the Aramaic marriage contracts from the Judaean Desert raise the question of whether there was a distinctive Jewish marital law underlying the documents or Jewish court that would enforce these contracts. These docu­ ments contain a phrase near the beginning in which the husband declares that the woman will be his wife "according to the law [din] of Moses and the Jews." The closest contemporary non-Jewish parallel to this phrase is found in an Edomite marriage contract from 176 BCE, in which the husband asks a woman's father for his daughter: "Give (her to) me according to the custom [nomos] of the daughters of [Edom(?)]." The editors of this latter text noted the similarity between it and the Jewish contracts, concluding (1) that the term "would constitute a reference to the custom which would govern the marriage terms," and (2) that the Jewish version of this clause "is not the product of internal Jewish development, but that similar phrases existed for the nonJewish communities of Palestine in the Second Temple period." The distinction between the nuance of "custom" and "law" in these clauses is extremely important. A translation of "law" would imply that should one want to execute these documents, the court to which they brought it—whether it was a Jewish or non-Jewish court—would turn to the law specified in the contract (Moses and the Jews or Edom) for guiding its decision. "Custom," on the other hand, would be a marker of ethnic identity with no legal significance; the parties are stressing their general adherence to ancestral customs, vaguely defined. Given the lack of evidence for any unique Jewish matrimonial law in these documents or even for the existence and use of "Jewish" law courts during the second-century CE, the interpretation of these clauses as denoting "custom" is more plausible. Both the Jewish and Edomite formulations may have drawn from the same Semitic notorial tradition which (speculatively) included a marker of ethnic identity. The appearance of a similar clause in 102

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thefifth-centuryJewish marriage contract from Egypt—which otherwise is devoid of any distinctively "Jewish" features—also indicates that its inclusion is due to a Semitic scribal tradition. This would also explain why these phrases are found almost exclusively in the Aramaic documents. One Greek marriage document, in fact, specifies the groom's obligation to support his wife "in the Greek way." Despite the substantial scholarly discussion engen­ dered by this phrase, fueled by the absence of any parallel formulation in non-Jewish marriage contracts, Lewis's understanding of the phrase as "cus­ tom" is to be preferred. If so, the phrase could, ironically, be a Semiticism. The scribe, Theenas son of Simon, could here have been influenced by Semitic notorial practice. The assertion that Jews had no distinctive marriage law might, on its face, be surprising. In most Hellenistic cities Jews exercised some kind of selfgovernment. Two inscriptions from ancient Cyrene (in modern-day Libya) testify to the existence of a Jewish politeumata, a legally independent corpo­ rate body, within the Hellenistic city during the first century B C E . Philo reports that the Alexandrian Jewish community once had at its head an ethnarch, replaced by Augustus with a Jewish senate. Roman Jewry was organized into smaller organizations perhaps grouped around a synagogue, each with its own officers. The revised Schurer states a little too confidently that "Wherever Jews went they took with them their own law and held courts of justice according to its direction for the members of their community." It is clear that many diaspora Jewish communities constituted themselves as po­ litical entities, although the roles and jurisdictions of these entities are still matters for debate. One of the more intriguing pieces of evidence for the application of Jewish law among Jews in the Greco-Roman Diaspora is a fragmentary papyrus from the Fayum dated to 218 BCE. In this document a woman, Helladote, daughter of Philonides, lodges a complaint against her husband, Jonathas the Ju­ daean. Helladote's nationality is unclear. She claims, in a highly restored line, that Jonathas agreed to take her as a wife according to the civil (politikon) law of the Jews. Tcherikover accepts the restoration, but is puzzled by it: "Yet it is worth noting that no trace of any mention of Jewish law concerning mar­ riage can be found in the remaining parts of the papyrus, whereas some de­ tached words point to Hellenistic parallels . . . Is it because there existed no fundamental discrepencies between the Hellenistic and Jewish law in marriage matters, Jewish law in Egypt being influenced by Hellenistic?" It is also worth noting that the papyrus itself is addressed to King Ptolemy, indicating the imperial court system. The fact that the marriage may have been contracted under the auspices of the Jewish courts or Jewish law in no way closed this woman's ability to bring suit in non-Jewish courts. In marital affairs, as in all others, the jurisdiction of the Jewish community would have extended only as far as both parties agreed to allow it. 111

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As fragmentary and randomly preserved as it is, the extant nonrabbinic evi­ dence suggests that however else these Jews may have seen their marriage as Jewish, it was not through law. The legal stipulations in their marriage docu­ ments were entirely conventional in both form and content. These are contracts between Jews who were entirely comfortable with their Jewishness, but they are not Jewish documents meant to be adjudicated within a (hypothetical) sys­ tem of Jewish marital law. Expectedly, the rabbis attempted to transform the jumbled and "secular" marriage contract into a uniform document that affirmed the Jewishness of marriage. The rabbinic marriage contract, the ketubba, developed over a long period of time. It is clear from a comparison of the earliest rabbinic statutory clauses of the ketubba with the papyrological evidence that the rabbis did not invent these stipulations, but took them from living scribal practice. The rabbis standardized the language of these scribal stipulations, and, eventually, justi­ fied them with Scripture. For example, several of the Judaean desert marriage contracts specify that a man is obligated to sustain his wife. The stipulation is unexceptional, and many parallels can be found in contemporary non-Jewish marriage contracts. The rabbis both standardize the language of this clause andfindbiblical support for it. The rabbis do not stop at offering post facto biblical support for already popular legal stipulations, but also offer historical reports and anecdotes that reinforce the impression of antiquity of this newly standardized legal instrument. 122

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In antiquity, ethnicity was not optional. One's ethnos was an important locus of identification, both to the self and to outsiders. When Jews, for example, are identified as such in legal documents and literature, "Judaean" is frequently a fair translation: it identifies her or his ethnos rather than what we would today call "religious affiliation." This simple fact helps to explain the manner in which most Jews probably saw their marriages as "Jewish." Marriage between Jews would have been seen self-obviously as "Jewish," regardless of the legal technicalities used to contract that marriage. Most Jews who married probably did follow customs that they at least thought to be ancestral. When they drew up their legal documents, they used scribes who followed ancient (but no doubt evolving) language and forms. But they did not distinguish their own marriages from those of their non-Jewish neighbors based on the legal system through which they contracted, maintained, and dissolved them. To a great extent, rabbinic legislation on marriage, like every other area, was driven by the rabbinic desire to clarify how Jews should live according to God's will. At the same time, the particular areas within marital legislation on which the rabbis focus reveal their own historical contexts. Tannaim were deeply concerned with delineating the objective standards that constitute a marriage in order to define exactly the legal category of "adultery." By adapt­ ing "betrothal" as their objective standard, and by explicitly justifying it as 127

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God's will as revealed in Scripture, the tannaim created a juridical structure for Jewish marriage. The legal institution of Jewish marriage was now—at least in the rabbinic mind—uniquely Jewish. The tannaim, and Palestinian amoraim, knew the limits of their own power. They knew that inchoate marriage was unworkable in their communities, and thus built loopholes into the legal system. These loopholes preserved the tech­ nical integrity of the system while attempting to mitigate the social, and pre­ sumably unpopular, repercussions of inchoate marriage. The extent to which this worked in broadening the appeal of the institution before the Gaonic pe­ riod is unknown. Babylonian amoraim, on the other hand, appear to have been modifying a popular legal institution, and thus found in marital law a condu­ cive vehicle for the Judaization of marriage. When seen in broader context, the disjuncture between Palestinian rabbinic legislation and reality is unsurprising. Even within the Roman world, the ec­ clesiastical authorities had stunningly little power (or perhaps even desire) to enforce Christian marital legislation on Christians. Roger Bagnall has con­ vincingly argued that even in the case of divorce, imperial law in the fourth to sixth centuries wavered only slightly from its tolerance of easy divorce, and popular practice not at all. The rabbinic treatment of their marital legislation is analogous. Like their ecclesiastical counterparts, they held and developed complex juridical structures that lacked wide appeal, and that they did not have the coercive power to impose. Ultimately, the purpose of rabbinic marital legislation went beyond concern with the problem of adultery, or indeed, marriage itself. One very significant purpose of this legislation was to create a Jewish identity. That is, this marital legislation creates a collective memory through which Jews could unite into a single community. A Jewish man in Palestine and a Jewish woman in Babylo­ nia who both subscribed to the same rabbinic marital legislation, for example, would both share a collective memory, the same understanding of a trajectory from biblical text to contemporary practice. Where real Jewish communities in antiquity had widely diverse self-understandings—"Judaisms" is the current academic designation of this phenomenon—rabbinic law creates a single com­ munity, reinforced through its understanding of its praxis and its source. Many peoples in antiquity, including the Jews, constructed identity out of myths of shared descent; the rabbis attempted to create a collective memory out of law. Marriage is merely a small part of this grand rabbinic program, but part of the program nevertheless. 128

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In these three chapters I have attempted to recover ancient Jewish construc­ tions of marriage. These constructions, or mentalites, were fashioned out of and reproduced by literary compositions, epitaphs, myths, metaphors, and law. Throughout antiquity, different Jewish communities used, molded, and ig-

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nored different parts of their heritage in order to understand marriage in a way that made sense to them and that was workable within a given social and economic context. I am not suggesting that these communities cynically ma­ nipulated traditions to support their own preconceptions, but that they, as collectives of humans living in a concrete world with many ideological and religious commitments, simply and unselfconsciously engaged with and at­ tempted to make sense of traditions. "Jewish marriage," as understood by each Jewish community, was the product of a protracted engagement with tradition in the real world. According to Salo Baron, the rabbis "neither elevated marriage to the posi­ tion of a sacrament, a supernatural sanction of what otherwise would be an unforgivable sin, nor did they regard it as a mere contract in civil law." The problem with this formulation is that it evaluates marriage along a two-ended spectrum, on either side of which sits "civil" and "religious." Such a binary categorization was unknown in antiquity. Throughout this section I have im­ plicitly argued against the usefulness of this distinction. The important ques­ tion is not, Was Jewish marriage civil or religious?, but How did Jewish com­ munities understand their marriages as Jewish? Answers to this question are of course much messier, pulling in a number of related issues such as that of identity and constructions of community. But they are also more accurate and richer. Understanding is one thing, doing is another. In the next section we turn to the mechanics of Jewish marriage. 130

PART II

Marrying

Chapter Four SHREDS OF REAL MARRIAGE

IDEOLOGIES and theologies do not function in a vacuum. No less than today, marriage was a lived reality. The next several chapters attempt to reconstruct some of the contours of marriage among Jews in antiquity. From a traditional social-historical approach, such a reconstruction would take both a quantita­ tive and qualitative approach. Quantitatively we want to know the norms among Jews in antiquity, i.e., how many people did what (e.g., average age at marriage or frequency of polygyny). Qualitatively we want to describe the different marital experiences among these Jews, how a mate was selected, a match negotiated, a wedding conducted, and how all of the actors in these events understood and related to them, and to each other. The fact is that our extant sources give little purchase on the qualitative questions, and even less on the quantitative ones. Most of our sources are highly ideological, and any attempt to retrieve objective data about Jewish marriage in antiquity must take this ideology into account. While I will address these quantitative and quantative issues, the knowledge provided by our sources are nearly always proferred in a context, and plucking these positivistic pebbles of knowledge from their embedded contexts risks seriously distort­ ing or misrepresenting the data. In response to this challenge, I attempt in the following chapters to put the data into dialogue with its contexts, both textual and not. The question, What really happened? cannot be divorced from the question, Why do our sources say what they do? Such an approach is bound to disappoint the reader who, sometimes like myself, wants clear answers to sim­ ple questions (What was the average age of marriage? or, What was the mar­ riage ceremony like?). In another respect, however, the picture that emerges from considering the data in its context is far richer than an "objective" or statistical snapshot of Jewish marriage in antiquity. As Clifford Geertz has so influentially argued, all cultural witnesses are biased, and frequently their own narratives are a more interesting subject of study than the events that they purport to describe. Most of our sources stand at the nexus of several cultural tensions and are susceptible to such an analysis. The results of such an analysis are particularly interesting at the points of disjuncture between the witness and the reality. Not all of our sources, however, are ideological. By chance and good for­ tune, several "mini-archives" of Jewish woman from antiquity have survived. These archives consist primarily of legal documents, written on papyrus, that 1

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concern property and monetary transactions that were related to their mar­ riages. Two of these mini-archives are from the Jewish mercenary community at Elephantine, Egypt (fifth century BCE), and two, dating from the first to second centuries CE, were found in the Judaean desert. These documents, to be sure, have their own bias: because they are collections of legal instruments, they predominantly deal with the economic aspects of marriage. Nevertheless, they are highly significant, for they provide at least a lever for prying open the disjunctures in our ideological sources. Each of these archives tell a story, however fragmentary, and in the remainder of this chapter I try to reconstruct these stories. Because I frequently return to these stories throughout the rest of the book, here I offer little interpretation or analysis of the events that these documents describe. MIBTAHIAH

On December 1, 459 BCE, Mahseiah son of Jedaniah wrote two legal docu­ ments. In the first document he granted a house to his daughter, Mibtahiah, which "I give you in my lifetime and at my death." Although this is tech­ nically a "gift in contemplation of death," Mahseiah invested his daughter immediately with rights to this property, which measured approximately 39 square meters. Mahseiah continues that Mibtahiah has the right to trans­ fer this property to her children (lines 9-10). Clearly Mahseiah, who appears not to have had other children, intended this property to devolve to his biolog­ ical heirs. The occasion for this grant was her (probably recent) marriage to Jezan son of Uriah, "your husband," whose own property adjoined this house (lines 6-7). At the same time that he made this grant to his daughter, Mahseiah signed a legal document granting usufruct in this house to his new son-in-law. In this document Mahseiah expressed his expectation that his son-in-law will fix up the house and that the couple will dwell in it. In return for these improve­ ments, in the event that Mibtahiah divorces him, Jezniah (= Jezan) will be entitled to half the building: "and furthermore, that half—it is your children from Mibtahiah (who) have right to it after you." Two other times in this short document Mahseiah specifies that the rights to the house will devolve to "your children from Mibtahiah my daughter." Jezniah neatly avoided the issue of succession of this house by dying before his wife and father-in-law. Ten years later Eshor son of Djeho and Mahseiah contracted a "document of wifehood" for the former's marriage to Mibta­ hiah. Eshor paid five shekels of silver to Mahseiah as a mohar (bride-price), and Mibtahiah brought a dowry of movables worth 65.5 shekels, and assorted minor goods. Should they divorce, on either's initiative, Mibathiah remained entitled to her dowry. Should one of them die while they were still childless, the surviving spouse had the right of inheritance. While both spouses appar3

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ently had the right to initiate a divorce, the one who initiated it was subject to afinancialpenalty. Three years later, on November 17, 446 BCE, Mahseiah granted his daughter a house as recompense for goods that he had previously received from her. There is a certain tension within this last document con­ cerning her right of alienation: lines 7-8 limit her the right to pass this house down to her children (fee tail), while line 16 gives her the right to sell the house to whomever she wishes (fee simple). Mibtahiah and Eshor had at least two sons together. It is possible, although uncertain, that Mibtahiah contracted yet a third mar­ riage. The only document that might show this is one dated 440 BCE, in which a man, Peu son of Pahe, withdraws all claims against Mibtahiah regarding her goods and "wifehood document." If the wifehood document to which this alludes is that between Mibtahiah and Peu, then her marriage with Eshor would have lasted no more than seven or eight years. Upon her death, around 416 BCE, her two sons from her second marriage inherited the house left to her by herfirsthusband. 11

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TAMET

The second mini-archive, that of Tamet and Ananiah, describes a more com­ plex situation. In 449 BCE, the same year that Mibtahiah contracted her second marriage, Ananiah son of Azariah and Meshullam son of Zaccur wrote a docu­ ment of wifehood, in which Meshullam gave his female slave Tamet to Ana­ niah as a wife. The couple already had a son, Pilti. The document provides for Tamet to remain as Meshullam's slave, which she did for thefirsttwentytwo years of her marriage. The document shows sign of haggling and revi­ sion: it was originally drafted more to Meshullam's advantage (e.g., he would get half of Tamet's property should she die), but erasures and interlinear addi­ tions tilted the document more to the advantage of the couple. Hence, for example, Tamet's dowry as recorded in the document appears to be very small (a little over seven shekels), but the back of the document notes that she actu­ ally brought infifteenshekels. At the last moment Meshullam either relented or was seized with an attack of good will. Twelve years later, in 437 BCE, Ananiah bought a house for fourteen shek­ els, and three years after that he willed part of it to Tamet and their children. Bezalel Porten has plausibly suggested that the occasion for the drawing up of the bequeath—which very specifically limits Tamet's right to alienate this property to their children—was the birth of their second child, Jehoishma. When Meshullam finally manumitted Tamet and her daughter Jehoishma (who, despite the fact that her father was a freeman, had slave status), they undertook also to serve his lone son. As a condition of the manumission Jehoishma was made an adoptive sister of Meshullam's legitimate son, Zac­ cur. This would work to her advantage. 18

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Jehoishma, then, was fourteen years old when she married in 420 BCE. Three months before her document of wifehood was drawn up, her father gave her "a life estate of usufruct" in part of his house; he had already given his son Pilti (who was at this time at least twenty-nine years old) another part of the house. The parties to Jehoishma's document of wifehood were Ananiah son of Haggai and Zaccur son of Meshullam. The document describes Jehoishma as Zaccur's "sister" (lines 3-4), which she was by adoption. Zaccur received the mohar for her of ten shekels, but supplied her with a dowry and trousseau worth over seventy-eight shekels, probably far more than her biological father could have. Two lengthy stipulations are substantively identical to those in Mibtahiah's document of wifehood: the one who initiates an action of "hatred" (divorce? demotion of status?) loses the value of the mohar, and should one of them die while they were childless the other would inherit all of his/her prop­ erty. The clauses unique to this document are (1) that the spouses are legally obligated to have sexual relations and (2) that Zaccur explicitly forfeits his right to reclaim the dowry. 23

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Over the next eighteen years Ananiah made a series of gifts to his daughter Jehoishma and her husband, Ananiah son of Haggai. In 404 BCE, Ananiah, "while I was old of days" (line 17), wrote up a gift in contemplation of death, granting Jehoishma full rights to the part of the house to which he had previ­ ously given her only usufruct. The gift is fee tail, for she can transfer it only to her heirs. About a year and a half later, he modified this gift, making it effective immediately and reclassifying it as part of her dowry, thus allowing Ananiah, her husband, to make use of it. Finally, only nine months later Ananiah sold to his son-in-law the remaining house on his property for thirteen shekels. There is once again some tension in this document over whether Ananiah had the right to sell it to whomever he wanted (lines 23-24) or could only bequeath it to his and Jehoishma's children (lines 30-31). The marriages of mother and daughter could hardly have been more dissim­ ilar. Tamet was a slave when Ananiah married her; he paid no mohar for her, received little dowry from her, and had to wait twenty-two years before her owner promised to free her. I doubt that Ananiah had had much choice: he and Tamet had a child before they drew up the document, and it appears that Ana­ niah was poor. Yet whatever his background and level of privitation, Ananiah eventually made good. He scraped together enough money for a modest house and attempted to provide for his wife (who could count on nothing of her own should he die), his son, and their new daughter. Ananiah did not have much to give Jehoishma—nor would he have wanted to until he took stock of his new son-in-law. ironically, it is Jehoishma's adopted brother who allows her to contract a more-than-respectable marriage, providing her with a substantial dowry in exchange for a very modest mohar. The couple and Ananiah himself, perhaps fearing that Zaccur would later change his mind, included the clause that forbids him to revoke this gift. Zaccur, who disappears from the Je26

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hoishma's archive after dowering his "sister," most likely gave her such a large dowry out of goodwill and a sense of responsibility, a recompense for the many years of faithful service that both she and her mother provided to his family. It is likely that sometime over the next several years Ananiah's son, Pilti, died, and his share of the house reverted back to the parents. It is also likely that by 404 BCE Jehoishma had borne children. The presence of offspring might help to explain the sequence of the remaining documents. 30

BABATHA

The two other mini-archives that relate to Jewish marriage in antiquity were written about five hundred years after the Elephantine documents. Both ar­ chives belonged to Jewish women who spent most of their lives in Mahoza, (perhaps) on the southern coast of the Dead Sea in Arabia. Ruled by the Nabateans in thefirstcentury CE, Arabia was transformed into a Roman province in 106 CE. Both archives were found in caves in the Judaean desert near EnGedi, whither their owners appear to have fled in some connection with the Bar Kokba revolt in 132-35 C E . The most extensive of these two archives be­ longed to a woman named Babatha, the daughter of Shimon and Miriam. In 99 CE, Babatha's father, Shimon, bought four date groves for 132 silver selain, the equivalent of 528 dinars. When Babatha married for thefirsttime to Jesus in 120 CE, her father gave her these four date groves. Babatha regis­ tered this property in 127 CE, declaring it to be a little over 24.5 bet se'ahs in size, on which she was obligated to pay in taxes in kind something over 135 se'ahs of dates and 100 se'ahs of "splits" (a better kind of date), and a monetary tax of 12 "blacks" and 105 lepta. While there is much debate over the quantity of these terms, it is clear that her holdings were large and productive. Probably shortly after giving his daughter these date groves, Shimon wrote over his other properties to his wife, Miriam. This was a "gift in contempla­ tion of death." In order to receive the gift, Miriam must still be Shimon's wife at the moment when he died. She was, obviously, unable to sell or mortgage this property until her husband's death. Babatha's first marriage, probably in 120 CE, was to a local Jewish man, Jesus the son of Jesus. Jesus was not poor: as (apparently) a minor in 110 CE he received from his uncle a note of deposit entitling him to his deceased father's portion in the family business. If this reconstruction is correct, then Jesus would have been in his early 20's when he married Babatha. They had a child together by 124 CE, when Jesus died. Babatha's husband did not show the foresight of his father (or maybe just father's brother), and his own legacy of 400 denarii passed to court-appointed guardians to manage for his young heir, Jesus. One imagines that Babatha would have received back her dowry, 31

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but there is no indication how much this was. Babatha, in any case, could continue to benefit from the proceeds of the date groves that she declared in 127 C E . The year that Babatha's husband died, fifty kilometers away in the village of En-Gedi, a Jew named Judah the son of Elazar Khthosion, mortgaged his father's courtyard (Judah's eventual inheritance) in order to obtain from a Roman soldier a short-term loan at an outrageously high interest rate. By this time Judah had almost surely married a local woman, Miriam the daughter of Beianos, and had had at least one daughter with her, Shelamzion. Judah moved his family to Mahoza and repaid his loan sometime between 124 and 125. He may have moved in order to take advantage of better economic oppor­ tunities. By 128 CE, but perhaps as early as 125 CE, Judah had taken Babatha as his second wife According to Babatha's (Aramaic) marriage contract (the date on which does not survive), Judah received a cash infusion of 400 denarii as a dowry (called her ketubba money), and apparently did not obligate himself in any way for the support of her (still young) son Jesus. In this contract, Judah obligated himself, among other things, (1) to "bring you (into my house) by means of your ketubba"; (2) to bequeath to their male children her ketubba money if he predeceased her; and (3) to support their female children until they marry Judah appears to have used Babatha's dowry to buy three date or­ chards in Mahoza. 4 1

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In 128 CE, Judah was strapped for cash yet again, borrowing 300 denarii from his new wife. Six weeks later Judah used 200 denarii of this money to dower his daughter by hisfirstwife, Shelamzion, to which her husband made a "dowry addition" of another 300 denarii. Eleven days after that, Judah gave Shelamzion a gift of half of a courtyard in En-Gedi, with the other half to follow after his death. At some point, and in some manner, Shelamzion ac­ quired another courtyard in En-Gedi from her grandfather, Judah's father. Two years later Judah was dead. He clearly did not leave enough money to pay his debts to his wives. Babatha seized his date orchards and "sharecropped" the yield from 130 CE, her share being 42 talents of "split" dates and 65 se'ahs of regular dates. This appears to have been worth far below what she was owed. Miriam, in the meantime, seized Judah's house and personal possessions in Mahoza, of which Babatha wanted a share. To summarize, this large archive at least mentions six different marriages: the parents of both Babatha and herfirsthusband, Jesus; Babatha's two mar­ riages, each ending with the death of her husband; her second husband's other marriage with Miriam; and the marriage of Shelamzion, the daughter of Judah and Miriam. There is evidence for one man's approximate age at marriage; for a polygynous marriage; and for several remarriages following death of a hus­ band. None of these marriages appears to have been between relatives, al­ though nearly all are between residents of the same town. The marriage pay48

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merits for which documentation survives hover in the 200-400 denarii range. These documents show a pattern, also seen in those from Elephantine, that links marriage to gifts of property to a daughter by her father. Explicating this link will be one of the primary goals of chapter 9. SALOME KOMAISE

The second archive from the Judaean desert belonged to the family of Salome Komaise. Salome Grapte, the mother of Salome Komaise, no doubt knew Babatha: "their families' properties were abutted by the same neighbours, and the same witnesses signed their documents." She may have been several years older than Babatha, for she appears to have married herfirsthusband, Levi, before 113 C E . They had at least two children, a son and a daughter. The son appears to have died in 127 CE, probably after his father. Shortly after his death, his sister, Salome Komaise, represented by her husband, renounced all claims against her mother "regarding the properties left by Levi, her late hus­ band, and (those left b y ) . . . her late son and brother of her." This renuncia­ tion was intended, the document continues, to end the "controversy" ([amphisbjeteseds) (line 10). 54

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This deed of renunciation presents two considerable problems. First, who was Salome Komaise's husband, whose name is only partially preserved? Sec­ ond, what was the nature of the controversy? That is, what claims exactly did Salome Komaise renounce? Hannah Cotton has suggested that her husband was Sammouos son of Simon, who is attested in a receipt for tax on dates from 125 CE and as the owner of a plot of land mentioned in a deed of gift from 129 C E . If this is correct, as I think is likely, then Salome would have married for thefirsttime before 127 CE, and was divorced by 129 C E . According to a land declaration, Sammouos was thirty years old in 127 C E . NO financial details concerning this marriage survive. Regarding the nature of the "controversy," Cotton has suggested that "it is likely to have concerned the property left after the death of both father and son." The course of events may have proceeded like this. When Salome married Sammouos, she was not given a gift of property. Such a gift was not a legal requirement, but as we have seen from the cases of Babatha and her stepdaughter, such a gift may have been customary. Perhaps Levi did not like his new son-in-law; maybe he was simply cheap. In any case, when he died, assuming that he died intestate, his property would have passed to his son: it is likely that the land that the son registered in 127 CE previously belonged to his father. But when the son died, there was a problem: the property apparently passed back to the mother. The mother, Salome Grapte, then feared that her daughter would sue, perhaps to obtain the gift that she thought she should have received from her father! Such a threat may or may not have amounted to a 58

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valid legal claim, but it would have provoked her mother to work out some kind of compromise with her, as a result of which Salome Komaise had to renounce all of her claims. This reconstruction would then also explain why Salome Komaise received a gift in 129 CE. She and Sammouos were divorced, and upon her entering into an "unwritten marriage" with Yeshua son of Menahem her mother gave her a date grove and half of a courtyard. The tax on this grove was ten se'ahs of "splits" and six se*ahs of regular dates; less than a tenth of Babatha's tax assessment. Two years later Salome and Yeshua completed a written marriage contract. At that time she brought in a dowry of her trousseau, appraised at 96 denarii, "with his [=Yeshu a son of Menahem's] undertaking to feed [and clothe both her] and her children to come in accordance with Greek custom and Greek manner." There is no way to know why they wanted a written contract at precisely this point; perhaps Salome was pregnant. 63

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As descriptions of "real" Jewish marriages, these documents are imperfect. They are all legal documents that deal almost exclusively with economic re­ lationships, and while with a bit of coaxing they can cough up some noneconomic data on ancient Jewish marriages, they present a highly biased view: if these spouses ever exchanged love letters, they were not important enough to be bundled together in these women's archives. Nor do we know if these marriages were typical or exceptional, whether of their time or place. Yet for all their imperfections, these are as close as we get to following the course of marriages between Jews in antiquity. In the following pages, I will attempt to draw out the issues that these documents raise, and some (like betrothal cus­ toms and marriage ceremonies) that they do not. So while these fortuitous shreds provide data with which we can approach Jewish marriage in antiquity, my goal is also to provide a context for these shreds of marriage. These were real people in real marriages: If we could look through their windows, what would we see?

Chapter Five MAKING A MATCH

REALITY IS MESSY. AS Pierre Bourdieu has observed, all human societies are riven with a host of ideals and goals, several of them mutually exclusive of the others. Human interaction is in many respects about negotiation, not only between but also within ourselves. We must attempt both to reconcile our ideals with the harder material circumstances within which we try to realize them, and to prioritize, harmonize, and reconcile our own ideals at the many junctures at which they collide. Putatively, this chapter focuses on how Jews in antiquity made matches. Yet, as mentioned in the last chapter, recovery of the real nitty-gritty of these decisions is often at the margins of, and frequently beyond, our sources. We can neither confidently compile a compedium of Jewish marital customs, nor can we quantify ancient Jewish marital decisions. What we can do is to com­ pare ancient Jewish prescriptions of marital behavior to the realities of this behavior as revealed in the same literature at its less self-aware moments. Such a comparison exposes radical disjunctures between theory and practice. This chapter is really about explaining these disjunctures. My argument, in short, is that the textual prescriptions of Jewish marital customs are meant less to serve as ideals toward which to strive than they are to mediate competing demands. That is, these prescriptive texts at times create an "alternative real­ ity" that provides to its readers a way to reconcile their ideals with each other and with their ability, or often inability, to act as they would wish in the world. I will begin with a short discussion of one of the most important, and under­ estimated, forces that informed all Jewish (and non-Jewish) behavior in an­ tiquity: honor-and-shame. Jewish marital choices, as we will see, can be fully appreciated only when contextualized within an honor-and-shame culture. Similarly, I will argue that the nature and force of honor and shame in these ancient Jewish societies necessitates mediating prescriptive texts. From there I will move to discussions of age at (first) marriage, qualities that are important for selection of a mate, and some of the negotiations and customs that are part of the engagement process. 1

BACKGROUND: CULTURES OF HONOR AND SHAME

The popular movie Four Weddings and a Funeral ends with a modern night­ mare: man and woman arrive at the altar, about to take their vows, and before hundreds of guests the groom declares that he does not love his beloved. In the

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ensuing chaos we see the humiliation of the bride and the guilt of the groom. The scene makes us, as modern Westerners, squirm, even as we laugh, for we can imagine how uncomfortable such a situation would be. Indeed, many of us personally know couples who have canceled their engagements, and we have witnessed some of the emotional fallout that such an act can generate. I do not know this for a fact, but I imagine members of modern Mediterra­ nean societies that place a high value of honor and shame do notfindthis scene funny. Over the past thirty years, anthropologists have emphasized the differ­ ences between Mediterranean honor-and-shame cultures and our own. In these societies, men seek honor as a form of cultural capital, and frequently win it at the expense of someone else's shame. These public transactions are zero-sum: for a man to obtain honor, another man must lose it. Women, espe­ cially in their sexual roles as daughters and wives, serve as the primary means by which honor and shame are won and lost. A man whose daughter or wife has had sex with another man loses honor to the woman's lover. In such a culture, a wedding canceled by the groom at the last moment is not simply uncomfortable, and certainly not funny; it is a disaster, especially for the bride's father. This description, of course, overschematizes a far more complex set of cul­ tural dynamics. Yet ancient historians have attempted, often with great utility, to apply these broad anthropological observations to ancient data. The result of this application has been a far richer picture of the social dynamics of both Greek and Roman societies, in which honor and shame were much more im­ portant than they are today in the modern West. There is evidence that Jews in antiquity shared with their non-Jewish neigh­ bors a value of honor and shame. This evidence has not been systematically surveyed, and I make no attempt to do so here. I do, however, want to point to some texts that I see as "representative" of such a value in order to inform my subsequent discussion. Contextualizing ancient Jewish marital practices and texts in an honor-and-shame culture can give us a richer view of both and the interaction between them. Probably writing in Palestine in the early second century BCE, Ben Sira discusses daughters under the heading "instruction about shame" (41:14): 2

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A daughter is a treasure that keeps her father wakeful, and worry over her drives away sleep: lest in her youth she remain unmarried, or when she is married, lest she be childless; while unmarried, lest she be defiled, or lest she prove unfaithful to her husband; lest she become pregnant in her father's house, or be sterile in that of her husband. My son, keep a close watch on your daughter, lest she make you the sport of your enemies, a byword in the city and the assembly of the people, an object of derision in public gatherings. (42:9—ll) 5

Wives are no less of a problem: "Keep strict watch over an unruly wife, lest, finding an opportunity, she make use of it; follow close if her eyes are bold, and be not surprised if she betrays you: as a thirsty traveler with eager mouth

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drinks from any water that he finds, so she sits down before every tent peg and opens her quiver for every arrow" (26:10-12). Daughters and wives, Ben Sira assumes, are for their fathers and husbands particularly dangerous sources of potential shame. Josephus, in his descriptions of sexual hubris, seems to assume an honor-and-shame code. Honor and shame assumptions similarly appear to have played a significant role in the social world of the early Christians. Rabbinic sources too reflect a world in which honor and shame were of great importance. Aaron is described in one source as "shaming himself before Moses by begging for forgiveness. Tannaitic sources include "shame" among the five civil tort payments. "How is [the] 'shame' [payment determined]? It is all according to the [status of] the one who shames and the one who is shamed." This tort is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. While according to the Hebrew Bible, the rapist (Deut. 22:29) and the seducer (Exod. 22:15-16) are each liable only for a single sum (understood as a bride-price) to be paid to the father of the woman, mishnaic law requires payment of the additional shame tort. If a man wounds another's wife, he pays part of the shame tort to her, and part to her husband. That the Mishnah understands women as a potential source of shame for their fathers is driven home in a description of the fifteenth of Av, a celebratory day upon which "the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in white borrowed garments, in order not to shame him who does not have [nice garments]." Should a man's daughter appear at the celebration in inap­ propriate garments, he, not his daughter, would bear the shame. So too a man's obligations to maintain his wife is made dependent on his "honor," so that a man of high honor or status would be expected to maintain the honor of his wife accordingly. The redactor of the Babylonian Talmud baldly states, "his wife is his own body," that is, insulting a woman is equivalent to insulting her husband. 6

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When tannaitic sources discuss the "shame" of a woman, they employ the term less technically than they do when they apply it to a man. Shame, for a woman, is something more akin to our term "embarrassment." Justifying why a woman's marriage settlement is guaranteed only from her husband's lowestquality land, for example, the Tosepta states, "A man wants to marry and a woman wants to marry, and the shame of the [unmarried] woman is greater than that of a man." The Tosepta also condemns a man who betroths a woman because he is ashamed before her father, brother or other relatives, and a woman who betroths a man because she is ashamed before his father, brother, or other relatives. A woman married to a king could be ashamed when appearing before her husband. Women could become ashamed, but they, unlike men, did not have to continuallyfightto maintain honor and avoid shame. Amoraic sources, from both Palestine and Babylonia, present similar pic­ tures. "The shame (boset) of an important man is much, and his damage [by shaming another] is small; the shame of an unimportant man is small, but his 17

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damage is much." For Babylonian rabbis, the study house was the primary arena for honor and shame competition. As portrayed by the redactor of the Babylonian Talmud, the atmosphere of the study house was anything but collegial, as rabbis attempted to achieve honor at the expense of their col­ leagues. It is telling that the study house is the setting for the Babylonian Talmud's longest coherent discussion of shaming. The Jews whose communities are represented in these texts lived in cultures in which honor and shame were important values. For Galilean Jews, accord­ ing to the Palestinian Talmud, honor was more important than money. Few events held more potential for the transfer of honor than marriage. Conversely, for a father, especially of a bride, few events would have been as laden with anxiety as marriage. A good match must be found, a beneficial deal struck, and the children would have to be "brought on board": every juncture presented a possibility for shame and social disaster. In such an environment it is a miracle that anyone would want to enter the process of negotiating a marriage. But they did. Jewish marital ideals and realities from antiquity do not al­ ways mesh. Sometimes the texts seem to misrepresent the realities, even knowingly; at other times they simply contradict them. Throughout this chap­ ter I will argue that it is precisely the idealizing texts that encouraged, and essentially allowed, men to negotiate the rough terrain of arranging marriages in an environment fraught with cultural danger. Thus, contextualizing Jewish marital practices and their idealized descriptions in cultures of honor and shame provide a crucial interpretive key to both. 20

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A G E AT MARRIAGE: T H E IDEAL

Rabbinic, especially tannaitic, sources project a remarkably serene and uni­ form picture of the ages at which couples married. Men in their late teens married women in their early teens, both under the watchful eyes and active intervention of their fathers. One tannaitic source recommends that a man marry off his son when he is "young" (qatan)' another implies that a man has the obligation of arranging a marriage for his son while he is still alive. Later Palestinian sources offer similar statements: one probably postmishnaic ba­ raita suggests that a man should marry when he is eighteen, while a midrash sets twenty as the expected age for marriage. One homiletic passage attrib­ utes to the mythical "days of yore" the phenomenon of twelve-year-old men marrying barely pubescent women, with the result that they saw grandchildren when they were twenty-six! The Babylonian ideal for a man's age at marriage was somewhat younger. 24

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Rav Hisda was praising Rav Hamanuna to Rav Huna as a great man. He said to him, "When he comes to you, bring him to me." When he came, he saw that he was not wearing a turban. He said to him, "Why are you not wearing a turban?"

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He said to him, "Because I am not married." He turned away from him and said to him, "See that I do not see your face until you marry." Rav Huna was behaving according to his own dictum, as he said: "A man of twenty who has not married spends all his days in sin." In sin you might think? Rather, in thinking about sin. Rabba said, "So too it is taught by the School of R. Yishmael: 'Up to twenty years, the Holy One blessed be He sits and watches for a man, when he should marry a wife. When his twentieth year arrives and he has still not married, He says, "May his bones blow [away]."'" Rav Hisda said, "I desired more than my colleagues to marry at sixteen. Had I married at fourteen I could have said to Satan, 'An arrow in your eye!' " 28

The story is Babylonian, and clearly reflects a value placed on early marriage. The connection of early marriage with the proper channeling of sexual desire is consistent with the Babylonian rabbinic understandings of marriage that I discussed in chapter 1. It appears likely to me that the tradition attributed to the School of R. Yishmael, while perhaps originally Palestinian, has been modi­ fied to give it tannaitic authority and sharper language: its only Palestinian parallel is in a late midrash whose language is slightly softer than the version cited in this sugya. Similarly, the Babylonian Talmud has probably reinterpreted another Pales­ tinian baraita in order to stress that men should marry early. This baraita advises a man to marry his sons close to their age of puberty (pirqan). When­ ever this same phrase, "close to their age of puberty," is used in Palestinian documents, its context is almost always levirate marriages: if one of the part­ ners is a minor, the marriage should be delayed until she or he reaches pu­ berty. The notion that a man should marry his son when he reaches puberty is confined to the Babylonian Talmud. Men should marry when young, but women should marry when younger. Tannaitic sources give to a man the legal power to betroth his daughter while she is still a minor (under the age of twelve, and perhaps a little past), and they clearly assume that he will use it. There are many cases throughout tannaitic literature of men betrothing their daughters to prospective husbands, some­ times at very young ages. Some semi-theoretical discussions, mostly attrib­ uted to Palestinians or to Rav, presuppose the possibility of the marriage of a female minor. The same terminology continues through the amoraic period, in both Palestine and Babylonia. 29

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A G E AT MARRIAGE: REALITIES

When one looks at sources other than those that explicitly moralize about age at marriage or those that implicitly portray a causistic norm, things look very different. There is much data, supplied incidentally, that suggests that Jews in

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Palestine and the Western Diaspora married at higher ages than the sources surveyed above might like. Despite the Palestinian prescriptions for men to marry by the age of twenty, these other sources suggest that thirty was a more usual age for men to marry. The book of Jubilees consistently portrays the biblical patriarchs as marrying relatively late, even when not compelled to do so by the biblical account. Abram is 49 when he marries Sarai, and Jacob is 76 (!) when he marries Leah. In their respective Testaments, Levi is said to have married "young," that is, at 28, and Issachar at 30. Josephus himself apparently married for thefirsttime when he was around 30. Philo thinks that the proper age of marriage is between 28 and 35, and for support appeals to a fragment attributed to Solon. The epigraphical record is small and ambigu­ ous, but it does not testify to any early male marriage among Jews in Pales­ tine. There is no evidence that Jewish men who lived in the Greek and Roman worlds regularly married for the first time before their mid- to late twenties Scattered rabbinic dicta reinforce this picture. "It is the way of the world," Rabbi Levi is attributed as saying, "that a man marries a wife when he is between thirty and forty." The source clearly sets thirty to forty as late for marriage, but suggests that twenty to thirty would be more appropriate. Other Palestinian aggadic passages, some perhaps late, divide a man's life into stages, and again locate marriage around the age of thirty A Palestinian legend about R. Akiba that mentions that he married when he was forty is reproduced in the Babylonian Talmud—minus the notice of his age at mar­ riage. Conversely, a story in the Babylonian Talmud about Rabban Gamaliel mentions that he was married by the age of eighteen, a fact that is missing from the Palestinian parallels to this story. The Babylonian "corrections" to these Palestinian sources most likely indi­ cate that Babylonian rabbinic men married younger than their Palestinian counterparts. The stories of Rav Hisda and Rav Huna, cited above, might not be historically "true" in the strict sense of the word, but they do appear to reflect a reality in which Jewish men—or at least rabbis—were expected to marry while in their late teens or early twenties. Another story portrays the Babylonian amora Ulla rebuking a young man for still being unmarried, and a series of stories in the Babylonian Talmud about the conflict between marriage and Torah study too suggests that Babylonian men married while younger than Palestinian men. Other weaker and indirect evidence too suggests that the Babylonian rabbis assumed an "average" male age atfirstmarriage at about twenty. Some halakic institutions might presuppose that men will marry around twenty Adiel Schremer notes that the Babylonian Talmud frequently records fathers attend­ ing their sons' weddings. Such stories are not good witnesses to what partic­ ular fathers and sons actually did but they do create a topos that likely would not have seemed totally foreign to their readers or listeners. There is, on the 35

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other hand, practically no testimony in the Babylonian Talmud of men marry­ ing for the first time in their late twenties or older. There is even less evidence regarding female age at marriage. As noted, the overwhelming impression given in the legal sources is that fathers betrothed their daughters while they were still minors. Without doubt, this happened. We do not know, however, how often it happened. Several sources indicate that the practice was not universal. A survey of the epitaphs of Jewish women from late antiquity reveals relatively few women who married in their early teens (all from a single Jewish graveyard in Rome), with far more marrying in their mid-teens or later: not a single Jewish inscription from antiquity records a woman married while under twelve years old. A twenty-year-old Jewish woman from Egypt who died while, apparently, betrothed, is described as "ripe for marriage like a rose in a garden nurtured by fresh rain." Some of the literature from the Second Temple period assumes that women were old enough to be involved in choosing a mate. In Joseph and Aseneth, Aseneth is actively involved in choosing Joseph. 52

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Rabbinic legal sources themselves hint that (many?) women married on their own initiative. Rabbinic law concerning "blemishes" in the bride, for example, assumes that women married when they were at least old enough to be looked over. According to the Mishnah, a man who married a female and subsequently found blemishes (mumim) that were previously unknown to him can claim that he "mistakenly acquired" his bride, and is entitled to dissolve the marriage without paying her her marriage settlement (ketubba). Nor was the father trusted to make a truthful declaration: "If there is a bathhouse in the place, [the groom] cannot make a claim [against the father] even about blem­ ishes that are on her 'hidden places,' because he checks her by means of his female relatives." The girl, that is, must be "checked out" for blemishes, which would be done when she is at least old enough to go to the (female) bathhouse. A father, one could imagine, might want to wait to betroth his daughter until she was at an age by which all could know that she was free of blemishes. The significance of this rule is clearer when seen against a parallel from a fragment of the Damascus Document found at Qumran: "And if [a man gives his daughter to a m]an, let him disclose all her blemishes to him, lest he bring upon himself the judgment [of the curse which is said] (of the one) that 'makes the blind to wander out of the way' [Deut. 27:18]." Here, the father is called upon to make a truthful declaration. The girl herself is ancillary to the process. The assumption of the text is that the girl is young, and the match is arranged (nearly?) sight unseen. The Mishnah, on the other hand, never states who must disclose a woman's blemishes and assumes that she is old enough to be exam­ ined at the bathhouse. Whereas this scroll fragment subscribes to an ideal of early female marriage, the Mishnah seems to acknowledge a reality in which women married somewhat later. 55

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Within amoraic sources there is an increasing discomfort with even the ideal of early betrothal and marriage. Rabbinic law provides an institution by which a woman whose father has died and who is betrothed while still a minor by her mother or brothers can reject the match when she matures; again, the assump­ tion is that she would at least not marry until she was in her early to midteens. Moreover, nearly all of the "cases" cited in rabbinic literature of minor women who exercise their right of refusal are set in the tannaitic period, per­ haps reflecting amoraic discomfort with early female betrothal. According to one Babylonian story: 61

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Rav Hanan bar Rabba came to the house of Rav Hisda, his son-in-law. He took his daughter's daughter and put her on his shoulders. [Rav Hisda] said to him, "Don't you know that she is betrothed?" [Rav Hanan bar Rabba] said to him, "You have transgressed [the rule] of Rav, for Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav, and some say Rabbi Eliezer, 'It is forbidden for a man to betroth his daughter while she is a minor, until she matures and says, "I want so-and-so."'" [Rav Hisda retorted], "You transgress [the rule] of Shmuel who said, 'One should not fool around with a woman.'" He said to him, "I adhere to the other [rule] of Shmuel, for Shmuel said, 'All for the sake of heaven.' " 63

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Betrothal was early, but the practice of early betrothal was apparently not uncontested. Rav Hanan bar Rabba wins this verbal sparring, which sug­ gests that the redactor too inclined toward Rav's opinion. Similarly, the cita­ tion of Rav's dictum elsewhere is preceded by the anonymous comment, "When she is an adolescent, yes [the father should betroth her], but when she is a minor, no." Palestinian and Babylonian amoraim, when they do ac­ knowledge the right of a father to betroth his daughter while she is a minor, suggest that she not marry until she is more mature. According to the Pales­ tinian Talmud, "if [a betrothed girl] is a minor and wants to mature [before marriage], they listen to her." Rabbah bar Livai, a fourth-generation Baby­ lonian amora, explicitly says that one should not prepare the wedding of a minor, and the Babylonian Talmud cites another case of a woman who was betrothed as a minor but married only after she attained the age of legal majority. In sum, these sources suggest that in Palestine and the Western Diaspora, Jewish (elite?) men might have typically married around thirty to women who were in their (mid or late?) teens. Babylonian rabbinic men may have married earlier to women in their early teens. This conclusion is consistent with com­ parative material and with the arguments made in the first part of this book. Greek and Roman men also tended to marry when they were in their late twenties or early thirties. Given the assumption shared by Greeks, Romans, and Palestinian Jews that a man married to establish a household, and thus did 65

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so when he was ready to form a new household unit, this age for marriage makes sense. Greek and Roman women also appeared to have married in their mid or late teens, again paralleling what might have been Jewish behavior. Among Babylonian non-Jews, albeit from a much earlier period, women ap­ peared to have married around the same age. These marital ages are some­ what typical of what scholars studying relatively modern marital patterns have termed "Mediterranean" (high age for man, low for woman) and "Eastern" (low age for both). These sources are suggestive, but it must be emphasized that they fall far short of anything approaching demographic certainty. The sources that I have highlighted as indicating behavior (rather than ideals) are useful in two re­ spects. First, they indicate, in very rough terms, what behaviors were expected and considered "usual" among their readers. Second, this behavior is sharply at odds with the rabbinic sources that project an ideal. They do not, however, necessarily indicate a demographic norm. Richard Sailer and Brent Shaw have demonstrated that the age of marriage among Roman men was highly depen­ dent on geography and occupation, and we must assume that there was similar diversity among the Jews. 69

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A G E AT MARRIAGE: EXPLAINING DISJUNCTURE

The rabbis, we have to assume, knew that their "ideal" ages for marriage did not correspond to what they typically saw around them. How, then, can we explain this disjuncture between the realities and the textual ideals? What are the texts promoting this ideal actually doing? One somewhat common way of understanding such disjunctures is to claim that the rabbis were responding to practices that they did not like. In this case, this argument would run, they disapproved of late marriage and were attempt­ ing to convince its practitioners to change their practices. The ideals are real ideals, defining practices for which the rabbis sincerely wish. The rabbis, that is, would promote early marriage because it is right, it is what God wants. While the nature of this kind of argument is impossible to disprove, it is hardly convincing. Adiel Schremer has shown that the rabbis in fact have no moral objection to late marriage. A more fruitful approach might be taken by analogy from an argument that Jonathan Z. Smith made concerning ritual. Smith observed that among some northern hunting peoples, there is an ideal of a clean, courageous, and bloodless hunt of bears—complete with very strict "rules" for the hunt—that is totally at odds with their own real hunts. Smith suggests that the ideals and the rituals that reinforce them do not constitute a naive ideal, but exist pre­ cisely because real hunting is dangerous, unpredictable, and messy. Ritual allows its actors to assert control and order in a situation over which they have little. 73

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Whether or not Smith is correct in his interpretation of this particular ritual, his approach can help us to understand the gaps between "real" life and its ideal as inscribed in idealized rituals and texts. The assertion of control and order, I think, is precisely the goal of the idealized Jewish texts that prescribe an age at marriage below the norm. In order to understand why the need to assert control over this particular issue was necessary, it is first best to survey two broader contexts, demography and real matchmaking dynamics. The idealized portrayal of men controlling the marital decisions of their young daughters, and the brief recognition within rabbinic texts of mortality, raise the question, How many fathers would actually live to see their daughters married? How many fathers, that is, would really have a chance to marry off their daughters? Unfortunately, there is absolutely no reliable or statistically significant evidence on any aspect of Jewish demography in antiquity. Yet despite the absence of any direct evidence, we are justified in hazarding some very rough guesses based on population models. According to demographers, populations follow more or less predictable patterns based on the type of soci­ ety (e.g., northern, southern, industrial, preindustrial). When Roger Bagnall and Bruce Frier analyzed Egyptian census returns (the very little extant demo­ graphic data from antiquity) they discovered that their data reassuringly fit the model life tables for modern, preindustrial communities, thus confirming the utility of these tables. Using the figures from these life tables, we can arrive at an estimate of the percent of women whose fathers would be alive when they married. If we assume (1) an average life expectancy at birth of 25 years, which correlates with the census data from Roman Egypt; (2) an average age of fe­ male marriage at 20; and (3) an average age of male marriage at 30, then slightly under half of all women can expect to have living fathers when they marry for the first time. If we maintain the other assumptions but presume that men married at the age of 25, then thefigureincreases to about 55 percent of all women who can expect to have a living father when they marry for the first time. A higher life expectancy, 35, would increase these figures to 60 per­ cent and 66 percent, respectively. Obviously fewer men would have a living father at the time offirstmarriage. The point of this exercise is that in a community in which men really did wait to marry until they were around 30, few would have living fathers. Close to half of the women, who probably married younger, would have had living fathers when they married. Death, then, was an uncontrollable variable in marital arrangements. Pales­ tinian rabbis are themselves aware of this: "When will you merit to see the sons of your sons? When you marry off your sons as minors." One function of the rabbinic texts that portray a relatively young age at marriage might thus be to control this variable, or perhaps better, mediate between personal desire and demographic reality. An honor-and-shame society requires men 76

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to maintain control over their households; not to do so is to risk incurring shame. Obviously, a dead man cannot exert such control over his children. The texts portray a world in which men maintain this control, a world in which children marry under the strict guidance of their (living) fathers. They allow the (male) reader to suspend disbelief, to feel a sense of control where there is none. Without such reassuring texts, fathers could well despair, or become tyrannical, when facing the stress of marrying of their children in such a climate. Death is not the only factor that interfered with the smooth workings of these patriarchal societies. Children were (and remain) not always amenable to getting "with the program." As I will argue in the next section, the rabbis were fully aware of the fact that their wives, sons, and daughters had minds and opinions of their own, and that they had little ability to coerce them. In this context too, the ideal "facade" created by these texts, in which the patriarch exercises supreme authority, mediates between the values of an honor-andshame culture and reality. MATCHMAKING MECHANICS

Like many novels from antiquity, Tobit's primary plot line involves contract­ ing a marriage that is somewhat "against the odds." Tobias, travelling at his father's urging to find a wife and accompanied by an (unknown to him) angel, asks the angel to ask the father of his kinswoman, Sarah, for her hand in mar­ riage (7:9-10). Her father Raguel happily complies, and contracts the marriage (7:10-14). Despite the fact that she must have been somewhat older, it is only after he "gives" his daughter to Tobias that Raguel calls Sarah. To formalize the deal, Raguel writes a marriage contract between him (!) and Tobias. When seen in the context of the Greek environment in which it was written (even though it was written in Aramaic), the pattern is utterly banal. Menander's "Dyskolos," for example, which was written a century or more before Tobit, opens with a man who, in love with a free woman, sends his companion (or slave) to her father. When the messenger is rebuffed, he himself goes to her father to seek her hand. After the father rebuffs him, the suitor devises a strat­ egy by which the father gives the authority to betroth his daughter to the suitor's friend, who then marries the woman to the suitor: "Well then, I betroth the girl to you, and I hand her over, calling all the gods to witness, to be your wife." The same procedure—father of the bride (or his representative) "gives" her over to her husband—appears in Aseneth and Jewish legal instru­ ments throughout antiquity. Rabbinic sources (especially in the Babylonian Talmud) often portray the involvement of fathers in making a match. The Babylonian Talmud contains an extreme example: "Two men were drinking wine under the willows in Babylonia. One took a wine cup, handed it to his partner, and said, 'Betroth for me your daughter to my son!'" Are we, as 81

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"intended readers," supposed to understand this as a story of a "typical day in the life of Babylonian Jewry," or of two drunken men getting out of control, or of a well-laid plan by the father of the groom? The narrator, alas, does not let us know. Without doubt, some marriages really were handled mainly, or entirely, by fathers. Yet it is more likely that most "real" marriages, like the comically complex one portrayed by Menander, were far messier to contract, involving protracted negotiations not only between two fathers (if living), but between the parents and the children themselves. Jewish sources from antiquity testify nearly unanimously to the importance of male initiative in finding a bride. In the "purest" form of the ideal, a father would suggest to his son that he betroth a particular woman, and his son would, without hesitation or even necessarily seeing the bride, acquiesce. This, for example, is what we find in Tobit, when the angel Raphael (a kind of surrogate father) tells Tobias that it is "mostfitting"(dedikaiotai) for him to marry Sarah (6:13), whom he has never met. "And when Tobias heard the words of Raphael, and that she was his sister of the seed of his father's house, he loved her exceedingly, and his heart clave unto her." After that Tobias directs Raphael to ask Raguel for his daughter's hand. A fragment from Qumran, as we have seen, assumes that a man contracts a marriage directly with the father of the bride. Josephus too thinks that this is the "proper" way to arrange a marriage. The law, he says, "commands us . . . to sue from him who is authorized to give her away." Moses, who in the biblical account is simply given a wife by Reuel (Exod. 2:21), is in Josephus's accountfirstadopted by Reuel, and then married to his daughter. Josephus describes Herod as arranging matches for a grand­ son and a son. The tannaitic evidence for men actually betrothing their sons is quite thin. This would be consistent with the relatively late age at which Palestinian Jew­ ish men married; many would be without fathers by the time they reached the age of betrothal. There is more evidence of Babylonian Jewish fathers taking the initiative in marrying their sons. Babylonian amoraim explicitly suggest that men attempt to marry their sons "while your hand is still on your sons' necks," that is, while the sons are still young enough to accept their fathers' advice. In the same sugya the redactor assumes that a man has the suggestive power to marry his son. One Babylonian story illustrates a sce­ nario of this type: 87

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[Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi] went to make a marriage for his son at the house of R. Yosi ben Zirnra. They stipulated that he spend twelve years at the study house. They passed her before [the son], and he said to them, "Let it be six years." They passed her before him [again], and he said to them, "Let me enter [the marriage first,] and then I will go." He was ashamed before his father. 95

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On the one hand, this story shows a father who found a wife for his son and began negotiations on his son's behalf. More interesting, however, is that the marriage negotiations were not concluded until the son had a chance to look at the prospective bride and approve of his father's choice. One supposes that just as the son ultimately had the power to draw the wedding date closer be­ cause he found her so attractive, so too would he have had the power to cancel the arrangements. As this story suggests, Palestinian and Babylonian Jewish sons played a more active role in the selection of their spouses than the legal sources might prefer. Female relatives may have more thoroughly checked out prospective brides in the bathhouses, but it is not unlikely that a son, as in the story above, would at least have a chance to look at his prospective bride before acquiescing to his father's wishes. Discussing the mishnah on blemishes, the Babylonian Talmud invokes the legal presumption that "a man does not drink out of a cup before checking it." The redactor here assumes that a man would inspect his wife before marrying her. Rav is attributed with a ruling that "it is forbidden for a man to betroth a woman before seeing her, lest he find some repulsive thing in her, and Scripture says, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " Here too the fear is that a man wouldfindout too late that he married a woman to whom he was not attracted. In fact, it appears that it was the son who frequently found his own bride. Despite the advice of some Jewish Hellenistic writers, Jewish women appear not to have been isolated in either Palestine or the Diaspora, and it is certainly conceivable that a woman would catch a man's eye in a courtyard or market. Should these chance encounters prove unsuccessful, there is a twice-yearly festival described by the mishnah: 96

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Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel said: There were no better days in Israel than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, in which the daughters of Jerusalem would go out in borrowed white garments (in order not to embarrass one who did not have one, [and] the garments would be ritually immersed [before wearing]). And the daughters of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards. What would they say? "Young man, raise your eyes and see what you would choose for yourself. Do not look upon beauty, but upon family: 'Grace is deceptive, beauty is illusory . .. ' [Prov. 31:30], and it says, 'it is for her fear of the Lord that a woman is to be praised' [Prov. 31:31]." 99

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It is not clear whether there was a time when women really did this; even Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel seems to place this in the past, and both the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud's commentaries on it assume that the fes­ tival no longer took place. More significantly, this agricultural festival, with "perhaps a slight nuance of a pagan wine festival," is met with no opposition in the Talmuds. The Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds, in fact, speculate that the festival took place on thefifteenthof Av because this was the day that 101

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the biblical tribes were allowed to marry each other, and a baraita glosses, "He who was unmarried would go there." Rather than judging such a festival "immodest" or exceptional, both Talmuds seem comfortable with forums in which men would see their prospective brides. Several times rabbinic literature, both Palestinian and Babylonian, offers advice to fathers on what they should do to make their daughters more attrac­ tive to prospective husbands. "Rabbi Abbahu [said] in the name of R. Yo­ hanan: A man is permitted to teach his daughter Greek because it is an orna­ ment for her." Rabbi Hiyya gives away his secret for a diet that will "whiten" one's daughter, thus making her more attractive. Men will rush to betroth women who are properly dressed and dowered, the Babylonian Tal­ mud suggests. A woman "great in beauty," the Babylonian Talmud says, can expect men to "rush to her to betroth her." Together, these sources present an appropriately nuanced picture of a deli­ cate process. A father, our sources assert, "arranges" a marriage for his son, but that does not mean that the son had no, or even a minor, role in the selection of a wife. Involving the son in the process of selecting a mate obviously tilts the odds toward the "success" of the marriage, or at least against the possibility of enormous embarrassment and shame if the son rejects his bride at the wed­ ding ceremony or shortly thereafter. On the other hand, the literary and cultural facade that marginalizes the son's role and reinforces the appearance of patri­ archal authority preserves the father's honor. A Babylonian story raises some of these nuances: 102

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A man said [to his wife], "To my relatives [our daughter should be betrothed]." She said, to her relatives. She persisted until he told her that she could [be be­ trothed] to her relatives. When they were eating and drinking [immediately before the actual betrothal], one of his relatives went upstairs and betrothed her. 107

Below and in chapter 71 explore three of the issues raised in this story: the role of parents in betrothing their daughters; the feast at the betrothal; and betrothal without parental permission. For now, I want to note the two sets of negotia­ tions to which the story refers. First, the parents fight about the betrothal. Although the father has the ultimate legal right to betroth his daughter, mothers could also be actively engaged in securing matches for their chil­ dren. Susan Treggiari has suggested that due to their access to and familiar­ ity with other neighborhood women, their daughters, and their gossip, women played an important matchmaking role in the Roman world. The literature might marginalize the role of mothers in this process but, again, such a marginalization does not reflect reality as much as it protects the honor of the father. The second negotiation in this story is implicit. When the man argues for a betrothal to his relative, he is apparently thinking of a specific relative, namely, the one who ends up betrothing the daughter. The implication is that this male 108

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relative knows the daughter, has approached the father, and then failing that, has taken matters into his own hands. Moreover, it implies that the daughter has not yet met the man she is to marry (she is upstairs during the feast), but she does know the relative. By accepting his proposal, she actively chooses the man whom she knows (to what extent?) over the unknown choice of her par­ ents. One can only imagine the fallout that such a choice would have occa­ sioned between her parents, between her and her parents, between her parents and her mother's relatives, and between her father and his relatives. My point is not that this story really happened, but that as a story it functioned within a cultural context. Matchmaking, as a Palestinian midrash acknowledges, is a hard business: R. Pinhas in the name of R. Abbahu opened [with the text] "Property and riches are bequeathed by fathers, but an efficient wife comes from the Lord" [Prov. 19:14]. R. Pinhas in the name of R. Abbahu [said]: In the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings wefindthat a man's match is only from the Holy One, blessed be He. In the Torah: "I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites . . . " [Gen. 24:3]. In the Prophets: "His father and mother did not realize that this was the Lord's doing" [Judg. 14:4]. In the Writings: " . . . but an efficient wife comes from the Lord" [Prov. 19:14]. Sometimes one goes to his match, and some­ times his match comes to him. For Isaac, his match came to him, as it is said, "And Isaac went out walking in thefieldtoward evening and, looking up, he saw camels approaching" [Gen. 24:63]. For Jacob, he went to his match, as it is said, "Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran" [Gen. 28:10]. R. Yudan b'R. Simon opened [with the text] "God restores the lonely to their homes, [sets free the imprisoned, safe and sound, while the rebellious must live in a parched land]" [Ps. 68:7]. Matrona asked R. Yosi, "How many days did it take the Holy One, blessed be He, to create the world?" He said to her, "Six days." [She said,] "From then, what has he been doing?" He said to her, "He sits and makes matches, a man to a woman and a woman to a man." She said to him, "Is this so hard? I am able to do it!" She went and made matches, and gave this one to that one and that one to this one. After some time the matched couples began to fight. This woman would say, "I can't stand that man," and this man would say, "I can't stand that woman." [R. Yosi] said to her, "If this matter is easy in your eyes, it is as hard before the Holy One, blessed be He, as the splitting of the Sea of Reeds. How? 'God restores the lonely to their homes, sets free the imprisoned' [Ps. 68:7]." 110

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These two consecutive petihtot pose a tension. Humans do, and should con­ tinue to, make matches, although they might be as difficult to make as splitting the Sea of Reeds. On the other hand, God has already preordained matches.

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Rav formulates this position most starkly: "Forty days before the formation of a child a heavenly voice comes forth and says, The daughter of so-and-so will be to so-and-so.'" The tradition was popular; the Babylonian Talmud and several Palestinian documents contain versions of it. As is their wont, the Talmuds understand this tension as a conflict. They attempt to resolve this perceived conflict (i.e., are matches made by humans or God?) by applying the two positions to different situations (e.g., only a man's first marriage is preordained). Such a resolution is unsatisfactory; it does not address the central problem of why this tradition is always transmitted as part of a unit that preserves the tension. Once again, I think that the best context for understanding this tension is the honor-and-shame culture in which it "worked." The simple applied message of the midrash is that because one's match is preordained one should notfightit. God ratifies the father's difficult negotiations infindinga spouse; how can a man oppose it? Such an ideology at once acknowledges the reality of human agency and attempts to dull criti­ cism of a father's suggestion or choice. In many societies, professional matchmakers helped to find marriage part­ ners and/or smooth the negotiations in arranging the match; the angel in Tobit appears to play such a role. Professional matchmakers were probably active in the Greek-speaking East in late antiquity, but they are not well attested in the West. There is no evidence in rabbinic literature of the existence of profes­ sional matchmakers. Whereas, for example, patristic writers understand Abraham's servant Eliezer as the paradigm of a matchmaker, rabbinic com­ mentary almost goes out of its way to show that God rather than a matchmaker arranged the match between Isaac and Rebekkah. 1 think that it is likely that in communities in which non-Jews used matchmakers, so did the Jews; but it is not clear precisely which communities these might have been. In any case, the absence of matchmakers in rabbinic sources can be anticipated: attention focused on matchmakers would undermine the importance of fathers and God in arranging matches. 113

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LOOKING FOR A SPOUSE: T H E IMPORTANCE OF B E A U T Y

Like their non-Jewish neighbors, Jews in antiquity (regardless of place and time) thought that beauty was good. When, for example, Jewish Hellenistic writers dilate upon the beauty of biblical characters when the Bible mentions it, they are following a well-worn classical trope. In this sense, beauty was culturally loaded: Jews, Greeks, Romans, and Babylonians all thought them­ selves to be beautiful and descendants of beautiful people. In itself, beauty was perceived as good, and even the rabbis often (but not always) saw it as reflect­ ing moral goodness. No people in antiquity, however great their urge to forge an antihegemonic discourse, would have referred to itself as "ugly." 118

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In thefirstcentury CE, a Roman philosopher, Musonius Rufus, wrote: Therefore those who contemplate marriage ought to have regard neither for fam­ ily, whether either one be of high-born parents, nor for wealthy, whether on either side there be great possessions, nor for physical traits, whether one or the other have beauty. For neither wealth nor beauty nor high birth is effective in promoting partnership of interest or sympathy, nor again are they significant for producing children. 121

Although Jewish Hellenistic writers echo the classical advice that a man not consider dowry in choosing a wife, they never suggest that beauty should not be a criterion in choosing a wife. "A beautiful (hen) wife makes her husband happy, and her good sense fattens his bones . . . beauty upon beauty is a mod­ est wife, and there is no price to her chastity," Ben Sira states. Elsewhere too Ben Sira notes the value of having a beautiful wife. While we have no explicit evidence from the Second Temple period that female beauty played a practical role in the selection of a wife, we are probably safe to infer such a role. Rabbinic literature clearly assumes the importance of female beauty for at­ tracting a husband. I have already noted several rabbinic sources that assume that women attracted prospective husbands through their appearance. On the road, in the market, or in a courtyard a man might catch sight of a woman. Perhaps a man might even ask his female relatives to "scout out" an attractive woman for him in the bathhouse. These glimpses were important: they were probably frequently the first step in the process of making a match. Not only did the single women themselves then have an interest in being attractive, but so too did their fathers (or guardians). The rabbis advise a father to dress his daughters well "so that men will rush to them." One Babylonian rabbi re­ lates his recipe for keeping his daughter's complexion clear, and a Babylonian story portrays a man doing such afinejob depilating his daughter that it raised the amount of her marriage settlement. Even the statement that knowing Greek helps a woman attract a husband—the single statement that any per­ sonal attribute other than beauty matters—compares such a knowledge to an ornament; it uses a physical metaphor. In contrast to the ideological and cultural understanding of "beauty," the role of beauty in the selection of a wife is a practical matter. In the case of the unattractive woman, ideological and practical values collide. The contradic­ tion between the practical difficulties encountered by unattractive women in the marriage market and ideological self-perception as a "beautiful" people stands behind one of the more poignant stories in the Mishnah: 122

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[If a man says,] "I vow [qonam] that I will not marry so-and-so, who is ugly," and she is really attractive; "[or that I will not marry so-and-so,] who is dark," and she is really light; "[or that I will not marry so-and-so,] who is short," and she is really

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tall—[in all these cases] he is permitted to marry her. [The reason is] not because she was ugly and made attractive, or that she was dark and was made light, or that she was short and was made tall, but because the vow was mistaken. Once a man vowed [not to enjoy] the daughter of his sister. They brought her to the School of Rabbi Yishmael, and he beautified her. Rabbi Yishmael [then] said to him, "My son—is this what you vowed not to enjoy?" He said to him, "No!" And Rabbi Yishmael permitted her to him. At that moment, Rabbi Yishmael wept and said, "The daughters of Israel are beautiful, but poverty makes them unattractive." When Rabbi Yishmael died the daughters of Israel raised a dirge. 130

Whatever the historical value of this text (in my opinion, none), it does do "cultural work." Jewish women are all (physically) attractive; due only to envi­ ronmental factors, they do not always seem to be. This solves the ideo­ logical problem of how a beautiful people can have some unattractive individ­ uals as members. On a practical level, the text speaks to unattractive women and their fathers. By taking place in the past, it acknowledges that "now," without a staunch defender like R. Yishmael, an unattractive woman faces an uphill battle. The last mishnah of Ta anit, cited above (p. 113), does similar work. That mishnah is paradoxical: the women are dancing in order to be looked upon while telling the men looking at them not to consider their (out­ ward) beauty! It is thus not surprising that the Talmuds "fix" the mishnah, adding that this is what the unattractive women would say. 131

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Female virginity, as the citation above from Ben Sira illustrates, was consid­ ered to be closely related to beauty. Like beauty, female virginity was widely valued throughout the Mediterranean and Near East. Philo and Josephus essentially repeat classical banalities when they emphasize that Jewish men prefer to marry virgins. One reason for this value on female virginity at marriage was certainly to assure the paternity of the progeny. Female virginity, however, also carried a heavy symbolic value. Expectedly, those Jewish groups in antiquity that emphasize purity, integ­ rity, and separateness emphasize and transfer these meanings to female virgin­ ity. The most extreme examples are the Therapeutae and early Christians. The former, known only from Philo's description, was a closed community dedi­ cated to serving the will of God that emphasized complete female celibacy. Paul testifies to a value that at least some of thefirstChristians were placing on male virginity, and he himself suggests that it would be best if all were virgins (1 Cor. 7:1, 8-9). His followers would soon take his words to heart. Most Jewish groups, though, expected that a woman would marry, and would marry as a virgin. In its marital regulations, the Qumran community stressed the importance of a man marrying a virgin. Qumran documents even contain provisions for physically examining a woman to confirm her 134

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virginity. This emphasis on female virginity at marriage is most likely linked to the group's general perception of itself as pure. Similarly, Second Temple writers (following biblical precedents) emphasize that a Jewish priest should (or must) marry a virgin, and that the daughter of a priest especially was expected to be a virgin when she married. Rabbinic writers continue to em­ phasize the importance of virginity in connection to the priesthood. A more widespread cultural interpretation placed on female virginity was its connection to moral character. A woman who had engaged in premarital sex was "bad news," being perceived as lacking the fundamental value of modesty. A woman who was discovered to have had premarital sex could acquire a "reputation," and it seems that fear of such reputations and gossip were a primary social means of controlling female sexual behavior. The Mishnah, for example, mentions the case of a man who suspected that his wife was having an affair because he "heard it from a bird." A tosepta contrasts the proselyte woman, whom all want to marry because she is presumed to have guarded herself sexually, to the freed slave woman, who is a less desirable marriage partner because such women "generally are sexually promiscu­ ous." This value is not limited to rabbinic circles: grave inscriptions occa­ sionally emphasize that a young woman lived a "chaste" life. Behind this advice is less concern with the certainty of paternity or with the purity of the people than it is concern with the future behavior of one's wife. A woman who "strayed" before marriage was seen as likely to stray during it. Jewish sources from antiquity ascribe no importance to male beauty for making a match. Our sources do generally emphasize the beauty of Jewish men, but these statements are ideological rather than practical. The general presupposition of rabbinic texts is that a woman will marry any suitable man who proposes. Nevertheless, a few isolated rabbinic dicta indicate that male appearance was not entirely irrelevant. One mishnah assumes that a woman would not want to marry a man with one of a number of particularly disgusting diseases. The implication of the passage is that a woman did take a look at whom she was marrying and could object to the match if she saw something that she did not like. While male beauty was not entirely irrelevant in mate selection, the extent of its importance is difficult to gauge. Our sources clearly downplay the im­ portance of male beauty, which is expected in a literature written by and mainly for men. But given the demographic realities, male appearance might really not have been terribly important. A thirteen- to sixteen-year-old girl was not in a good position to judge the beauty of her older suitor, especially if her parents were exerting pressure. And we should probably assume that a girl's father would want to avoid matching his daughter with a cripple or a man with some other obvious and serious defect but would be more tolerant of other blemishes, if only because he might see them in himself. 139

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Female virginity was a sine qua non, but male virginity was a case of non sequitur. For nearly all ancient writers, "virginity" referred to women; there is no word in Hebrew or Greek for a male who has not had sexual intercourse. There were some Jewish ascetic groups in antiquity, and there were (weak) ascetic trends in rabbinic Judaism. None of these groups (except perhaps some early Christians) put a value on male virginity at marriage. 149

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APPROACHING T H E BRIDE'S FAMILY

Once a man and his family had chosen a bride they were expected to approach the prospective bride's male guardians. Philo uses language that could have come from any non-Jewish Greek when he advises men not to attempt to seduce a woman: But if you have a heart and soul, centered your affections on the girl, go to her parents, if they are alive, or, if not, to her brothers or guardians or others who have charge of her, lay bare before them the state of your affections, as a free man should, ask her hand in marriage (aitei pros gamon) and plead that you may not be thought unworthy of her. 151

Or, as Pseudo-Phocylides puts it, "Let no one violently have intercourse with maidens without honorable wooing." These sources presuppose that mar­ riage to a woman without "properly suing" her family for her hand is at minimum unseemly. Respectable ("free") men were expected to conform to respectable standards of behavior, one of which was acknowledging the au­ thority of a woman's family—especially her father—over her. To ignore this authority was to directly challenge the authority of her guardians. This same assumption pervades rabbinic literature. Ideally, as Philo recom­ mends, the suitor himself would approach the woman's parents or guardians. Commenting on the mishnaic allowance that a man can betroth a woman through an agent, Rav says "he is commanded more than his agent." In Jewish marriage contracts from as early as the fifth century BCE, the contract is between the groom and his bride's father, and this tendency continues in Jewish legal instruments throughout antiquity. All rabbinic sources virtually assume that a father, or other male relatives or guardians if he was no longer living, would accept betrothal on behalf of his daughter. One of the most striking examples of this assumption is found in the rab­ binic commentary that "[If] a man says to his fellow, Tf your wife gives birth to a female, behold, she is betrothed to me,' she is not betrothed." Rabbi Hanina glosses, "this was only taught concerning the case when his wife was not pregnant, but if his wife was pregnant, his words stand." That is, a father could betroth his daughter even while she is a fetus (although not before!). This absolute legal right of a father to betroth his daughter is related to the rabbinic assumption that women were so desperate for marriage that they 152

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would be happy with anyone that their parents chose. An adult woman who was unmarried, the rabbis thought, felt "shame." The Babylonian Talmud ele­ vates a woman's desire to marry to an halakic principle: She would be satisfied with anyone at all, as Reish Lakish said, "It is better to dwell in grief than in widowhood." Abayye said, "[Even if] her husband [has the status of] an ant, raise her on a throne among nobility." Rav Pappa said, "Though her husband be aflax-beater,his wife will call him out to the threshold and sit down." Rav Ashi said, "[Even when] her husband is [as ugly as] a cabbage, she needs no lentils for her pot." It is taught: "All these women will whore and blame it on their husbands." 158

A woman, according to the Palestinian amora Reish Lakish, will accept practi­ cally anyone as a husband, even if it is not a good match. The two Babylonian amoraim emphasize that not only will she accept an unsuitable husband, but she will actually be proud of him, simply because she is married. Yet as the sugya recognizes in its citation of an unparalleled baraita, here too things are more complicated than they first seem. The Babylonian Tal­ mud's redactor, at least, recognizes that women forced into inappropriate mar­ riages will be unhappy. When Rav says that "it is forbidden for a man to betroth his daughter while she is a minor, until she matures and says T want so-and-so,'" or when R. Hisda is said to have asked his daughter which of two men she wants to marry, we see the same sentiment: it would be better to involve the daughter from the beginning. These rabbis are not merely (if at all) being solicitous of their daughters' well-being when they impart such ad­ vice. An unhappy wife who commits adultery brings shame upon her father, and one who ultimately divorces and returns to her father's house could be­ come an economic liability. A father might have the right to betroth his daughter, but it is far less clear how often he would have asserted this right without first consulting her. The silence of the rabbinic sources, especially those from Palestine, on this issue might well hide a complex process under a patriarchal facade. Even the facade, though, has chinks. Because of the serious nature of be­ trothal rabbinic sources are forced to acknowledge and deal with the possibil­ ity that girls would betroth themselves. What if, for example, a girl meets a man on the street and formally accepts his offer of betrothal while her father dawdles over another man's proposal or—worse—betroths her to another man! There is a significant amount of rabbinic discussion over these possi­ bilities, the bulk of which is no doubt occasioned by the theoretical possibility of such legal conundrums. The academic or theoretical nature of these discus­ sions should not, however, occlude the fact that a significant anxiety agitates underneath them. The Toseptaflatlydenies the possibility of a legal conflict: 159

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"a minor who betroths herself and marries herself in the life of her father—her betrothal is no betrothal, and her marriage is no marriage." Neither Talmud simply accepts the Tosepta's position, although this resolution is better re­ ceived among Palestinian amoraim. For daughters who are past their age of minority the situation is trickier. Rabbinic law recognizes the full ability of such a woman to contract her own betrothals. Adult women are thus legally free to betroth themselves to men of whom their fathers (or brothers, mothers, or guardians) did not approve. The potential conflict is expressed in the Babylonian story of R. Akiba's marriage: after Akiba betrothed his wife, but before they married, her father heard and vowed that she not benefit from any of his property. Ultimately the story has a happy ending when Akiba's father-in-law recognizes Akiba as a "success" and has his vow annulled. While one ideological function of this story is to promote the desirability of sages as husbands, it is not difficult to imagine that the story invokes a response of the father-in-law that would have seemed real­ istic to its audience. 163

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NEGOTIATIONS

Should the bride and her family express their desire for the match, the two families must next negotiate the terms of the betrothal. These are primarily financial matters, dealing with the amount of the bride's dowry and of the man's ketubba payment. A tradition transmitted in the name of Rav gets to the heart of the matter: "'How much are you giving your son?' 'Such and such.' 'How much are you giving your daughter?' 'Such and such.'" Explicating both Isaac's and Jacob's courtship, Genesis Rabba makes it clear that men were expected to bring gifts for their future brides, and perhaps for their fami­ lies as well. These negotiations appear to have been conducted by the families of the bride and the groom, and at least in Babylonia would have resulted in a written document. In the Babylonian Talmud, the process of negotiation is seen as an essential part of marriage: Rav, for example, wants to flog any man who betrothed a woman by means of intercourse without any previous negotiation, and Babylonian sources see these monetary negotiations as so important that they can be held on the Sabbath. Among Greeks and Romans in antiquity—as in many modern Mediterranean societies—these financial negotiations were often quite volatile, and frequently involved color­ ful brinkmanship. Unfortunately, rabbinic literature contains only a hint of the dynamics of these marital negotiations. "There is no marriage contract in which the parties do not quarrel," the Babylonian Talmud's redactor says, and elsewhere notes that negotiations over the marriage settlement could be pro­ tracted. A case reported in the Palestinian Talmud, if authentic, records a negotiating coup for the bride: she had included in her marriage contract a clause that says that should she not behave with modesty, she would still be 167

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able to maintain half of her dowry instead of losing it all to her wronged husband, as was customary. Money was the primary, but not the sole, object of negotiation. The Mish­ nah enumerates a series of statutory obligations of the husband (e.g., to redeem his wife or to allow their sons to inherit her dowry), which suggests that such things were nevertheless occasionally the subject of negotiations. A woman might get her husband to agree to support her daughter from a previous mar­ riage. The Tosepta records a case in which a rabbi stipulated that his wife must support him and "teach him" (allow him to learn?) Torah. This tradi­ tion is cited without comment in the Palestinian Talmud, but the theme recurs in a series of Babylonian stories in which rabbis marry wives on condition that they can go away to study. 173

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W H E N MARRIAGE GOES RIGHT: ISAAC AND REBEKKAH

No extended description or ethnography of these marital negotiations survives from antiquity. Nevertheless, many of the elements surveyed here can be found in midrashim on biblical marriages. The most complete of these descrip­ tions is that of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekkah. The biblical story itself relates the process of arranging this match in some detail. In Gen. 24 Abraham tells his servant Eliezer to go back to Abraham's homeland to get a wife for his son, Isaac. EliezerfindsRebekkah, a kinswoman of Abraham's, negotiates for her hand with her father and brother, and then leads her back to marry Isaac. In the retelling of this story in Genesis Rabba, Eliezer approaches Rebekkah with a diatheke, or deed of gift, a detail nowhere found in the Bible. He is said to have listened to the gossip about the character of the women, from which at least one rabbi "learns" proper contemporary behavior. On Gen. 24:16 ("The girl was very beautiful, a virgin, and a man did not know her") two interpretive cruxes give rise to two discussions. First, the verse's inclusion of the superfluous word "man" leads to the conclusion that Rebekkah must have a ruptured hymen, that is, she must have been "known" but not by a man. This in turn leads to the citation of a tannaitic halakic discussion over whether a woman with a ruptured hymen receives the ketubba of a virgin or of a widow. The second, amoraic, discussion arises from the redundancy of "virgin" and "man did not know her." The rabbis interpret this to mean that Rebekkah was sexually pure: either she was a virgin "both ways" (i.e., vagi­ nally and anally) or that she was never even approached to have sex. Then the midrash notes that Rebekkah did good deeds and that Eliezer gave her the commandments, a motif that reappears at the end of the midrash when Re­ bekkah assumes the commandments formerly performed by Sarah. Very cleverly, the midrash then kills off Rebekkah's father, Bethuel, for opposing the match. This allows the midrash to resolve a number of otherwise sticky exegetical problems. Why does Rebekkah run to "her mother's house" 178

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(Gen. 24:28); why does Laban, Rebekkah's brother, ask to hear the message (v. 33); why are only the brother and mother mentioned in v. 53 and v. 55? (The midrash does not comment at all on v. 50, which unfortunately shows Bethuel very much alive.) Now the request that Rebekkah stay with her family for a bit more time (v. 55) can be interpreted as referring to a mourning period for her father. Bethuel's death also clears a potential problem in v. 57, in which they ask Rebekkah for her opinion of the match. The rabbis read this verse as a possible proof that a woman cannot be married without her own permission. Bethuel's death allows this halakic consequence to be limited to only those women who have no fathers: the implication is that a woman with a living father need not be asked for her opinion. Eliezer then leads Re­ bekkah (v. 61) to Isaac, and at Isaac's tent she is declared to have taken the place of Sarah. Clearly this midrash is not merely solving the several exegetical problems that this story presents. It is also reading contemporary courtship behavior back into the sacred history. As with some of the traditions discussed in chap­ ter 2, the present is read into a Scriptural story for the purpose, in part, of justifying present behavior in Scripture! As a prototype, it also relates an ideal. Gifts are brought to the bride's house; negotiations take place among males, although the bride is asked her opinion; the bride is beautiful and very much a virgin. This is how it is supposed to be. 182

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BREAKDOWN: MARRIAGE AGAINST PARENTAL WISHES

Not all marriage negotiations go as smoothly as those between the parties representing Isaac and Rebekkah. Given the complex dynamics outlined above, the following scenarios are not difficult to imagine. A man sees and is attracted to a cousin or a neighborhood girl. They exchange looks, perhaps they talk a bit. He tells his father, who approaches the girl's father. The girl's (or woman's) father, though, refuses to sanction the match. Or, he agrees in principle but they cannot come to a monetary agreement. Or, it is the man's father who does not sanction the match. Now what? We have seen similar cases in two stories cited above, that of the girl who betrothed her father's relative instead of her mother's and that of R. Akiba and his wife. In both stories, the couple betrothed despite parental objection. The social consequences of such an act would have been considerable; it is almost understandable that Akiba's father-in-law is portrayed as disinheriting his daughter. For children to act against parental wishes in this respect would have shamed the parents, perhaps even forcing them into drastic actions. Rabbinic society in late antiquity, of course, was not the only society that faced this problem. Many societies have developed institutions that allow for men and women to marry despite parental objections, while providing a facesaving way out for the parents. These institutions are needed to limit the social 185

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damage of such unsanctioned matches. In many societies, this role is played by the concepts of "seduction" and "rape." Paradoxically, a man who seduces or "rapes" a woman whom he wants to marry (and who wants to marry him) brings less shame to her family than he would should he simply marry her. Hence, for example, Christian clerics acknowledge that the woman who mar­ ries the man with whom she had sex commits a far less serious sin than one who does not. The eventual marriage mitigates the outrage of a seduction or "rape." In this way, the couple can marry without forcing the bride's family into a corner. Both legal and narrative material in the Hebrew Bible testify to these institu­ tions in early Israel. Within the Hebrew Bible, only the law at Exod. 22:15-16 deals with the seduced woman: "If a man seduces a woman for whom the bride-price has not been paid, and lies with her, he must make her his wife by payment of a bride-price. If her father refuses to give her to him, he must still weigh out silver in accordance with the bride-price for virgins." Seduction of an unmarried woman by a man is portrayed here almost as a nonevent, a way for a man and woman to contract a marriage without causing financial loss to the father. The Bible understands rape differently. According to Deut. 22:28-29, "If a man comes upon a virgin who is not engaged and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are discovered, the man who lay with her shall pay the girl's father fifty [shekels of] silver, and she shall be his wife. Because he has violated her, he can never have the right to divorce her." The critical legal differences the laws of seduction and rape are (1) the father's ability in the case of seduction to refuse the match; and (2) the (implied) right of the husband of the seduced woman to divorce her. One might thus suspect that if a woman's father was strongly against a match, the desperate couple might resort to a staged rape in order to evade his wishes. The biblical narratives of rape might, in fact, be responding exactly to this possibility. There are three narratives of rape in the Hebrew Bible: Shechem rapes Dinah (Gen. 34); the people of Giboah rape the Levite's concubine (Judg. 19:16-30); and Amnon rapes Tamar (2 Sam. 13). In each of these stories the narrative indicates that true violence has occurred, and each rape results in serious political consequences. The stories are rich and have been treated in depth. Without detracting from these treatments or attempting to simplify or limit the meaning of these stories, I suggest that these biblical rape narratives and the biblical law of rape are in tension. One purpose of this tension might be to acknowledge "rape" as a social institution, but at the same time to emphasize its seriousness. By charging rape through these narratives, the Bible also discourages its social use. A couple might think twice before resorting to "rape" in a culture that understood rape in such negative terms. Whether or not seduction and "rape" were really used in ancient Israel as a social institution that gave a way to a couple to marry above parental objec­ tions while not causing complete family rupture, several Jewish Hellenistic 186

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writers appear to have understood these institutions in this way. In the biblical narrative, when Dinah's brothers discover that she had been raped, they are described as being angry because "he [Shechem] committed an outrage (nebala) in Israel" (Gen. 34:7). The Septuagint translates the Hebrew nebala, which can mean "outrage" or "foolish," as asxemon, "shame," thus under­ standing Dinah's rape as occurring within an honor-and-shame context. Nearly all of the many Jewish Hellenistic retellings of the rape of Dinah do not under­ stand the rape per se to be so bad as to warrant the subsequent punishment of death. The Shechemites are killed, according to one exegetical tradition, be­ cause the rapist was a foreigner. According to another exegetical tradition the rape was merely the event that triggered a preordained punishment. Al­ though Philo, as we have seen, advises a man to contract a proper marriage with the father of the woman he desires, he acknowledges the possibility of seduction and rape. Philo, in fact, modifies the biblical law of rape, giving the woman's father the right to refuse the marriage, and then justifies the stricture that the man can never divorce his wife by saying that it is in his interest, "to make the rape appear due to legitimate love rather than to lasciviousness." Greek Jews, like their non-Jewish neighbors, apparently understood seduc­ tion and "rape" as necessary, if distasteful, social institutions in a culture that valued the appearance of strict patriarchal authority. The Jewish literature from Palestine too suggests that these were viable institutions, not simply academic vestiges from Scripture. The Temple Scroll, for example, combines the biblical laws of seduction and rape: 191

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If a man seduces a virgin girl who is not betrothed, but is fit for him according to the law, and he lies with her and is found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her; he may not put her away all his days.

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Besides its attempt to harmonize the laws from Exodus and Deuteronomy (the case is taken from Exodus but the consequences from Deuteronomy), this passage contains two peculiarities. First, a nonbiblical phrase is inserted, the condition that "she is fit for him according to the law." This is apparently meant to exclude consanguineous unions. In practice (whether or not it ever was practiced is highly speculative) the clause closes a potential loop­ hole for couples who wish to evade not only their parents' wishes, but also the law. The second peculiarity is the denial of the father's right to object to the marriage. Lawrence Schiffman links this denial to the "idea of monogamy which seems to have been the ideal of the Temple Scroll." It is more likely that the purpose of this shift is to eliminate "seduction," as understood in the Hebrew Bible. Since seduction and rape now have the same consequences, the options of a couple that desires to get around the wishes of her parents are now limited. 194

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Tannaitic literature moves in exactly the opposite direction, by eliminating "rape": "He must make her his wife by payment of a bride-price" [Exod. 22:15]. Scripture means here a woman who isfittingfor him, to exclude a widow to a high priest, and divorcee and a woman released [from levirate marriage] to an ordinary priest, a mamzeret and netina to an Israelite man, and an Israelite woman to a mamzer and netin.

"He must make her his wife by payment of a bride-price." Do I hear whether her father consents or does not consent? Scripture says, "if her father refuses to give her to him he must still weigh out silver in accordance with the bride-price of virgins." This says that if the father wants he can [allow him to] keep [her], and if he wants he can [force him to] send [her away]. I hear only about the woman who is seduced; what about the one who is raped? Reason thus: Because a raped woman is under the control of her father and the seduced woman is under the control of her father, if you can learn about the seduced woman that if the father wants he can [allow him to] keep [her] and if he wants he can [force him to] send [her away,] so too with the raped woman! Or, [one can also reach this same conclusion from] an a fortiori argument. Just as in the case of the seduced woman, where he only violated the will of her father, if the father wants he can [allow him to] keep [her] and if he wants he can [force him to] send [her away,] in the case of the raped woman, in which he violated the will of both the woman herself and the will of her father, doesn't it follow that if the father wants he can [allow him to] keep [her] and if he wants he can [force him to] send [her away]? 196

Like the Temple Scroll this passage begins with the inclusion of the caveat that the seduced woman must be "fitting" for the seducer. It is interesting to note here that unlike both the Temple Scroll and its parallel in Mekilta d'Rashbi (in which this refers to the prohibition of consanguineous unions), this passage is more expansive in its understanding of an "unfit" wife. The passage then moves to extend the requirement that a girl must acquire her father's approval for the marriage to the case of the raped woman. This closes the last legal possibility for the a couple to marry against her (when she is still a minor) father's wishes. A toseptan tradition (attributed in the Babylonian Talmud to Rabba!) extends to her father even the right to delay a marriage, as in the case of any normal marriage. Once again, the text preserves the ideal, and abso­ lute, authority of the father. The rabbinic treatment of seduction and rape hints at practical application rather than theoretical speculation on scriptural categories. The Mishnah imag­ ines a case in which one man says to another, "I seduced your daughter." The primary mishnaic texts on seduction and rape deal with issues of torts, the fines that the seducer or the rapist owe to the girl's father (or to her). "The 197

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seducer pays damages for shame, injury, and the statutory fine [of 50 shekels]. The rapist pays, in addition, damages for pain." Whereas the statutory fine is fixed and is equal for all cases of both rape and seduction, damages for shame and injury (in reputation) "depend entirely on the [status of] the shamer and the one who is shamed." Such a formulation is motivated by practical rather than exegetical concerns. Indeed, this principle is virtually necessary in order for seduction to "work" as it should in an honor-and-shame culture. Let us suppose, for example, that a poor man and a rich girl wish to marry but her father objects. He then seduces her. Public expressions of outrage and a "shot­ gun" wedding will mitigate the girl's father's shame, but clearly he has been "wronged" in this case more than if the seducer had been of the same status. Hence additional monetary penalties are imposed. In the rabbinic sources, "rape" means rape: sex without the girl's consent. This can be anticipated from the rabbinic elimination of the practical benefit of "rape," the ability of the couple to marry without parental permission. Never­ theless, rabbinic sources seem to assume that at least some marriages began with rape. According to the Tosepta, "R. Shimon says, 'Neither [the seducer nor the rapist] pay damages for pain, because her pain is inevitable.' They said to him, 'The woman who has had sex willingly cannot be compared to one who has had sex against her will.'" Why, when the raped woman would eventually suffer the pain of her first intercourse (presumably with the man who raped her), should the rapist have to pay? Both Talmuds have difficulty with this question. The Palestinian Talmud appears to bring the answer back to the issue of honor, "a woman who has sex on a garbage heap is not similar to one who has sex in the huppah" The Babylonian Talmud does not even appear to answer the question, settling instead for descriptions of the slight pain the seduced woman feels upon having sex (for thefirsttime). Once the fine for pain is eliminated or questioned, the only significant difference be­ tween rape and seduction is the rapist's inability to divorce his wife, even if she is "lame, blind, or has a skin affliction." This legal evidence should not be pushed too far, but it does seem to indicate that the rabbis were dealing with an institution that they at least imagined could exist in the here and now. "A voice goes forth" concerning the raped woman, the Palestinian Talmud declares, suggesting the public context for rape. Rabbinic law makes the cryptic biblical laws workable: it gives the father the same power of veto over the marriage of his raped or seduced minor daughter; it limits marriages based on seduction or rape to those whom the rabbis deem to be legally capable of marriage to each other; it takes into ac­ count relative social standing for the payment of torts; and it assumes that the father will approve, and that a man will marry the girl he raped. On the other hand, it might be significant that there is not a single rabbinic "case" (in the literary sense) that records a rape or seduction, and there is extremely little rabbinic aggadah that features seductions or rapes that result in marriage. The 201

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absence of such nonlegal material is not conclusive, for in order to "succeed" as a social institution, seduction could not, ironically, show its true nature. That is, a seduction must appear as a true seduction, with the attendant shame and public condemnation, for it to succeed in allowing the couple to marry while preserving honor. Legal cases and aggadah that focus on this shameful act could threaten to rip off its veneer, and might thus be avoided. Curiously, rabbinic law poses a potential problem with the workings of "seduction." Sexual intercourse is one of three valid legal modes of effecting betrothal. This poses a potential obstacle for a man who wishes to refuse to give his daughter to her seducer: since they already had sex, they might be betrothed! A tosepta clearly articulates this problem: "In the case of sexual intercourse for the sake of betrothal, she is betrothed, but in the case [of sex­ ual intercourse] not for the sake of marriage, she is not betrothed." One tanna goes further, declaring that sex between a man and a woman that is not for the sake of marriage (i.e., to effect betrothal), is beilat zenut ("promiscuous intercourse"). Such a legal rendering has a practical consequence, as this intercourse would legally make the woman a zonah, thus barring her from marrying a priest. Ultimately, the Babylonian Talmud rejects this legal posi­ tion, but the Palestinian Talmud appears to uphold it. In Palestine, this would "up the stakes" for the couple that contemplates seduction, as (in the rabbinic Jewish population) it would have irreversible legal consequences. Similarly, it would put additional pressure on a girl's father to marry her to the seducer. One court case in the Babylonian Talmud indicates that this use of "rape" was not unknown, even among rabbinic Jews. 208

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Once in Neresh, [a man] betrothed a woman while she was a minor. When she matured, he placed her on the bridal chair and another man came and snatched her from him. Rav Berona and Rav Hananel, students of Rav, were there and they did not require a get from the other [i.e., second man]. 212

In this Babylonian court case, it appears that a man betrothed a girl whose father had already died. She thus, according the "law of refusal" (miuri) that is under discussion in this sugya, had the right to annul this marriage when she matured. Immediately prior to the consummation of the marriage she eloped with another man. The fact that she consented to this "snatching" can be in­ ferred from the situation: she then changed her mind, and she or her first "hus­ band" went to the rabbis for a ruling on whether or not she needed to be formally divorced from the man who snatched her. At stake in this case is the limit of a woman's right to exercise refusal and the exact moment at which a marriage is contracted, but lurking behind the case appears to be a staged abduction not unlike those that concern classical authors at this very time. Whether or not rabbinic Jews in the talmudic period "practiced" rape or seduction, some texts from the Cairo Geniza do clearly view "rape" as a social 213

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institution. According to a fragment of the Seper hamaasim lebene *eres yisrael, a collection of Palestinian legal cases probably compiled toward the end of the talmudic period, "a virgin who accepted and he had sex with her by force." The case imagines that a man and woman betroth, and then the man "rapes" (it is not clear if it is truly by force) his wife. This, and other fragments from the same work might be hinting at the case in which a woman agrees to be "raped" in order to establish the marriage. Although this is evidence only for a later period, it lends plausibility to the possibility that such things hap­ pened among (even rabbinic) Jews during the talmudic period. There was an additional social institution that most likely would have worked in conjunction with "rape" and "seduction," that of magic. The idea that both men and women could cast efficacious spells that would compel the object of their desire to fall into their arms is very old. Often, the client would hire a magician who would write the correct spell on some substance (e.g., clay, afigurine,or a lead tablet) which would be deposited somewhere, fre­ quently in a graveyard. The process was public: "the intended target of the spell was almost certainly aware that someone had commissioned and depos­ ited an erotic tablet because she or he was already the object of that person's attention." We have the remains of many of these magical "love spells," or spells of attraction. Jews in antiquity used these spells like everyone else. The magical work Seper HaRazim, which might date to the third or fourth century, gives the following advice: 216

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If you wish to bind yourself to the heart of a great or wealthy woman take some perspiration from your face (and put it) in a new glass vessel; then write on it, (i.e.) on a tin lamella, the name of the overseer and the names of the angels, and throw (the tin lamella) in the midst (of theflask)and say thus over the perspiration of your face: "I adjure you angels of favor and knowledge, that you will turn (to me) the heart of N daughter of N and let her do nothing without me, and let her heart be (joined) with my heart in love." Take the newflaskand bury it under her doorstep and say, "Just as a woman will return to the infant of her womb, so this N will return to me to love me from this day and forever." This should be written at the full moon. 221

Seper HaRazim is not the only work found in the Cairo Genizah to contain a love charm; another contains a formula to make a man love a woman. Nor were Jewish recipes for love charms simply filed away and forgotten. Several actual Jewish love charms survive. Shards of a Jewish love charm from the fifth or sixth centuries CE were found near the remains of an ancient synagogue at Horvat Rimmon. The most spectacular (probably) Jewish love amulet dates from the third century CE, and was found in North Africa. In it, a woman invokes a spirit to "go away to Urbanus, to whom Urbana gave birth, and bring him to Domitiana, to whom Candida gave birth, (so that) loving, frantic, and 222

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sleepless with love and desire for her, he may beg her to return to his house and become his wife." The societal benefit of a claim of magic was that it absolved personal re­ sponsibility. The father of a seduced woman, for example, could claim that his daughter was bewitched, thus shifting the potential shame from him and his daughter. Thefirstline from the citation above from Seper HaRazim suggests a real social setting. A poor man who wanted to marry a rich woman had practically no chance should he follow the conventional procedure of asking her father for her hand. Accusations of "magic" provide a way out of a potentially difficult situation. At the same time, magic, when seen as a public performance, exerts pressure. Take the following hypothetical example. A man and woman are attracted to each other, but her father will not sanction the match. Rather than going through with a relatively high-stakes seduction, the man commissions a love spell. Public knowledge of the spell essentially serves two functions. It announces to the community the couple's desire, hence po­ tentially mobilizing public pressure on her father. It also more directly serves notice to her father (or to her, should she be unwilling) that he is serious, and either forces him to employ countermagic or allows him to sanction the mar­ riage grudgingly. 224

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Similarly, a man can use magic to excuse his own conduct. Referring to the case of a man who has had sex with a betrothed slave-woman, Reish Laqish says that he might claim "I was compelled because of the spell that she cast over me," and thus that he had had sex with her unwillingly. The case here is limited, but such a statement reflects an assumption that women too could perform effective love charms. Such a claim might be convenient in a rape or seduction gone bad, in which after sex (whether consensual or not) the man claims that she bewitched him, thus shifting the blame to the woman. Another potential setting for this claim would be a broken betrothal, where a man who decides at the last moment to marry a different woman could claim that he was bewitched. Alternatively, the jiltedfiancee'sfamily could claim that he was bewitched, thus lessening their own shame. This, apparently, is the fear behind the cryptic comment in the Palestinian Talmud that a couple can marry imme­ diately if there is fear of impending magic. One spouse fears that the other will fall victim to another's magic and cancel the wedding. 226

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Texts do things. In this chapter, as in chapter 3,1 explored how some rabbinic texts may have functioned in a particular cultural milieu. In the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, honor and shame were of far greater importance than they are in today's West. Some rabbinic texts "mediated" the tensions between the ideals of such a society and the concrete complications of arrang­ ing matches. These texts thus express an "ideal" that is never meant to be achieved: it exists precisely because there is a messier reality, and loses its relevance when the ideals that it is intended to mediate are no longer in vogue.

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Despite our inability to establish how "most" Jews married in antiquity, we can tease out a relatively complete picture of how the rabbis saw marital norms. The paradigmatic marriage was the first one between a man and a woman. In Palestine and the West, a man married when he was around thirty to a woman ten tofifteenyears younger. By waiting until he was thirty a man was able to establish a household, the crucial assumption underlying Pales­ tinian and Western marital ideology. In Babylonia, men were thought to marry when they were closer to twenty. Here again, this expectation coheres well with their own marital ideology, in which the purpose of marriage was to provide a licit sexual outlet. Despite paternal wishes to the contrary, matches were established through complex negotiations that involved the partners and the parents, and into which could be dragged other kin. Jewish societies, like non-Jewish ones who shared these strong ideals of honor and shame, contained "safety valves"—seduction, "rape," and magic—for dealing with marital ne­ gotiations that went sour. Female beauty was an overriding consideration of a groom in selecting a mate. I will return to the meaning and importance of this consideration in chapter 10. Another factor that plays prominently in our sources, and with which I have not yet dealt, is endogamy and exogamy. The subject is complex enough to warrant a separate discussion. Thus, before continuing with an ex­ amination of the marriage itself and its customs and rituals, I turn to the ques­ tion of why Jews were encouraged to marry within their family, why they were discouraged from marrying non-Jews, and whether they did either.

Chapter Six ENDOGAMY AND EXOGAMY

ACCORDING TO NEARLY all sources on Jewish marriage in antiquity, Jewish communities, to lesser or greater extents, valued endogamous marriages (mar­ riage to "insiders") and abhorred exogamy (marriage to "outsiders"). These traditional anthropological terms are obviously fluid; "insider" and "outsider" are relative terms. Throughout the last chapter I have emphasized the impor­ tance of contextualizing Jewish marital practices and texts in the fuller world in which they were located. When we turn to ancient Jewish discussions and practices of endogamy and exogamy this approach is not sufficient. Jews in antiquity apparently valued endogamy even when their host societies did not. Thus, evidently thinking at least in part of Roman Jews, the first-century-CE Roman historian Tacitus wrote, "although as a race they are prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse (concubitu) with foreign women; yet among them­ selves nothing is unlawful (inlicitum)" Despite its polemical overtones, we have no reason to doubt the accuracy of these two claims, (1) that Jewish men avoided marriage with non-Jewish women, and (2) that Jews practiced some kind of marriage—probably endogamous—that disgusted the Romans. As we will see, this is one of the very few testimonies from antiquity on whether real Jews actually did abstain from exogamous marriages (and, perhaps, engage in endogamous ones). What we can trace with more confidence is the develop­ ment of the value of endogamy and/or the condemnation of exogamy among Jewish communities in antiquity, and the way that these communities manipu­ lated and reinterpreted traditional values to bring them in line with their own contemporary lives. 1

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BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

A description of the ancient Hebrew family, and the extent to which the He­ brew Bible reflects the marital values of the nomadic Hebrews, is beyond the scope of this study. Nevertheless, because later Jewish writers would turn to and appropriate biblical passages to justify their own marital values, a survey of these relevant passages will help to ground the following discussion. Even the earliest stratum of the Hebrew Bible promotes endogamous mar­ riages. All of the patriarchs contract such marriages: Abram with Sarai, his half-sister (Gen. 20:12); Isaac with Rebekkah, the granddaughter of his fa­ ther's brother (Gen. 24:24); and Jacob with Rachel and Leah, the daughters of his mother's brother (Gen. 29:10). The general condemnation of marriage 4

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between Israelites and members of the "seven nations" also apparently belongs to the same stratum. Later biblical writers continue to endorse endogamy while condemning ex­ ogamy. The Deuteronomist ignores endogamous marriage (outside of levirate marriage) but condemns exogamous marriage. Deut. 7:3-4 repeats the prohibition of marriage between Israelites and members of the seven nations. Deut. 23:2-9 might prohibit intermarriage with several other peoples. Only in Josh. 23:11-12 and 1 Kgs. 11:1-4 does the Deuteronomist begin to go beyond this limited prohibition. Both justify their condemnation of exogamous mar­ riage with the fear that the foreign spouse (especially the wife) will lead the Israelite astray to pagan worship, and both begin to apply this rationale more broadly. On the other hand, Ruth, which may have been written before the exile of 586 BCE, discusses endogamous marriage while ignoring exogamous marriage. The plot of this book turns on the institution of the go* el, a "re­ deemer" who can "claim" the (childless?) widow of a kinsman. Like the Deuteronomist, the Priestly Source (P) condemns exogamous mar­ riage. P glosses the ancient story of Jacob's marriage, adding an admonition by his parents that he not marry a "daughter of Canaan." To the older story of the rape of Dinah, P contributed a general polemic against marriage between the sons of Jacob and the Shechemites. P appears to have authored the story of the daughters of Zelophehad, which illustrates a value placed on endoga­ mous marriage, at least within tribe. But P also is uniquely concerned with marital restrictions among Israelites, rather than simply between Israelites and non-Israelites. P defines the inner limits of endogamous marriage by de­ tailing the incest restrictions. Naturally, the priestly writer is primarily con­ cerned with priestly marriages. 5

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They [the priests] shall not marry a woman defiled by harlotry, nor shall they marry one divorced from her husband. For they are holy to their God and you must treat them as holy, since they offer the food of your God; they shall be holy to you, for I the Lord who sanctify you am holy. When the daughter of a priest defiles herself through harlotry, it is her father whom she defiles; she shall be put to the fire. [The high priest] may marry only a woman who is a virgin. A widow, or a di­ vorced woman, or one who is degraded by harlotry—such he may not marry. Only a virgin of his own kin may he take to wife—that he not profane his offspring [zaro] among his kin, for I the Lord have sanctified him. 14

Because priests are holy, they and their daughters (who are not technically "priests") must guard against "profanation," the word for which (Jilt) is used five times in this short passage. The last sentence, and its inherent ambiguity, is particularly significant among later Jewish writers. Since the Hebrew zera can mean both "seed, semen" and "child," it is unclear whether the problem is 15

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that the children of these unions will be "profaned," or whether it is the mar­ riage per se that is the profanation. In either case, only in the biblical priestly writings do we see restrictions on which Israelites other Israelites may marry. EARLY SECOND TEMPLE PERIOD

The reestablishment of a Jewish state in Judah did not happen in a day. When Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, he allowed the Jews whom the Babylo­ nians repatriated some forty-seven years earlier and their descendents to return to their ancestral land. It appears that the Jews did not rush to take Cyrus up on his offer. Sheshbazzar, the "ruler of Judah" whom Cyrus appointed to be governor, made an abortive attempt to rebuild the Temple. About twenty years later a second Jew, Zerubbabel, won the new king's favor (Darius I) and was appointed governor of Judah. If the book of Ezra is to be believed, he led to Judah a group of 42,360 free Jews, accompanied by 7,337 slaves and 200 singers; almost 50,000 people. The list of those accompanying Zerubbabel is ordered mainly by families, each indicated by the male head of the family, and occasionally by the places where they settled. Zerubbabel, it turns out, did not play well with others: 16

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When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the chiefs of the clans and said to them, "Let us build with you, since we too worship your God, having offered sacrifices to Him since the time of King Esarhaddon of Assyria, who brought us here." Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the chiefs of the clans of Israel answered them, "It is not for you and us to build a House to our God, but we alone will build it to the Lord God of Israel, in accord with the charge that the king, King Cyrus of Persia, laid upon us." (Ezra 4:1-3) Perhaps as a result of this friction with the indigenous population, Zerubabbel disappeared from the scene as quickly and mysteriously as he entered. The Temple was completed without him by 515 BCE. In the meantime, there appears to have been some kind of Jewish religious revival in Babylonia. A survey of the names from one of the largest Babylo­ nian archives from this period reveals that Jewish exiles quickly adapted the Babylonian onomasticon, suggesting that they integrated into Babylonian so­ ciety. Around 480 BCE, this onomastic trend reversed, with Jewish fathers who bore Babylonian names giving their sons Jewish names. This develop­ ment coincides with an assertion of the "YHWH alone" party and the period during which the Pentateuch appears to have been redacted. In 458 BCE, armed with the (inchoate?) Pentateuch and, more importantly, a royal letter of authorization, Ezra, the descendent of Aaron the head priest, "a skilled scribe in the law of Moses that YHWH, the God of Israel, gave," left Babylonia for 20

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Judah. A list of the "heads of the families" and the men in these families whom Ezra brings with him records a total entourage of 1,513 men. Both this community and the later one led by Nehemiah saw themselves as a holy "remnant" of Israel, a kind of priestly community writ large. When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, we are told, he was horrified to discover that the Jewish families that preceded him nearly sixty years before had inter­ married. At a public meeting a committee to investigate the matter was ap­ pointed, and its report—listing the 111 Jewish men who intermarried—closes the book. Scholars have tended to see in the report of this affair a genuine historical crisis. Hyam Maccoby, for one recent example, has argued that intermarriage threatened the survival of this small remnant. Ezra, according to this argu­ ment, followed the warnings of Deut. 23:2-9 and 1 Kgs. 11:1-4, fearing that the non-Jewish partner would lead his or her spouse to apostasy. Other schol­ ars have focused on the origin of the "crisis," explaining it as a result of the limited pool of marriageable Jewish women. Most of these scholars accept the fact that there was in fact an objective, statistically significant problem with intermarriage that led to Ezra's, and later Nehemiah's, consternation. There can be little doubt that Jews during this period did intermarry. In addition to the evidence presented in Ezra, the archives from Elephantine tes­ tify to Jewish intermarriage. Several cases of marriage between Jews and non-Jews appear in these documents. Of the four or five marriages involving Jews attested in this archive, at least two are between a Jew and non-Jew. In one, a Jewish man marries an Egyptian slave—their daughter marries a Jewish man. Mibtahiah daughter of Mahseiah, discussed above in chapter 4, con­ tracted the other marriages; herfirstmarriage was to a Jew, her other (perhaps two) marriage(s) to Egyptian(s). It is worth noting that the document that might attest to one of these marriages was written by an Egyptian scribe and signed by Egyptian witnesses; she was part of her husband's community. The data is hardly overwhelming, but it at least suggests that Jewish intermarriage in the Persian period was not exceedingly rare. Yet asserting that Ezra was reacting to a real demographic threat goes well beyond the evidence. To argue that an alarmingly high percentage of the popu­ lation was intermarried requires reinterpreting the "committee report" at the end of Ezra. The number of intermarried men reported in Ezra 10 is simply not very significant. Could this list be a summary rather than inclusive? The list itself gives no hint that there were others who intermarried: it presents itself as inclusive. Moreover, the book of Ezra as a whole is not characterized by understatement, and given the inflated and inconsistent figures of Ezra 2 as well as Ezra's hysterical reaction to learning of the intermarriages, a sudden reticence seems out of place. The author of Ezra, I think, was not upset about the number of intermarried men; he was upset at the very fact of intermarriage. According to the first 23

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notice of the intermarriage, the people "took in marriage from their daughters for them and for their sons, and the holy seed (zera haqodes) was mixed with the peoples of the land, and the hand of the leaders and officers wasfirstin this trespass." Many modern scholars understand the term "holy seed" as mean­ ing simply "holy people, race." The term appears in one other place in the Hebrew Bible, a late gloss on Isaiah 6:13. "Holy seed," though, might mean exactly that: the semen of Israelite (especially priestly) men. The terminology of this verse is highly evocative of Lev. 18:21, which states that "from your seed you will not give to pass to Molek, and do not profane the name of your God, I am the Lord." According to an ancient interpretation, this verse pro­ hibits intercourse with a non-Jewish woman. The Hebrew verb for "pass" Cbr) can be easily transposed into "mix" (V&), and the Chronicler, who may have penned Ezra 9:2, commonly uses "trespass" as a synonym for "profane." Ezra 9:2 also shows certain parallels with Lev. 21:15, which warns a high priest not to "profane his seed in his people." I am suggesting that the author of Ezra 9:2, basing himself on these biblical verses, understands that male Israelite semen is itself holy, and it is a sin to "mix" it with other peoples. This interpretation explains several other features of the narrative of this incident. First, although Ezra cites the passage from Deuteronomy that prohibits intermarriage in both directions, the narrative sec­ tions are concerned only with the intermarriage of Jewish males. Ezra shows no concern at all for the intermarriage of Jewish women. Second, Ezra's version of the deuteronomic prohibition of intermarriage contains subtle but very significant differences from the deuteronomic text as we have it. The deuteronomic text prohibits intermarriage for fear that it will lead to apostasy; Ezra's citation suggests that intermarriage with foreigners is prohibited be­ cause they are "unclean." Third, when addressing the population Ezra men­ tions that they have "trespassed" and added to Israel's "guilt" Csmat). These terms, as Jacob Milgrom has pointed out, are technical, and refer to Israel's need to atone (by means of a "guilt" offering) for an unintentional sacrilege. As the priest was holy and needs to treat his seed with respect, now all of Israel, the remnant, too must abstain from intercourse with foreign women. The fact that the 111 intermarried men presented no sociological or demo­ graphic threat to the people did not prevent Ezra fromfindingtheir actions ideologically abhorrent. Separation is the second argument advanced by Ezra to argue against inter­ marriage. Ezra 9:11-12 cites the commandment "which You gave us through Your servants the prophets when You said, 'The land that you are about to possess is a land unclean through the uncleanness of the peoples of the land, through their abhorrent practices with which they, in their impurity, have filled it from one end to the other. Now then, do not give your daughters in mar­ riage to their sons or let their daughters marry your sons; do nothing for their well-being or advantage.'" The problem is that God commanded no such 33

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thing; this "verse" is really a "patchwork of Mosaic and prophetic ideas brought together by the writer." While all of these elements existed prior to Ezra, here they are brought together to make a new argument: that intermar­ riage should be avoided because the non-Jewish inhabitants of the Land of Israel are "unclean." Ezra's harsh polemic against intermarriage should be seen in a historical context, but not the one argued for by most scholars. Outside of the biblical testimony on intermarriage, we have virtually no direct knowledge of marriage among Judaean Jews in the Persian period. Nevertheless, there are a few hints that give us some grounds for speculation. During the Persian period Judah was never large. The numbers in Ezra 2 probably represent migrations over a long time frame, and a recent assessment of the archaeological data estimates that the population of Persian Judah reached a high of just 17,000 people Judah was never very wealthy, and its economy was most likely based in agriculture. The genealogical lists in Ezra and Nehemiah indicate that society was organized by family units or clans, each indicated by the name of an eponymous ancestor. These do not appear to be merely formal or literary divi­ sions, but real family and political units. While all the names of the clans are Hebrew, they appear to have been formed during the Babylonian exile, for they are not linked to biblicalfigures Due to both the size of the society and its organization into clans, it is likely that the most effective governance was done by consensus. Despite our lack of sources, this reconstruction of the social and economic organization of Persian Judah gives some credence to speculation about the nature of marriage in this community. If not endogamous (i.e., within the clan), marriage almost certainly would have taken place between neighbors. At the upper societal levels there would also have been marriages of alliance or polit­ ical convenience, as attested in Neh. 6:17-19 and 13:28. Women would have married into the clan; marriage was very much the transfer of a woman from her natal clan into that of her husband. Shaye Cohen is correct to stress that given a complete assimilation into the clan of her husband, a wife's back­ ground would not have ordinarily much mattered Ezra rocked the boat. He came to Judah waving a flag of ideological purity, bearing the latest platform of the "YHWH alone" party. He sought to recon­ stitute Israel as a holy nation, a nation of priests Upon arriving in Judah with his relatively small contingent, though, he faced the very real political problem of how to realize his ideological agenda. Under these conditions, his attack on mixed marriages was a clever strategem. He would have seen the marriages of Israelite men, especially priests, as a genuine sacrilege, an unholy mixing of the holy seed. At the same time, an attack on mixed marriages was also a way to solidify the identity and unity of what he saw as "Israel." That is, by defining the "them" as those totally outside the clans, Ezra emphasized that which 40

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bound the clans together into a single unity. For his own ideological and polit­ ical plans to succeed, it was vital that the members of the clans saw themselves first and foremost as members of "Israel." His attack on intermarriage was an attempt to build this community. In the language of Mary Douglas, Ezra sought to increase the "group," the sense of corporate unity. When he arrived in Judah with his contingent, he was met by a loose federation of clans, whose members identified foremost by their clans. "Exogamy" might well have seemed to them as marriage out­ side of their own clans. By defining exogamy as marriage outside of "Israel" (i.e., the federation of clans), Ezra sought to unite the clans under a common identity. Ezra's royal charge stated that he had the authority to appoint judges for all Jewish communities in the satrapy; that he was to instruct and enforce reli­ gious law to them; and that the king's forces would enforce any punishment imposed on the Jewish transgressor by Ezra and his courts. This charge is generally thought to be substantively authentic. If so, then Ezra's unwilling­ ness to use his prerogatives of enforcement would buttress the claim that Ezra's goal was the building of a community more than the simple enforce­ ment of religious law. Ezra did not, indeed probably could not, impose his will on the "sinners" without the consent of the clans. Ezra failed, and his successor was less patient. Nehemiah came to Judah in 445 BCE bearing the official title of governor (Neh. 5:14). While a member of the "YHWH alone" party, he was neither a scribe nor a priest. His activities resembled those of a typical Greek tyrant, with apparently no interest in build­ ing anything other than the city of Jerusalem. He rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and compelled people to live in it; instituted a program of debt reform; and purified (from his point of view) the Temple. His reforms included measures to strengthen observance of the Sabbath and, again, an attempt to address the issue of intermarriages. Nehemiah's response to Jewish intermarriage differed in both quantity and quality from that of Ezra. Dealing with intermarriage occupied a relatively small place in Nehemiah's reform, whereas in the book of Ezra it is Ezra's sole concern once he arrives in Judah. Nehemiah also does not seem to share Ezra's abhorrence of priestly mixings. Instead, Nehemiah is more upset that the children of these mixed marriages could not speak "Jew­ ish," and he recycles the exemplum of Solomon and the deuteronomic argu­ ment that foreign wives can lead a man to sin. Yet despite his more sweeping powers and his political impatience, Nehemiah used force against only a single priest who was, incidentally no doubt, a political enemy. Note that both Ezra's and (to a lesser degree) Nehemiah's arguments depend on understanding "Israel" as a unity. Ezra's rhetoric lumps all of Israel to­ gether as a "holy" people. He thus has little use for separating Israel into, for example, marital castes. Below I will argue that unlike Ezra, the rabbis do 46

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create and manipulate marital castes. Because some modern scholars have ar­ gued that Ezra created Jewish marital castes, I here must briefly address the evidence adduced to support this position. Three late sources are sometimes used to argue that Jewish marital castes formed in the Persian period. First, a mishnah talks of the "ten genealogical castes (yohasin) that ascended with Ezra from Babylonia." Based on its lin­ guistic forms, J. N. Epstein has dated this source to the Second Temple pe­ riod. Second, Eusebius cites a letter to a certain Aristides from Julianus Africanus, a third-century-CE chronographer, that attempts to reconcile the conflicting genealogies of Jesus given in the New Testament. Africanus tes­ tifies that Herod burned the Jewish archives that kept track of families de­ scended from proselytes and "mixed families which had come out of Egypt." Finally, a dictum attributed to Rabbi Shimeon ben Azzai seems to confirm Africanus's report that there existed such a negative genealogical list. Rabbi Shimeon ben Azzai testifies that he "found a (!) scroll of genealogical descent in Jerusalem, and written in it was 'so-and-so is a mamzer, [being born from] and adulterous liaison.'" 55

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None of these three sources compel dating the development of marital castes to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Even if one accepts Epstein's dating, the mishnah could date from thefirstcentury CE; due to its folkloristic and archaistic tone, there is in any case no reason to think that it preserves a true historical record. Prima facie, the two other accounts are in conflict. Rabbi Shimeon ben Azzai is referring to a list that records a different kind of genealogical impair­ ment than those referred to by Africanus. And Africanus hardly inspires confi­ dence in his own account when he continues that it "may suffice us even though it is not corroborated, since we have nothing better or truer to say." To the extent that it can be taken as accurate at all, Rabbi Shimeon ben Azzai's account testifies only to a single, probably private, genealogical record. But other rabbinic sources on related issues also do not buttress the account. The Babylonian Talmud records that the scroll found by R. Shimeon ben Azzai concerned itself not just with matters of genealogy, but also contained a pot­ pourri of different traditions. A tradition in the Palestinian Talmud claims to preserve a fragment of a genealogical scroll, which looks exactly as we might expect it to: so-and-so is (ultimately) descended from such-and-such a biblical personage. In sum, no evidence suggests that Jewish marital castes devel­ oped during the Persian period. 60

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Two forces drove the Jewish discussion of endogamy and exogamy during the Hellenistic and early Roman periods: ideology and culture. Ezra created an ideological argument that uses the concepts of endogamy and exogamy to define a community ("family"), and then reinforced communal cohesion with

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arguments of purity. Communal members, according to Ezra, should marry endogamously in order to preserve purity and holiness. This ideological use of endogamy and exogamy continues among Jewish sectarian groups throughout this period. At the same time, among Jewish nonsectarians living in the Greek world, those biblical texts that reflected a value placed on endogamy nicely reinforced the traditional Greek value placed on kin marriages. So while Jew­ ish sectarians and nonsectarians ultimately end up in the same place—a sup­ port for endogamous marriages and a condemnation of exogamous mar­ riages—their motives and rhetoric are widely divergent. Jewish Sectarians and Pure Marriage Jubilees is among the earliest sectarian work known to us from this period, and no Jewish work from antiquity offers a stronger support for endogamy or a harsher condemnation of exogamy. Probably written in Hebrew in the third or early second century, BCE, Jubilees retells much of the book of Genesis, fre­ quently using the narrative to establish the etiology of later Jewish laws and practices. While the precise connection between this work and the Qumran documents remains shadowy, it is clear that the book was written in some kind of sectarian context. For our purposes, it isfirstnoteworthy that although Jubilees never explic­ itly polemicizes for endogamous marriage, it does consistently emphasize the purity of its personages, established through endogamous marriage. This stance correlates well with the author's perception of his (?) group as separatist and "pure." The purity of the group has been maintained not only ritually and morally, but also biologically. As with Ezra, the literary work itself would be read as reinforcing a community's sense of itself as pure. But the explicit rhetoric that links purity to marriage in Jubilees appears in its condemnations of exogamy, defined as marriage to non-Jews. Jubilees greatly expands Rebekkah's and Isaac's charge to Jacob that he not marry a Canaanite wife. In retelling the story of the rape of Dinah, Jubilees introduces a long and pointed polemic against Jews who intermarry, "because it is defile­ ment and it is contemptible to Israel." Following Ezra, the author employs an argument of purity to promote separation of Israel from the nations. A mixing of Jews and non-Jews brings impurity to the holy people: "[If] Jacob and his descendants are to remain holy they must always eschew intermarriage." Christine Hayes has observed the connection between the rhetorics in Ezra and Jubilees, arguing that "In Jubilees, the ban on intermarriage is . . . focused on the consequences for the holy seed of Israel.... The holy seed of Israel is not merely profaned by mixing with the seed of the Gentile; it is defiled." Rather than seeing these polemical passages as responses to a (hypothetically) rising rate of Jewish intermarriage, I understand them as using the language of mar­ riage to reinforce group definition and solidarity. By saying that it is good to 64

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marry insiders and bad to marry outsiders, Jubilees reinforces the sense of boundaries between inside and outside. Although the boundary represented here is Israel/non-Israel, the representation of an impermeable boundary would have resonated in any sectarian group. The Qumran community thought along similar lines. Extant texts from Qumran, while not explicitly addressing most issues of endogamy and exog­ amy, do see these issues in strikingly ideological terms. One particularly im­ portant Qumran scroll condemns, for example, the marriage of a priest to any nonpriestly woman, comparing the act to the mixing of species: And concerning the practice of illegal marriage that exists among the people: (this practice exists) despite their being so[ns] of holy [seed], as it is written, Israel is holy. And concerning his (i.e., Israel's) [clean ani]mal, it is written that one must not let it mate with another species. And concerning his clothes [it is written that they should not] be of mixed stuff, and he must not sow hisfieldand vine [yard with mixed specie] s. Because they (Israel) are holy, and the sons of Aaron are [most holy.] But you know that some of the priests and [the laity mingle with each other] [as well as].... [And they] unite with each other and pollute the [holy] seed [as well as] their own [seed] with women whom they are forbidden to marry. 71

According to the editors, this text should be taken as a unified argument against the marriage of priests with Jewish women ("among the people") of nonpriestly descent. Such a marriage—or perhaps,.following another inter­ pretation of this fragment, marriages between Jews and non-Jews—is equiva­ lent to "mixed species." The comparison of improper marriages to mixing species is also found in fragments of other Qumran documents. Similarly, in a fragment of the Aramaic Levi Document Isaac instructs Levi to wed someone from "my family" because "you are holy seed and your seed is holy, for you will be called [the] holy priest for all the seed of Abraham." Levi, as the first priest, had no choice but to marry the daughter of a nonpriest; the best he could do was someone from Isaac's family. The message of the fragment, however, is that a contemporary priest should marry a member of "my family" (i.e., the daughter of a priest) to avoid defiling his "seed," which here most likely does not refer to just (if at all) the offspring of the match. If the king's marriage rules in the Temple Scroll are to be seen as paradigmatic, then the text exhorts men to marry only "insiders," here most likely interpreted as someone from within the sectarian community. The editors of 4QMMT note that the condemnation of marriage between priests and nonpriests might have derived from an exegesis of Lev. 21:7, 1315. The regulation pertaining to the high priest's need to take a wife "of his own kin" may have been extended to the entire community, and the word for "whore" (zonah) could have been interpreted as "outsider." While Lev. 21:7-9 72

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and 21:13-15 certainly stand behind this passage, it appears likely to me that 4QMMT is not presenting a "fresh" exegesis of it. Rather, it is continuing the ideological trend already seen in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Jubilees, that applies the priestly concern for boundaries (hence purity) to marriage. Even if this fragment of 4QMMT is not condemning marriages of priests exclusively, it is clear that it reflects a particularly priestly concern with gene­ alogy. Priests were concerned about descent. Priestly and levitical records are found in 1 Chr. 9, and it appears that the priests (especially) sought to keep accurate genealogical records. Josephus notes with pride his own priestly line­ age, and then states that he reconstructed it from public "registers." Else­ where he asserts that the priests in Jerusalem diligently kept these records, recording priestly marriages made outside of the Land of Israel and recon­ structing them when they were damaged by war. The Mishnah also testifies that priests kept genealogical records. Genealogical lists attesting to the "pu­ rity" of Jewish heroes of the Second Temple period demonstrate the societal importance attached to a "pure" priestly genealogy. An attack on the genea­ logicalfitnessof a priest (especially a high priest) to serve was considered serious and potent. 78

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The rhetoric of 4QMMT thus echoes that of Ezra in its integration of issues of purity to that of priestly marriage. To the extent that the Qumran community saw themselves as "holy" or "priestly," they would have extended these priestly boundaries to themselves. There is, indeed, evidence for exactly such an extension in a fragment of the Damascus Document found at Qumran: "Morever, he should not give her to one unfit for her, for [that is kiVayim, (plowing with) o]x and ass and wearing wool and linen together." The same metaphor used for "mixing" of priests with nonpriests in 4QMMT is here ap­ plied to any member of the community who marries his daughter to one "unfit" (lo* hukan) for her. Nowhere in these texts is the precise meaning of "unfit" defined, but it surely would have included non-Jews, and probably those Jews outside of the sectarian community. The condemnation of exogamy here again reinforces the boundaries of a Jewish sect that views itself as connected to the priestly line. 83

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Cultural Forces The Greek world valued endogamy, especially marriages between uncles and nieces. During the classical period this cultural preference was no doubt cor­ related to patterns of inheritance: endogamous marriage kept estates from fragmenting. Curiously, although inheritance laws changed during the Helle­ nistic period, Greeks never ceased to value endogamy. In the minimal sense, this meant a stated preference for marriage to kin; in a more expansive sense, it meant marriage among Greeks, with "mixed marriages" between Greeks and non-Greeks seen as a kind of abhorrence. The "Greek" preference for 85

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endogamy well into the Roman period was, by Plutarch's testimony, striking: "Why do they [i.e., Romans] not marry women who are closely akin to them?" he asks, as if such a practice was eccentric. Jewish Hellenistic writers could easily meld their own received traditions with this cultural preference for endogamy, in its dual (minimal and expan­ sive) sense. The frequent references of these writers to the endogamy of the Hebrew ancestors of yore, as well as the less frequent condemnations of ex­ ogamy (really intermarriage), should be seen neither as the continuation of values of the mythical transhistorical Jewish family, nor as a communal at­ tempt to avoid intermarriage and assimilation. Rather, these sentiments have exactly the opposite purpose of clothing common marital customs in Jewish garb. Just as these writers appropriated many other aspects of Greek culture in order to assert their own pride and identity, so too with these Greek marital values. References to kin-marriage within Jewish literature from this period are fre­ quent. Jubilees, as mentioned above, creates endogamous unions in its genea­ logical tables. Tobit repeatedly emphasizes the importance of kin marriage. Judith's husband, we are told, was kin (Judith 8:2). Philo recommends that women marry within the family, if possible. Although he does not exhort men to marry kin, Josephus does record several marriages between aristocratic men and their brothers' daughters. When the Qumran community fulminated against uncle-niece marriages, it appears to have had a particular group of practitioners in mind. Although the Bible prohibits marriage between an aunt and her nephew (Lev. 18:12-13, 20:19), it curiously says nothing about marriage between an uncle and his niece. The Qumran community extrapolated from the prohibition of auntnephew marriage a prohibition of uncle-niece marriage, and thus includes this type of marriage in their lists of prohibited relationships. More, however, is at stake than theoretical legal exegesis. By allowing and actually practicing uncle-niece marriage, "they," those who have led Israel astray, have become caught in the net of Beliel. Although contemporaneous collaborative evi­ dence is lacking, most scholars now agree that this passage refers to the Phari­ sees. If so, it is possible that the Pharisees simply adopted a Greek marital preference, thus expressing the traditional Jewish value on endogamy in the common "idiom." Jews, like their neighbors, were also concerned with marrying spouses from the same social level or class. Jewish aristocrats, for example, unsurprisingly tended to marry among themselves. The marital records of the Hasmoneans and of Herod's family provided by Josephus amply attests to the (unsurpris­ ing) desire of aristocrats to form unions with other aristocrats, often for politi­ cal gain. But this concern was not limited to priests and aristocrats. When relating Jewish marital laws, Josephus emphasizes that free Jews ought not to 87

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marry prostitutes or female slaves. Biblical retellings from the Second Tem­ ple period emphasize the social equality of biblical marriages. The plot of Aseneth revolves around Aseneth's originally high social status, and her need to attain even a higher status to make herself worthy of marriage to Joseph. Josephus emphasizes the noble birth and wealth of Moses' wife, despite the lack of biblical support for this supposition. In contrast to the community at Qumran, Philo assumes that priests could marry outside of their class: 96

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The high priest must not propose marriage save to one who is not only a virgin but a priestess descended from priests, so that bride and bridegroom may be of one house and in a sense of the same blood and so, harmoniously united, shew a lifelong blending of temperamentfirmlyestablished. But the rest are permitted to marry the daughters of others than priests partly because the restrictions required to maintain their purity are slight, partly because the law did not wish that the nation should be denied altogether a share in the priestly clanship or be entirely excluded from it. This was the reason why he did not forbid the other priests to intermarry with the laity of the nation, for intermarriage is kinship in the second degree. Sons-in-law are sons to their fathers-in-law, and the latter are fathers to the former." Philo's rule that a high priest must marry the daughter of a priest may have come "from the wording of the Septuagint, or from the custom as it actually was, or from both together." Ignoring the question of Philo's accuracy re­ garding the conduct of the high priest (of which he would have had only sec­ ondhand knowledge), we have no reason to doubt his testimony that ordinary priests could, and did, marry Jewish women who were not descended from priests. Philo articulates three justifications for such marriages. First, he as­ sumes that being a priest in Alexandria was of little practical consequence: "the restrictions required to maintain their purity are slight." Second, he endorses a limited kind of exogamy, in which the marriage of priests to nonpriests makes the priestly class accessible to nonpriests. Nonpriests could hope to marry their daughters to priests, and thus increase familial honor. But, third, this exogamy was justified as a kind of endogamy, permitted only be­ cause it is still considered an "in-marriage." Clearly, Philo's worldview here is fundamentally different from that of the authors of Ezra, Nehemiah, Jubilees, and the Qumran scrolls—and probably from the Essenes and the Theraputae, whom he admires so much. Philo was part of the cosmopolitan Greek city of Alexandria and was thoroughly Hellenized. Among Jewish authors from this period, Philo does not stand alone. When nonsectarian Jewish writings from this period condemn exogamy be­ tween Jews and non-Jews they do not use arguments of "purity." The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs groups marriage between Jewish men and non100

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Jewish women among those sexual acts deemed the "spirit of impurity," but this is little more than a rhetorical flourish. The Palestinian translator of Esther into Greek attributed to her a "prayer" not found in the original version in which she states that she "detest[s] the bed of the uncircumcised," but does not make an argument based on purity. Demetrius the Chronographer goes to some lengths to establish that Moses' wife was really a descendant of Abra­ ham; Ezekiel the Exagogue, on the other hand, freely admits Moses' inter­ marriage. Philo and Josephus, when they mention that Jews do not marry non-Jews, revert to the Deuteronomist's reason, the fear that they might stray after the non-Jewish spouse. In his summary of Jewish marriage laws in Against Apion Josephus does not even mention a prohibition against Jewish exogamy. It is striking that despite their ultranationalist leanings, neither 1 Maccabees nor 2 Maccabees singles out intermarriage as a particular prob­ lem. The "Eighteen Decrees" of the School of Shammai groups the prohibi­ tion of marriage between a Jewish man and non-Jewish woman among stric­ tures that promote the separation of Jews and non-Jews. Ironically, in the context of a Greek culture that also divided the world into "us" and "them," these Jewish condemnations of exogamy would have been readily comprehensible. There is no denying that endogamy was valued among the ancient Hebrews, and that this value was fossilized in the record of Scripture. My claim is that the cultural environment of these nonsectarian Jews in antiquity allowed for the activation and development of this value. A mod­ ern analogy might sharpen the importance of the interaction between "tradi­ tional" scriptural values and lived culture. The same scriptural traditions are important to modern American Jewish communities, yet kin-marriage is ex­ tremely rare, and even modern Jewish leaders have difficulty articulating con­ vincing traditional reasons for the Jewish avoidance of exogamy. It is clearly not sufficient to explain the ancient Jewish statements on endogamy and the avoidance of intermarriage by saying that they were "simply" following the biblical prescriptions. One would like, at this point, to move from the ideological and cultural manipulation of endogamy and exogamy to the reality: Did Jews during the Second Temple period really engage in endogamy or intermarry, and if so, at what rate? Unfortunately, we have virtually no quantitative data upon which it is possible to base a conclusion. According to K. C. Hanson, the Herodian family entered into both endogamous and exogamous marriages: which mari­ tal strategy they chose depended upon very concrete considerations. Be­ cause these issues carried symbolic value, it is impossible to move from the quantity or quality of support for endogamy or condemnations of intermar­ riages to historical conclusions regarding the scope of the phenomenon. The testimony of Josephus and Philo, who both appear as if they would prefer to pass over Jewish intermarriage in silence, buttress Tacitus's assertion that Jews at least had a reputation for not marrying non-Jews. Ancient grave in104

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scriptions identify couples in which one bears a "Jewish" and the other a "nonJewish" name, but because Jews at this time frequently took "non-Jewish" names, we learn little from this fact. More than this we cannot say. 113

RABBINIC PERIOD: IDEOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS

When the Romans razed the Temple in 70 CE, they also put an end to the primary function of Jewish priests. From this time on, priestly "purity" be­ came, in practice, irrelevant. With the decrease of practical importance of ge­ nealogical descent of priests we would expect a corresponding revaluation of genetic descent. Early rabbinic literature does provide such a revaluation, but more subtly than is usually noticed. The Mishnah consistently promotes the importance of pure priestly descent. For example, according to one description of a procedure practiced in the Second Temple period, the Great Sanhedrin of Israel would sit and judge the priesthood, and a priest in whom was found [a genealogical] defect would wear black, wrap himself in black and would leave [the Temple]. He in whom there was found no defect would wear white, wrap himself in white, and enter and serve with his brothers the priests. And they would make a festival because there was found no [genealogical] defect in the seed of Aaron the priest. 114

Whether or not this is an accurate description of a Second Temple practice, the passage promotes a rabbinic ideology. Occurring at the very end of the mishnaic tractate that deals with the layout and practice of the Temple, this passage asserts the purity of not only the Temple but also of those who serve in it; it portrays the "ideal" state of affairs. We are to dream of the (mythical) time at which the pure Temple will be rebuilt and staffed by pure priests engaged in pure service to God. The same sentiment appears less explicitly elsewhere in rabbinic literature. The Sipra proffers, although ultimately rejects, an interpretation of Lev. 19:29 that "profaning" one's daughter means offering her in marriage to a Jewish nonpriest. When one comes to check the genealogical fitness of a potential wife, the daughters of priests require less intensive scrutiny than do women of nonpriestly descent. To explain this mishnah the Palestinian Talmud cites a baraita that the additional scrutiny received by a woman of nonpriestly de­ scent is a "penalty . . . so that a man (i.e., priest) would cleave to his own tribe and own family." Like the story about the Sanhedrin checking the genealogical fitness of priests, these other sources subtly, but significantly, shift the emphasis on priestly purity. While asserting the importance of priestly endogamy, they re­ move its importance from the present. Priestly endogamy was and will be good, these sources seem to tell us, but at present it is at best irrelevant. The Sipra can even be read as a polemic against the practice of priestly endogamy. 115

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The rabbinic devaluation of the importance of priestly endogamy is hardly surprising. For the rabbis, knowledge mattered much more than descent. A well-known tradition summarizes this attitude: A priest precedes [in honor] a levite, and a levite precedes an Israelite, and an Israelite precedes a mamzer, and a mamzer precedes a netin, and a netin precedes a proselyte, and a proselyte precedes an emancipated slave. When? When they are all equal. But if there was a mamzer who was a sage, and a priest who was a boor [ am ha"ares], the mamzer who is a sage precedes the boor priest. 118

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Several Rabbinic laws appear to attempt to relax some of the regulations con­ cerning priestly marriages. Hence, the Talmuds float a suggestion that priests can marry women who convert to Judaism when they under three years old, which the priests themselves are said to reject. The rabbinic attempt to devalue the importance of priestly descent and to replace it with "Torah descent," the "begetting" of disciples by their rabbinic masters—which makes biological descent irrelevant—is only part of the story. Rabbinic sources tend to obscure the fact that despite their loss of the Temple in which to serve, priests in late antiquity continued to take their role and descent seriously. Rabbinic literature itself testifies to the intransigence of priests in accepting the rabbinic leniencies on their marital restrictions: "From the day of the destruction of the Temple, the priests held themselves to a higher [marital] standard." Paradoxically, at the same time that the rabbis devalued priestly endogamy, they established marital "castes" among Jews themselves. The locus classicus of rabbinic marital restrictions based on classes is found in the Mishnah: 119

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Ten genealogical classes (yohasin) came up [with Ezra to the Land of Israel] from Babylonia: priests, levites, Israelites, "profaned" (halale), gere, harure, mamzere, netine, shetuke, and foundlings. Priests, levites, and Israelites are permitted to marry each other. Levites, "profaned," gere, and harure are permitted to marry each other. Gere, harure, mamzere, netine, shetuke, and foundlings are permit­ 122

ted to marry each other.

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This seemingly neat list of categories, while often using biblical language, significantly modifies earlier Jewish custom. The first three groups, priests, levites, and Israelites, are unproblematic; the Hebrew Bible categorizes them in this manner and allows them (except for the high priest) to intermarry. Other rabbinic sources, apparently uncomfortable with the mishnah's grouping, as­ serts that there were just these three (plus, perhaps, a fourth, gere). The next two categories, "profaned" and "gere," proselytes, essentially appropriate bib­ lical language for new technical categories. Although the Bible forbids a high priest to marry a "profaned" woman, it suggests neither that (1) "profanation" is an inherited genealogical defect, comprising a caste rather than an individ­ ual, nor that (2) a man can be considered "profaned" for purposes of mar-

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riage. Gere, which in the Bible refers to resident aliens, comes to mean proselyte in the Second Temple period, but comprises a genealogical caste only in the rabbinic material. Harure appears be derived from the appellate applied to Sanballat (Neh. 2:10), which the rabbis understand as related to the verb for "free" (shrr): hence, refers to a freed slave and his or her descen­ dants. The next two terms, mamzer and netin, are obscure in the Hebrew Bible. Deut. 23:2-9 groups a mamzer along with the Ammonites and Moabites, and to a lesser degree, Edomites, Egyptians, and men with damaged testi­ cles, as those not allowed "to enter God's congregation." Even during the Second Temple period, neither the term nor the prohibition was clear. Only in the rabbinic period does the term mamzer emerge as a genealogical caste of Jews who are prohibited from marrying (some) other Jews. In the Bible, netinim appear to have been "a group of ritual personnel, similar to the priests and Levites." They may have survived as an identifiable group throughout the Second Temple period. Shetuki is defined in the next mishnah as a child who does not "know" his father; this and the last class have no biblical bases. 124

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This mishnah has appropriated biblical language in a strikingly unbiblical enterprise: the creation of a marital caste system within Israel. When it comes to nonpriests, the Hebrew Bible, as we have seen, regulates marriage with outsiders. Nowhere (except with the high priest) does the Bible attempt to regulate marriages within Israel based on genealogy. Nor did we see any evidence for this during the Second Temple period. According to this mishnah, a family can be "tainted" by some act in the distant past, its members forever not considered part of "pure" Israel. When the Bible prohibits a priest from marrying a "profaned" woman, it appears to mean a woman who has in some way profaned herself. In rabbinic sources, however, it means primarily a woman who comes from a tainted family. There is an enormous difference between these two meanings. J. N. Epstein dates this mishnah to the Second Temple period. Whether or not the actual wording of this mishnah dates from that time, other evidence suggests that the rabbinic concept of marital castes within Israel began some­ time in the last half of the first century CE. N O nonrabbinic Jewish literature from the Second Temple period seems to know of marital castes. Josephus, for example, echoes good Greek and Roman values when he recommends only that men (first) marry "virgins, freeborn and of good parents," and continues with an attack on those who marry slave women. Similarly, except for prohi­ bitions relating to the priesthood, the marital regulations from Qumran do not assume any system of Jewish castes. The Mishnah itself suggests that these categories were being formed and were in flux during the first century CE. The Schools of Hillel and Shammai are portrayed debating the definition of a mamzer, a problem that is never fully settled. A tradition dated to Yavneh still uses the archaic term Ussa to de­ note a person not fit to marry into the priesthood. Another mishnah, and a 131

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toseptan tradition, assumes that "Samaritan" (kuti) also belongs to this list. That our mishnah ranks the netinim in the lowest order while another mishnah ranks them above proselytes also suggests that the rabbis were developing these categories rather than merely codifying accepted practice. The best that the Palestinian Talmud can do to justify the inclusion of emancipated slaves on this list is by citing Neh. 7:46, which mentions only the netiniml Why did the rabbis create Jewish marital castes? I suggest that four dis­ tinct factors stand behind this development. The first is the systemic fascina­ tion with categorization among the rabbis, especially in the Mishnah. The framers of the Mishnah attempted to categorize things with an almost priestly zeal; things that did not fall neatly into their categories (e.g., hermaphrodites) became focal points of discussion. Thus the rabbinic desire to define precisely, for example, which women are considered "profaned" (i.e., the caste of pro­ faned women) is completely consistent with the entire rabbinic program. Second, one can see an analogy between the rabbinic development of mari­ tal castes among Jews and the biblical marital restrictions on priests. Ironi­ cally, it could be that in "democratizing" Judaism, in making all of Israel a holy "nation of priests," the rabbis also transferred the notion that marriages should be "pure" from priests to all Jews. This transference would have led the rabbis to define more sharply the boundaries of the impure. Now all of Israel, by adhering to limitations on their choice of marital partners, could consider themselves priestly. Here is a direct line from the sectarian ideology of the Second Temple period to the rabbis: sectarian Jews and rabbis, to the extent that they "appropriated" the priesthood, also applied more broadly a logic of marital practices that the Bible prescribes only for the priests. Third, the rabbinic development of marital castes cannot be divorced from the rabbinic attempt to establish and consolidate their own authority. A focus on genealogy necessarily leads to relationships of power: whoever controls the genealogical records is potentially very powerful. This fact was well recog­ nized even in antiquity. Africanus reports that Herod burned the genealogical archives because he feared that his own ancestry would be revealed, and Rabbi Shimeon ben Azzai is shown attempting to support a halakic position with knowledge derived from his "discovery" of a scroll. Late rabbinic literature establishes this power as more than theoretical: 137

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R. Yohanan said, "One does not check too scrupulously any family in which is mixed some disqualification." Rabbi Shimeon ben Lakish said, "A mishnah says thus. The family Bene Seripah was across the Jordan River, and Ben Sion distanced it by force, and there were another [family] there and Ben Sion brought it near by force, and the Sages did not want to publicize them. But the Sages transmit [this information] to their sons and to their students twice every seven [years]." R. Yohanan said, "By the Temple service, I recognize [the descendants of these families,] but what should I do, for powerful men are mixed in." 141

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R. Yehoshua ben Levi said, "Pishor ben Imar had five thousand slaves, and all were mixed into the high priesthood—these are the arrogant among the priest­ hood."

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If ever there were a shot across the bow, this is it. The rabbis, this passage asserts, control information that could be highly damaging to "powerful" men and priests, the two groups with whom they also appear to be competing with for authority at this time. R. Shimeon ben Lakish's dictum deliberately blurs the boundaries of the mishnah he cites, thus implying greater authority to his assertion that the rabbis controlled genealogical knowledge. R. Yohanan gives with one hand what he takes back with the other: one should not check too carefully, but nevertheless, the rabbis know. In both the Palestinian and Baby­ lonian Talmud, the sugyot in which these traditions (or similar ones) appear contain other stories of rabbis announcing the names of disqualified families, or declaring one person or another the descendent of a mamzer or a slave. 143

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Despite the wishful thinking that characterizes these accounts of rabbinic knowledge and power, they do appear to reflect more widely held assumptions. An assertion of power based on the release of damaging genealogical informa­ tion only makes sense in a society that would regard such information as dam­ aging. This brings us to the final factor in the development of Jewish marital castes, popular practice and prejudice. Many Jews in antiquity may have seen proselytes, slaves, and mamzerim as "bad blood." Josephus implies that Herod was looked upon somewhat askance due to his status as a "half Jew," which probably refers to his descent from a Idumaean proselyte. Second Temple and rabbinic sources too contain a line of thought that clearly devalues the proselyte. It is telling that the rabbinic "cases" all involve declaring some­ one tainted as the descendant of a proselyte, mamzer, or slave. These three categories might well be the ones against which was the most popular Jewish prejudice. Nearly all cultures in antiquity, including biblical, Greek, and Roman, had a low estimation of the slave. The Bible, however, says nothing about a lasting genealogical impediment of a freed slave; this feature might best be ascribed to Greek and Roman society. The rabbis, in their assertions of power, are thus able to exploit these preexistent anxieties, while adding to the list several other castes. Jewish marital castes take on a different hue in Babylonia. The longest and most coherent rabbinic composition on Jewish marital castes is found in the Babylonian Talmud's discussion of the mishnah that enumerates the ten ge­ nealogical castes (M. Qid. 4:1). This composition is clearly structured: it (1) attempts to find biblical support for each of the groups mentioned in the mishnah; (2) condemns marriages between "unfitting" castes; (3) demonstrates that the rabbis knew the families with genealogical defects; (4) asserts the superiority of Babylonian lineage; and (5) defines the boundaries of Babylonia for the purposes of lineage. While this sugya appears to share with earlier and contemporaneous Palestinian sources many of the assumptions about 145

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marital castes sketched above, its Babylonian context has given it a unique flavor. Scholars have previously noted the importance that this sugya places on pure genealogy. It is important, however, to understand this importance in the context of the Babylonian—both Jewish and non-Jewish—importance placed on ascribed rather than achieved status. Zoroastrian literature that derives from the talmudic period reflects a concern with the purity of blood­ lines. Due to the importance of birth for social standing, Sassanian Baby­ lonia did not allow for easy social mobility. When Babylonian rabbis em­ phasize the importance of marital castes, they might "peg" their discussion to "traditional" materials (i.e., the mishnah), but are harmonizing these materials with the values of their non-Jewish neighbors. 150

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An example of how Babylonian rabbis adapted traditional concepts and sources to their own environment can be seen in this sugya's condemnation of "unfit" marriages. Three Babylonian rabbis, one supporting himself with a source attributed as tannaitic, detail the supernatural punishments that await a man who marries an wife not "fit" for him. When Palestinian sources refer to the man who marries an "unfit" woman, they never threaten individual di­ vine punishment, and they tend to use the term either in reference to a priest who disqualifies his descendants from the priesthood, or as a nontechnical synonym for "inappropriate" (e.g., in regard to age). The single Palestinian example that is even tangentially parallel to the Babylonian Talmud's con­ demnation of ordinary Jewish men marrying genealogically impure women is the account of the ceremony of the "breaking of the barrels": 154

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When a man would sell his ancestral field, his relatives would fill barrels with parched corn and nuts, and break [them] before the children and the children would collect them and say, "So and so is cut off from his family." When it was returned to him, they would do for him thus and say, "So and so has returned to his inheritance." R. Yosi b. Rabbi Bun said, "Even one who married a woman who was not fitting for him, his relatives would fill barrels with parched corn and nuts and break them before the children and the children would collect them and say, 'So and so is cut off from his family.'" And when he would divorce her they would do for him thus and say, "So and so returned to his family." 156

As recounted here, the ceremony is probably more a product of rabbinic imag­ ination than it is an accurate historical testimony. Thefirstpart, dealing with ancestral land, appears to refer to a ceremony that people used to do, and the second part (marrying an unfit woman) builds on, or extends, the former tradi­ tion. In any case, it reflects a value placed on the correct order of things. Just as each man should attempt to adhere to the biblical precedent of keeping his ancestral land intact, so too should he strive to keep the (tribal) geneal­ ogies pure.

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The Babylonian Talmud's parallel, however, diverges significantly. Attrib­ uted as a baraita, it omits any mention of sale of ancestral land and records that upon the marriage of a man to an unfit woman, the family would break the casket in public and say, "Our brother has married a woman not fit for him. We are afraid that his seed will mix with our seed." Fear of genealogical defect rather than upsetting the divine order informs the Babylonian Talmud's ver­ sion. Hence, the absence of a ceremony upon dissolution of the marriage in the Babylonian Talmud's version, but found in the Palestinian Talmud's version, is understandable: for the Palestinian Talmud, dissolution of the marriage re­ stores the correct order of things, but for the Babylonian Talmud, even divorce would not correct the wrong if the marriage had produced children. Differences between Palestinian and Babylonian environments also account for the dissimilarity in the way that rabbis in both places treat marriage be­ tween Jews from different social or economic classes. Palestinian rabbinic literature assumes that social and economic class is a factor in mate selection, although it contains few explicit statement to this effect. To some extent, class considerations are subsumed into general consideration of family connections or, in the case of priests, lineage. When describing the dance that the women did before the men on the fifteenth of Av, the Mishnah contrasts the words of those "with family" to those who are beautiful; the former certainly means "well-connected" rather than "of pure lineage." The Mishnah assumes that women would ordinarily not be attracted to men who hold lowly occupa­ tions. There are frequent reports of Palestinian amoraim who marry each other's daughters. The single general statement made by a Palestinian rabbi on marriage between classes is a weak protest against marriage with the daugh­ ter of an 'am ha*ares, an untranslatable term that means something like a "Jewish boor." By contrast, the Babylonian Talmud is far more concerned than is Palestin­ ian literature with marriage within and between social classes. The Babylonian Talmud, for example, consistently "ascribes a family relationship," usually through marriage, to rabbinic heroes. More remarkable is a sugya in the Babylonian Talmud: 157

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It is taught: Rabbi Shimeon says, "A sage (talmid hakam) is not permitted to benefit from any meal that is not part of a miswah." What [constitutes such a meal]? R. Yohanan said, "For example, if the daughter of a priest marries an Israelite, or if the daughter of a sage marries an am ha ares" as R. Yohanan said, "the match of the daughter of a priest to an Israelite does not bode well." What [does this mean]? Rav Hisda said, "Either she [will become] a widow, or divorced, or she will have no children." In a baraita it is taught, "He will bury her, or she will bury him, or she will bring him to poverty." 164

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Really? But didn't R. Yohanan say, "One who wants to become rich should cleave to the seed of Aaron, all the more so does the Torah and the priesthood enrich." There is no problem. One [that the match enriches] refers to a sage, and the other [that the match does not bode well] to an am ha ares. R. Yermiah married a priest's daughter and fell sick. He said, "It disturbs Aaron that I should cleave to his seed and that he should have a son-in-law like myself." Rav Idi bar Avin married the daughter of a priest and had two ordained sons, Rav Sheshet the son of Rav Idi, and R. Yehoshua the son of Rav Idi. R. Pappa said, "If I had not married the daughter of a priest, I would not have become rich." Rav Kahana said, "If I had not married the daughter of a priest, I would not have been exiled...." c

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Our Rabbis taught: A man should always sell all that he has and marry the daugh­ ter of a sage, and if he dies or is exiled, he can be sure that his sons will be sages. And he should not marry the daughter of an am ha"ares, for if he dies or is exiled his sons [will be] ame ha"ares. Our Rabbis taught: A man should always sell whatever he has and marry the daughter of a sage and marry his daughter to a sage. This is comparable to [graft­ ing] branches of a vine to branches of a vine: it is a nice and acceptable thing. And a man should not marry the daughter of an am ha"ares. This is comparable to [grafting] the branches of a vine to the branches of a thorn bush: it is ugly and not acceptable. Our Rabbis taught: A man should always sell whatever he has and marry the daughter of a sage. If he does not find the daughter of a sage, he should marry the daughter of an important family. If he does notfinda daughter of an important family, he should marry a daughter of the head of a synagogue. If he does not find a daughter of the head of a synagogue, he should marry the daughter of a collector of charity. If he does notfinda daughter of a collector of charity, he should marry a daughter of a teacher of children. But he should not marry the daughter of an am ha"ares because they are disgusting and their wives are vermin and about their daughters it is written, "cursed be he who lies with any beast" [Deut. 27:21]. e

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Although much of this material is attributed as Palestinian (and even tan­ naitic), it has no parallels in Palestinian sources and most likely is of Babylo­ nian provenance. These excerpts all derive from a single sugya. The first excerpt raises the tension (in two dicta attributed to a single individual) inher­ ent in marriages between nonpriestly men and the daughters of priests. On the one hand, such matches are inauspicious, presumably because they cross caste divisions. On the other hand, priests' daughters have a reputation for being rich. The second excerpt illustrates this tension with two sets of two stories. The final excerpt, a set of Babylonian baraitot (which concurrently opens a longer section on the relationship between sages and the ame ha'ares), estab­ lishes a hierarchy for the selection of a mate. 167

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The first two excerpts illustrate again the Babylonian concern with castes and their boundaries. Priests were historically suspicious of marrying non­ priests, but this is the single place in rabbinic literature that nonpriests voice hesitation about marrying into priestly families. The concern is addressed to nonpriestly men, and offers both supernatural and social (e.g., reduction to poverty) reasons why one should not cross lightly the boundary that di­ vides priests from nonpriests. This caste boundary, like all others, should be respected. The last excerpt transforms these caste boundaries into class boundaries. R. Yohanan's statement in the first section that compares the priesthood and Torah (in this sugya) foreshadows the replacement of the priestly caste by the "sage class" at the top of the marital ladder. Sages and those who are within the rabbinic system comprise a hierarchy that is at minimum parallel to the caste hierarchy of priests, levites, etc. "At minimum" because violation of this class hierarchy, unlike the violation of other boundaries, is expressed in natu­ ral metaphors. To marry the daughter of an am ha*ares, or to marry one's daughter to one, is equivalent to the violation of the natural order: like grafting branches of one species onto another (quite inferior) species, or to having sex with an animal. Like their Palestinian counterparts, Babylonian rabbis frequently married into families of other rabbis. But this similarity strikes me as superficial. To the extent that Palestinian rabbis were in touch with and lived near other rabbis, some marriages between rabbinic families is to be expected. Associa­ tion rather than ideology accounts for marriages between Palestinian rabbinic families. In Babylonia, though, these marriages were ideologically correct. Babylonian rabbinic emphasis on marrying within (or close to) one's class combines Babylonian insistence on rigid hierarchy with a rabbinic self-understanding of themselves as a coherent group. In Palestine the rabbis constituted themselves as colleagues, perhaps even a class; but in Babylonia, they saw themselves as family, if not always as one that got along. 168

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An Example: The Case of the Issa c

Many of these differences between Bayblonian and Palestinian rabbis can be seen in the development of the halakic concept of the issa. The earliest use of this term occurs in a mishnah that debates whether the "widow of an issa" is fit to marry a priest. " Issa" literally means "dough," and here it refers to a man who is a genealogical mixture, with the result that he has something that disqualifies him (or that might at least disqualify his wife) from the priesthood. Although the origin of the metaphor equating dough and genealogical mixing is unclear, it appears to have been originally a colloquial rather than a technical term. That is, at some point, probably during the late Second Temple period, priests may have begun labeling those whose genealogies were suspect "all c

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mixed up," or "dough." Such people may have also suffered certain legal ramifications of their genealogy, but there is no evidence to suggest that during this period the term was used technically. Despite the rabbinic attempts to define the category issa, they never suc­ ceed in eliminating the original imprecision and general meaning of the term. On the one hand, the Tosepta defines an issa as one who is suspected of a genealogical defect that would hinder marriage to a priest, but would not effect marriage to another Jew. On the other hand, amoraic sources continue to discuss different permutations of issa, including those who are permitted in marriage to priests, and those who are forbidden in marriage even to Israel­ ites. A category that began with relevance just to priests has been redefined to include Israelites. Most remarkable is the use of the term in the Babylonian Talmud: "Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel, All lands are issa to the Land of Israel, and the Land of Israel is issa to Babylonia.'" The implication of this dic­ tum, which becomes explicit in the ensuing talmudic discussion on it, is that all Jews outside of Babylonia are to be considered of suspect descent. Richard Kalmin has argued that the Babylonian Talmud generally claims that "Baby­ lonia stands at the apex of an elaborate hierarchy of genealogical purity." Babylonian appropriation, and redefinition, of the halakic category of issa serves to bolster this claim, and to further their own polemic with Palestinian rabbis. As the Babylonian Talmud itself recognizes, at stake is whether Pales­ tinians were "good enough" for Babylonian Jews to marry. To the extent that Babylonian rabbis replied that they were not, they were constituting them­ selves as a kind of marital caste. In doing so, they linked themselves both to the tradition that associates marital castes with holiness and to the rigid caste system of Sassanian Babylonia. What had begun in the Bible as a simple set of marital restrictions for priests, had developed by the late talmudic period into an extensive system of Jewish marital castes. The development of these castes is related both to an ideological tradition that associated marital restrictions with holiness and to unique historical circumstances that generated communal self-definition. It would be just as mistaken to attribute Ezra's xenophobia solely to historical circumstances as it would be to attribute later Babylonian self-perception as genealogically pure solely to ideological or halakic development. c

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ENDOGAMY IN THE RABBINIC PERIOD

For purposes of endogamy, the rabbis redefined what it meant to be an "in­ sider." By emphasizing the importance of marriage within marital castes and of social classes, the rabbis devalued the importance of biological kinship. Ideologically, these new "families" subsume and replace close-kin marriage. This is the reason that rabbinic literature contains relatively little discussion of

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close-kin marriage. Had the rabbis emphasized such marriages, they would essentially be undermining their own reconstitutions of what it meant to be an "insider." In one area, however, the rabbis do engage the issue of close-kin marriages. The Qumran community condemned those who engaged in uncleniece marriages; these are precisely the marriages that the rabbis recommend. According to a tannaitic statement, "A man should not marry until the daughter of his sister matures or until hefindsonefittingfor him." A man's sister's daughter in this passage is the exemplar of "fitting" wife. Two mishnahs that discuss the case of a man who forswears from marrying a particular woman also uses the sister's daughter as a paradigm. Two Palestinian dicta suggest that the rabbis altered a law on the assumption that men married their sisters' daughters. These sources never recommend marriage between a man and his brother's daughter. Why did Palestinian rabbis value a man's sister's daughter as a mate over his brother's daughter? Most likely, both ideological and economic reasons are at root. At this same time, the tannaim were developing the "matrimonial principle," that defines a (biological) Jew as one born from a Jewish mother. A man marrying the daughter of his sister would worry less about issues of descent than a man marrying the daughter of his brother, whose own wife's background was always less sure. From an economic perspective, it is impor­ tant to remember that in Roman Palestine Jewish communities apparently valued giving women substantial dowries. Rabbinic law, following custom­ ary usage, provides that her sons will inherit her dowry. Marrying one's sister's daughter thus reassimilates to the ancestral estate the substantial prop­ erty that could otherwise have passed out of the family. Babylonian rabbis, however, indicate a different marital preference. While there are only shreds of evidence, it appears that Babylonian rabbis did not share this Palestinian preference for marriage with one's sister's daughter. Rather, they promoted marriage with one's brother's daughter. In a patri­ lineal and patriarchal society, this choice makes sense. Indeed, despite their adherence to the tannaitic laws of matrilineality, Babylonian rabbis saw the "family" as defined through the male line. The daughter of one's brother would hence be considered more "family" than the daughter of one's sister. Did Jews during the rabbinic period really value and engage in close-kin marriages, specifically between uncles and nieces? Because Palestinian and Babylonian rabbis advance positions uniquely suited to their own societies, it is tempting to see their values as reflecting more widespread values and prac­ tices. Jewish sources, literary and archaeological, however, do not provide enough information to answer this question, and Roman legal sources compli­ cate the matter for Jews living within its jurisdiction. Roman law forbade marriage between uncles and nieces, and presumably after the granting of Roman citizenship to all the inhabitants of the Roman Empire in 212 CE, Jews would have been subject to these laws. In 393 CE, Theodosious explicitly 181

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forbade Jews to follow their "custom" (morem) and "law" (legem) in con­ tracting marriages, which probably alludes to Jewish close-kin marriages. More explicitly, Justinian, in 537 CE, issued a novella granting an exemption from the laws against incestuous marriage to the Jews of Tyre, thus testifying both (1) that Jews were ordinarily forbidden to engage in these marriages, whatever they were, and (2) that at least some Jews nevertheless did contract marriages forbidden by Imperial law. It is impossible, however, to ascertain the frequency of these marriages. 192

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If the biblical and Second Temple arguments against intermarriage center on purity and separation, the rabbis appear to be far more concerned with Jewish "citizenship." Rabbinic discussion of intermarriage, especially among the tan­ naim, is inextricably linked to the status of children of the union. According to an explication of Deut. 7:3 attributed to the tanna R. Shimeon ben Yohai, only the child of a Jewish woman can be called "your son," that is, a Jew. This tradition, if genuinely tannaitic, is the earliest attestation of the matrilineal principle, which is more fully stated in the Mishnah, "any woman who does not have the capacity [to betroth] either [her lover] or any other man, the [status] of her child follows her. Who is this? The child of a female slave or gentile." The link, if not the causal direction, is clear: where a woman cannot bear a Jewish child, she does not have the legal ability to contract a valid marriage. The rabbis thus make "intermarriage" between a Jewish man and a non-Jewish woman a legal oxymoron, for a non-Jewish woman does not have the legal capacity to establish a legal marriage. By understanding marriage between Jews and non-Jews in the framework of the status of the offspring, the rabbis are forced to address three significant problems. First, there is nothing in this formulation to prevent Jewish men from cohabiting with non-Jewish women in nonmarital relationships. The Mishnah makes a passing reference to this problem: "one who has intercourse with an Aramean [i.e., non-Jewish] woman—the zealots attack him." This text serves as the impetus for a long "text of terror" in the Babylonian Talmud that clearly attempts to discourage such liaisons. Two Babylonian stories tell of rabbis (illegally) killing Jewish men who had had sex with non-Jewish women. Palestinian documents, by contrast, contain none of these threats against Jewish men who have intercourse with non-Jewish women, and the only recorded case is one in which a rabbi castigates the many residents of Sepphoris who, he claims, cornmit "acts of Zimri." The difference between Babylonian and Palestinian sources on this issue is not due merely to eclectic source preservation or the nature of the sources. Palestinian rabbis, I think, really were unconcerned by such a liaison because the liaison per se had no serious ramifications. 1 have argued that Palestinian and Babylonian rabbis justified marriage differently. Palestinian rabbis saw 194

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the primary purpose of marriage as procreation and the establishment of a household, whereas Babylonians more frequently saw it as the legal and pre­ ferred sexual outlet for men. Thus, for Palestinian rabbis, whether or not a man has a sexual liaison with a non-Jew has little consequence, as it produces nonJewish children. Palestinian rabbis appear to reject the two principal argu­ ments against marriage (and intercourse) with non-Jewish women found in the literature of the Second Temple period, that the non-Jewish spouse would lead the Jewish one astray, and that it was preferable for Jews to remain apart from non-Jews. For Babylonian rabbis, on the other hand, one would expect a harsher rejection of alternative sexual outlets, for they would undermine the reason for marriage. This is why the Babylonian Talmud is far more concerned than Palestinian documents with discouraging men from engaging in even nonmarital liaisons with non-Jewish women. The second problem is correlated to the first, that the discussions of the status of offspring, as exemplified by the derash attributed to R. Shimeon ben Yohai, do not formally prohibit marriage between Jews and non-Jews. The actual prohibition against such marriages appears in rabbinic literature only from the amoraim on, and even then it is mainly in the Babylonian Talmud. This absence is most likely due to the legal assumption that intermarriage cannot exist because it is not marriage. As Rabba says, "While they are nonJews, they do not have 'marriage' [hatnut]." The third problem involves the marriage of a Jewish woman to a non-Jewish man. If the child of such a marriage would be considered Jewish, why should a father not want to find a non-Jewish husband for his daughter? Given the realities of Jewish life in late antiquity, such a match could potentially offer great material benefit for both the girl and her family. The rabbis use two strategies to address this problem: questioning the status of the children of such marriages, and resorting to outright threats. Tannaitic sources label the child of a non-Jewish man and a Jewish woman a mamzer. Even within the Tosepta, however, an opposite view emerges: "A non-Jewish man or slave who has intercourse with a Jewish woman, and she bears a child, the child is a mamzer. R. Shimeon ben Yehudah said in the name of R. Shimeon, 'A mamzer [is produced only from a woman] who has violated the incest restrictions, and who is [thereby] liable to the penalty of extirpa­ tion.' " According to the second view, it appears, the child of such a union follows the status of the mother, and is thus an untainted Jew. The Talmuds echo this disagreement. Ultimately, the Palestinian Talmud tends to declare these children mamzerim, whereas the Babylonian Talmud views them as "fit" to marry any Jew except, perhaps, for priests. The Palestinian Talmud's labeling as a mamzer of the child of a non-Jewish man and Jewish woman has sociological ramifications. A rabbinic Jewish man from Palestine, concerned about the status of his grandchildren, would think twice about giving his daughter to a non-Jewish man. In a society in which the primary purpose of marriage was thought to be the production of legitimate 201

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heirs, men would be far less willing to arrange marriages between their daugh­ ters and non-Jewish men if they thought that their grandchildren would be legally impaired and socially stigmatized. The production of mamzerim would thus defeat the purpose of marriage, as they understood it. The Babylonian acceptance of these children as only slightly tainted can be explained in one of three ways. First, it could be that there were so few cases of this kind of marriage that the topic was seen as irrelevant. Perhaps Baby­ lonian rabbis (and nonrabbis?) would have found such a marriage so unthink­ able that it need not have been discussed or discouraged. Although this expla­ nation is possible, considering the large number of far more unlikely marital scenarios that the Babylonian Talmud does discuss this argument does not strike me as very strong. A second, more counterintuitive, explanation could be that Babylonian rabbis were not particularly vexed by such mixedmarriages. Perhaps the hope was that the non-Jewish man would come to live near his wife's family, ultimately assimilating into the family, or even convert to Judaism. After he converted the couple could have a (rabbinically) legal marriage. In the interim, or in the case that he never converted, any children of the union would still "accrue" to their mother's family. A third explanation is that Babylonian rabbis simply did not care much about their daughters: once a Jewish woman married a non-Jewish man and went to live with his family, she would be "lost" to the family anyway, and so cease to be of interest. We are in even less of a position to evaluate the rate of marriages between Jews and non-Jews during the rabbinic period than during the period of the Second Temple. After 212 CE, marriage between Jews and non-Jews was al­ ways a legal option under Roman "civil" law. Contemporary Christians re­ peatedly condemn (and prohibit) the marriage of Jews and Christians, but this evidence is difficult to evaluate. Early Church councils, beginning from the Council of Elvira in 306 CE, prohibit marriage between (primarily) Jewish men and non-Jewish women. According to an imperial law from 388 CE, "no Jew shall take a Christian woman in marriage, neither shall a Christian marry a Jewess." Should we conclude from these prohibitions that such matches were common? On the one hand, as Hagith Sivan recently pointed out, impe­ rial laws "were issued as specific responses to specific situations." Yet on the other hand, imperial authorities dealt with problems as they perceived them. It is entirely likely that there was some marriage between Jews and Christians in most mixed communities throughout late antiquity: ecclesiastical and imperial authorities may have seen this alone as problematic, even if the intermarriage rate as a whole was relatively low. Here again, we have no pur­ chase on the actual intermarriage rate. 209

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The reader who approaches the Jewish literature of antiquity seeking to ferret out actual Jewish marriage patterns of endogamy and exogamy will be sorely disappointed. There is simply not enough data to determine the extent to which

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Jews throughout antiquity married "in" or "out." Instead, the sources draw a picture of the ways in which Jews deployed the categories of exogamy and endogamy in order to form group and self-identity. From the biblical period, Jewish writers promoted endogamy and con­ demned exogamy. What changed between different Jewish communities was how "in" and "out" were defined. In the Persian period, I have argued, the "family" to which endogamy applied was defined as "Israel": by delimiting the borders of marriage, this definition thus reproduced and reinforced a no­ tion of group cohesion. Later Jewish sectarians appropriated Ezra's argument from purity, thus also using the notion of endogamy to reinforce their selfperceptions as a "holy nation." Hellenistic Jewish writers, on the other hand, used the Jewish value of endogamy to demonstrate just how similar Jews and their customs were to those of their non-Jewish neighbors. The rabbis in part continued sectarian logic, applying priestly marriage re­ strictions to all of Israel, understood as a "holy people." But more interesting are the ways in which Palestinian and Babylonian rabbis used the concepts of endogamy and exogamy to their own ends. By defining themselves as a marital caste, for example, Babylonian rabbis constructed themselves as a "rabbinic family." The statement, then, that Jews promoted endogamy and condemned exog­ amy is not nearly as simple as it appears. Nor can it be considered in a vacuum, without taking political, economic, and cultural factors into account. I have argued that one of the primary goals of Ezra's attack on exogamy was to redefine the body politic, whereas Babylonian rabbinic redefinitions of en­ dogamy are best understood within the hierarchical framework of Sassanian society. Endogamy and exogamy are malleable concepts. The actual customs and rituals of marriage, on the other hand, are concrete. What we know of these customs and rituals, and what they mean or were thought to have meant, is the subject of the next chapter.

Chapter Seven CUSTOMS AND RITUALS OF MARRIAGE

MARRIAGE, of course, has always been accompanied by a significant number of customs and rituals. While fragmentary, the extant descriptions of Jewish wedding customs and rituals are relatively rich. Following the lead of previous scholars, I will review the evidence for marriage practices in antiquity, pro­ ceeding sequentially from betrothal through the wedding itself. I will ap­ proach this material, however, from two distinct analytical perspectives. First, I will attempt to recover the "meanings" of these customs. Second, I will ex­ plore how, and why, the rabbis "ritualize" some ancient Jewish marriage cus­ toms and not others. Both approaches need some preliminary explanation. The interpretation of customs and rituals is notoriously difficult. Our evi­ dence, entirely literary and incomplete at that, obviously compounds the prob­ lem of interpretation. Yet it is possible to interpret Jewish marriage customs through three different lenses. First, marriage is a life-cycle event. As Arnold van Gennep has famously shown, every life-cycle event includes rituals of separation, transition, and incorporation. Unsurprisingly, as I will show, this schema works well for Jewish marriages in antiquity. Second, despite their general concordance with this nearly universal schema, these specific customs were understood as Jewish. Just as Jews created a Jewish myth of marriage from the material around them, so too did they create distinctly Jewish rites of marriage: How did they do this? Finally, I will explore what these rituals may have meant, either to their actors or to the literary elite who recorded them. WTiat might the formation of a particular ritual or chain of ritual activities have meant to those engaging in them? What do they say about the values of the communities that used them? And do the meanings that emerge from the ritu­ als reinforce the ideological understandings of marriage examined throughout this book? The second primary concern of this chapter is on the ritualization of Jewish wedding customs. A "custom" is an activity that is usual and expected, but, among other things, not legislated. Customs are marked by more variations than are rituals. Today, for example, it is customary for a bride to wear a wedding dress at her wedding. Not only, though, does she have a great degree of latitude to determine what constitutes a "wedding dress," but also has the option of dispensing entirely with the custom. A ritual, on the other hand, is highly formalized. Catherine Bell argues that most rituals adhere to at least a few of the following characteristics: formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance. I will allude to these 1

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characteristics in more depth as they become relevant. The rabbis, I will argue, engaged in a process of selective ritualization of Jewish marriage customs, infusing preexistent customs with the characteristics of ritual: the "full" ritu­ alization and sacralization of Jewish weddings did not occur until the Middle Ages. The designation of a Jewish marriage practice as "custom" or "ritual" is not merely semantic. Because the rabbis did not ritualize every life-cycle event, those that they did, and what parts of each event that they did, reveal deeper rabbinic concerns. 5

6

BETROTHAL

Chapter 5 ended at the point of betrothal: the match has been arranged, and the formalities are to begin. Betrothal began the process that would lead to mar­ riage. Like our own engagement, there could be a lengthy time between be­ trothal and marriage. At the same time, both betrothal and marriage were them­ selves lengthy and ill-defined processes rather than precise events, with each extending over days or even weeks. Our literature singles out two elements of the betrothal celebration, the celebratory meal and gift giving. Celebrating Betrothal In chapter 3, I argued that most Jews in antiquity understood betrothal as a cultural rather than legal event. Indeed, no descriptions of betrothal celebra­ tions exist from the Second Temple period, and those described in rabbinic literature entirely neglect any discussion of legal formalities. Palestinian rabbis assumed that betrothal was celebrated with a festive meal customarily held at the future bride's home relatively close to the actual date of the be­ trothal. The groom most likely attended the meal, for it appears that the "grooms' blessing" was recited. One source in the Babylonian Talmud might throw some additional light on the nature and purpose of betrothal meals. In a discussion about what counts as a "rumor" about a woman's previous betrothal to which one pays attention, we find the following: 7

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Ulla said, "We only accept a 'rumor' when there were candles burning, made beds, and people coming and going and saying, 'So-and-so [female] is betrothed today!'" . . . Levi taught, "We only accept a 'rumor' when there were candles burning, made beds, women spinning by the candlelight and making her [i.e., future bride] happy and saying, 'So-and-so [female] is betrothed today!' " 10

Both traditions assume that a betrothal is celebrated at the bride's house. The burning candles and "made beds" probably indicate only that the household is celebrating into the evening. Both traditions view the betrothal celebration as

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having the public function (with potential legal ramifications) of announcing the betrothal. Betrothal is seen as a public affair. There are also differences between these two traditions. Thefirst,attributed to a Babylonian amora, portrays the betrothal celebration as a kind of "open house" in which people come to congratulate the bride and/or her family. The second, attributed to a late Palestinian tanna, portrays it as a women's celebra­ tion. Women from the village, we are supposed to imagine, gathered at the bride's house to celebrate and begin the work on her trousseau. This celebra­ tion was no less "public" than the first, even though it was confined to the women. Despite the similarity of the language of the two traditions, because they seem to describe fundamentally different betrothal celebrations, they probably do reflect differences in practice between Palestinian and Babylo­ nian Jews. Recitation of the "betrothal blessing" at the betrothal meal was another dif­ ference between Babylonian and Palestinian rabbinic betrothal practices. Tan­ naitic sources, as noted, indicate that the "grooms' blessing" was recited during the betrothal meal. The grooms' blessing, cited in chapter 2, has highly sexual overtones. The practice of reciting this sexually charged blessing prior to the actual marriage clearly made the Babylonian Talmud's redactor un­ comfortable, to the point that he included an almost certainly pseudepigraphical baraita that "they bless the 'grooms' blessing' at the place of the wedding and the 'betrothal blessing' at the place of the betrothal." This is immedi­ ately followed by the text of the betrothal blessing, attributed to Babylonian amoraim: 11

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What does one bless [for] the "betrothal blessing"? Rabin bar Ada, both [sic] in the name of Rav, said, "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through His commandments and has commanded us concerning the forbidden relationships, and has permitted to us the married women by means of huppah and betrothal (qiddusiri)" Rav Aha son of Rabba would conclude [the blessing] in the name of Rav Yehu­ dah: "Praised are You, Lord our God, Who sanctifies His people Israel by means of huppah and betrothal (qiddusin)." 13

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Due to the sexual overtones of the grooms' blessing the Babylonian rabbis replaced it with a reminder (to the man) that the couple should not have sexual relations until after the marriage. Palestinian rabbis do not appear to have been familiar with the betrothal blessing. 15

Betrothal Payments One of the primary features of all betrothals, regardless of place and time, is the transfer of money. Jews, like all peoples in the circum-Mediterranean, expected that after a betrothal the husband-to-be would send gifts to his bride 16

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and her family. These gifts testified to the legitimacy of the marriage; their absence could throw doubt on the woman's respectability. To my knowledge we have but a single testimony to this custom among Jews in the Second Temple period. When describing Saul's requirement that David procure for him six hundred Philistine heads (!) in order to marry his daughter, Jose­ phus adds that these were to take the place of the "customary wedding pres­ ents." Josephus obviously thought that these gifts—given by the groom the bride's family around the time of engagement—would have been familiar to his readers. Rabbinic literature more amply attests to gift-giving by a betrothed man to his betrothed and her family. The primary juridical concern was the status of these gifts should the marriage not take place. As the Mishnah states, 17

One who sends gifts to the house of his father-in-law—[if] he sent there 100 maneh, and ate there a "groom's meal" [worth] even [a single] dinar, these [i.e., the gifts] are not returned [if the marriage does not take place.] [If] he sent many gifts which would return with her to the house of her husband, these are returned. [If] he sent a few gifts for use within the house of her father, these are not returned. 18

This source testifies to three kinds of customary gifts. The first clause alludes to a practice of the prospective groom sending money to his future wife's family in order to pay for the betrothal meal. Should he gain any benefit from this meal, and then the wedding does not take place, he cannot sue for the return of this money. The second kind of gift is a form of indirect dowry: it is a "gift," but he expects that it will be returned with her. The third kind of gift is genuine, things that are given for her and her family's pleasure. These gifts are entirely distinct from the money used to effect betrothal. The sociological "meaning" of these gifts seem clear enough. On the one hand, they demonstrate the groom's commitment to the marriage. Whatever the ultimate legal status of these gifts should the marriage not occur, they are meant to be understood as given in "good faith," to be taken as evidence of the groom's sincerity. On the other hand, this kind of ritualized gift-giving, which is paralleled in many other societies, also helps to establish kinship bonds. The man gives gifts not only to his prospective wife, but also to her family. He gives consumables such as wine and oil in order to establish ties with her family. Legally, it may not be to his advantage to join his future in-laws in consuming these gifts, but practically it is hard to imagine that he could refrain from celebrations in order to protect his rights for their return should the marriage be canceled. The Palestinian Talmud records a case in which a man sent expensive gifts and then was urged by his relatives to stay away from his future in-laws' house. He did not listen, his wife-to-be died, and he lost his gifts. Lawyers and possessive relatives (if they followed rabbinic 19

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law) might have offered such advice, but a man would be hard pressed to accept. The Babylonian Talmud's discussion of this issue hints at two differences between Babylonian and Palestinian practice regarding customary marriage payments. A sugya cites a baraita claiming that in places in which is custom­ ary, a betrothed woman or her family must return the groom's gifts in the event that the wedding does not occur due to death or retraction. The sugya goes on to reject this practice, and finally rules that betrothal money is never returned, even if it is the woman who retracts. In the process, it also cites a statement attributed to R. Yosi (a tanna) that discusses the case of a man betrothing a woman with more than a token sum. The ideas expressed in these "tannaitic" sources are found in no Palestinian document and might be creations of the redactor. If so, then it might testify that Babylonians took betrothal more seri­ ously than did Palestinian rabbis, as I suggested in chapter 3. Palestinian sources do not discuss return of the betrothal payment because it was an insig­ nificant sum. In Babylonia, the betrothal payment itself may have been higher, and thus the question as to the return of this sum if the marriage did not take place was more significant. 23

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B E T W E E N BETROTHAL AND MARRIAGE

The betrothal period may have been lengthy. Both Second Temple and rab­ binic sources indicate that a significant amount of time could elapse between the time when a girl is promised in marriage by her family and the marriage itself. Josephus testifies that Agrippa's daughters were betrothed by the time they were six and ten; presumably they would not be married until after they reached puberty. Rabbinic law allows for a delay between the times of be­ trothal and marriage of up to a year after the girl reaches legal majority, but it also assumes that a woman who betrothed past her age of legal majority— which could have been most of the women—would marry no more than thirty days later. Because of the difference between a promise to marry and the legally significant act of rabbinic betrothal, it is impossible to evaluate popular practices on this issue. Most likely, there was a wide range of practices. Some couples might have been promised to each other, waited for many years, and then quickly betrothed and married. Other couples might have agreed to marry (in the nonrabbinic sense) and then married in relatively quick succession. Yet other families might have negotiated longer betrothal periods in order to give them time to accumulate (mainly through spinning and weaving) the bride's trousseau. Rabbinic sources indicate that at least among some Jewish communities, the (perhaps lengthy) period of betrothal was accompanied by decreasing expecta­ tions of chastity. In the sugya cited above, the Babylonian amora Abayye ex­ plains that Palestinians recited the grooms' blessing at the celebration of the 25

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betrothal because "in Judaea . . . he would be together with her." Even in Pal­ estinian sources, Jewish couples betrothed in Judaea had a "reputation" for having sexual relations before the marriage itself. The Mishnah alludes to this reputation when it states that "one who eats at his father-in-law's in Judaea without witnesses is not able [later] to make a claim [regarding his wife's] virginity, because he was together with her." The Tosepta contrasts these promiscuous Judaeans with chaste Galilean Jewish couples: 28

R. Yehudah said: Atfirstin Judaea, they would examine the huppah, and the groom, and the bride, three days before the huppah. But in the Galilee they did not do so. Atfirstin Judaea, they would leave the bride and the groom alone for one hour before the huppah, so that his heart may become crude with her. But in the Galilee they did not do so. Atfirstin Judaea they would appoint two shushbinin [attendants], one from the groom's family and the other from the bride's family, but despite this, they would only testify concerning the marriage. But in the Galilee they did not do so. Atfirstin Judaea the shushbinin would sleep where the groom and bride slept. But in the Galilee they did not do so. Anyone who did not act according to this custom was unable to make a claim [against his wife's] virginity. 29

Because betrothed Judaeans were suspected of being promiscuous, the tradi­ tion records, a number of steps were taken in order to assure the legitimacy of any claim by the husband that his wife, on their wedding night, was not a virgin. The preventive measures, however, are odd; some are contradictory and others do not seem to address the "problem" of premarital sexual relations. Another Palestinian source justifies the Judaean practice of sexual relations among betrothed couples by ascribing its origin to the period of the Bar Kokhba revolt, when Roman soldiers would regularly practice the jus primae noctis. Tal Ilan has convincingly shown the ahistoricity and mythical nature of this account. There is no compelling reason for not accepting, in a very broad way, the testimony of these sources that betrothed couples engaged in physical contact before the wedding. In Rome, according to Treggiari, "The virgin certainly needed to be protected from seducers, but the phobia of premarital sex with a sponsus does not seem to occur until the empire becomes Christian." Judaean Jews could have adopted similar mores and expectations. Galilean Jews espe­ cially would have been unlikely to have fabricated these accounts from whole cloth, for they must have been familiar with Judaean custom, and the Pales­ tinian Talmud explicitly states that Judaeans continued to do this. These mores made the rabbis increasingly uncomfortable, with Palestinian amoraim fabri­ cating a historical origin for them, and Babylonians distancing themselves from those "bad" Jews. Yet at the same time one cannot lose sight of the 30

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ideological nature of these sources. Attacks on the "other's" sexual laxity is a common form of self-definition in rabbinic sources ("we are better than they are"). Galilean rabbis are defining themselves against Judaeans, and Babylo­ nians have lumped together, for all practical purposes, Galilean and Judaean practices into a "Palestinian" custom. 35

WEDDING

The betrothal period ends, and fully married life begins, with the wedding. A Jewish wedding in antiquity generally served several functions. Legally, it marked the beginning of the juridical state of marriage, with all of its legal consequences. This meant different things in the rabbinic legal system (in which betrothal had legal force) and in the fuzzier legal terrain in which, I have argued, most Jews lived. Anthropologically, the wedding marked a life-cycle transition. For men, especially in Palestine, a wedding allowed entrance into respectability and the body politic. For women, the initiation was thought to be sexual. As mentioned above, Jewish weddings in antiquity appear to have exhibited the standard life-cycle elements of separation, transition, and incor­ poration. There was, of course, also a "religious" dimension to weddings in­ herent in their rituals. This dimension is far more complex and subjective (to those who participated, and to us as observers) than the others: within our evidence it is most apparent in the rabbinic attempts to ritualize and add mean­ ing to an otherwise loose collection of marriage customs. Jewish weddings, like those of many non-Jewish groups in antiquity, had three primary components which can be said to correspond to the three ele­ ments of any life-cycle event: procession (separation and transition); consum­ mation (transition and incorporation); and celebration (incorporation). This tripartite process is highly schematic: it fully applies only tofirstmarriages of both partners, especially of the female. Time of Marriage No source from the Second Temple period recommends particular dates or times of year during which marriages between Jews are encouraged or prohib­ ited. There were seasons, generally tied to the agricultural cycle, in which Greeks and Romans preferred to marry, and days that were seen as particularly auspicious or not for marriage, and it is likely that Jewish communities pre­ ferred some dates or times over others. But we ultimately have no knowledge at all of these practices. The rabbinic attempt to ritualize the temporal limits of marriage are at best half-hearted. While some rabbis do attempt to formalize the proper days for marriage, most rabbinic interest in this topic concerns the potential conflicts between the marriage ceremony and observance of the Sabbath. 36

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According to the Mishnah, "A virgin is married on Wednesday and a widow on Thursday, because the courts sit in the cities twice a week, on Monday and Thursday, and if he had a claim against [his wife's] virginity, he would quickly proceed to the court." The sole mishnaic reason for the establishment of a fixed day for afirstmarriage is that should a manfindthat his wife was not a virgin (a scenario discussed further below), he could quickly run to court to press his claim. The Tosepta is not convinced by this logic: 37

Why did they say that a virgin marries on Wednesday? [Because] if he had a claim against [his wife's] virginity, he would quickly proceed to the court. If so, let her be married after the Sabbath [i.e., Sunday]! Rather, because they make the preparations all the days of the week [i.e., Sunday to Tuesday], they established that he should marry her on Wednesday. From the time of the "danger" and forward, they used to marry on Tuesday, and the Sages did not object. If he wants to marry on Monday, they do not listen to him, unless in the case of constraint, when it is permitted. Why do they separate the groom from the bride on Friday night? Because he makes a wound. 38

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The author of the Tosepta adds a second reason for establishing first weddings on Wednesday, that it gives time to prepare for the wedding without violating the Sabbath. Moreover, this tosepta acknowledges the nonnormative nature of this rabbinic ordinance, stating explicitly that there were marriages on Tues­ day, and hinting at the end that Friday marriages may have occurred. This source suggests that marriages customarily occurred on several days of the week, and that the tannaim were searching for justifications for standardizing the day. Palestinian sources add yet another reason why a virgin should marry on Wednesday. "Bar Qappara said, 'Because it is written [in the creation account] about [the day] a blessing.'" That is, according to the subsequent clarifica­ tion, the first act of intercourse occurs on Wednesday night, which by the reckoning of the lunar calender is "the fifth day," and according to Gen. 1:22 God blessed the animals on this day with fertility. For the Palestinian Tal­ mud, this appears to be a more suitable reason for marriage of a virgin on Wednesday than the one offered by the Mishnah. Tellingly, some (primarily) Palestinian sources shift the mishnaic concern with virginity to one of the blessing of procreation, a tendency that we have seen before in other contexts. The primary concern of both the Talmuds in their commentaries on this matter, however, is not justifying and establishing one particular day of the week as best for marriage, but is rather the potential problems of marriage on Friday or Saturday. Both Talmuds are uneasy with marriage on Friday be­ cause, as the Tosepta states, it involves thefirstact of intercourse on the Sab­ bath, and such an act might entail a violation of the Sabbath This difference 41

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between the Mishnah's laconic establishment of a particular day for marriage and the Talmuds' concern only that marriage not entail a violation of the Sab­ bath can be explained by the importance that the documents place on the "claim of virginity." The Mishnah sees such a claim as important and seeks to facilitate the new husband should he wish to bring one. Rabbinic literature elsewhere, in contrast, is uncomfortable with this claim. Hence, these sources are forced to find a new justification for the Mishnah's rule. From there they turn to the one issue that does concern them about the date of a wedding, its potential disruption of the Sabbath. Due to the theoretical and academic nature of the talmudic discussions, it is hard to know if the rabbis were responding to a real social practice, in which marriages took place near the Sabbath. Another tradition in the Palestinian Talmud assumes that people would want to have weddings on the eve of festivals because it would require the preparation of only one meal for the two events. Perhaps the same sentiment made Friday marriages desirable, and this reality may have generated a rabbinic response. Unlike contemporary Jewish halakah, rabbinic literature does not single out times of the year during which marriage is prohibited The only other time constraint placed on marriages in the rabbinic literature is a stricture that wed­ dings should not take place during festivals, "because it is a joy for him." Apparently this means that the joy of marriage should not be "mingled" with that of the festival, thus detracting (primarily) from one's celebration of the festival Once again, the primary rabbinic concern is that the wedding not interfere with proper observance of the holiday. 44

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Procession In antiquity, a wedding was a public event. In Greece, Rome, and Jerusalem, a wedding normally began with a procession of the bride from her father's house to her future husband's residence, sometimes joined by the groom him­ self Generally, a wedding procession in antiquity had three distinct func­ tions. It is an enactment of the separation of a bride from her family; it provides public "proof that a legitimate marriage occurred; and through its public cele­ bration it reinforces the societal value placed on marriage. Jewish wedding processions appeared to have served all three of these roles. When Jonathan Maccabeus sought to avenge the death of his brother, he ambushed an Arab wedding procession: "[T]he sons of Ambri were celebrat­ ing a large wedding, and were bringing in the bride . . . with a great escort.... They lifted their eyes and saw, and behold there was confusion, and much baggage, for the bridegroom had come forth with his friends and his relatives to meet them, with timbrels, musicians, and many weapons." Recounting this story, Josephus says: "And when they saw them conducting the maid and her bridegroom and and a great company of friends, as is usual at a wedding." Josephus has made two important changes. First, he says that there was one 4 9

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wedding procession rather than two coming toward each other. Second, he makes a statement that such a wedding procession was "usual." Although few other Jewish sources from the Second Temple testify to the practice of a wedding procession, from Josephus's comment and from comparison to Greek and Roman literary and material sources it appears most likely that bridal processions were common. Presumably, both the bride and the groom would be distinctively dressed: both might wear garlands, and the bride would be veiled. Rabbinic sources give a relatively complete picture of the bridal procession. According to the Mishnah, the legal value of the procession is to establish that a legitimate marriage with a virgin was established, thus entitling her to a higher statutory marital payment than that accorded to a women who had been previously married: "If there are witnesses that she went out with marital songs (behinuma), and with her hair loose, her ketubba is 200 [zuz]. R. Yohanan ben Beroqa said, 'Even the distribution of parched corn is proof.' " The mishnah assumes that a woman who had never been married would be led from her home with celebration, and that the public procession itself would testify to the legitimacy and status of the marriage. The richest tannaitic account of the "paradigmatic" wedding is, ironically, found in a passage that describes wedding practices banned by the rabbis: 52

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In the war of Vespasian, they prohibited by decree (gazru) [the wearing of] grooms' garlands ( atarot) and [the use of] the drum Carus) [at weddings]. In the war of Kitus, they prohibited by decree [the wearing of] brides' garlands, and that a man should not teach his son Greek. In the last war, they decreed that the bride should not go forth in a litter ^apiryon) inside the city. And our rabbis permitted the bride to go forth in a litter inside the city. e

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According to this mishnah, in each successive war—the Great Revolt of 6670 CE, the (most likely) Trajianic uprising of 117 CE, and the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-35 CE—they (the rabbis?) interdicted certain wedding customs. As historical testimony this source has little worth, but it does indicate what its contemporary readers may have thought were standard components of a wed­ ding procession. Both bride and groom wore garlands; their procession was accompanied by music; and the bride was borne in a litter. Elsewhere, rabbinic sources testify to the presence of each one of these elements in the wedding procession. To all of these activities the rabbis attached symbolic signifi­ cance: they represented joy that was so great that these practices should be suspended during times of national catastrophe. Rabbinic literature testifies to a few other details regarding the procession. In Palestine, both bride and groom appear to have been distinctively dressed. The (rich) bride may have worn many different ornaments, and her hair was set in a distinctive fashion. There was apparently a custom in Babylonia of 57

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putting ashes on the forehead of the groom, perhaps for apotropaic purposes. A Babylonian amora understands this custom as a remembrance for the de­ struction of the Temple. Wine and oil, in addition to the parched corn thrown before the bride, was sometimes paraded or spilt in front of the new couple. Whether the groom would join her during the procession is not clear, but it would end at the huppah, a private place prepared by the groom or his fam­ ily—it could be free-standing or a room in a preexistent house—where the couple could consummate their marriage. How might this procession have resonated for the couple or those watching them? That is, what did these customs "mean"? Generally, the procession served two quasijuridical functions. One prominent assumption underlying nearly all conceptions of Jewish (and non-Jewish) marriage in antiquity was that it was an event that transferred the jurisdiction of the bride from her father to her husband. A procession symbolically, and not subtly, enacts this transfer. Second, as the Mishnah explicitly states, the bridal procession is publicly nec­ essary to establish the legitimacy of the match. The entire village population can serve, as it were, as witnesses, should any question later arise. The specific elements of the procession, however, also bore meanings, even if they are far more ambiguous and difficult to recover. The adornments, gar­ lands, and procession in a litter assumed in the mishnah cited above imply a link between marriage and royal coronation: the couple becomes "royalty for a day." "Garlands" or crowns are often mentioned in the Bible as royal crowns, a use continued in rabbinic literature. A garland is something that raises the status of its wearer: "Do not make them [i.e., the words of Torah] a garland to be exalted with them," one tradition counsels. Similarly, the litter, 'apiryon, connotes royalty and raised status. The word \jpiryon, occurs in the Bible only at Song 3:9, in close proximity to the men­ tion of garlands (3:11): "King Solomon made him an "apiryon of wood from Lebanon." Rabbinic literature both mentions it incidentally as the litter that bore the bride and interprets it as referring to the Tent of Meeting or the ark for a Torah scroll. Assuming that rabbinic literature really does reflect contemporary practice here—which considering the incidental nature of these reports appears to me to be likely—then the processional customs might have been understood as according great honor to the new couple. No person would have received greater honor than the king or queen; it is thus not surprising to see the proces­ sion employ the trappings of royalty. The procession, at least in Roman Palestine, was accompanied by customs that evoked wishes for fertility. Both the Palestinian marriage customs of throwing or passing food before the bride (and perhaps groom) and the singing of wedding songs most likely symbolizes the communal wish for a fertile marriage. 61

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While many of the customs among Babylonian Jewry were similar, they exhibit a different emphasis. Babylonian rabbinic documents describe customs that emphasize the sexual aspect of marriage as distinct from its procreative function. One amoraic statement in the Babylonian Talmud, for example, glosses the Palestinian custom of passing a casket of wine before the couple: "they pass before a virgin [bride] a closed [casket], [but] they pass before a nonvirgin [bride] an open [casket]." The dictum is not only clearly symbolic in its own right, but also evokes the "test" of a virgin recounted just a few pages earlier, in which a woman sits on an open wine casket to see if the odor of the wine penetrates to her mouth. Commenting on a (Utopian) tannaitic tradition that songs at weddings ceased with the abrogation of the Sanhedrin in 70 CE, a Babylonian amora says that now, without a Sanhedrin, people sing only "obscene" songs. Elsewhere, where the Palestinian Talmud records that Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzhak took branches and "praised" the bride, the Baby­ lonian Talmud has him dancing with the branches before the bride. Several other stories in this same sugya in the Babylonian Talmud, some (probably fictionally) attributed to Palestinians, also report that one should sing and dance before the bride, that one can dance with the bride on his shoulders (if done modestly), and that one can gaze at the bride "in order to make her beloved to her husband." Palestinian sources (outside of two of the later "minor tractates"), on the other hand, record none of these prescriptions. A Babylonian story attributes a custom to the residents of the Palestinian city Tur Malka: "When the groom and the bride would go forth, they used to bring before them a cock and a hen, saying [or, as if to say], 'Be fertile and multiply like this cock and hen.' " Although the reference is to procreation, the sym­ bolism is again frankly sexual. 69

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I have dealt with all of the previous marital practices as customs, most likely typical but unlegislated elements of the wedding procession. There is, in fact, little rabbinic attempt to ritualize these customs. A Palestinian midrash cited in chapter 2, whichfindsthe roots of contemporary marital practice in the primal wedding of Adam and Eve, gives the wedding procession a heightened air of tradition. The wedding procession, that is, is given a distinguished pedigree that leads directly back to God's original plan. But the rabbis do not go beyond this, attempting to formalize or regulate the procession. Consummation Precisely at the climax of the wedding our sources become annoyingly dis­ crete. From the Second Temple period, Tobit portrays this moment most viv­ idly. Sarah's father first hands Sarah over to her new husband, Tobias, in a classic ekdosis ceremony (7:12-13). Sarah's mother prepares a chamber and the bed in it, and then leads Sarah into the room and comforts her (7:15-17).

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In the meantime, Tobias and the rest of Sarah's family were feasting (7:14, 8:1). At the end of the feast, Tobias came into the chamber, performed a mag­ ical ritual to chase away the evil demon that had frustrated her seven previous marriages, urged Sarah to pray with him, "and they slept the night" (8:2-9). How representative was this sequence? The unique circumstances of the plot clearly dictate some elements, such as the absence of a procession (though this might also be due to the fact that Sarah is a seven-fold widow) and To­ bias's magical barbeque. Whether Sarah joined the celebration is unclear. Some elements, however, are known from other texts. In Aseneth, Pharaoh performs the ekdosis (21:2-7), throws a banquet and wedding feast for seven days (21:8), and "after this" (presumably the banquet on the day of the wed­ ding?), "Joseph went in to Aseneth, and Aseneth conceived from Joseph" (21:9). Third Mace, mentions in passing that chambers were prepared for the consummation of marriage (3:19). Although fragmentary, classical sources provide a likely picture of how this part of the celebration went. The pronuba, a married woman who could have been the bride's mother, would make the bed, pray for a blessing on the mar­ riage, and (at least symbolically) help the bride to undress. "The pronuba or pronubae then put the bride to bed. The usual pattern seems to have been that the bride entered the bedroomfirstand awaited the bridegroom." Alone for thefirsttime during the wedding, while the celebration continued outside, the groom might symbolically untie his wife's girdle before consummating the marriage. Instructing the budding rhetor how to compose a speech at a marriage, Menander Rhetor states succinctly, "the bedroom speech is an exhortation to in­ tercourse," and adds later, "you should add a prayer, asking the gods on the couple's behalf, for a happy union, felicity, a lovely life, the birth of children, and the other blessings we have mentioned." Although there is no other sup­ porting evidence from Jewish Hellenistic sources, Tobias's short prayer before consummating his marriage may have been a standard part of both Jewish and non-Jewish wedding celebrations of his time. Nor is Tobias's "sacrifice" of fish entrails before consummating his marriage to Sarah particularly odd. Medea, in Seneca's play, mentions the recitation of prayers followed by a sacrifice in the wedding chamber. Philo prefaces his recounting the bibli­ cal law regarding the man who accuses his new bride of not being a virgin (Deut. 22:13-21) with the words, "in the case of persons who take maidens in lawful matrimony and have celebrated the bridal sacrifices and feasts." Jo­ sephus argues that a man should not marry a prostitute because God will not accept her marital sacrifice. Neither author mentions precisely when the new couple (or bride alone) would make this sacrifice, although Philo implies that it is made on the day of the wedding itself, before consummation. Either the author of Tobit, Philo, and Josephus added false details about Jewish mar75

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riages meant to make these marriages more recognizable to their non-Jewish audiences, or, as I think is more likely, they related contemporary Jewish mar­ ital practices. Perhaps influenced by Greek and Roman customs, some Jews during the Second Temple period could have offered small sacrifices in their homes (implied at least by Philo) before consummating their marriages. Rabbinic accounts presume that the bridal procession ended at the marital chamber. This chamber may have been a separate dwelling, but more usually was probably a specially prepared room, or even canopied bed, in a preexisting house. Some type of feast was customary and at some point—we do not know exactly when—the new couple would retire to their chamber. At least for Babylonia we have hints that the feast at this time could be rowdy and have sexual overtones: in one story, on the day that a rabbi married his son, his daughters and daughters-in-law took (some) of their own clothes off to throw on him. One source suggests that the Jewish bride, like her non-Jewish coun­ terpart, would enter the chamber before the groom, and a talmudic legal dis­ cussion might hint that her mother played a special role at the wedding. It would probably be dark or close to it by the time that they retired, and although they would not emerge again until morning, the revelry may have continued into the night. Both our sources, and presumably the wedding celebrants, left the newly weds their privacy. According to a rabbinic legend cited above, there was a time when, in Ju­ daea, both the bride's and the groom's family would appoint an attendant. The task of the two attendants together was to ensure that neither the bride nor the groom attempted to lodge a false claim against the woman's virginity. I think it is unlikely that the attendants ever did serve such a function; the rabbis themselves acknowledge that this was the practice of a distant place at a fore­ gone time, and appear to have nofirsthandknowledge of the practice. Pales­ tinian and Babylonian sources assume the presence of attendants to the groom. These attendants were not "best men" in our sense of the term. Rather, they had a formal relationship with concrete, and (in rabbinic law) actionable, economic obligations. A man, for example, expected that on his wedding day those men to whom he had given gifts in his role as attendant would reciprocate. The purpose of this gift giving was probably to establish and formalize social relationships rather than to provide significant economic support. Only the next morning were the families of the bride and groom able to judge if the wedding was a "success." No matter how the rabbis defined the precise moment at which marriage took place (e.g., the moment the bride en­ tered the chamber, the moment intercourse began, the moment intercourse ended), without doubt most people saw the success of the match as contingent on the couple's sexual compatibility. Problems could come from either side. A late Babylonian story records a man's inability to consummate his marriage, 82

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and his father's attempt to help him the next night. If the groom was unable to consummate the marriage, one assumes that the bride's family would soon know. Predictably, rabbinic sources do not dwell on male impotence. They, like their predecessors, are instead far more interested in potential problems relat­ ing to the bride's virginity, or more precisely, lack thereof. The Hebrew Bible details a procedure by which a groom would accuse his bride of not being a virgin before the "elders of the city," and her father would have to produce the bloodstained sheet to refute his accusation (Deut. 22:13-21). Both Philo and Josephus are uncomfortable with elements of this judicial proceeding, and it is likely that it was not practiced in their communities. Despite the heighted concern at Qumran for female virginity, there was little interest in the display of the sheet after consummation of marriage. According to a fragment of the Damascus Document found only at Qumran, a man should do everything he can to avoid marrying a woman who had had a forbidden sexual relationship: 91

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Let no man bring [a woman into the ho]ly [covenant?] who has had sexual experi­ ence, (whether) she had such [experience in the home] of her father or as a widow who had intercourse after she was widowed. And any [woman upon whom there is a] bad [na]me in her maidenhood in her father's home, let no man take her, except [upon examination] by trustworthy [women] of repute selected by com­ mand of the supervisor over [the many. After] ward he may take her, and when he take her he shall act in accordance with the l[a]w [and he shall not t]ell about [her]. 94

This text deals with two situations, the first wife who is rumored to have had sex before her marriage and the widow who has had extramarital sex after she was widowed. In the former case, he can marry her only if she passes a physi­ cal examination, a procedure attested elsewhere in the Dead Sea scrolls. Ap­ parently, these preventive measures were thought to be sufficient, for the few discussions of the display of the sheet found in the Dead Sea scrolls are simply biblical citations, with no recognition of the procedure as a live one. While rabbinic sources fully cover the details of bringing a charge against a woman's virginity, at the same time they express a certain ambivalence about its use. The literature explores who can bring a charge against a woman's virginity; how, when, and where the charge is brought; and how the offender (whether a lying husband or a nonvirgin wife) is punished. On the other hand, a group of stories in the Babylonian Talmud that follows one of the fullest legal discussions of this issues suggests that the rabbis themselves were not particularly comfortable with actually using the institution. These stories first establish the rabbi as the person to whom one brings the bed sheet, and then indicate that a charge against a woman's virginity was virtually impos95

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sible to prove. That is, the stories suggest that bringing such a charge to a rabbinic court would be futile. These rabbinic stories do more than eliminate or discourage a charge against a bride's virginity. They also offer a safe "way out" of a potentially explosive situation. A woman, these stories assert, might appear not to be a virgin for a number of reasons: she might be genetically disposed not to bleed; the blood might be imperceptible (except to expertly trained rabbis); she might have been born without or earlier ruptured her hyman; he might not be experienced enough (so the rabbis hope) to know if he had indeed ruptured her hymen. Unlike the Qumran community, the rabbis do not insist that such a woman undergo a physical examination because ultimately they are not interested here in establishing the objective truth. What they do offer here is a catalogue of excuses that could be, and probably really were, used to defuse the groom's complaint. Regardless of juridical penalties that the rabbis at most times had little ability to apply, a groom's charge that his bride had previously "whored" was a serious one that threatened the honor of her entire family. Such a charge had to be dealt with not by judicial inquiry, but by communal pressure, com­ promise, and mollification. The groom, in other words, must be convinced that he was mistaken. None of these sources suggest a live ritual of publicly displaying the blood­ ied sheet, as has been and continues to be practiced in many Middle Eastern communities." In the Gaonic period there was even a blessing to be recited upon seeing the sheet, known as the birkat betulim, the "blessing of the (tokens of) virginity." Ruth Langer has recently argued that the ritual of exhibiting these "tokens" and the blessing that accompanies it may have originated in nonrabbinic circles in Roman Palestine. The evidence for this claim is late and fragmentary, but nevertheless tantalizing. Some of the texts of the Hahilukim seben "arise mizrah ubene "res yisra'el mention that among Pales­ tinian Jews they (grooms? women?) would rupture the bride's hymen with a finger. Margoliot points out that there are scattered "hints" to this practice in rabbinic literature, but attributes the practice itself to marginal circles. The practice, which attracts harsh condemnation in the Gaonic period, meets with no rabbinic opposition (known to us) in antiquity. If Langer's suggestion is correct, then the Palestinian Jewish marriage celebration would be slightly different than the rabbis portray it: instead of having the entire evening to consummate their marriage, the newlyweds would quickly do so and then re­ turn to the festivities, with probably the attendants or the bride's female rela­ tives bringing the sheet with them. Of particular interest here is the virtual absence of rabbinic interest in ritual­ izing this stage of the wedding. Their interest is solely juridical, concerning a potential charge that the bride was not a virgin. But, as with the procession, they do not prescribe any particular activities or order of activities. 100

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Feast The Hebrew Bible already presupposes a seven-day festival following a wed­ ding; Jacob celebrates for seven days following his marriage to Leah (Gen. 29:27), and a seven-day feast follows Samson's first marriage (Judg. 14:12, 17). Continuing marriage feasts, sometimes lasting seven days, are well at­ tested in Jewish sources from the Second Temple period. Tobias enjoys two marriage feasts, one of two weeks at the house of his in-laws (8:20, 10:7) and the second for an indeterminate time when they return to his father's house (12:1). Aseneth turns their marriage into a national holiday for seven days, by order of the Pharaoh (21:6 [10]-7 [14]). These two accounts, however, may have been shaped in line with the biblical stories. When Josephus recounts Samson's wedding, he states that the wedding feast lasted for several days, but curiously obscures the exact length of the celebration. The rabbis, as we have seen, involved themselves with the other two stages of the wedding (procession and consummation) only when they touched upon other areas that were of interest to them (conflict with the Sabbath and claim of virginity). Wedding ceremonies were private affairs, which had few legal consequences of interest to the rabbis. Rabbinic involvement increases at this third stage of marriage, the feast, as they attempt to ritualize parts of it. Rab­ binic sources testify to the essential nature of a celebratory meal (or set of meals), for both Jews and non-Jews. There are many stories about rabbis who make feasts for their sons (but almost never for their daughters), often at the home of other rabbis. Rabbinic law grants to the groom and those who participate directly in the marriage celebration exemptions (some up to seven days) from several other religious commandments. The primary activity in these rabbinic marriage feasts was recitation of the birkat hatanim, the grooms' blessing. Several tannaitic traditions mention the grooms' blessing, although there was some disagreement over when and how this was to be recited. The Mishnah takes this blessing for granted, saying only ten men must be present in order to recite it. The blessing was to be recited several times, perhaps for the entire week following the wedding. The Pales­ tinian Talmud goes so far as to record a tradition that attributes the establish­ ment of seven days of celebration following a wedding to Moses. This tradi­ tion is followed by the scriptural basis for the requirements that the grooms' blessing should be recited in the presence of ten men and that the blessing should be recited even when a widower marries a widow (Ruth 4:2). In none of these sources, however, is the blessing itself recorded. The Babylonian Talmud is the only classical rabbinic source to cite a ver­ sion of the grooms' blessing; it is cited in full in chapter 2 (p. 64). As I dis­ cussed there, this set of six blessings links marriage both the primal marriage of Adam and Eve, and to the metaphor of the relationship between God, Israel, and Zion. At the same time, it also celebrates the sexual component of mar104

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riage: the "rejoicing" of the fifth and sixth blessings refers to sex. The fourth blessing seems to serve as a transition between the groom's evocation of the primal marriage and his acknowledgment of God as the source of his sexual fulfillment. I argued in chapter 2 that thefirstthree of these blessings contained Palestin­ ian ideas. It is possible that at least the last two, and perhaps the last three, blessings reflect the Babylonian focus on marriage as the licit channel for sexual desire. Whether this is accurate or not, we see in these blessings an attempt to ritualize and standardize one element of the wedding feast. As al­ ready noted, the Talmud itself acknowledges that there are different versions of the groom's blessing afloat; Rav Yehudah attempts to offer a standardized version. The absence of rabbinic interference in weddings extends to the very need for a rabbi to validate a marriage. While rabbis need not be present for the recitation of the grooms' blessing, Babylonian rabbis suggest that it would not hurt to invite them. One sugya asserts that the proof in Babylonia that a woman married as a virgin was that the groom's father (or mother, if his father was not alive) would anoint with oil the rabbis who were present. While these sources do not yet testify to any concept of a "sacramental" wedding, in which a rabbi would be (for all intents and purposes) necessary to bless or sanctify the union, they do indicate the beginning of a rabbinic desire to intrude into these pro­ ceedings. For those Babylonian Jews who took advantage of the rabbinic courts, it would now be advantageous to be sure that a rabbi was at least present at the wedding feast. 112

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A single synagogue inscription from Horbat Susiya provides a fascinating glimpse, independent from the rabbinic sources, of a Jewish marital practice in Roman Palestine. According to this Hebrew inscription, set in the mosaic at the southern end of the synagogue courtyard, a certain rabbi, Rabbi Isi haKohen, paid for the paving and plastering of the courtyard, "which he vowed during the feast (misthe) of Rabbi Yohanan haKohen the scribe berabi, his son." Four elements deserve note. First, Rabbi Isi—who with his son is not known to us from any literary source—thinks it worthwhile to note tautologically his son's status as a kohen. One wonders if Rabbi Yohanan married the daughter of a kohen. Second, Rabbi Yohanan's status as a scribe and his use of the honorific berabi suggests that he was not a boy when he married. Third, the preparation of a misthe by a father for his son at his wedding is not just a rabbinic literary theme; it really happened, at least among some "epigraphical rabbis." Finally, one can readily imagine the scene to which the inscription refers. During one of the festive meals that he prepared in honor of his son's wedding, probably after the consummation, and at which were present several members of the community (who used this synagogue), the proud father stood up and announced that in his son's honor he would make a gift to the syna­ gogue. What is particularly interesting about this last aspect is that there is no 114

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reference to such a custom in all of rabbinic literature, although one assumes that the rabbis would have been thrilled by it. Perhaps this absence, com­ bined with the fact that this is the only surviving inscription of its kind, indi­ cates that this practice was not very common. 116

W H Y A WEDDING?

Weddings performed several different functions. The primary function was to establish a valid legal claim. Marriage was about the establishment of a legiti­ mate family, and the two public parts of a standard wedding celebration (pro­ cession and feast) served to "prove" the legitimacy of the marriage should any questions latter surface regarding either the legitimacy of the children or the women's monetary entitlements on the dissolution of the marriage. Establish­ ing this claim before the whole village was not overly precautious. It is not unlikely that despite rabbinic opposition many Jews engaged in "unwritten marriages." These marriages, well known from the Ancient Near Eastern, Greek and Hellenistic world, were formed like any other and were as equally "valid," lacking only documentary evidence. At some later date, often after the couple had a child or two, they would "convert" the marriage into a written one, drawing up one or two documents that dealt primarily with testamentary succession. At least some Jews, we now know, engaged in these marriages. As noted in chapter 4, papyri from the Judaean desert testify to at least one Jewish unwritten marriage, between Salome Komaise and Jesus son of Menahem. By definition, an unwritten marriage would not be documented, and thus it would be prudent to involve a large number of witnesses who could verify it should the need arise. In both rabbinic and non-Jewish law, unwritten marriages were legally iden­ tical to written ones. Keeping these marriages unwritten, however, allowed the couple a certain amount offlexibilityshould the marriage not work out, that is, should they be unable to have children. An unwritten marriage allowed a couple to "test the ground," not for personal compatibility but for fertility. Offspring "secured" the marriage. The production of children would neces­ sitate a written, more formal agreement. Weddings are also celebrations of fertility, sex, and the establishment of kinship ties. Through such celebrations a culture reinforces the importance that it places on these things. There is not enough evidence from the Second Tem­ ple period to understand how those Jews understood their wedding celebra­ tions. The evidence from rabbinic Palestine, however, indicates that those Jews "celebrated" the promise of fertility. The scattering of food before the newlyweds and the possible emphasis that Palestinian Jews placed on virginity (at least in theory) explicitly link weddings to fertility. Babylonian Jews, by contrast, appeared to emphasize sex and kinship in their wedding customs. Weddings were bawdy, probablyfilledwith unsubtle, 117

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and perhaps terrifying, ribbing of the young bride and groom. In this context, the wedding customs reinforced the aspect of wedding as sexual initiation. After consummation, if the rabbis had their way, the meals were arranged in order to develop and secure group solidarity. Some meals during the festive period were made by the groom's family at the house of their new in-laws, strengthening their bond. More important to the rabbis were the bonds fostered between rabbis. Rabbis invited other rabbis to the weddings of their children, and the rabbinic legal parameters on the feast encourage the reinforcement of a rabbinic community. New people (read, rabbis), for example, should come each day; an established rabbinic liturgy should be recited; and rabbinic pres­ ence at a feast helps to legitimate the wedding. Babylonian rabbis, that is, "appropriate" the wedding feast as a celebration of rabbinic kinship. Babylonian amoraim might be self-aware of this appropriation. The Babylo­ nian Talmud contains a series of stories of wedding feasts: Mar the son of Rabina made a wedding feast for his son. He saw that the rabbis were were very cheerful. He took an expensive cup worth 400 zuz, shattered it before them, and they became grieved. Rav Ashi made a wedding feast for his son. He saw that the rabbis were very cheerful. He took a cup of white glass, shattered it before them, and they became grieved. The rabbis said to Rav Himnona at the wedding feast of Mar the son of Rabina, "Let the Master sing for us!" He said to them, "Woe to us that we will die; woe to us that we will die." They said to him, "What should we answer after you?" He said to them, "Where is the Torah and where is the miswah that will protect us?" 121

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This passage occurs as part of the commentary on M. Ber. 5:1, which pre­ scribes that one ought to pray only when in a serious mood. Seen in this con­ text, the assumptions beneath this passage are somewhat remarkable. This pas­ sage buttresses the other Babylonian sources that a man made wedding feasts for his son; that rabbis invited other rabbis to them; and that they were joyous occasions. These three stories are attempts to solemnize the wedding feast: a wedding feast should not be too joyous. Why? Because, we must assume from the context, the wedding feast has a divine element to it. The redactor pre­ cedes this story with Babylonian traditions that discuss the role of joy and solemnity in putting on phylacteries, and immediately after this passage places a Palestinian tradition urging solemnity in all daily activities. Wedding feasts stand in between the two, occupying a kind of "semireligious" status. But only the Babylonian amoraim attempt to ascribe religious value to the wedding, and then, only during the feast. Most of the material here pertains only to first marriages. Our sources de­ vote far less attention to other kinds of marital, or quasi-marital, unions. It is to these unions that we turn in the next chapter. 124

Chapter Eight IRREGULAR UNIONS

OUR SOURCES treat thefirstmarriage of a man and woman, neither of whom have been married, as the "normal" situation. This means neither that Jews in antiquity frowned upon other marital unions, nor that this was the most com­ mon kind of union. Rather, these Jews, like their non-Jewish contemporaries, saw this kind of first marriage as paradigmatic, probably because it also marked (especially for the woman) a life-cycle transition. Yet given the high rates of both widowhood and divorce (as I will argue below), such "irregular" marriages were frequent and expected. Understanding the dynamics of and social attitudes toward second marriages also provides a context for Jewish polygyny in antiquity. 1

WIDOWHOOD AND DIVORCE

In chapter 5 I used a simulation to predict, roughly and theoretically, the per­ centage of Jewish women in antiquity who were likely to have married after their fathers had died. Using the model life tables, we can also roughly predict the percent of marriages likely to be terminated due to the death of a spouse. Assuming a male life expectancy at birth of thirty years, nearly 20 percent of men who reached the age of thirty would not live to see their fortieth birth­ day. Similarly, of women who lived to the age offifteen,we expect that about 15 percent will die before their twenty-fifth birthday. Put more starkly, more than 40 percent of women alive at age twenty would die by their forty-fifth birthday, with men doing only slightly better. Assuming some, but not com­ plete, overlap, anyone who married around the age of twenty would have ex­ pected to have been widowed within the next twenty-five years. The theoretical expectation of large numbers of widows predicted by the demographic sources is confirmed (albeit impressionistically and with no sta­ tistical accuracy) in all of the literary sources. All of the women about whose marriages we have the most information from the legal documents in the Ju­ daean desert had been widowed. Jewish epitaphs report several cases of what appear to be still nubile women commemorating their deceased partners, and only rarely mention the univera, the woman who did not remarry after her husband's death. Rabbinic literature, Palestinian and Babylonian, is replete with "cases" of widowed men and women who remarry, and the rabbis de­ velop a complex set of laws to govern the remarriage of widowed women. 2

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There can be little doubt that Jewish men and women throughout antiquity were regularly widowed and regularly remarried. Reckoning the rate of divorce among Jews in antiquity is much more diffi­ cult, but the (again, impressionistic) evidence suggests that it was not low. A few papyri survive that testify to Jewish divorce in antiquity; not an insignifi­ cant number when seen against the very small quantity of this kind of extant material. Jesus, or those who spoke in his name, spoke against divorce (or at least divorce followed by remarriage), but this view never penetrated in any meaningful way into Jewish circles in antiquity. Josephus relates a number of cases of divorce, most involving Herod's dysfunctional household, but he in­ cludes his own divorce of two women. Rabbinic literature contains many tales of divorces. Rabbinic law, while never reaching the level of Roman law in dissolving a marriage in the absence of continuing mutual consent, neverthe­ less tends to eliminate the need for a cause in instigating a divorce, at least on the part of the husband. Justifying, post facto, their establishment of a ketubba marriage payment (i.e., an amount of money that the husband pledges to his wife, to be paid when the marriage dissolves, either through divorce or his death), the rabbis themselves understand it as a disincentive to divorce. It is likely to me that whatever the original reasons for the de jure establishment of this marriage payment, the later rabbinic interpretation of its effects speaks to their own cultural concerns: in this case, a perception of a high rate of divorce. The scenario that I am suggesting here is analogous to that of contemporary Rome. In Rome divorce and widowhood were common, and "many, perhaps most, men and women would anticipate at least two marriages in the course of their adulthood." Whereas divorce might have been easier and incurred less stigma in Rome than among Jews in Palestine, the Jews had no equivalent to the Roman and Christian value placed on the univera, the widow who declined to remarry. There is, unfortunately, no data on remarriage among ancient Persians. Compared to thefirstmarriage, a remarriage was anticlimactic. None of the Greek Jewish literary writings from the Second Temple period mentions or describes a remarriage, probably because it was typically a low-key event. The rabbis lower the minimum obligatory ketubba payment, in (at least theoretical) response to a reality in which widows would otherwise find it difficult to re­ marry. The wedding of a widow or divorcee did not contain a procession, and of course consummation, while legally necessary, did not have the same cul­ tural meaning. The Tosepta bleakly illustrates what a widow (divorcee would be included here) might expect: 6

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Why did they say [in the Mishnah] that a widow is married on Thursday? Because if he married her on any other day of the week, he would lay her [manihah] and go to his work. [Thus the rabbis] established that he should marry her on Thurs-

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day, so he would refrain [from going to work for] three days, Thursday, Friday, and Shabbat—three days of restraint [from work, and] he rejoices with her for three days. 17

The obvious assumption underneath this rabbinic enactment is that a man does not see marriage with a previously married woman as terribly disruptive. Given the opportunity, he might well consummate the union and return to work. The strength of this assumption is reflected in the weakness of the enact­ ment: the rabbis do not simply decree that a man should not work for three days after such a marriage, but they take advantage of the Sabbath in order to give the new couple a long weekend. The reason this is needed, the Babylonian Talmud suggests, is that the husband no longerfindssex novel. The assumption underlying the Babylonian Talmud's explanation is an im­ portant one: a woman who had been previously married would not ordinarily be married to a man who had never been married. Both Talmuds deal explic­ itly with this issue in their discussion of the marriage blessing to be recited after the wedding of a previously married woman. The Palestinian Talmud draws the analogy to the wedding of Boaz to Ruth, both of whom were wid­ owed, and states that "even" in the case of a marriage between a widow and widower, a blessing in the presence of ten is required. The Babylonian Tal­ mud's sugya is more expansive, ultimately requiring seven days of blessing when a widow or divorcee marries a man who had never been married, but only one day of blessing when they have both been widowed. None of the (otherwise unattributed) "tannaitic" sources that the sugya cites mention the status of the husband. The Babylonian Talmud is careful to protect the right of the widow to one day of blessing, and the right of the husband who has not previously married, no matter whom he marries, to seven days. The Palestinian Talmud does not voice this concern. Whom, then, might a widowed or divorced woman expect to remarry? In Palestine, divorced or widowed women were almost certainly not desirable partners for men who had never been married. They could probably expect remarriage with a man who was widowed, divorced, or had another wife. Working from the contemporaneous census records in Roman Egypt, Roger Bagnall and Bruce Frier have suggested that after the age of thirty-five, the sex ratio tilts heavily and quickly toward males. Should a similar pattern apply in Palestine, then there would have been a growing population of widowers who would look for second brides among young women. Exactly this concern might well inform the following sugya in the Babylonian Talmud. 18

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Rabbi Elia said, "Scripture says, 'Do not degrade your daughter and make her a whore, [lest the land fall into harlotry and the land be filled with depravity],' [Lev. 19:29]." Rabbi Yaakov the brother of Rav Aha bar Yaakov objected, "This verse, 'Do not degrade your daughter and make her a whore,' is necessary for this baraita: ' "Do

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not degrade your daughter": Is it possible that Scripture refers to a priest who marries his daughter to a Levite or Israelite? Scripture continues, "and make her a whore"—Scripture is referring to degradation through fornication [zenut, i.e.,] one who gives over his daughter not for the sake of marriage.' " —If so, let Scripture write "degrade" correctly [hi instead of hll]. Why does Scripture write hill To indicate two degradations. What do Abayye and Rabba do with this verse: "Do not degrade your daughter and make her a whore"? Rabbi Mani said, "This is one who marries his daughter to an old man, as it is taught, 'Do not degrade our daughter and make her a whore.'" Rabbi Eliezer says, "This is one who marries his daughter to an old man." Rabbi Akiba says, "This is one who causes his adult daughter to wait." Rav Kahana said in the name of Rabbi Akiba, "The only poor in Israel are the evil man naked [of the commandments], and the man who causes his adult daughter to wait." —Do you mean to say that the man who causes his adult daughter to wait is not an evil man naked [of the commandments]? Abayye said, "This means: Who is poor? An evil man naked [of the command­ ments], that is, one who causes his adult daughter to wait." Rav Kahana said in the name of Rabbi Akiba, "Beware of one who advises you for his own advantage." Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav, "One who marries his daughter to an old man, or one who marries a woman to his young son, and one who returns a lost object to a kuti, about him Scripture says, ' . . . to the utter ruin of moist and dry alike. The Lord will never forgive him' [Deut. 29:18-19]." 23

24

This sugya reflects two worries, that a father will marry his daughter to an "old" man (the term is vague) and that he will delay marrying her. Almost all of the traditions that comprise this sugya are attributed to Palestinians. While the concern with marriage of a young girl to an "old" man wouldfitwell with the demographic situation in Palestine sketched above, this concern is voiced in no other contemporary Palestinian document. The Babylonian contribu­ tion at the end of this sugya, however, does suggest that the other traditions are genuinely Palestinian. For Rav Yehuda (in the name of Rav), the problem is an age gap between spouses in general, rather than the specific age gap (older man and younger woman) with which the Palestinian sources exclusively deal. That is, Palestinian sources are concerned exclusively with the marriage of a young woman to an older man, a concern that probably springs from the demographic realities of the second-marriage market. This particular issue, however, does not worry Babylonian amoraim, who misunderstand the Pales­ tinian concern as being with age gaps between spouses. These sources testify to a problem that probably grew from a surplus of widowers. By marrying younger women, these widowers would have put more pressure on men marry­ ing for thefirsttime. 25

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CHAPTER 8 LEVIRATE MARRIAGE

When brothers dwell together and one of the them dies and leaves no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married to a stranger, outside the family. Her hus­ band's brother shall unite with her; take her as his wife and perform the levir's duty. The first son that she bears shall be accounted to the dead brother that his name may not be blotted out in Israel. But if the man does not want to marry his brother's wife . . . his brother's widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face and make this declaration "Thus shall be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house." (Deut. 25:5-9) According to this deuteronomic description of levirate marriage, a man has an obligation to marry his brother's widow should he die without a son in order to bear a child who will stand in place of the deceased brother. He has the ability to avoid this obligation through a ceremony known as halisah, which this biblical account clearly sees as a shameful alternative. The institution of levirate marriage may have undergone changes even within the biblical period: the story of Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38) does not seem to recognize an option of halisah, and Lev. 18:16 and 20:21 flatly prohibit marriage to one's brother's wife, perhaps indicating opposition to levirate marriage. Jewish literature written between the Bible and the rabbinic literature contains virtually no mention of levirate marriage. Neither Philo nor the Qumran documents mention levirate marriage all. Philo makes one passing remark on Onan's crime as having failed to fulfill the duty of the next of kin, presumably a reference to the Greek institution of the epiklerate (see below). Only two Greek Jewish sources mention levirate marriage. One is the synoptic Gospels, which recount a story of the Sadducees quizzing Jesus about the case of a woman who has had seven levirate marriages. Levirate marriage is itself incidental to the point of this story and teaches us nothing about its practice at that time. Josephus too mentions levirate marriage. In his slight recasting of the deuteronomic law of levirate marriage, Josephus adds two contemporary reasons for it: it preserves property within the family and alle­ viates the misfortunes of the widows. Josephus, apparently, finds it incom­ prehensible that preserving memory of the deceased could serve as the sole justification for levirate marriage. What Josephus has subtly done, then, is to translate the biblical levirate marriage into the Greek epiklerate. In this Greek institution, if a man dies without sons, his nearest male relative "inherits" both his widow and his property. Despite the logistical and functional dif­ ferences between levirate and epiklerate marriage, Josephus was apparently more comfortable with the latter, choosing at least to cast the biblical levirate in this way to his audience. From these accounts (and its absence elsewhere, especially in Philo) it is impossible to know whether Jews during this period regularly practiced levirate marriage (or halisah), or altogether ignored the institution. 27

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Rabbinic legal discussions of levirate marriage, on the other hand, are volu­ minous and complex. Within this literature one can discern three different approaches to the issue of levirate marriage, and each approach can be identi­ fied very roughly with a different group of rabbis, the tannaim, Palestinian amoraim, and Babylonian amoraim. Tannaitic law regarding the levirate tends to adopt a dual approach to levirate marriage, at once limiting its applica­ bility while encouraging its performance when applicable. Hence, tannaitic law limits the need for a levirate marriage to the case where (1) the deceased man left no descendants at all; (2) he has brothers living at the time of his death; (3) none of his ex-wives fall into a wide number of other relationships to each other and the levir; and (4) the widowed wife is fertile (or at least not manifestly infertile) and not pregnant. Tannaitic law simplifies the ability of a man facing imminent death to divorce his wife, probably to allow her to avoid levirate marriage. Yet should these requirements be met, tannaitic law also encourages one to take his brother's widow in levirate marriage rather than releasing her. The tannaim translate levirate marriage into the Greek epiklerate to even a greater extent than Josephus, explicitly stating that the levir (rather than the offspring) will be entitled to both the property of his brother and to the child that should, according to the Bible, be counted as his brother's substitute. As mentioned, levirate marriage appears to contradict biblical incest laws. This was not lost on the tannaim, who included the two contradictory verses in a list of other toraitic "contradictions" that were "said in one utterance." This contradiction also generates the sole tannaitic opposition to the primacy of levirate marriage over halisah: "The commandment of levirate marriage takes precedence over that of halisah. Atfirst,they would [perform levirate mar­ riage] for the sake of the commandment. Now, that they do not [perform levi­ rate marriage] for the sake of the commandment, they say: the commandment of halisah takes precedence over that of levirate marriage." The same opin­ ion is elsewhere expressed as a strong disincentive for a man to perform a levirate marriage for the sake of lust or property. This isolated sentiment, however, does not carry the day among the tannaim. In contrast to their tannaitic predecessors, Palestinian amoraim appear to prefer halisah to levirate marriage. "This is the principle: to the one [whether the man or the widow] who does not want [the levirate marriage] we listen." The end of this same sugya too appears to support the preference of halisah to levirate marriage Similarly, the positions attributed to Palestinians in a re­ lated sugya in the Babylonian Talmud prefer halisah. Babylonian amoraim, however, tend to support levirate marriage over halisah. After citing the mishnah on the preference of halisah over levirate marriage, the Babylonian Talmud continues with a statement that the rabbis once again retracted, and now they say that levirate marriage is preferable Accordingly, the Babylonian Talmud's halisah ceremony shames the brother more than that of the Palestinian Talmud 35

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As understood by the author of Deuteronomy, the purpose of levirate mar­ riage was to "build up" a man's house and memory through a surrogate, em­ bodied in his offspring; to die without a son was a cruel fate. Changing and differing Jewish views toward both marriage and progeny, I believe, account for the variegated rabbinic response to levirate marriage. The tannaim under­ stood the purpose of the levirate in terms of both their own hellenistically flavored environment and their marital ideology. For them, levirate marriage was similar to the Greek epiklerate, one of whose primary purposes was the consolidation of property. The purpose of biological reproduction was not to continue the line or house of an individual man, but, as I have already argued, to create one's own household, thus fulfilling one's obligation to God and society. Understanding levirate marriage as primarily a property transaction leads directly to the tension found in tannaitic literature: Should, then, levirate marriage really take precedence over biblical incest laws? Among the Pales­ tinian amoraim, the dominant answer appears to have been negative. By the fourth andfifthcenturies CE, the levirate had lost most relevance to rabbinic Jews in the West. This might well have been due to the logical trajectory of the tannaitic objection to levirate marriage. It is also possible, however, that eco­ nomic factors weakened the institution of levirate marriage, as understood by the tannaim. The purpose of an epiklerate is to prevent the fragmentation of property among brothers. Perhaps as Jewish agricultural activity in Palestine decreased during this time—therefore the importance and frequency of land ownership—the last justification for the levirate fell. r

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Among Babylonian rabbis, though, levirate marriage enjoyed continued favor. Zoroastrian sources again provide an intriguing parallel. Ancient Per­ sians had an institution similar to levirate marriage, called sturih marriage. For Zoroastrians, a man must produce a son—even a son biologically fathered by his brother—in order to gain access to the afterlife: "One has to give him [the deceased issueless person] a son . . . in order that that son should bring his soul over the Cinvat bridge." It appears likely to me that in such a receptive envi­ ronment Babylonian amoraim would have no incentive to dispense with levi­ rate marriage. Considering their view of progeny (discussed in chapter 1), it is also likely that they understood levirate marriage as furnishing individual and supernatural reward for the deceased brother. While I have been unable to find direct evidence to support this hypothesis, it is clear that Babylonian amoraim did not understand the purpose of levirate marriage to be for the preservation of property. Finally, it is worth stating the obvious: levirate marriage had a fundamental connection with and impact on polygyny. A large number of levirate widows, one must suppose, would "devolve" to men who already have wives. Indeed, Palestinian sources, which show an increasing monogamous trend correlates well with their attitudes toward levirate marriage, as do Babylonian sources which show no scruples at all about polygyny. Once again, we cannot know 49

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the statistical extent of levirate marriages, but is is probably safe to say that levirate widows would have composed a significant percentage of "second" wives, especially in tannaitic Palestine and in Jewish Babylonia. POLYGYNY

The Hebrew Bible clearly legislates for, and assumes, polygyny, the marriage of a man to more than one wife. (Its opposite, polyandry—the marriage of a woman to more than one man—would be classified as adultery.) While sketchy, extant evidence suggests that at least some, and perhaps most, postbiblical Jewish communities retained an allowance for the practice of polygyny. Two sources speak to the survival of polygyny among Jews during the Sec­ ond Temple period. Josephus, in his discussion of Herod's many marriages, states explicitly (for the benefit of his non-Jewish audience?) that polygyny is a patrios, or Jewish custom. A second, indirect, source is from the polemic against polygyny in the Dead Sea scrolls. The Damascus Document condemns those who allow a man to marry "two women during their lifetime." What­ ever else it may mean, this polemic would include those who allow polygyny. Similarly, the Temple Scroll prescribes that a king marry only a single wife. It is difficult to know how to evaluate these scattered bits of evidence, espe­ cially when contrasted with the wealth of Second Temple literature that con­ tains no reference to polygyny in discussions of marriage. Do they refer only to a Palestinian Jewish practice? To a very limited Jewish practice, especially among the elite? When the Temple Scroll forbids a king from marrying two wives, is it tacitly accepting that other men can practice polygyny? While there is no way from the extant evidence to gauge the extent of Jewish polygyny in the Second Temple period, this and the later Jewish evidence does strongly suggest that Jews did practice polygyny. The strongest evidence from the rabbinic period that Jews practiced po­ lygyny is from contemporary nonrabbinic sources. The Jewess Babatha, as I noted in chapter 4 (and will discuss further below), entered her second mar­ riage as a second wife. As Naphtali Lewis has noted, "Babatha's second mar­ riage sheds a bright new light upon the extent to which polygamy was prac­ ticed by Jews of the tannaitic period." Lewis's main point is that contrary to much scholarly opinion, here was an absolutely normal case of polygyny be­ tween Jews of moderate means. Justin Martyr, writing only a few years later, also refers to the Jewish custom of polygyny. In 393 the emperor Theodosius (with Arcadius and Honorius) prohibited Jews from polygyny: "None of the Jews shall keep his custom (morem) in marriage unions, neither shall he con­ tract nuptials according to his law, nor enter into several matrimonies at the same time." This imperial legislation was apparently not fully successful— even outside the Land of Israel—because in 537 Justinian issued a novel that 50

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granted an exemption from laws against polygyny to the Jews of Tyre. In 535, Justinian prohibited "abominable marriages," subjecting those who contracted such marriages to seizure of a fourth of their property. Two years later, the Jews of Tyre "supplicated with tears that they shall not be forced now to send away their wives but that they shall keep them and have the children born to them." As late as the early sixth century, then, at least some Jewish commu­ nities in Byzantium continued to practice polygyny. Rabbinic law too assumes polygyny. In all of the rabbinic legal writings there are many, often tortuous, discussions of polygyny and how it effects other legal areas, most notably levirate marriage. From the time of Zechariah Fraenkel there has been a scholarly tendency to see these discussions as aca­ demic rather than prescriptive, and there can be little doubt that most of them are. Yet they may well reveal not only a theoretical possibility, but also a living social institution. While it is impossible to gauge the extent to which polygyny may have been practiced, it does seem fair to classify Jewish socie­ ties in antiquity, at least in Palestine and Babylonia, as polygynous societies. Yet, despite the polygynous nature of Jewish society, there were, as Salo Baron long ago called them, "monogamous trends" among Jews in Roman Palestine. These trends have often been attributed to the nature of Roman soci­ ety. Rabbi Ammi, an early amora, counseled that one should divorce his wife before taking another, and a later Palestinian midrash unequivocally ascribes to Job an argument from creation that a man was meant to have one, and only one, wife. There is an odd absence of cases of polygynous marriages from Palestinian rabbinic documents. Assuming that most Jews in Roman Palestine practiced and expected others to practice monogyny, Baron grasped the essential problem: Why does rab­ binic legal theory, which assumes polygyny, run counter to the reality? His answer was that "[p]ossibly talmudic Judaism clung to this unrealistic legal theory in conscious opposition to Graeco-Roman monogamy." When we flip the assumption, we must also flip the question: When rabbinic and nonrabbinic Jews in Roman Palestine accepted polygyny, how do we interpret the antipolygynous sentiment? The answer is, again, to be found in the schema de­ veloped in the first two chapters of this book. Palestinian Jews increasingly developed a view of marriage as "natural" and rooted in creation. This notion strengthened over time, probably under Christian influence. By modeling con­ temporary marriage after the primal marriage of Adam and Eve, Palestinian Jews would have weakened any ideological justification of polygynous mar­ riages. That is, to the extent that these Jews developed an ideology of marriage based on the creation story and primordial and paradigmatic existence of an original couple (Adam and Eve), they would be led to a monogamous out­ look. Hence, these positions that ran against the grain of real marital practice can be seen as outgrowths of an internal theological development influenced by external factors. Greek and Roman marital ideologies worked well with 57

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their practice of monogamy. When Palestinian Jews began to appropriate and adapt these ideologies, they were left with a conflict between it and their tradi­ tional marital practice. The monogamous trend in our sources is a trace of this conflict. Monogamous thinking made no headway into Babylonian Jewry. As many scholars have noted, despite the absence of concrete evidence of polygynous marriages among Babylonian Jews, Babylonian rabbinic statements simply assume a polygynous society. In light of the contemporary non-Jewish prac­ tice of polygyny in Babylonia, the fact that Jews too were polygynous is un­ surprising. Like Palestinian sources, Babylonian rabbinic sources give no indi­ cation of the frequency of Jewish polygynous marriages. At the same time, Babylonian amoraim recognize that a man's first wife would not be overly thrilled at the prospect of acquiring a "rival": "[For] an evil wife with a large marriage settlement—[put] a rival at her side," Rabba advises. One sugya in the Babylonian Talmud hinges on the presupposition that a man would not want to marry his daughter to one who already has a wife. This last source raises the practical question of how polygyny was actually practiced in these societies. On this, we have only the evidence from the Babatha archive. Babatha'sfirstmarriage appears to have been unexceptional: a young woman from an upper-class Jewish family in Mahoza married a local man of similar economic means. About Judah Khthousion'sfirstmarriage we know even less, except that he married a local woman (from En-Gedi), and that they probably remained there for thefirstten tofifteenyears of their marriage. His own means were probably always limited, for the property he mortgaged (and eventually inherited) was worth no more than forty or sixty denarii. Judah was what we would call a hustler. From what we can reconstruct of his business dealings, he was continuously shuffling hisfinances,seeking to find capital. When he (probably) met Babatha, she was not in good straits. She had some money from herfirstdowry and a young son from whose guardians she kept trying to wheedle more cash. Perhaps it was physical attraction or love that brought them together, but it could not have hurt that Judah could provide her with some immediate support, she could bring him some much needed cash immediately, and he stood to obtain sizable land holdings later. One wonders if this was one "typical" polygynous pattern. Levirates and widows made better "second" wives than virgins, whose fathers wanted to marry them asfirstwives. Men may have been attracted to a second wife for a variety of reasons, such as political expediency (e.g., Herod) or as a source of liquid capital. If we can believe the (formulaic) wording of the plea of the sixth-century Jews of Tyre, cold calculation was not the only determining fac­ tor within these marriages. Babatha appears to have lived in the same housing complex as Miriam. Although Babatha may have established some relationship with Miriam's daughter (whose marriage contract was found with Babatha's documents and 67

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whose dowry she underwrote), Miriam was happy to evict Babatha upon Judah's death: "Before this" summons issued by Babatha, Miriam complains, "I summoned you not to go near the possessions of my and your late hus­ band." Again, we are at a loss as to how typical this kind of relationship may have been. It is certainly reasonable—and by no means anachronistic—to as­ sume that there was some degree of hostility and competition between "rival" wives. 73

CONCUBINAGE

"Rabbinic law was entirely free from the problem of inferior marriages," Louis Epstein has written. Epstein is correct to assert that the evidence for the existence of concubinage among Jews during the Second Temple and rabbinic periods is scant. At the same time, the little evidence that does survive might hint that concubinage in these societies was not as unconceivable as Epstein would have liked. In the Hebrew Bible the concubine, pilegesh, appears as a kind of inferior wife, almost always as secondary to the primary wife or her rivals. A concu­ bine, that is, exists only when her man already has a wife or wives. The conse­ quences of this designation are by no means clear, as the Bible never spells out "concubinage" as a legal category. Nor is there any uniform nuance applied to the concubine. Some concubines, such as Bilhah, are credited with having progeny that take an equal share of their father's estate and blessing. On the other extreme, Israel's archenemy, Amalek, is said to descend from a concu­ bine (Gen. 36:12). Concubines were not prostitutes: they were involved with a single man and were not free to have sex with other men. One of Absalom's first acts to demonstrate his usurpation of David, his father, was to sleep pub­ licly with David's concubines (2 Sam. 16:22). While almost never discussing contemporary concubines, both Philo and Josephus refer to concubinage in their discussions of biblical figures. Unlike the Bible, they do seem to have a sense of what it meant to be a concubine. For both, the primary ramification of a relationship of concubinage is that it pro­ duces "illegitimate" children (nothoi). Although the distinction between "le­ gitimate" and "illegitimate" children is not mentioned in the Bible, both Philo and Josephus consistently use these categories. At one point Philo, for ex­ ample, refers to the elevation of Joseph over his bastard brothers, born of concubines. Abraham's children by his concubines, Philo is careful to add, were bastards. Josephus has a similar understanding. Because Josephus sees Ishmael as debased, he adds the extrabiblical aside that Hagar was really Abraham's concubine. Conversely, Josephus is apparently a bit squeamish about terming Bilhah a concubine (thus debasing her children), and so re­ strains from applying this term to her. Josephus mentions only a single real concubine, a gift from King Herod to another royal. 74

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Philo's and Josephus's understanding of concubinage is a standard Greek one. Greek concubines were "kept women," who—like their biblical counter­ parts—were expected to remain faithful to their husbands with no expectation of reciprocity. They differed from wives primarily in the status of their chil­ dren, who were not recognized as legitimate: they were bastards, nothoi. Whether Philo and Josephus actually knew Jews who had or were concubines is again impossible to say. They did, however, transform their understanding of the institution in line with a traditional Greek view of it. Unlike the Hebrew Bible and, it seems, the Greeks, the Romans granted a legal status to the concubine. Among Romans, a concubine was a woman with whom a man lived monogamously, but in the vast bulk of if not all, cases the couple lacked the legal ability to marry. The legal impediment to marriage was often the slave or freed status of one of the partners. Hence, a couple who could not legally marry would form a monogamous partnership that accorded to the woman some, if not all, of the legal rights accorded a wife. The rabbinic understanding of a concubine is difficult to determine. On the one hand, many rabbinic traditions seem to reflect a biblical understanding: a concubine was a "quasi-wife," who lived with a single man who had a "legit­ imate" wife. No tannaitic document understands the concubine in any legal sense. Gen. 36:12, for example, records the status of an otherwise obscure woman, Timna, the pilegesh of one of Esau's sons. The rabbis understand the notice of her status to praise Abraham: "I am not worthy to be a wife to him [the grandson of Abraham], [so] I will be his concubine," the rabbis have her reason. But two brief notices in the Talmuds might indicate a somewhat more com­ plex understanding. After a discussion of King David's wives and concubines, the Babylonian Talmud interjects: "What are wives [and] what are concu­ bines? Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav: 'Wives have ketubba and qiddusin. Concubines have neither ketubba nor qiddusin.' " The ketubba here means economic security, and qiddusin is the legal capacity to marry (connubium.) A wife is married and has economic rights; a concubine is not considered married and lacks the primary economic protection that rabbinic law grants to wives. A concubine here appears to occupy a middle ground between a legitimate wife and a prostitute. In the Palestinian Talmud the concubine more clearly inhabits a position between the legitimate wife and the prostitute. According to the Mishnah, "Rabbi Yehudah says, Tf he wants, he writes for a virgin a contract for 200 [zuz], and she writes, "I received from you a maneh [=100 zwz]....'" R. Meir says: 'Anyone who [assigns] to a virgin less than 200 [zuz], and to a widow less than a maneh, behold, this is fornication.' " R. Yehudah proposes a legal loophole that would allow a man to commit himself to less than the statutory amount of the ketubba: he can pledge to give his wife 200 zuz, but then she can write him a (false) receipt for half of this amount. R. Meir disagrees, saying 83

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that the statutory amount is a real minimum, and that should he pledge any­ thing less than that amount in real terms the marriage itself is illegitimate. Because the assignment of the ketubba elsewhere in rabbinic law has abso­ lutely no bearing on the validity of the marriage itself, we should probably take R. Meir's statement as rhetorical flourish. It is this mishnah, and not a side discussion of King David, that generates the brief discussion of the pilegesh in the Palestinian Talmud. "What is a wife and what is a concubine? Rabbi Meir says, 'A wife has a ketubba and a concu­ bine does not have a ketubba' R. Yudah [=Yehudah] says, 'Both have a ketubba. A wife has both a ketubba and the statutory stipulations of the ketubba. A concubine has a ketubba but not the statutory stipulations of the ketubba.' " In R. Yehudah's statement here we have a legal definition of a concubine. A concubine does not have the full economic security of a legiti­ mate wife, but neither does she lack all legal rights. As brief as it is, this short report—situated as part of the commentary of a mishnah that discusses the status of a consort—suggests that the concubine was not unknown among the Jews in Roman Palestine. How concubinage would actually have worked is obscure. There can be little doubt that some Jewish men in Roman Palestine kept mistresses in addi­ tion to their legitimate wives. But when these relationships went sour what recourse, if any, did the mistress have? Should she take her case to the Roman courts, she might be able to make a case under the Roman laws applying to concubines. If she went to at least one rabbinic court (R. Yehudah's), she would apparently also be entitled to an economic settlement. Stable, quasi-marital relationships may have worked differently among Jews in Babylonia. Babylonian sources briefly mention yet another marital institution, the "wife for a day." A few anecdotes relate that when a Babylo­ nian sage would enter a new town, he would request a "wife for a day." Isaiah Gafni has argued that this refers to the Persian institution of temporary mar­ riage. The existence of an institution of temporary marriage—whatever its true legal ramifications in rabbinic law, which are unknown—could well func­ tion in the same manner as concubinage. A "concubine" in Babylonia, lacking both qiddusin and ketubba, would be equivalent to a prostitute, but a tempo­ rary wife would have some legal rights, although these rights would probably be less than those of a legitimate wife. Thus far I have focused on concubinage as supplementing legitimate mar­ riage. Romans primarily used concubinage as a substitute for marriage, as an institution granting certain legal rights to a woman who does not have the legal capacity to establish a legitimate marriage with her man. As discussed in chap­ ter 6, the rabbis established marital castes, and forbade marriages between members of different castes. We must assume that some Jews in antiquity did establish these forbidden liaisons, but there is no data at all on whether these couples would have taken advantage of Roman marriage laws or lived in stable but technically unmarried relationships under rabbinic law. 89

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One case that is discussed within rabbinic literature is that of slaves. Greek and Roman slaveowners routinely used their female slaves sexually, and there is some explicit rabbinic evidence that Jewish masters behaved no better. Biblical law, however, also creates a legal institution by which a Hebrew slave woman could be "designated" as the wife of her master or his son. The rabbis tinker with this institution but ultimately leave it intact. While there are a few minor and technical differences, marriage through designation is essentially the same as a man freeing his female Jewish slave and then marrying her: the marriage is counted as any other. Similarly, there was no legal barrier for a woman to release and then marry her male Jewish slaves, although one can presume a social bias against this scenario. Hence, concubinage was not needed in order to permit stable relationships between masters and freed slaves. Whether these legal formalities were actually observed is entirely un­ known, but it is certainly plausible that Jews and their Jewish slaves occasion­ ally formed stable romantic relationships. 92

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While we talk today of the fluid and tangled nature of the many "blended" families in our society, the complexity of modern family dynamics does not even approach that of Jewish antiquity. The marital paradigm was the first marriage, and this paradigm was expressed in cultural, mythic, and ritual terms. Despite the meagre evidence, the demographics alone make it clear that most marital situations were not paradigmatic. Widowhood and divorce, both followed by remarriage, would have been common among Jews in antiquity. The possibility of levirate marriage and continuation of polygyny would have created families far more complex than we find in our own society. Our evi­ dence even attests to stable nonmarital relationships, although their quantity and the details of how they worked are obscure.

Throughout part 2 I have shuttled between ideological (including legal) con­ structions of marriage and its reality. As I have attempted to tease out descrip­ tive data from our normative sources, I have also tried to explicate the complex relationships between ideological texts and real practice. Jews in antiquity married, and they often did so without any strong sense of ritual or law. They certainly had mechanisms for insuring the orderly distribution of property at the end of the marriage, and they tended to accompany marriage with customs that they saw as traditional. As I argued in chapter 3, the rabbinic imposition of an objective moment of marriage was innovative, and probably not well accepted. In chapter 7 I argued that there are certain limited areas in which the rabbis sought to ritualize wedding customs, and even in these cases their inter­ est was not entirely in marriage itself. Ancient Jewish discussions of endog­ amy and exogamy offer an extreme example of the manipulation of marital concepts in order to achieve goals that have little to do with "real" marriage.

PART III

Staying Married

Chapter Nine T H E ECONOMICS O F MARRIAGE

A MARRIAGE restructures both kinship and economic relationships. In chap­ ter 6,1 explored, to the extent that the evidence allowed, how Jews in antiquity used marriage, and deployed it, in order to define and reinforce their concepts of kin and family. In this chapter I turn to the economic functions of marriage. The formation of marriage in antiquity, as in many societies today, also created an immediate three-way economic relationship between the families of the spouses and the spouses themselves. Because one of the most important func­ tions of marriage was (is?) to assure the orderly and desired devolution of family property, the economic relationship between a family, their children, their childrens' spouses, and their grandchildren, is intimately linked to strate­ gies of property succession. Marriage payments marked the beginning of these economic relationships. Our evidence testifies to several different kinds of marriage payments prac­ ticed by Jews in antiquity. The Bible mentions a mohar payment, made by the groom or his family to the father of the bride. During the Persian and Hellenis­ tic period, many Jews used a dowry, which consisted of household goods, personal effects, or cash brought into a marriage by the bride. Sometimes, in order to increase a woman's prestige, a groom would augment her dowry— this is known as an "indirect dowry." Papyrological sources mention, and rab­ binic sources frequently discuss, a ketubba payment. In the first part of this chapter I discuss these terms and examine how Jews throughout antiquity used these payments. These marriage payments, and the laws and customs that governed them, had meanings. Most societies attach a particular purpose to these payments, and underneath their norms, whether followed or not, stand certain assump­ tions about the nature of marriage. When a woman, for example, brought a dowry into a marriage, how did she, her husband, and her father understand the purpose of that dowry? How did these marriage payments relate to strategies of succession and inheritance? This discussion will involve an in-depth exam­ ination of the actual marriages described in chapter 4. Marriage also created economic ties and obligations between spouses. Ex­ amination of the legal and economic relationship between spouses reveals the deep and fundamental axes along which the couple structured their mutual expectations. How did the two spouses understand their economic obligations to their partner and the family as a unit? And to what extent did they trust, or

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not trust, their partner to fulfill his or her obligations? The legal structure of the conjugal economic relationship provides deeper insight into how the couple understood (or were expected to understand) their own relationship. MARRIAGE PAYMENTS

The Hebrew Bible describes a single primary marriage payment, the mohar. This is a sum of money to be paid by the groom to the father or family of his prospective wife. While biblical law never mandates this payment in the case of a "normal" marriage, its stipulations regarding rape and seduction assume that such a payment was customary. Biblical narrative reinforces this impres­ sion: Eliezer brings gifts to both Rebekkah and her family in order to woo her as a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24:53); Jacob must work for his father-in-law for seven years for each of his daughters (Gen. 29:18, 27); and David must bring 100 Philistine foreskins to Saul as a mohar for his daughter Michal (1 Sam. 18:23-26). The exact nature and purpose of this payment is somewhat ob­ scure, but it is well paralleled in other ancient Near Eastern societies. Narrative texts in the Hebrew Bible allude as well to other marital payments. Eliezer not only brings a mohar to Laban, Rachel's brother, but also presents gifts to Rebekkah herself (Gen. 24:22, 47). Jacob spends extra time at Laban's house in order to obtain a nest egg from his father-in-law, and when Rachel leaves her father's house she takes a trousseau and some movable property (Gen. 30:25^3; 31:19, 41^2). The Bible never systematically discusses these payments, nor does it explain how marriage payments are (or are not) linked to the laws of succession, by which a daughter is allowed to inherit her father's property only when she has no brothers. While it is unclear to what extent the scattered biblical references reflect the actual marriage practices among the Hebrews at any given time or in any given place, the documents from Elephantine—written as the Torah was undergoing itsfinalredaction—present a dual system of marriage payments. Nearly all of the documents of wifehood from Elephantine contain reference to a mohar, usually a relatively small sum of money given by the groom to his father-inlaw or his wife's "brother." The primary purpose of the mohar in these docu­ ments appears to have been to act as a deterrent for "hatred"; should he pub­ licly "hate" his wife he loses all rights to recovery of the mohar. The more important marriage payment, however, appears to have been the dowry, which is larger than the mohar and is explicated in great detail. If the Jews of Elephantine reduced the mohar to symbolic importance, Greek-speaking Jews during the Hellenistic period appear to have dispensed with it altogether. Elias Bickerman has noted the Septuagint's tendency to translate the biblical term mohar with the Greek word for dowry, pherne. Ben Sira, writing in Jerusalem not long after the Septuagint's translation, warns " . . . be not ensnared for the sake of what [a woman] possesseth, for hard 1

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slavery and a disgrace it is (if) a wife support her husband." A century or two later Pseudo-Phocylides echoed this warning. Two of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs refer to transmission of dowry on marriage, and Philo and Josephus seem to assume that a dowry was an essential component of a re­ spectable Jewish marriage. A divorce document from Egypt from 13 BCE records return of the wife's dowry of sixty drachmas? A Jewish woman from Acmonia records on a tombstone, which probably dates from the third cen­ tury CE, that she paid for it out of her dowry (proikos). None of these sources mention a marriage payment resembling a mohar. The significance of this evidence is clear: Jews who lived among Greeks adopted the Greek custom of bestowing dowries upon their daughters. Greeks placed great symbolic, if not constitutive, importance on the dowry: its pres­ ence signified a "respectable" union, and its amount marked and announced status. There were good economic, cultural, and social reasons why Jews adopted both the Greek custom and its understanding. Economically, Jews faced pressures identical to those of their non-Jewish neighbors, and to the extent that marital payments are intended to address these pressures one would expect Jews and non-Jews living with the same problems to adopt similar solutions. Culturally, Jews wanted their marriages to be "legitimate," as seen within and outside of the community, and in the environment in which they lived legitimacy was marked with a dowry. Socially, Hellenistic Jews, for the most part, did not choose marriage as a "boundary marker": when Philo and Josephus try to delineate what is distinctive about Jews, they rarely raise the issue of marriage. Greek-speaking Jews did not use their marriage payments to mark self-identity. Jewish preference for dowry over mohar payments was not limited to the "Hellenized" Jews of Egypt; the "semi-Hellenized" Jews of Arabia and Judaea from the first to second centuries CE also regularly used dowry rather than mohar payments. In not a single papyrus from the Judaean desert do we find a mohar, or a reference to a mohar payment, even by another name. All of the Greek marriage contracts from the Judaean desert explicitly mention a dowry and in one, the marriage contract of Shelamzion and Judah Cimber, the groom obligates himself for a dowry addition. Presence of a dowry in the three Aramaic marriage contracts are more debatable. One mentions money, but the surviving fragment does not indicate how much or whence it came. The other two mention the ketubba money, and of these only one, Babatha's marriage contract, contains a sum. Is this a reference to the ketubba money known from rabbinic sources, an endowment pledge on the part of the husband? The editors of the document think so. None of these Aramaic documents contain a clause recording receipt of a dowry, although in two, and possibly in all three, such a clause may have been lost. Such a receipt may have been part of a very fragmentary marriage contract from Nahal Hever. On the other hand, it strikes me as bizarre, at least in the case of Babatha, if there was no dowry: 5

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Why, when Judah Khthosion could marry a woman who had a dowry, would he choose to marry a woman without one, in the process obligating himself to the tune of 400 denarii? It seems likely to me, although there is no definitive proof either way in these documents, that they contain evidence only of a dowry payment, and not of the endowment pledge that would become known in the rabbinic sources as the ketubba. In these papyri, as even occasionally in rabbinic literature, the term ketubba seems to mean "dowry." Tannaitic law assumes two kinds of marriage payments, the dowry and the ketubba. The Mishnah sets the statutory dowry at fifty zuz, a quarter of the statutory ketubba for a woman's first marriage. Negotiation determined the amount of the dowry, with the law setting no upper or lower limits: "There is one who marries his daughter and takes money, and there is one who marries his daughter and gives after her money." The dowry was usually composed of moveables, including slaves. A cash dowry was to be appraised at twice its nominal value. If, for example, a woman brought in an actual dowry of 100 zuz, it was to be recorded in her marriage document as 150 zuz, payable to her on dissolution of the marriage. Items from her trousseau, on the other hand, were to be assessed at a 20 percent discount to account for their natural wear and devaluation. Rabbinic law gives to the husband the right to use the dowry (i.e., the usufruct), but upon the dissolution of the marriage he was responsible for returning the dowry itself, the principal (or its cash equivalent). A woman's "marriage settlement" is not, in rabbinic law, comprised solely of her dowry. The tannaim also prescribe a ketubba payment, which they de­ fine as a delayed endowment pledge from the groom. This payment is due to the woman upon divorce or death of her husband. The minimum ketubba sum for any woman whom a man expects to be a virgin (and therefore against whom he can initiate a suit if she is not) is 200 zuz; it is 100 zuz for a woman who had been previously married. Under most circumstances, this statu­ tory ketubba payment is due to the wife or her heirs when the marriage termi­ nates. A husband can also obligate himself for a larger sum: "Although they said, 'A virgin collects 200 [zuz] and a widow 100,' if he wishes to add even 100 maneh [=10,000 zuz], he adds." This "addition," the mishnah continues, would be due to her only if the marriage dissolved after the wedding had taken place, not if it ended between the betrothal and the wedding. Palestinian and Babylonian amoraim attempted to weaken the importance of the ketubba, but they did so to different ends. One way that the Palestinian amoraim weakened the value of the ketubba was to incline toward allowing the husband to pay his debt using local currency rather than the higher-valued Tyrian shekels. The same Palestinian sugya justifies a ketubba that is below the Mishnah's statutory minimum. Palestinian amoraim debate the attempt in the Mekilta to see the ketubba as a direct continuation of the biblical mohar, although a majority does ultimately side with the opinion that it is "Torah law." In several places the Palestinian Talmud uses the Greek word for 19

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"dowry" to denote a wife's "marriage money"; it is rarely clear to precisely what payment this term refers. In contrast, the Palestinian Talmud empha­ sizes the importance of the dowry. R. Ami states that the reason for the estab­ lishment of court stipulation that a woman's male children inherit her ketubba is to encourage fathers to give big dowries to their daughters. If the father had died, his estate should assign no less than ten percent to each daughter's dowry. Commenting on the Mishnah's 50 percent addition to the evaluation of cash in a dowry, the Palestinian Talmud states that a man wants the cash in order to do business. The ketubba payment fared no better in the hands of the Babylonian jurists. Developing the sentiment found in the Palestinian Talmud, the Babylonians definitively reduced the status of the ketubba to a "scribal enactment" and decreed that it should be paid in the local currency. Yet here too the Babylo­ nians went further, reducing the minimum ketubba payment (200 zuz for a virgin; 100 zuz for a widow) by an eighth. At the same time, they attempted to limit the size of the dowry. The Palestinian Talmud, explicating a tosepta, associates the sum of 10 percent of a man's estate with his daughter's dowry. It appears, although this is by no means clear, that the Palestinian amoraim are making a recommendation or setting a lower limit to the amount that a girl whose father has already died should be dowered. Babylonian amoraim, on the other hand, understand 10 percent of a man's estate as the maximum percent­ age of a man's property that he should, even when living, bestow upon his daughter as a dowry. Moreover, an unmarried girl whose father has died, who has a claim to 10 percent of the estate, is assigned a relatively low status as a creditor. While the purpose of a woman's dowry, according to a Palestinian amora cited in the Babylonian Talmud, is to attract men, Abayye reduces the minimum dowry to 50 small zuz, perhaps an eighth of the tannaitic and Pales­ tinian sum. In one Babylonian story, a pious rabbi goes to great lengths to deny his daughter a dowry. The Babylonian Talmud also seems to assume the existence of a third mar­ riage payment, the old mohar. Direct references to a mohar are admittedly scant, but the offhand manner in which the Talmud refers to this payment suggests that it was common. One rabbi, for example, "received" 400 zuz for his very attractive daughter. No effort is made to explain what this means. Similarly, the Babylonian Talmud contains a lengthy and complex discussion of the status of marriage gifts should the marriage be terminated between be­ trothal and marriage. This discussion includes references to the "mohar." The groom's payment to his prospective wife upon their betrothal was proba­ bly a kind of earnest money, which would be claimed (although perhaps not always legally) should he fail to actually marry her. Certain descriptions of a groom's "gifts" in the Babylonian Talmud might also be seen as a kind of mohar payment. There is evidence from before and after the Talmudic period that non-Jews in Babylonia made such payments, and despite the lack of 28

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evidence from the time of the rabbis, it is reasonable to think that they were customary during this period as well. In summary, there is no evidence that Jews in postbiblical antiquity relied exclusively on a mohar payment, or even that where they did make such a payment it was considered a primary one. They never interpreted the biblical descriptions of mohar as prescriptions, at least in a way that would determine their own marriage payments. Jews from Elephantine used small mohar pay­ ments with dowries. Jews from the Greek and Roman worlds tended to assume that dowries were the norm. Only the tannaitic material is exceptional in this regard: I return to it below. Babylonian amoraim assumed that all three mar­ riage payments, dowry, ketubba, and mohar, were current in their own envi­ ronment, but they deemphasized the importance of thefirsttwo. 43

UNDERSTANDING T H E DOWRY

In theory, a dowry can serve several different economic functions. In a society that does not allow or frowns upon daughters inheriting their fathers, it can serve as a vehicle for the transmission of property. A dowry can be seen as "compensating" a husband for his maintenance of a wife. Finally, a dowry can help to protect a woman from divorce, both by discouraging a man from di­ vorcing his wife and thus losing use of her dowry, and, should this fail and he does divorce her, by providing her with a means of support. Dowries and Inheritance The Jewish women in the "real marriages" described above in chapter 4 did not receive their inheritances as dowries. Because, however, several of these marriages were accompanied by property transfers—often a series of them—it is important to draw out the assumptions underlying the use of these legal instruments. When we return to evaluate thefirstarchive from Elephantine, we see that Mahseiah did well by his daughter. He appeared to have had two goals, to provide a dowry for his daughter and to insure that his property would devolve to his biological heirs. We do not know how much dowry he gave to Mibtahiah for herfirstmarriage, but it is clear that he did not chose to transmit the pri­ mary share of her patrimony through her dowry. Rather, he granted her a sepa­ rate gift of a house soon after she married. Why did he do this, and why did he do this at precisely that moment? The reason that parents would want to transfer their property to their daugh­ ters by deed of gift rather than as dowry is obvious: it kept the property out of the hands of their sons-in-law. About the last thing that a wife or her family wanted to see was their family estate go to her husband's children by another woman. When he granted usufruct in his daughter's house to her husband,

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Mahseiah was very careful to specify that he may not alienate or transfer his share of the property out of the family. His deal with his son-in-law was that the son-in-law would improve the property in return for usufruct and a guaran­ tee that after having done so, his wife would not divorce him immediately, "stealing" his labor. But the property itself was designated for their children. When Mahseiah gave another house to his daughter three years after her sec­ ond marriage, he assigned no rights (that we know of) to his son-in-law, and was somewhat conflicted about how he wanted to designate her own right to dispose of the property. Probably by this time Mibtahiah had one or both of her sons, although they would still have been young. The second-to-last thing that a woman and her family wanted to see was her husband going broke, having (illegally) squandered her dowry. Although a husband must refund the dowry on the dissolution of the marriage, he had use of it during the marriage. By limiting the dowry—that is, the daughter's share of the family property designated as dowry—the woman's family also limited its risk that their son-in-law would squander the dowry and be unable either to pass it on their daughter's heirs or to refund it in the case of divorce. Sue as they might, there would simply be nothing left to collect. This, as we know, is what happened in Babatha's second marriage. Mahseiah wanted his property to belong firmly to his daughter, not designated as part of her dowry. But deeding property to one's daughter, from the perspective of her father, had a potential downside: it gave her freedom. It is this fact that governed the timing of this gift. Fathers, who may have been insecure about their ability to govern the marital choices of their daughters under normal conditions, could use the deed of gift as additional leverage. Once a woman married an appropri­ ate man, the father would write over his property. Should, however, the father not approve of the match, he could refuse to give her any property. Similarly, Babatha's father Shimon would not have thought about granting his property to his wife Miriam outright; such a grant would have caused him to lose con­ trol over her behavior. Mahseiah and Mibtahiah won. Not only did they, apparently, achieve their own goals, but in the process they "beat" the family of Mibtahiah'sfirsthus­ band. This family lost part of their patrimony to Mibtahiah's children from her second marriage, boys totally unrelated by blood. Mahseiah and Mibtahiah succeeded in increasing their patrimony, no mean feat for a daughter. This kind of approach to Mibtahiah's archive also works when applied to that of Tamet. Remember that Annoniah began a series of property grants to his daughter Jehoishma and her husband Ananiah after they had children. Since Ananiah had the right to inherit his wife's property should she die child­ less, the presence of children no doubt relaxed her father's anxiety at giving his daughter the house. The presence of children also explain the absence of stipu­ lations in her document of wifehood concerning the property should she die childless. Annoniah's old age, his increased trust in his son-in-law, and the

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presence of grandchildren then motivated him not only to grant the house outright to his daughter, but to classify it as dowry. The purpose of this clas­ sification may have been to encourage Ananiah to live in the house and make improvements to it. Clearly it worked, for Ananiah was willing to buy out the rest of the property, in the process providing a pension to Tamet and his father-in-law. There are, to be sure, several differences between these two archives. In contrast to the peripatetic (or unlucky? or freespirited?) Mibtahiah, both Tamet and her daughter Jehoishma contracted long-lasting marriages. Tamet was a slave for much of her life, while Mibtahiah's marriages were all between free and moderately well-off parties. Yet the similarities between the behaviors of the major players in both of these archives is striking. In all cases, the mohar was relatively insignificant, serving more as a detriment for hasty divorce than enriching or compensating the father (or adopted brother) of the bride. Meshul­ lam, who appears to have been quite rich and not particularly beneficent, did not even think it worthwhile to demand a mohar from Ananiah. The dowry appears to have been less important than the gift given to a wife by her parents; only Zaccur provides an impressive dowry, but he did not give Jehoishma any land or part of his father's estate. The fathers of the brides, Mahseia and Ana­ niah, both pursued similar succession strategies, and both won. Both were apparently dealing with passing property through a lone daughter, and both did not want their property to pass to another family. Mahseia succeeded in in­ creasing his patrimony at another family's expense, and devolving it to his grandsons. Ananiah too built up and increased his patrimony with the labor and help of his son-in-law, eventually seeing it on the way into the hands of his own grandchildren. There survive no comparable contemporaneous non-Jewish archives against which to appraise these documents, but it is safe to say that little in these texts is distinctly Jewish. The mohar has functional parallels in demotic contracts, and non-Jewish Greek and demotic marriage contracts include similar prop­ erty and inheritance stipulations. It is possible that the Jews of Elephantine did structure their strategies of marital payments and succession around one biblical obstacle, that concerning the inability of daughters to inherit from their parents in the presence of brothers. Their desire to circumvent this restriction, which they did with ease, would explain the use of "gift" conveyances rather than "bequeaths." These archives from Elephantine share much with those from the Judaean desert. All four archives are dealing with same problem: how a family can pass on its property when the sole (surviving) child is a woman. All the archives give a similar answer. The daughter would receive the patrimony as a gift, which she would hold as independent property until she could pass it on to her children. Both sets of archives pose a fundamentally similar problem, and both give fundamentally similar answers. 44

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There are, however, some illuminating differences between the archives from Elephantine and those from the Dead Sea. Whereas the documents at Elephantine might show some a priori fiscal mistrust of the son-in-law, the marriage contracts from the Dead Sea have institutionalized it. The Dead Sea marriage documents not only lack the "mutual inheritance" clauses of those from Elephantine, but they also include a double guarantee for the wife's dowry. The first guarantee is the "pledging clause," in which a husband pledges all that he has or will acquire as surety for the return of his wife's dowry. This clause appears in nearly all of the surviving marriage documents, and is well attested in contemporary non-Jewish marriage documents too. The second guarantee is the inheritance clause, which assures a woman that her marriage money would be inherited by her male children and would not count against any other shares that they had in their father's estate It is interesting to note that only Jewish marriage contracts from antiquity contain a clause guaranteeing that a wife's male sons would inherit her marriage money Although there is no direct evidence to confirm this, the frequency with which this clause appears indicates that these Jews assumed that under "normal" intestate conditions, a husband would inherit his wife. The fear was that after inheriting her, the husband would grant the property to his children from another wife. Because under biblical law, on the other hand, females were not allowed to inherit when there were living sons, these Jewish contracts guarantee them only maintenance rather than a share of their mother's dowry. Rabbinic law reflects an opposite assumption: a dowry is, or should be, used as the primary vehicle of transmission of patrimony to a woman. Tannaitic sources exhibit tension over the rights of a married woman to own property distinct from her dowry. In an early mishnah, for example, the Schools of Shammai and Hillel distinguish three cases of a woman's right to own and sell her own property based on when she acquired the property. If she acquired the property before she was betrothed, she has full rights to alienate it; if she acquired it while betrothed but before marriage, the Schools debate her right to sell the property, but deem such a sale irrevocable; and if she acquires the property after she is married, she has no legal right to sell it. Into this mish­ nah are spliced the comments of Rabbi Yehudah in the name of Rabban Ga­ maliel, regretting (but not changing) the decision that makes the latter sale revocable. Within this mishnah itself there seems to be a move to limit a wife's right to full control over her independent property. Hence, while many tan­ naitic passages speak of a wife's property as distinct from whatever goods with which she has been dowered, they usually give the husband usufruct and pre­ vent her from selling it without her husband's permission. According to a tosepta, "Anybody who goes down to his wife's property, and intends to di­ vorce her, if before [divorcing her] he plucks anything from the property, be­ hold this is industrious and he is rewarded," illustrating the extent to which the tannaim upheld the husband's right to the usufruct of his wife's property. 46

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The Jewish families documented in the papyri strictly separated a woman's dotal and independent property. They did this to accommodate a succession strategy that moves property from a man through his daughter to his grandchil­ dren, keeping it away from the hands of his son-in-law. Tannaitic law cannot easily accommodate such a strategy. At Elephantine a father granted usufruct in his daughter's property to his son-in-law. Tannaitic law would not require such a grant, for the husband would automatically be entitled to usufruct, and could even sell the property and reinvest the proceeds. Congruent with the tannaitic blurring of the line between a wife's independent and dotal property is its view of the dowry as the primary vehicle for the transmission of prop­ erty to a daughter. Technically, women can only "inherit" their parents when there are no sons. The Mishnah states, "One who dies and leaves sons and daughters, when there is much property, the sons inherit and the daughters are maintained. When there is little property, the daughters are maintained and the sons go begging." The parallel in the Tosepta reads, "the daughters are main­ tained and dowered." Another mishnah similarly stresses the right of a girl whose father has died to be dowered "fittingly." In contrast to the many deeds of gifts (or "gifts in contemplation of death") made out to the women of the papyri, when the tannaim discuss wills and gifts after death they are con­ cerned exclusively with transmitting property to their sons. For the tannaim, dowry rather than gift was the preferred legal means for transmitting property to women when they had brothers. Even when only daughters remain, the property is divided, when possible, through the dowry. 53

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Tannaitic law, moreover, actually encourages a man to transmit a girl's pat­ rimony to her by means of her dowry. A husband inherits his wife, but a wife never inherits her husband. The only exception to the husband's inheritance is with her ketubba money, which includes her dowry: "If [a man] did not stipulate for her [in her marriage contract,] 'Male children that you will bear me will inherit the money of your ketubba in addition to their portion with their brothers,' he is [still] obligated, for this is a statutory stipulation." Iron­ ically, then, a wife's dowry would be inherited by her children, but her inde­ pendent property would pass to her husband. Under "normal" circumstances, this inheritance scheme should encourage men not to grant their daughters independent property. While this relationship between dowry, inheritance, and succession is the paradigmatic or statutory one, three tannaitic legal institutions permit a father to keep his daughter's property out of her husband's hands. The first is a trust fund. A man can entrust his daughter's property to a third party who will administer it; the husband can use the proceeds only with his wife's permis­ sion. The second institution is the vow. "If a man vowed that his son-in-law should enjoy nothing of his, and he wants to give his daughter money, he says to her, 'This money is given to you as a gift, with the condition that your husband has no control over it, but it is dealt with [only] by your word.'" 59

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Finally, and most simply, he could have his son-in-law explicitly stipulate that he has no rights to the property or its usufruct. The rabbinic tendency to regard a woman's dowry as her patrimony in­ creases in the amoraic period. Generally, the amoraim reflect this attitude by increasing the rights of a husband over his wife's "independent" property. The Babylonian Talmud interprets the stipulation that a woman's dowry passes to her male children as an encouragement for a man to dower his daugh­ ter, and then continues by stating that (in some cases) the rabbis treat a woman's marriage money as an inheritance. By developing the position that a husband owns anything that his wife acquires as a halakic principle, the Babylonian Talmud further encourages a man to dower his daughter rather than give her gifts of independent property. Unless a father living under rabbinic law chose to use one of the complex loopholes that limited his son-inlaw's rights over his daughter's property, he would benefit his daughter and grandchildren most by transferring his property to her as dowry. 63

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Dowry as Compensation Husbands saw things differently. In contrast to the marriage contracts from Elephantine, both the Greek and the Aramaic contracts from the Judaean desert explicitly indicate the purpose of the dowry. The husband's use of the dowry is intended to compensate him for feeding and clothing her and their children. Hence, Judah Cimber received Shelamzion's dowry and pledged an addition, "pursuant to his undertaking of feeding and clothing" her. The canceled mar­ riage contract from Nahal Hever might explicitly say that dowry (or interest from it) should be used to nourish and clothe the wife. When Judah Khthosion says that he will bring Babatha into his house "by means of your ke­ tubba" it probably, similarly means that use of her dowry compensates him for the stipulated obligations. Consistent with its tendency to blur the lines between a woman's dowry and her independent property, rabbinic law entitles the husband to the fruits of both, and in several places justifies this privilege as compensation for the hus­ band's obligations. A husband is legally entitled to anything his wifefindsor produces as well as the usufruct of her property, and he is legally obligated to feed her, redeem her, and bury her. According to the Tosepta, the amount of a woman's minimum dowry was at one time set to an amount "with which (bahen) he could purchase for her all of her needs." Later rabbinic sources explicitly understand a husband's right to the usufruct of his wife's property as compensation for his legal obligations: "They established that her food [is given] in exchange for the work of her hands, her redemption for the usufruct, and her burial for her ketubba. Therefore a husband eats the fruits [i.e., has usufruct]." As the Talmud itself recognizes, the last phrase is difficult, but seems to refer to the husband's use of his wife's dowry as compensation for his 67

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bearing the eventual cost of her burial. According to one mishnah, those who inherit a woman's dowry are obligated to bury her. The case of a man's obligation to pay for her medical expenses offers a nice example of the understanding of dowry as compensation. The Mishnah bluntly states, "If she suffers [an illness], he is obligated [to pay] for her healing. If he says, 'Here is your deed of divorce and your ketubba, heal yourself,' he is permitted." Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel qualifies this: "[For] an illness that has a fixed [fee], she is healed [from the money of] her ketubba; but [for an illness] without a fixed [fee], it is like food." The Mishnah understands the husband's payment of medical expenses to be in exchange for his use of the ketubba, here again most likely dowry. He is thus entitled to forfeit the ketubba (via divorce) and end his obligation to pay for a doctor for her. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel radically changes the equation: a husband is not obligated to pay out of his pocket if his wife has a "regular" illness, one that can be healed by a regular visit to a physician. He is only obligated to pay if she has an excep­ tional illness that requires ongoing payments, e.g., terminal cancer. The reason is that her need for constant medical care when she has an "illness without a fixed fee" is analogous to her need for food, and because the husband is obli­ gated to provide her with food, he is also obligated in this case to pay her medical bills. This qualification of the Mishnah might appear atfirstglance to be counterintuitive and to the detriment of the husband, but it is actually to his benefit. He will not have to pay for all of her ordinary medical expenses (these are deducted from her marriage money), and should she need constant medical supervision he can then divorce her. 72

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The talmudic commentaries on this issue hint at another function of the dowry, control of a husband over a wife's actions. Both Talmuds accept Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel's position without debate. The Palestinian Tal­ mud follows its citation of this tosepta with a case. "Once a wife came before R. Yohanan. He said to her, 'Afixing[of a fee with a physician] is [to your] loss.' She said to him, 'Did not R. Haggai say in the name of R. Yehoshua ben Levi, "Don't make yourself an advocate, so as not to reveal to the individual the [relevant] law!'" He knew that she was fit." A woman who knows this law about healing, the passage recognizes, could negotiate the physician's fee so that her husband would have to pay it. Whether Rabbi Yohanan knew be­ forehand that she was "fit," that is a "proper" woman who does not lie, or it was her citation of the rabbinic dictum that convinced him post facto, the sugya justifies his behavior. This story acknowledges the tension between the power that Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel's dictum gives to the husband and his wife's ability to subvert this power. In the Babylonian Talmud, a different version of this story is cited: 75

Rabbi Yohanan said, "In the Land of Israel they treat bloodletting as a healing without afixed[fee]." The relatives of R. Yohanan had a wife of a father who needed a physician every day. They came before R. Yohanan. He said to her, "Fix

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a fee with the physician." Rabbi Yohanan [later] said, "We made ourselves like advocates!" What was he thinking atfirst,and what was he thinking later? At first he thought, "And not to ignore your own kin" [Is. 58:7]; later he thought "an important man is different." 76

The differences between this version and the one in the Palestinian Talmud are striking. In this version, it is not a random wife but his own relatives who come to ask about their step-mother. He advises them to fix the physician's fee in order to be able to deduct the cost from her ketubba. Whereas his advice in the version in the Palestinian Talmud was in the interest of the woman, his advice here works against her. Even the biblical verse that the redactor chose to illus­ trate his original reasoning is revealing. When citing this same verse, Pales­ tinian sources usually apply it to one's divorcee; here the sense is that R. Yohanan wanted to look out for his relatives' interests, against those of the "foreign" stepmother. He ultimately regrets this advice, but only because he, as an important rabbi, must apply stricter standards to himself. In principle, there is nothing wrong with using this rabbinic law to help one's "blood" relatives. Whereas the Palestinian Talmud is content to focus on the role of the rabbi and the potential conflicts of interest in the use of the rabbinic law on healing, the Babylonian Talmud almost assumes the propriety of using this law against one's wife. Other rabbinic sources, especially in the Babylonian Talmud, are more ex­ plicit about the "controlling" function of a woman's ketubba and dowry. Should a woman not uphold her legal obligations to her husband, according to the Mishnah, her husband is entitled to subtract 3.5 or 7 dinars each week from her marriage settlement. Both Talmuds attempt to put some teeth into this rule. The Palestinian Talmud, for example, declares that a man is entitled to collect this penalty money from his wife's parapherne, her property that is not counted as dowry. At the same time, though, the Palestinian Talmud ac­ knowledges that one can include stipulations in the marriage contract that override this provision. The Babylonian Talmud went further, saying that a rebellious wife must wait a year for a divorce, during which time she does not receive any food from her husband. In the Babylonian Talmud, the legal right of the husband to declare his wife rebellious and subtract from her marriage money was not merely theoretical. Unlike the Palestinian Talmud, the Babylo­ nian Talmud describes exactly how such an action is initiated, and then records a case. Here, as elsewhere, Babylonian rabbinic law emphasizes a husband's control over his wife. Greeks and Romans too shared this notion that the purpose of the dowry was to maintain one's wife. This assumption underlies many of the marriage con­ tracts, Egyptian and Greek, from Egypt. Pliny asserts as common knowledge that a woman who marries a distinguished man would need a large dowry "in keeping with her husband's position." A (most likely) postclassical gloss on a Roman law declares that "a dowry is void unless it can be used to offset the 77

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burdens of marriage (matrimonii oneribus)." Ulpian is more to the point: "Equity demands that the profits on a dowry shall belong to the husband; since he bears the burdens of marriage, it is only fair that he receives the profits." As Treggiari notes, "In legal thinking, maintenance and dowry were firmly linked." While Romans also sometimes used a dowry in order to transmit the patrimony, this was generally not its primary function. Roman and Jewish wives were expected to pull their own weight. 85

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Dowry and Divorce As mentioned, a large dowry might, in theory, discourage divorce. Had he received a large dowry, a husband might be unwilling to lower his standard of living through its return, or he might have tied the money up in nonliquid assets—or lost it—and thus be unable to return it. We have already met the folk image of the "bad wife with a large dowry" through Ben Sira and PseudoPhocylides: she is a frequent visitor in classical literature. Rabbinic sources contain the same motif, although as we will see below, they transfer this func­ tion to the ketubba. If the wives and their parents in the Judaean desert documents expected that their dowries would discourage divorce, they were mistaken. One of the mar­ riages with a large dowry, 500 denarii, appears to have ended in divorce; Salome Komaise, I have argued, was divorced; and one papyrus (P. Mur. 115) testifies to a remarriage with a dowry of 200 denarii: one supposes that her original dowry was no less. Several other testimonies of divorce survive in the papyri, and although they do not reveal the amounts, they do indicate that the husbands returned their wives' dowries. Even the few rabbinic stories that mention women with large marriage payments whom their husbands want to divorce always end with the divorce. A much more difficult question is to what extent a woman's marriage settle­ ment would have supported her after the marriage. The papyri indicate that a woman could buy a decent amount of land for 200-500 denarii. In the Nahal Hever documents, for example, the most expensive plot of land sold is for 36 zuzin (-denarii)? A plot of land of three bet se'ahs sold for 28 zuzin? Babatha's share of her date crops (covering about 25 bet se'ahs) would, at most, have amounted to 84 denarii and 65 "blacks" (before taxes?). What is missing from the documentary record, though, is the contemporary price of other necessities, such as food and clothing, as well as wage amounts. Until these levels are at least approximately established, it is impossible to be certain how much these dowry amounts really represented. What seems likely, though, is that the dowries of these women were ulti­ mately worth less than the land that their families gave to them. Babatha's case is the best documented, in which her groves cost her father over 500 denarii about twenty-five years before her second marriage. These gifts, it seems, rep­ resent a daughter's true patrimony. While the documents that I have surveyed 89

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above are the only ones that directly testify to the practice of giving land to a woman after she marries, several other papyri provide indirect testimony. In a deed of sale of a house from 134 or 135 CE, for example, the seller's wife declares that she neither has nor will have any claim in that house. Years ago, Rabinowitz suggested connecting this line with a mishnaic law in which a woman can place a lien on her husband's property for payment of her ketubba. While not impossible, this logic should lead to far more renuncia­ tions than we actually find. Rather, I suggest that the reason the woman re­ nounces her rights is because the property was originally hers—she transferred or sold it to her husband who then sold it to a third party, who nevertheless wanted to be certain that the wife would not at some later date contest her transfer of her property to her husband. Perhaps a clearer example can be seen in a deed of sale from 134 CE. Here, a man sold a plot of 5 bet se'ahs for 88 denarii. At the end of the document, the man's wife renounced her claim on this land, but with a catch: "And I, Shalom, wife of this Dostes, daughter of Honi son of Yehonatan, on the condition that I am paid 30 [zuzin] each year after [your death, and live] in your house, my lord, I have no claim in this sale." That is, Shalom made a deal with her husband whereby he could sell this property if he were to promise her (additional?) support after his death. A deal like this required leverage, and the best leverage that she could have had was if she herself owned the property that he sold. Use of the dowry, then, was seen,firstand foremost, as compensation to the husband for the upkeep of a wife. Secondarily, assuming that her husband was solvent, it provided enough liquid capital to a widow or divorcee to prevent her from starving before she either found another husband or returned to her paren­ tal estate. 95

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T H E KETUBBA AND SHIMON BEN SHETAH

The traditions of the ancient rabbinic forefather, Shimon ben Shetah, provide a striking illustration of the ways in which different groups of rabbis under­ stood marriage payments. Rabbinic law often uses the term ketubba to mean a dowry; the first unambiguous use of this term to denote a delayed endow­ ment pledge is attributed to rabbis who lived in the late first century C E . Rabbinic legend, however, dates the institution of this payment about two centuries earlier. Four different versions of this tradition are extant. A separate examination of each of them will provide an insight into the way the rabbis transformed this tradition in line with their own needs and understandings. The first version appears in the Tosepta: 1 0 0

Atfirst,when her ketubba was kept at her father's house, it was easy in [her husband's] eyes to divorce her. Shimon ben Shetah established that her ketubba should be with her husband, and he should write for her, "All of my property will be surety for your ketubba." 101

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This tradition makes three assertions of note. First, it identifies the ketubba as the continuation of the biblical mohar payment. This identification, also found elsewhere in tannaitic literature, is a manifestfiction,for the ketubba payment is fundamentally different from the biblical brideprice. If any rabbinic pay­ ment mirrors the mohar, after all, it is the betrothal money. Second, this tosepta gives a reason for the ketubba payment, to discourage divorce. Finally, it ascribes the introduction of the "pledging clause" in Jewish marriage con­ tracts to Shimon ben Shetah. This tradition is an antiquarianfiction.I suggest that the rabbinic "historian" who composed it received as a tradition only the last clause, that Shimon ben Shetah mandated the pledging clause. Because this clause is very common among both Jewish and non-Jewish marriage contracts around the turn of the millennium and before, even this assertion is unlikely to be true. In any case, the clause implies that the husband held an amount of money due to his wife upon dissolution of the marriage. Our author then tried to reconcile and justify this implication with the biblical datum of the mohar. The result was a histori­ cal reconstruction that accounts for the change in Jewish marriage payments while asserting continuity. Contemporary Jews, he asserts, still pay the biblical mohar, only the mohar is defined as something totally different than it is in the Hebrew Bible. The rabbinic antiquarian then had to come up with a reason for this radical shift in marriage payments and a justification for the ketubba payment. His answer is that it is afinefor divorce. This is the only tannaitic (if it is in fact tannaitic) explanation for the ketubba, and it makes, as we will see, a good deal more sense than some later amoraic explanations. The tannaim saw the ke­ tubba as a way to prevent rash divorce, especially of a young woman who had never before been married. In ancient Semitic law, and among Jews in the prerabbinic period, the right of divorce was bilateral: a husband or wife could initiate a divorce. Some (most?) Jews infirst-centuryPalestine may also have allowed a woman to initiate a divorce. Rabbinic law clearly changed this, giving the husband the unilateral right to divorce his wife. It seems probable to me that when tan­ naitic law deprived Jewish women of their right to initiate divorce, it also attempted to compensate for this loss by offering the protection of the ketubba payment. At Elephantine, both parties had the right to initiate an action of "hatred," and both were equally fined for such an action. In Rome, and in at least most of the Jewish marriage contracts from the Dead Sea region, the right to divorce was also mutual, but there was nofinefor initiating one. Tannaitic law limits the right to initiate divorce to men, but must incorporate a safeguard so that the man will not abuse this right. Tannaitic legal thought, I am suggest­ ing, inextricably links the unilateral right to divorce to the ketubba payment. Whether the institution of the ketubba was also a rabbinic attempt to respond to a perceived increase in the real divorce rate is impossible to know. I have argued that the rabbis were not overly bothered by or opposed to divorce. 102

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Nevertheless, they did want to offer their daughters some protection from a rash divorce. The Palestinian Talmud records a second version of the tradition of the institution of the ketubba: Atfirst,her ketubba would remain at her father's, and it would be easy in his eyes to divorce her. They returned and established that her ketubba should stay with her husband. Despite this, it was easy in his eyes to divorce her, and they returned and es­ tablished that the husband should buy with his wife's ketubba glasses, dishes, and plates. This accords with what we learned, that he should not say to her, "Be­ hold, your ketubba is lying on the table," but all his property is surety for her ketubba.

They returned and established that a man should conduct business with his wife's ketubba, because when a man conducts business with his wife's ketubba and loses it, it is hard in his eyes to divorce her. And this is what Shimon ben Shetah established. Three things Shimon ben Shetah established: that a man should conduct business with his wife's ketubba. 101

Whereas the Tosepta's focus is justifying the institution of the rabbinic ketubba payment, this version concentrates on the husband's use of his wife's ketubba. In this tradition, "ketubba" must mean the woman's dowry. Shimon ben Shetah is credited with establishing that a man should use the cash that his wife brings to him, preferably losing it! The threat of return of the dowry, not the ketubba, will prevent a man from divorcing his wife. By understanding the dowry as a source of protection against rash divorce, this version of the story of Shimon ben Shetah also throws into question the reason for a ketubba payment, at least as the Tosepta understands it. One Pales­ tinian amora understands the large ketubba assigned to a priest's daughter as a "fine," meant to encourage them to marry within their own tribe and family; he says nothing about divorce or nonpriests. Palestinian amoraim leave hanging the reason for the ketubba. Their inability to understand its function thus also contributed to their deemphasis of it. The Babylonian Talmud takes the tradition of Shimon ben Shetah's enact­ ment in yet another direction. 108

Thus too a baraita taught: Atfirst,they would write 200 [zuz] for a virgin and 100 for a widow. [As a result,] they would grow old and would not take wives. They established that they would leave [her ketubba] at her father's house, and still when he would become angry with her he would say to her, "Go to your ketubba."

They established that they would leave it her father-in-law's [house].... Still, when he would get angry at her he would say to her, "Take your ketubba and go." Until Shimon ben Shetah came and established that he should write for her, "all of my property is surety for your ketubba." 109

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A second and shorter "Babylonian" version of this tradition recorded imme­ diately before it attributes to Shimon ben Shetah only the solution for the first problem, that men would not marry because of the ketubba. The differences between the foci of these Babylonian versions and those of the Tosepta and Palestinian Talmud reflect concerns and tendencies found throughout the Babylonian Talmud. First, the version in the Babylonian Talmud is not dealing at all with the issue of dowry. Second, its primary goal (as shown more from the shorter version) is to justify the delay of the groom's contribution to the dissolution of the marriage, for fear that its immediate payment would discour­ age men from marrying. This is a logical response to a system that expected a mohar payment. That is, it only makes sense if the shaper of this tradition saw up-front payment of a mohar as a problem that could delay marriage. The other evidence from the Babylonian Talmud surveyed above, which suggests that in Babylonia there was an expectation of precisely such a payment, dovetails with this concern. Babylonian authors understood Shimon ben Shetah's enact­ ment as a response to their social situation. The ketubba was a tannaitic fantasy, instituted by logical and legal necessity and perhaps also as a response to a sense of crisis. But it never caught on. If the documents from the Judaean desert provide ambiguous evidence for this claim, the amoraic sources provide impressive support: Why would they weaken the tannaitic ketubba payment unless it seemed foreign or unworkable to them? Even a relatively late Aramaic Jewish marriage contract from Egypt does not contain a ketubba payment. Now that I have put the matter so starkly, let me nuance it a bit. It is not impossible that some Jews from the rabbinic period used this payment, or even that it occured in some form in prerabbinic documents. Some Greek and De­ motic marriage contracts containfinancialpenalties for men who divorce their wives, and Jews could have appropriated these clauses, which the rabbis later transformed into their ketubba payment. Functionally, an indirect dowry, which we do clearlyfindin one marriage contract from the Dead Sea, is similar to the ketubba. So what I am asserting is not that the tannaim dreamed up this fantasy out of thin air, but that they may have radically reworked existing payments in an ideological way, with very ambiguous results. In the mean­ time, it is likely that Palestinian Jews continued to use dowries as their primary marriage payments, and Babylonian Jews used a combination of mohar and dowry. Jews made the same types of marriage payments as their non-Jewish neighbors. 110

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The marriage payments signaled only the beginning of the economic relation­ ship between spouses. In marriage contracts and in statutory rabbinic law each had concrete economic obligations toward the other. The way that these legal

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sources structure the marital economic relationship reveals much about how people understood marriage, and what they expected from it. A modern ex­ ample is the institution of the "joint checking account." The very existence of a joint checking account, not to mention its ubiquity in America, testifies to an ideal of marriage in which money is held in common and that one partner has the right to spend this money with no (legal) obligations to the other. Joint checking accounts also deal neatly with certain modern problems of inheri­ tance, allowing the surviving spouse to take possession of the cash immedi­ ately while avoiding probate. Spousal trust, an ideal of joint property, and an assumption of the rights of a surviving spouse as a primary heir all undergird this modern institution. There were no joint checking accounts in antiquity. Hellenistic-Roman mar­ riage manuals did advise men and women to hold their property in common, although hardly in a way that we would call "joint." As Plutarch says, [A] copartnership in property . . . is especially befitting married people, who should pour all their resources into a common fund, and combine them, and each should not regard one part as his own and another part as the other's but all as his own and nothing as the other's. As we call a mixture "wine," although the larger of the component parts is water, so the property and the estate ought to be said to belong to the husband even when the wife contributed the larger share. 112

For Plutarch, there should be a common fund, but this common fund is all the husband's. This is not far from the (recoverable) attitude of the Jews of an­ tiquity. To greater or lesser degrees, two characteristics pervade the legal in­ struments and institutions that governed the economic relationship between Jewish spouses. First is a tremendous concern with keeping property separate. The second characteristic is the assumption of economic reciprocality: in mar­ riage, each partner was expected to pull his, and her, own economic weight. The papyri surveyed above illustrate one side of the economic relationship between spouses, the a priori distrust of the bride and her family of the groom's treatment of her property. The Jewish communities of both Elephan­ tine and the Dead Sea region used their legal instruments to formalize the spousal economic relationship and to protect the woman's property. One of the better examples of this tendency is the loan that Judah took from his wife Babatha, accompanied with full legal formalities. When Judah's estate de­ faulted on the loan, Babatha took action to secure repayment. The only exception to this tendency is the mutual inheritance clause in the three docu­ ments of wifehood from Elephantine, which entitles a man to his wife's prop­ erty should she die childless. For one couple, who drew up their marriage document after having a child, this clause was meaningless. The other wives (and their fathers) circumvented it by delaying the transfer of the bulk of their patrimony until after, presumably, they had children or the son-in-law had gained the trust of the family. 113

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If the papyri attempted to protect a woman's and her family's rights over her property, they did so because embedded in the law itself was a deep distrust of the wife's treatment of her husband's property. Prior to the rabbinic period, most Jews, at least in the Diaspora, followed local, non-Jewish, civil law. Much of this law did not survive, but the major features of these laws regarding a woman's relationship to her husband's property are relatively clear. Accord­ ing to Raphael Taubenschlag, the papyri from Greco-Roman Egypt "time and time again" state that "the husband may not dispose of anything without his wife's consent, and conversely." After surveying Roman law, Jane Gardner stated that "the classical texts mostly envisage only the possibility of the wife stealing from the husband." Rabbinic law even more strongly reflects the distrust of a woman's treat­ ment of her husband's property. A mishnah lists the items that a man is al­ lowed to buy from a married woman in different locales, apparently due to suspicion that items other than these would have been stolen from her hus­ band. Justifying a mishnah that states that anything that a woman finds be­ longs to her husband, the Babylonian Talmud cryptically states that the rule was "due to emnity." The Palestinian Talmud is more forthcoming, sug­ gesting that the reason is to prevent a woman from fraudulently selling her husband's property, declaring that it was really hers. Similarly, the Pales­ tinian Talmud declares that a wife may not sell her own property, in order to prevent her from selling her husband's property under false pretenses. The Babylonian Talmud reinforces this limitation on a wife's ability to sell her own property by ascribing it to the tannaim. There is some evidence that Jews in Palestine during the amoraic period, just like Babatha and her colleagues, used the legal instruments available to them to balance this legal bias for the husband's rights over his wife's prop­ erty. An aggadic passage suggests that Jewish women in Palestine continued to bring independent property with them into marriage. The Palestinian Tal­ mud reports that some Jews would stipulate in their marriage documents that should a woman die without children her property would revert back to her family. Another passage seeks to curb a husband's ability to forgo his own rights to his wife's property, which might indicate that wives and their fathers applied pressure on them to do exactly this. In one case, a woman tried to give her property to her brother, but ultimately failed: her husband recovered it. The law, then, pulled in two directions, but both directions were based on mistrust. Palestinian rabbinic law consistently asserts the rights of the husband over the property of his wife. At the same time, however, Palestinian rabbinic law never completely eliminates the legal instruments that allow wives to evade this overarching control. It is this very tension that makes the system workable, at least theoretically. The law codes promote the patriarchal image 114

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of male control. By limiting and railing against, but not eliminating, the loop­ holes that allow women and their families to evade these biased laws, the codes are implicitly acknowledging the impractibility of their own ideals. In other words, the combination of a legal system heavily biased toward the rights of the husband over the property of his wife with the possibility of legal instruments that subvert these laws is not a problem, but a solution: the prob­ lem it addresses is how to reconcile a patriarchal facade with a reality in which people (including the same rabbis who establish the laws themselves) want to protect their property from potentially rapacious husbands and sons-in-law. As with the rabbinic response to betrothal, as I have argued above, the rabbis have here attempted to forge a legal discourse that responds to both their own vision of the world and the world as it actually was. On this topic Babylonian rabbinic discourse is much less subtle. Abayye states it is about as common for a wife to possess independent property as it is for her to be kidnapped and held for ransom, which is to say, not very. Babylonian rabbis, as we have seen, consistently eroded a wife's property rights in favor of her husband. Not once, to my knowledge, does the Baby­ lonian Talmud relate a case of a wife writing her property over to anyone other than her husband. This Babylonian rabbinic limitation of a wife's property rights parallels contemporaneous Persian practice. The impression that the Babylonian Talmud gives is that of a woman married with little dowry or independent property, who has little right over whatever property that she might have. These Babylonian legal institutions reflect a suspicion of the wife's use of her husband's property that is not balanced by a legal suspicion of the husband, as it is in the Palestinian sources. In the next chapter I attempt to explain this inequality in the fuller context of Babylonian marriage. 126

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Given the concern that these sources show with individual spousal rights over assets, it is not surprising that the rabbis also assign concrete economic rights and responsibilities to each of the spouses. I argued above that the papyri from the Dead Sea region assume that dowry is a form of compensation for mainte­ nance of the wife by the husband. Babatha's husband, for example, pledges to feed and clothe her "by means of your ketubba" and to redeem her should she be taken captive. The rabbinic elaboration of this reciprocal economic relation­ ship is much more intricate. According to the Mishnah, a husband is entitled to anything his wife finds, the work of her hands, and the usufruct of her property, "and he is obligated for her maintenance, her redemption, and her burial." Other tannaitic sources too obligate a husband to feed and clothe his wife. Later, the mishnah more precisely quantifies the spousal relationship: 128

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These are the tasks that a wife does for her husband: grinds, bakes, and launders; cooks and nurses her son; makes the bed for him and works with wool. If she brought to him one female slave, she does not grind, bake, or launder. [If she brought to him] two [female slaves], she does not cook or nurse her son. [If she brought to him] three [female slaves], she does not make the bed or work with wool. [If she brought to him] four [female slaves], she sits on a throne. Rabbi Eliezer says, "Even if she brought to him 100 female slaves, he forces her to work with wool, because idleness brings fornication." Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel says, "Even one who vows that his wife not work [should] divorce [his wife] and give her ketubba [to her], for idleness leads to idiocy." 130

A wife is responsible for seven tasks. The Mishnah views these tasks as making an economic contribution to the household. Thefirstpart of the mish­ nah is unconcerned with how she meets these tasks: her responsibility is to make a certain contribution, and if she uses the slaves given to her by her family, all power to her. Two glosses at the end of the mishnah point toward another dimension, the virtue of the industrious wife. Rabbi Eliezer is dis­ tressed at the thought of a wife having no responsibility and evokes the image of Penelope faithfully spinning in order to avoid untoward advances. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel offers a more clever justification, saying that it is in a woman's interest of health to keep busy. In any case, the Mishnah continues, should she "rebel" by not fulfilling these tasks, her husband has the right to reduce her marriage money until she complies. The Mishnah then continues with an elaboration of the precise minimum clothing and food allowances that a man must provide for his wife. The mishnah continues with another quid pro quo: 131

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He gives to her a ma ah [sixth of a dinar] for her needs, and she eats with him from Sabbath eve to Sabbath eve. And if he does not give to her a ma ah for her needs, then the work of her hands is hers. And what does she do for him? A weight of five sela's of long threads in Judaea, which is equivalent to ten sela s in the Galilee. Or, a weight of ten sela's of short threads in Judaea, which is equivalent to twenty sela's in the Galilee. And if she is nursing, they reduce the work of her hands [that she owes him] and increases for her the amount of her food. For whom do these things apply? For a poor one in Israel, but for a rich one, all according to his honor. e

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This mishnah directly connects the "pocket money" that a husband gives his wife each week with her production of a certain amount of wool work. Read sequentially, this mishnah does not make a tremendous amount of sense. In the economy of the Mishnah, the amount of yarn that she must produce for this

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small amount of money is substantial: elsewhere, the Mishnah states that five selas of wool is enough to make a small garment, and at its cheapest a small garment costs several denariil Either, then, this mishnah assumes that the price of yarn is very low and that in order to receive pocket money she must produce a large amount of it above and beyond the amount that she should ordinarily be producing, or this part of the mishnah is out of place, and really refers to the weekly amount in toto that she must produce for her husband. This second alternative is supported by the penultimate clause, which adjusts her total responsibility if she is nursing. If this reading is correct, the second half of the mishnah refers to the minimum weekly amount of spinning expected of a woman in exchange for her minimum clothing and food needs. The mini­ mum needs, the mishnah ends, are adjusted according to the husband's status: he is expected to support his wife in a befitting fashion, which his own social status determines. If she produces anything above and beyond this amount of yarn, then she can give it to her husband in exchange for pocket money, or keep it for herself. There is another way to read the beginning of this mishnah. The clause "she eats with him from Sabbath eve to Sabbath eve" is obscure. Both Talmuds debate whether this means that a husband is obligated really to eat with his wife once a week, or whether this euphemistically refers to a husband's obliga­ tion to have intercourse with his wife once a week. Neither Talmud directly links this clause with a woman's obligation or with her entitlement of pocket money. It is possible that thisfirstsentence details the quid pro quo by which she "eats" with him once a week in exchange for pocket money. If he refuses to compensate her for "eating" with him, then the mishnah imposes the draconian penalty of his loss of all rights to her handiwork. Read this way, the mishnah speaks to a situation, probably polygynous, in which husband and wife run somewhat separate households, in which even their "eating" together (whatever that means) must be treated as a quid pro quo. Both Talmuds retreat from the Mishnah's obsessive concern with spousal reciprocity. The Palestinian Talmud cites an amoraic comment that "it is not the way of a woman to sit idly within her house," apparently ignoring the two glosses on the Mishnah's enumeration of the tasks that a wife must do for her husband. This statement is immediately followed by Rav Huna's pre­ scription that "even if she brought to him 100 female slaves, he compels her to do personal things for him. What are personal things? She oils his body, washes his feet, and mixes his cup." Two late Palestinian amoraim at the end of the sugya agree that a wife is personally obligated to do these things for her husband. Absent from this sugya, or in fact from the entire Palestinian Talmud, is a detailed exposition of the mishnaic tasks that wife must do for her husband. There is no echo of the mishnaic sentiment of reciprocity. Instead, this sugya articulates the nonreciprocal spousal relationship. These "new" tasks that a 135

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wife must do for her husband are not reciprocated by personal tasks (or mone­ tary payment) that he must do for (or give to) her. Rather, they concretize the inequality of their relationship and the subordinate relationship of the wife. The identity and provenance of the amoraim whom this sugya cites are not entirely clear; several amoraim, from both Palestine and Babylonia, bear these names. The Tosepta is careful to articulate the things that a man cannot force his wife to do and does not mention any of the additional tasks imposed in this sugya. But whether this attitude was found relatively early among Pales­ tinian amoraim, or whether it entered Palestine relatively late through the teachings of Babylonians, it is prevalent in the Babylonian Talmud. The paral­ lel sugya in the Babylonian Talmud opens by disassociating this mishnah from the view of the Palestinian R. Hiyya, who taught that "a woman is only for beauty, a woman is only for children." Such an opening has the rhetorical effect of ascribing a view that promotes female "idleness" to Palestinians. After a long discussion of a woman's duty to nurse her son, the Babylonian Talmud turns to the section of the mishnah that deals with the wife who brings female slaves into her marriage: "Tf she brought to him one female slave'— but the remainder of the work [the wife does]. But should she say to him, T have brought you a wife in my place,' he could say to her, This one works for me and for herself—who works for you?' " The redactor's point here, and in the repetition of this argument that follows, is that a wife must work for her husband, regardless of how many slaves she has. This point is made explicitly a little later: "'[If she brought to him] four [female slaves], she sits on a throne'—Rav Yitzhak bar Hanina said in the name of R. Huna, Although they say that she sits on a throne, she mixes the cup for him, makes his bed, and washes for him his face, his hands, and his feet.'" The sugya then clarifies that these three tasks are so intimate, indeed erotic, that they are the only tasks that a woman cannot do for her husband during her menses, for fear that they will lead to sexual temptation. After prohibiting these tasks, the sugya con­ tinues immediately by describing how they can be done in permissible ways. Babylonian amoraim, like their Palestinian counterparts, were uninterested in the mishnaic program of articulating an economically reciprocal relation­ ship. They appear rather to have assumed that a wife owes her husband certain labors simply because she is a wife. As reported here, Rav Huna's dictum actually contradicts the mishnah, which explicitly exempts a woman from making her husband's bed if she brought three or more slaves into the marriage. Nor does the sugya refer to the two mishnaic glosses, because, I suggest, the reasons that they articulate for keeping a wife busy were largely irrelevant to the Babylonian amoraim. Byfindingways to circumvent circum­ stances that should ordinarily prevent a wife from fulfilling these intimate labors, the Babylonian Talmud emphasizes the importance of a wife perform­ ing "servile" tasks for her husband on a daily basis. The Babylonian Talmud 139

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has transformed "the work of her hands" from an economic responsibility to a tool that reinforces the gender hierarchy of marriage. It took longer for this ideology to gain a foothold in Palestine. Monetary payments were practically (if not always juridically) essential to the formation of a marriage, and throughout their life together the marital couple forged economic relationships between each other as well as between them­ selves as a couple and the world around them. Three threads wound through my discussion of marital payments. First, I attempted to recover the reality of these payments among Jews in antiquity. For Jews of the Greek world, includ­ ing Palestine (at least in the amoraic period), the dowry was the most important marriage payment. Babylonian Jews may have continued to emphasize a form of bride-price. The most important payment to the tannaim, the ketubba, does not reflect any reality, but is instead an idealized payment that was promoted as a preventive to rash divorce but which did not catch on in the rabbinic period. Second, marriage payments throughout antiquity were enmeshed with is­ sues of succession of property, especially for women. These transfers were especially tricky, because they involved afinebalancing of preservation of the integrity of an estate, control over the daughter, and trust of the son-in-law. Jewish men in antiquity did seek to transfer at least some of their property to, and through, their daughters, mainly through grants of independent property rather than dowry. Rabbinic law tended to collapse (but not eliminate) this distinction, and Babylonian rabbis testify to a reality in which women owned very little property, and that which they did own was nearly completely taken over by their husbands. Ironically, where this investigation has had real legal instruments to work with, it has lacked the laws upon which they were based, and where the laws have survived, no legal instruments are extant. Nevertheless, one need never lose sight of the fact that laws and legal instruments are designed to work together. Like all law in antiquity, rabbinic law tends to define ideologies. By assuming and ordering a world that does not really exist, it makes itself un­ workable. Yet at the same time this law left necessary cracks, whose exploita­ tion both subverted and made feasible this ideological facade. The dynamic between law and the way people exploit the law is complex. This examination has suggested that while the rabbis presented in their laws on female property a strong facade of patriarchy, they left open the means for subverting the ideals professed therein. This does not necessarily mean that many people actually followed and exploited rabbinic law, but it does point to a rabbinic awareness of this complex dynamic. In the second part of this chapter I have traced the movement in the rabbinic understanding of the economic relationship between the spouses. While we

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have very little nonrabbinic data on this topic, the papyri suggest that many prerabbinic Jews saw the economic relationship between spouses as formal and reciprocal. The Mishnah takes this view to an extreme, enumerating in unparalleled detail exactly which spouse contributes what to whom. If this mishnaic articulation is the climax of this vision, it also marks its end, at least in rabbinic law. Babylonians never bought into the mutuality of this concep­ tion, preferring instead a division of labor within the family that enforced fe­ male subservience. This view would later seep back into Palestinian sources. Economic relationships between spouses thus spill out of their purely eco­ nomic domain into the larger arena of the idealization of spousal relationships. These texts might sometimes use the language of economics, rights, and obli­ gations, but they are at the same time reflecting and reproducing their ideals of spousal relationships. This point should not be pressed too far, as John Crook apparently once tried to do: "When delivered to the Table ronde this paper attempted to draw conclusions as to the affective or psychological character of Roman marriage; but since neither that group of scholars, nor any other schol­ ars to whom the paper has been submitted, were convinced that it is possible to draw conclusions of that kind legitimately from a collection of mainly legal evidence, the attempt is here renounced." The question is not, What can we learn about Jewish marriage from these economic instruments and laws? but, In what ways do these instruments and laws reflect or contradict the other evidence on the affective character of Jewish marriage? It is to this question that we now turn. 144

Chapter Ten THE IDEAL MARRIAGE

IMAGINE an extraterrestial (ET) touching down in a modern American Jewish cemetery. Sauntering around the cemetery, and blessed with extraordinary lin­ guistic abilities, ET makes several preliminary observations. ETfirstnotices that spouses tend to be buried next to each other. Occasionally, but by no means in the majority of cases (especially in more recent burials), extended families are located together. More surprising to ET is the fact that so many spouses loved and were loved by each other. We on my planet, ET muses, could learn a lesson from these people; there is not so much love in our fami­ lies, and we seem to have a perennial problem with spouse beating. A healthy dose of family love could certainly help us, as it appears to do with these earthlings. ET has made a conceptual (not to mention factual) error, confusing the stereotyped language of epitaphs with reality. A better conclusion would have been that this is a people that promotes an ideal of a loving marital relation­ ship. A random and casual glance at popular movies and books would confirm this conclusion. The image of a happy, loving relationship between spouses, and the elevation of the spousal relationship to a primary emotive position, bombards Jewish and non-Jewish Americans. These media mutually reinforce this marital ideal. Modern America is not unique. Nearly all societies develop some kind of marital ideal. The primary purpose of such an ideal is to articulate the values and norms that govern the expected behaviors of one spouse toward the other. It thus also sets a standard against which couples can measure their own, and their neighbors', marriages. For example, members of a society that views the spousal relationship as a man's primary emotional attachment would look askance at a husband who shares his innermost thoughts, desires, and secrets only with his male coworkers. They, and his wife, might be even more uncom­ fortable was he to share them with a female coworker; this might be seen as flirtatious, or even a form of betrayal. The point is that these feelings of dis­ approval are formed only against a set of expectations that are taken for granted. In this chapter I look at three ways in which Jews in antiquity articulated their marital ideals. I begin with an examination of the scattered moralizing dicta on the "good" and "bad" spouse. I then compare the results of this inves­ tigation with the ideals of marriage that emerge from ancient exempla of mar­ riages. Do examples of good marriages embody the marital ideals articulated

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by the same authors? In order to gain some idea of the marital ideals of those who were not part of the literary elite, I turnfinallyto the evidence of grave­ yards and their inscriptions. T H E GOOD SPOUSE

For Ben Sira, there were good wives and bad wives. "Any man can be accepted as a husband, but some women are better wives than others" (36:26 [19]). He is more forthcoming on the qualities of the bad wife than those of the good wife. The bad wife is jealous of rival wives (26:6 [7]; 37:11 [12]); she is sexually unfaithful, "[opening] her quiver for every arrow" (26:12 [14]); and she is loud-mouthed, publicly scolding her husband (26:6, 27 [31]). The bad wife is not to be tolerated: "If she does not walk by your hand, cut her off from yourflesh"(25:26 [30]). A good wife is a "gift," she is charitable (26:23 [25]) and, above all, modest (26:15 [17], 24 [26], 25 [27]). The good wife turns her home into a kind of Temple: "A light shining upon the holy menorah, is the beauty of [her] face upon a statelyfigure.Golden columns on silver bases are [her] pretty legs on steadfast feet" (26:17-18 [19-20]). She graces her home as the lamps and columns grace the Temple in Jerusalem. Elsewhere he praises the wife who is beautiful and who speaks soothingly to her husband (36:27-28 [23-24]). Ben Sira significantly modified the image of the ideal wife presented by his nearest literary predecessor, the praise of "the woman of valor" (?eset hayil) in Prov. 31. This acrostic poem is the only extended biblical discussion of an ideal spouse; like Ben Sira, the biblical authors were uninterested in the con­ duct of the ideal husband. As a writer in the wisdom tradition, Ben Sira must surely have been familiar with this poem, and yet departed from it in both form and content. Prov. 31 lauds the ideal wife for her actions. She is praised for her working with wool and flax (31:13, 19, 21); feeding her family (31:14-15); engaging in business (31:16, 24); giving charity (31:20); speaking well and with wisdom (31:26); staying busy (31:27); and either intelligence or piety (31:30). As Toy says, "Apicture not romantic, but also not 'Philistine.'" When Ben Sira comes to discuss the good and bad wife, he departs from the form of Prov. 31. Ben Sira dwells on the ills and activities of the bad wife. His statements on the good wife, interspersed in his vivid invective against the bad one, tend to be abstract and banal, emphasizing how good a good wife is for her husband. In only a few isolated verses does he articulate his preferred characteristics for a wife. These characteristics themselves differ from those of Prov. 31. The biblical account emphasizes weaving, business, and domestic industry; Ben Sira is silent on all but the last issue, and this he addresses only glancingly. Ben Sira emphasizes modesty, obeisance to her husband, and piety; Prov. 31 is silent on thefirsttwo and contains a glossed reference to the latter. Ben Sira's perfect wife, modest, submissive to her husband, who graces 1

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his home like a Temple ornament, stands in stark contrast to the bustling wife of Prov. 31. Ben Sira's image of the good wife, and not that of Prov. 31, is the dominant one in Jewish writings from the Second Temple period. For Philo too, the most important quality of a wife is her faithfulness to her husband. Even Paul, who flirted with the idea of spousal, and gender, equality, pulled back when it came to practically implementing it. Women, he says, should be silent in the churches, "for they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home." Wives cannot expect much better treatment at home: 5

6

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.... Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.. . . However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 7

Here Paul uses his marital metaphor to justify asymmetrical spousal relations. As the church is subject to the will of Christ, so is a woman subject to the will of her husband. Paul begins by admonishing both spouses to be subject to each other, but very quickly applies this admonition only to wives. Paul's ideal wife, like that of the other authors surveyed here, should be modest and submissive. Yet unlike many of the other Jewish authors from the Second Temple pe­ riod, Paul at least mentions what he says as good qualities for a husband. A husband should "love" (agapate) his wife. The word is common in Paul, and the New Testament generally, and here probably means something akin to "honor" or "respect." Concern with how a husband should treat his wife is rare but not entirely absent in Jewish texts from the Second Temple period. A sapiential text found at Qumran appears to recommend that a husband honor his wife. Pseudo-Phocylides says, "Love (sterge) your own wife: for what is sweeter and better than when a wife is kindly disposed towards her husband till old age and a husband towards his wife, without strife interfering as a dividing force." As van der Horst notes, Homer supplied the inspiration for this ad­ vice. The force of the Greek verb sterge is fondness, affection, or devotion to a person. Commenting on why Woman was created from the rib of Adam (Gen. 2:21), Philo says that "[the lawgiver] wishes that man should take care of woman as of a very necessary part of him; but woman, in return, should serve him as a whole.... [H]e counsels man figuratively to take care of woman as of a daugh­ ter, and woman to honour man as a father." Elsewhere, Philo advises spouses 8

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"to cherish temperance and domesticity and unanimity, and by mutual sympa­ thy shewn in word and deed to make the name of partnership a reality securely founded on truth." Josephus too emphasizes both partnership in marriage and female subservience to her husband: "The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive, not for her hu­ miliation, but that she may be directed; for the authority has been given by God to the man." The ideal marriage, in these texts, functions along the lines of a benevolent paternalism, where the husband plays father to his "daughter" wife. The notions expressed in these texts are as far from Prov. 31 as they are close to contemporaneous Greek writings. Josephus asserts the inferiority of a wife to her husband not to show to his Roman audience how bizarre Jews were, but to emphasize that they practice the most refined of contemporary marital mores. According to Judith Romney Wegner, Philo's writings on women gen­ erally owe much to Greek thought. Such sentiments are frequent in Greek writers such as Xenophon and Plutarch. For Hellenistic Jew and non-Jew alike, the ideal wife was sexually faithful and domestically oriented. She was sub­ missive to her husband. He, in return, was to treat her with respect. With the possible exception of Paul and Pseudo-Phocylides, none of these authors indi­ cate a sentimental notion of marriage in which husband and wife are seen as emotional confidants. 14

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The Rabbis on the Good Spouse Rabbinic marital ideals mirror to a great degree those of Jews of the Second Temple period. A wife (and only a wife) was expected to be sexually faithful to her husband, in return for which her husband would honor her. After review­ ing the evidence for these basic marital expectations, I will turn to two special areas of rabbinic marital ideals, love and the existence of a sentimental ideal. Wives were expected to remain modest. This issue was so fundamental that it was incorporated into mishnaic law: These women should be divorced and do not recover their marriage settlements: One who transgresses the law of Moses and Jewish [law]. What is the "law of Moses"? If she feeds him untithed food; or has intercourse with him while she is menstruating; or she does not separate a dough offering [from the bread]; or she makes a vow and does not fulfill it. What is "Jewish law"? If she goes out with her head uncovered; or she spins in the market; or she speaks with any man. Abba Shaul says: "Even if she curses his [i.e., her husband's] children in front of him." Rabbi Tarfon says: "Even a kolanit" 17

The mishnah begins with a discussion of a wife's religious obligations within a marriage. It enumerates two types of severe transgressions, those in which

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she causes her husband to violate a law over which she has control ("law of Moses"), and those of immodesty. Should a wife conduct herself immodestly (i.e., contrary to "Jewish law"), her husband can divorce her and keep her marriage settlement. The talmudic commentary strengthens this mishnaic rule; the prohibition on a woman appearing in public with uncovered hair is decreed to be toraitic. Even the odd mishnaic term kolanit ("a loud woman") is inter­ preted in both talmuds as being related to sexual modesty, referring to a woman who is loud during sex. Rabbinic sources repeatedly emphasize the importance of wives covering themselves and comporting themselves properly. This most often translates, as we have just seen, into a woman covering herself (especially her hair) when she goes out and not talking with other men. The ideals of modesty are summa­ rized in a well-known tradition: 18

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Rabbi Meir used to say: Just as there are opinions about eating, so too are there opinions about women. You have a man who, when a fly passes over his cup, puts [the cup] down and won't taste it. This is one who has a bad portion in women, and who intends to divorce his wife. You have a man who, when aflylands in his cup, picks it out and then won't drink [the cup]. This, for example, is Pappus ben Yehudah, who locked his wife inside when he went out. You have a man who, when a fly falls in his cup, picks it out and then drinks [the cup]. This is the average man, who when he sees his wife talking with her neigh­ bors or relatives leaves it be. You have a man who, when aflyfalls into his plate, takes [the fly], sucks on it, and then throws it away and eats what is on it. This is an evil man, who saw his wife go out with her hair uncovered; or go out with her sides revealed; or acting crudely with her male or female slaves; or spins in the market; or bathes and sports with any man—it is a misah to divorce her. 21

A later tradition condemns Pappus ben Yehudah for behaving excessively, but this tosepta clearly disapproves of wives going about uncovered or talking to strange men. Rabbinic sources see especially the uncovering of the hair as a sign of a wife's dissoluteness. The rabbinic concern over a wife's modesty reaches an almost hysterical pitch in discussions of the sotah, the suspected adulteress. According to Num­ bers 5, a man who suspects his wife of adultery, but who has no concrete proof that she actually committed adultery, can cause her to submit to a trial by ordeal. Although they acknowledge that the ordeal is no longer operative, the rabbis dwell on its effects in almost pornographic detail, well beyond the bibli­ cal description. At the same time, they attempt to define precisely how long a woman can remain alone with a man before she is suspected of adultery. While she may no longer be subjected to the ordeal, the woman declared a 22

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sotah can be immediately divorced. Women who even give the impression of impropriety can be legally disadvantaged. A rabbinic exemplum nicely illustrates the value placed on a wife's modesty: 26

Kimhit had seven sons, and all of them served as High Priest. The sages sent and said to her, "What good deeds do you have [i.e., have you done]?" She said to them, "May [ruin] come upon me if the rafters of my house have ever seen the hair of my head or the hem of my undergarment." They said, "Allflour(kemah) is flour, but theflourof Kimhit isfineflour."And they applied to her the verse, "In the palace honour awaits her; she is a king's daughter, arrayed in cloth-of-gold richly embroidered" (Ps. 45:13-14). 27

Modesty is not only a virtue for outside the home. A wife should be modest even within her home. Kimhit's reward, the birth of seven sons of high status, also reflects the domestic sphere in which the rabbis expected women to work. The same expectations did not apply to Jewish husbands. Some rabbinic sources argue that a man who engages in extramarital affairs cannot expect anything different from his wife, but these apply mainly to liaisons with a married woman. Underlying the rabbinic condemnations of husbands en­ gaged in extramarital affairs is not the ideal that a man should remain sexually faithful to his wife, but the more general rabbinic value placed on male selfcontrol in all things. That is, the rabbis never suggest that a man should remain sexually faithful to his wife because she has some right to expect this, or that male and female expectations are reciprocal. The rabbis do value male modesty, but it is not part of their understanding of a marital ideal. In return, a husband was advised to honor his wife. As we saw in the last chapter, the rabbis incorporated into legislation the idea that a woman must honor her husband. Both talmuds interpreted the mishnaic list of tasks that a woman must do for her husband in this light. The Babylonian Talmud went further than the Palestinian one, interpreting some wifely tasks (e.g., mixing his cup and making his bed) as demonstrations of her devotion to her husband. The rabbis, like many of the earlier Jewish authors, exhort a man to honor his wife. One baraita, found only in the sugya analyzed above in chapter 1, strikingly parallels Paul's sentiments in Ephesians: 28

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Our Rabbis taught: One who loves his wife as himself fisiiDTONn« nman] and honors her more than himself and guides his sons and daughters in the correct path and marries them close to puberty, about him Scripture says, "You will know that all is well in your tent; [When you visit your wife you shall not fail]" [Job 5:24]. 31

What does the clause "loves his wife as himself mean? Some modern authors have argued that this source demonstrates that the rabbis had a sentimental ideal of marriage close to our own. While the context of this baraita does not 32

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help to explain the meaning of this clause, linguistic parallels do suggest that what is meant here is not that a man should demonstrate great emotional at­ tachment to or sexual desire for his wife, but that he should honor her. Both the Bible and rabbinic sources frequently use the word *hb to mean "honor, serve." William Moran has drawn attention to the fact that Deuter­ onomy uses the verb *hb in a technical sense, to denote the covenantal relation­ ship and responsibilities between social inferiors and superiors, and between people and God. Like the term "joy" in the Bible, love denotes a performa­ tive or ritual action rather than an emotion. To "rejoice" means to do specific things, not to feel a specific emotion. So too, it appears, with the word "love." To "love" a wife in the Bible also seems to have legal connotations; its oppo­ site, "hate," can mean to begin a divorce action. This meaning of *hb stands in contrast to its use as a term denoting sexual desire. Moran's emphasis on love as denoting specific acts between covenantal partners also informs one of the more famous uses of the word in the Bible, Lev. 19:18: "Love your fellow as yourself ("pDD yrb ranw). As with the biblical commands to love a stranger (Lev. 19:34; Deut. 10:19), the command to "love your fellow" is most likely performative: one should treat a neighbor or stranger in a specific, concrete fashion. As Malamat says, "a proper En­ glish translation [of Lev 19:18] would be something like 'be useful to your neighbor as to yourself....' Such an interpretation will remove from the verb una the abstract flavor commonly attributed to it and will render to it a more concrete and pragmatic sense." The rabbis too seem to understand Lev. 19:18 as referring to behavior rather than emotion. The linguistic parallels between "love your fellow as yourself and one who "loves his wife as himself are clear, if not exact. Understood in this context, the baraita takes on a different complexion: a man should treat his wife with behavior appropriate to one's "fellow." That is, Lev. 19:18 can be read narrowly that one owes "love" only to one's "fellow," a man. Not so, says the baraita: this obligation on men extends also to the treatment of women. Hence, the rabbinic applications of Lev. 19:18 to the marital relationship are particularly revealing: 33

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Rabbi Meir used to say, "One who marries a woman not appropriate for him transgressesfivenegative commandments. He transgresses [1] 'You shall not take vengeance . . . ' [Lev. 19:18]; [2] ' . . . or bear a grudge [against your country­ men] . . . ' [ibid.]; [3] 'You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart' [Lev. 19:17]; [4] ' . . . Love your fellow as yourself [Lev. 19:18]; [5] 'Let him live by your side as your kinsman' [Lev. 25:36]. Not only this, but he will eliminate procreation from the world."

41

A parallel attributed to Rabbi Akiba replaces the last line with "because he hates her and wishes her to die, and it will happen that he eliminates pro­ creation from the world." There are several interpretive problems with this 42

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tradition. The meaning of an "inappropriate" spouse is not entirely clear, and the commandments enumerated here are neither all negative ([4] and [5] are positive commandments) nor are they entirely relevant. The thrust of the tradition is to apply a series of biblical strictures governing conduct between men to a man's treatment of his wife. As suggested above, to the rabbis the terms countrymen, kinsfolk, fellow, and kinsman are not necessarily inclusive: they could be taken as applying only to men. This tradition extends the scope of these five verses to women, particularly wives. Ultimately, however, the reason that a man should not marry a woman inappropriate for him is not because he transgresses commandments by doing so, but because he will cease to have sex with her. This is clearer in the (probably later) tradition ascribed to Rabbi Akiba than in the one attributed to Rabbi Meir, but both assume that a man will cease intercourse with his wife "Love" in these traditions then also takes on a sexual force, a nuance to which I will shortly return. The ideal that a man should honor his wife is not confined to Palestinian sources. Its fullest expression is in fact found in the Babylonian Talmud: 43

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4 5

Rav said, "Always be careful about hurting [with words ] one's wife, for because of her tears her hurt is found close [?]... ." 46

47

Rav said, "All who follow the advice of his wife falls into Gehenna, as it is said, 'And he was not like Ahav . . .' [1 Kgs. 21:25, who followed the advice of his wife]." Rav Pappa said to Abaye, "But people say, 'If your wife is a dwarf, bend over and whisper to her!'" This is not a problem. One has to do with words about ordinary matters, the other with affairs of the house. An alternative: One has to do with words about the affairs of heaven, and the other with ordinary matters.. . . R. Helbo said, "Always a man should be careful about the honor of his wife, because blessing is found in the house of a man only on account of his wife, as it is said, 'And he dealt well with Abraham for her sake'" [Gen. 12:16]. And this is similar to what Rav said to the inhabitants of Mahoza, "Honor your wives because thus you will be made rich." 48

49

This sugya contains a tension. The sugya begins with two statements attributed to Rav that, if read together, say that one should neither hurt one's wife nor listen to her advice. A popular saying, though, suggests that a man should consult with his wife. At this point the Talmud resolves the contradiction with two possible answers that share an assumption: a man really should consult with his wife about matters that concern her. Finally, this part of the sugya ends with two dicta that advise a man to protect his wife's honor or actually to honor his wife, for by so doing good things will come to him. As a whole, this sugya promotes an ideal in which a man cautiously respects his wife. A man should not hurt his wife, and should guard her honor. On the other hand, he

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should not consult with her about things that are not perceived as pertaining to her. What Paul Veyne writes of Roman marriage is applicable here: "Her hus­ band would respect her as a leader respects his devoted subordinates—friends but inferiors." Mordechai Friedman has noted that the word "esteem" or "honor" appears frequently in Palestinian marriage contracts, but they do not have any legal force. 50

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Love, Rabbinic Style Tannaitic applications of Lev. 19:18 to the spousal relationship can have a sexual nuance. These traditions interpret "love" to mean a man's sexual at­ traction for his wife. Two later Babylonian traditions explicitly reflect this understanding. "As Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav, Tt is forbidden for a man to betroth a woman before seeing her—perhaps he will see in her some­ thing repulsive and be repulsed by her, and Scripture says, "Love your fellow as yourself."' " A man cannot "love" a woman whom hefindsrepulsive. The same sentiment is echoed elsewhere: "Rav Hisda said, Tt is forbidden for a man to have intercourse during the day, as it is said, "Love your fellow as yourself.'" What does this mean? Abayye said, 'Perhaps he will see in her something repulsive and be repulsed by her.'" These traditions assume that an unattractive woman will repulse her husband who, as a result, will cease to love her. This understanding of "conjugal love" is, of course, far from our own. "Ro­ mantic love, we fondly believe, joins two individuals in a union transcending the grave, and it will surely be agreed that romantic love has little to do with crude sex and is something distinct from lust." A marriage founded on ro­ mantic love develops "into another type of emotional bond, and one perhaps best categorised as 'conjugal' love." Love is emotive, a feeling of "delight in his or her presence and desire for his or her approval; warm affection, attach­ ment," according to one dictionary definition. The rabbis would surely not have agreed to this definition. A survey of the rabbinic application of various terms for "love" to the conjugal relationship reveals how deeply carnal was their understanding of love. Love was an emotion rooted in the flesh, more specifically the male flesh. In only a few places do the rabbis apply the verb *hb to the relationship between a man and a woman, but each has sexual connotations. For example, according to 1 Kgs. 11:3, Solomon "clung to and loved" many non-Jewish women. The Babylonian Talmud understands this verse to mean that he en­ gaged in premarital sexual relations with these women: "love" is taken to mean sexual desire. Elsewhere the Babylonian Talmud records a maxim that garlic "causes love to enter," which in context is clearly a reference to sexual desire. One of the "seven blessings" to be recited at a wedding uses the verb hb in this sexually charged manner. The sexual connotations of "love" might make 52

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more comprehensible the Palestinian Talmud's admonition not to accept those who convert "for the sake of love" —because sexual desire can be fleeting, there might be a fear that when it passes the proselyte will lapse. The Palestin­ ian Talmud uses the terms "his lover" Cohabato) and "her lover" Cohabah) as we might, to denote one engaged in a sexual relationship with a person other than one's spouse. In each of these cases, "love" is purely carnal. The term rhm is the most common Aramaic translation of *hb and has a similar range of meanings. When used, as it rarely is, in the context of a man "loving" a woman it, like 'hb, can have sexual connotations. One rabbinic story attributes a "love" so great to a man that if the rabbis do not allow him to have sex with her—or barring that, at least see her (preferably naked)—he will die. Most frequently when discussing love between a man and woman, the rab­ bis use the term hbb, which is found in the Hebrew Bible only at Deut. 33:3. Several rabbinic traditions use hbb in a graphically sexual sense. "Rav Katina said, 'When Israel goes on pilgrimage, they reveal for them the curtain, and show to them the cherubim who are intertwined in each other, and they say to them, "See how your love (hibba) before God is like the love between a male and a female."' " "Why is Esther compared to a hind? Just as a hind has a tight vagina (rahmah sar, "narrow womb"), and is loved (wehabibah) by her husband each time like the first time, so too Esther was loved by Ahasuerus each time like thefirsttime." The king is said to have loved Esther because he enjoyed sex with her. Female sexual attractiveness could even be extolled as an ultimate good: "[What is the meaning of 'My life was bereft of peace,] I forgot what happiness was' (Lam. 3:17)? . . . R. Aba said, 'This is a made bed and an adorned woman for the sages.' " That the rabbis understood sexual enjoyment, beauty, and love to be linked is underscored by a Palestinian text that asks why several of the matriarchs could not have children: 60

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Why were the mothers sterile? R. Levi in the name of R. Shila, R. Helbo in the name of R. Yohanan, "Because the Holy One blessed be He desired their prayers and conversation. 'My dove in the crags of the rock' [Song 2:14], why did I make you sterile? So that 'you cause me to see your countenance, to hear your voice' [ibid.]." R. Azariah in the name of R. Hanina: "So that they endear themselves to their husbands with their beauty." R. Huna, R. Yermiah in the name of R. Hiyya bar Aba said, "So that there be many years without enslavement." R. Huna, R. Idi, R. Avin in the name of R. Meir said, "So that their husbands should enjoy them, because whenever a woman is pregnant [literally, "receives fetuses"] she is repulsive and hateful." All 90 years that Sarah did not give birth she was like a bride in the bridal chamber (huppah). 69

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According to three of the last four dicta, God kept the matriarchs sterile so that they would remain attractive and sexually desirable to their husbands; the fourth dictum (referring to a woman's "enslavement") might assume that the hard work of child rearing would make a woman appear haggard. The last tradition praises Sarah for the same reason that the Babylonian amoraim praised Esther, because she remained sexually "fresh." The rabbinic understanding of the carnal nature of love has two critical consequences. The first is the importance placed on a wife's attractiveness to her husband. As we have seen, rabbinic sources assume that female beauty is important for attracting a husband. It continues to be important during marriage. "A pretty (yapah) wife, happy is her husband! His days will be double," the Babylonian Talmud exclaims. Repeatedly the rabbis emphasize the importance of beauty in endearing a woman to her husband. According a baraita, the reason that a woman must wait seven days after the cessation of her menses before she is allowed to have intercourse with her husband is "so that she will be beloved by her husband as at the moment that she entered the huppah" A man, according to one Palestinian rabbi, is permitted to abandon modesty and gaze at a new bride in order to "endear her to her husband." A Babylonian amora assumes that women might not want to serve as wet nurses because this work might make them appear ugly before their husbands. Whether a wife is "acceptable" to her husband is understood as whether she is attractive. 72

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The second critical implication of the rabbinic understanding of love as carnal and asymmetrical is that the onus for the maintenance of conjugal love falls squarely on the wife. Loss of her beauty could lead to the end of love and thus justify dissolution of the marriage. The clearest halakic expression of this sentiment is found at the end of the mishnaic tractate Gitin: The School of Shammai says: A man should not divorce his wife unless he found in her some dabar erwah, as it is said, "[She fails to please him] because he finds something obnoxious Cerwat dabar) about her, [and he writes her a bill of di­ vorcement, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house]" [Deut. 24:1]. The School of Hillel says: Even if she spoils his meal, as it is said, "because he finds something obnoxious about her." Rabbi Akiba says: Even if hefindsanother more attractive (na'ah) than her, as it is said, "She fails to please him." c

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This passage has attracted much discussion, especially due to its relevance to discussions of divorce in the New Testament and early Church. The bone of contention between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel is the understanding of the term erwat dabar. The School of Shammai focuses on the term erwat, and thus takes the maximalist position, prohibiting divorce except in cases of female adultery. The School of Hillel focuses on the word dabar, "thing," and thus allows divorce for any reason whatsoever. By focusing on the 80

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beginning rather than the middle of the verse, Rabbi Akiba shifts the ground of the discussion. For Akiba, the key word is hen, which although employed idiomatically in this biblical phrase, can also mean "beauty." No rabbinic source does much with this opinion; the law codes reject R. Akiba's opinion. Yet although normatively marginal, Akiba's opinion embeds within it an atti­ tude that does find expression in halakic contexts. The rabbinic view that female beauty was crucial to the maintenance of marriage had halakic consequences. To Ezra, for example, the rabbis assign an enactment (taqanah) that those who sold fragrances in the city were not to be hassled, "because," according to the Babylonian Talmud's explanation, "[they are] ornaments of women, so that they will not become repulsive to their hus­ bands." After citing a statement attributed to Ulla that women can wear certain ornaments on Shabbat so that they do not become repulsive to their husbands, the Babylonian Talmud cites a baraita: 83

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As it is taught, "and concerning her who is in menstrual infirmity," [Lev. 15:33]— the first elders said that she should not put eye shadow or rouge or adorn them­ selves with colorful garments, until R. Akiba came and taught, "If so you will make her repulsive to her husband and he will come to divorce her!" 87

The justification "so that she not become repulsive to her husband" is confined to the Babylonian Talmud, where it is used to justify several lenient posi­ tions: a woman is allowed to wash her face on the Day of Atonement; married women are not checked to see if they are pregnant; a woman can wear cosmetics on Shabbat; a man is permitted to annul the vows of his wife (they might cause her to become unattractive); and a woman can receive special clothing to wear during her menses, so that when her period ends she does not have to wear the same clothes she wore during her menses. On the other hand, the rabbis see male beauty as irrelevant for the mainte­ nance of a marriage, as it is in the choosing of a mate. The single rabbinic source that mentions male appearances in connection with marriage is particu­ larly telling: 88

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These are the men that they [i.e., the court] compel to divorce [their wives]: one afflicted by sores; one who has polyps; the "scraper"; one who smelts brass; and 95

a tanner—whether they [i.e., the defects] were in them [i.e., the men afflicted] before they married or formed after they married. About all of these, Rabbi Meir said: "Although it was agreed with her she can say: T thought I would be able to stand [him], but now I am not able to stand [him].'" The Sages said: "She must endure [him] against her will, except for a case of one afflicted by sores, because she will irritate him." Once in Sidon a tanner died and he had a brother who was a tanner. The Sages said: "She is able to say, 'Your brother I was able to stand, but you I am unable to stand.'"

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A woman is entitled to a divorce if her husband has either hideous sores or a horrible smell (the problem with the scraper, smelter, and the tanner). The disagreement revolves around whether a woman who agreed to marry a man knowing that he had these afflictions or occupations has the right to compel her husband to divorce her. The cases are exceptional, and the Sages' reason for allowing for a divorce in the case of a man who has skin sores is significant: it will irritate him, not repulse her. The rabbis never explicitly identify a woman as "loving" a man. They do, though, assume—with their Greek and Roman counterparts—that women have an ample supply of sexual desire, to the point that they have some problems controlling it: it is never, however, directed at their husbands. Female beauty was a linchpin for the maintenance of love and hence marriage; male beauty was irrelevant. 97

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Sentimental Feeling? Despite the asymmetrical and carnal nature of the rabbinic understanding of love, there are a few rabbinic sources that indicate at least an awareness of emotive bonds formed between a married couple. One extended discussion is worth citing in full: 100

Rav Shemen bar Aba said, "Come and see how difficult [or serious] divorce is—they gave King David permission to remain alone [with a woman], but did not give him permission to divorce." Rabbi Elazar said, "Anyone who divorces hisfirstwife, even the altar sheds tears for him as it is written, 'And this you do as well; You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, weeping, and moaning, so that He refuses to regard the oblation any more and to accept what you offer' [Mai. 3:13], and it is written, 'But you ask, "Because of what?" Because the Lord is a witness between you and the wife of your youth with whom you have broken faith, though she is your partner and covenanted spouse' [Mai. 2:14]." 101

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The second, and perhaps also the first, tradition is attributed as Palestinian. Rabbi Elazar exploits Malachi's marital metaphor to illustrate the grief that a man's divorce of hisfirstwife might cause. The qualification is important, for it indicates the primacy of the scriptural metaphor over the human feelings for Rabbi Elazar's exegesis. The altar sheds tears for the man divorcing his first wife because the divorce represents the rupture of the relationship between God and Israel. There is no sign that Rabbi Elazar understands the altar to shed tears for this man because he "loved" this woman and the divorce causes him emotional pain. Divorce is to be regretted for its symbolic value. Death, in the continuation, is represented in a different light: Rabbi Yohanan, and some say Rabbi Elazar, said, "The wife of a man does not die unless they request money from him and he does not have any, as it is said,

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'Lest your bed be taken from under you when you have no money to pay' [Prov. 22:27]." Rabbi Yohanan also said, "For any man whose first wife died while he was alive, it is as if the sanctuary was destroyed in his day, as it is said, 'O mortal, I am about to take away the delight of your eyes from you through pestilence; but you shall not lament or weep or let your tears flow' [Ezek. 24:16], and it is written, 'In the evening my wife died, and in the morning I did as I had been commanded' [Ezek. 24:18], and it is written, 'I am going to desecrate My Sanctuary, your pride and glory, the delight of your eyes . . . ' [Ezek. 24:21]." 103

Rabbi Alexander said, "For every man whose wife died in his lifetime, the world is dark for him, as it is said, 'The light in his tent darkens; his lamp fails him' [Job 18:6]." R. Yosi bar Hanina said, "His steps are shortened, as it is said, 'His iniquitous strides are hobbled . . . ' [Job 18:7]." Rabbi Abbahu said, "His counsel falls, as it is written, '. . . his schemes overthrow him' [Job 18:7]."

These Palestinian rabbis all regard the death of a man's (first) wife as disas­ trous. Although R. Yohanan appeals to the marital metaphor found in Ezekiel, he does seem here to assume that a man would be genuinely grieved by his first wife's death. She was the delight of his eyes, now the desecrated sanctuary. The domestic ideal embodied by the wife by comparing her with the sanctuary is reinforced by R. Alexander: she is compared to the "light in his tent." The other rabbis tack on two further calamities that the death one's wife brings. Rabbi Yohanan said, "It is as difficult to unite them (i.e., to form marriages) as the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, as it is said, 'God restores the lonely to their homes, sets free the imprisoned, safe and sound . . .' [Ps. 68:7]." Really? But didn't Rav Yehudah say in the name of Rav, "Forty days before the formation of a child a heavenly voice comes forth and says, 'The daughter of so-and-so will be to so-and so?' " This is not a problem. This concerns the first match, and that the second. 104

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The inclusion of this exchange in the sugya at this point is particularly reveal­ ing of the redactor's understanding of these largely Palestinian traditions. The redactor has juxtaposed two contrary traditions: thefirstputs the responsibility for matchmaking in human hands, and the second posits matches as pre­ ordained. The redactor than harmonizes the two traditions by stating that only first marriages are preordained. It seems to me that by including this exchange the redactor is reacting to the slippage in Rabbi Alexander's statement. Why, the redactor seems to be saying, does Rabbi Alexander think the death of one's wife so bad? The answer suggested is that here too he is talking about the first wife, who is special. That is, the inclusion of this exchange here reflects a degree of redactorial incomprehension of a sentimental ideal. The redactor

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understands that afirstwife can be special because of her symbolic or meta­ phorical value, and can understand the specialness based on divine interven­ tion, but does not seem to understand that a man might forge a strong and unique emotional attachment to his wife, especially the "one of his youth." R. Shmuel bar Nahman said, "To everything there is a recompense, except the wife of one's youth, as it is said, ' . . . Can one cast off the wife of his youth?' [Is. 54:6]." But Rav Yehudah taught to Rav Yitzhak his son, "A manfindstranquility only with hisfirstwife, as it is said, 'Let your fountain be blessed;findjoy in the wife of your youth' [Prov. 5:18]." And he said to him, "Like who?" And he said to him, "Like your mother." She is irascible, but easily appeased with a word. Rav Shmuel b. Oniya said in the name of Rav, "A woman is a golem, and one makes a covenant only with the one who formed her, as it is said, 'For He who made you will espouse you—His name is Lord of Hosts' [Is. 54:5]." 106

This continuation again shows the gap between Palestinian and Babylonian marital ideals. A Palestinian amora emphasizes the unique place of the first wife, appealing to yet another biblical text that represents God and Israel's relationship as a marriage. The Babylonian comments that follow it reflect a more ambivalent attitude. Rav Yehudah's statement is here truncated, but as we saw in its parallel in chapter 1, it indicates that even a good wife is a mixed blessing. The second comment is far more surprising, practically rejecting the Palestinian statements on the loss of a man'sfirstwife. Each of the Palestinian statements is based on a biblical text that compares marriage to the covenant between God and Israel. Rav Shmuel b. Oniya rejects the idea that a man can form a covenant with his wife! The implication of this rejection is that none of the previous Palestinian sentiments is well based in Scripture. The sugya closes with a baraita: It is taught: A man dies only for his wife, and a woman dies only for her husband. A man dies only for his wife, as it is said, "Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died. . ." [Ruth 1:3]. A woman dies only for her husband, as it is said, "I [do this be­ cause], when I was returning from Paddan, Rachel died, to my sorrow . .." [Gen. 48:7]. 107

If the attribution is genuine (as might be indicated by the appearance of part of it in a Palestinian midrashic collection), then again we see a "sentimental ideal" attributed to a Palestinian source. Of particular interest is the citation of Gen. 48:7, which explicitly links sorrow to the death of a (second!) wife. This sugya as a whole presents a formidable interpretive problem. On the one hand, traditions attributed to Palestinians appear to cohere, all of them reflecting—mainly by appeal to the metaphor of marriage—a sentimental ideal. Babylonian traditions, and the work of the redactor, similarly cohere,

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offering a counterpoint to the Palestinian traditions. On the other hand, the Palestinian traditions found in this sugya are paralleled in no Palestinian rab­ binic document, and no Palestinian document mentions "the first wife." De­ spite this silence, a few other sources might indicate that Palestinian rabbis did to some extent, however limited, promote a sentimental ideal in marriage. Another sugya in the Babylonian Talmud that demonstrates a difference in the way that Palestinian and Babylonian rabbis regarded emotions within mar­ riage concerns the halakic rules of mourning and remarriage. According to a baraita, a man cannot remarry after the death of his wife for "three festivals" (i.e., a year)—unless he either has no children, in which case he may remarry "immediately, due to the abnegation of procreation," or has young children, in which case also he can marry "immediately, because of [the need] to sustain them." This is immediately followed by a supporting case: "Once the wife of Yosef ha-Kohen died. He said to her sister at the graveyard, 'Come and sup­ port the children of your sister.' Despite this he did not have intercourse with her for a long time." "A long time," according to a Babylonian amora, meant a month. According to this baraita, it is proper for a man to wait a year to remarry unless there are overriding considerations. The story nicely supports the baraita: a man needs help taking care of his children so he can support them, so while marrying his sister-in-law, he continues to observe his mourn­ ing by not having intercourse with his new wife for a long time. Left with only this baraita we might assume that his restraint from intercourse, which has nothing to do with taking care of his children, reflects a kind of honor of his wife's memory. This is not the case, according to the amoraic gloss. He is said to restrain from intercourse for the minimum thirty-day mourning period be­ fore resuming a regular life with his new wife. It appears that the baraita itself is based on a husband's grief for his deceased wife, but in its context in the Babylonian Talmud it loses any suggestion of grief that it may have had. The redactor reinterpreted the Palestinian source. Although this example demonstrates the shifting assumptions underlying the Babylonian treatment of Palestinian material, it is somewhat exceptional. Palestinian and Babylonian mourning laws emphasize the importance of the parent-child relationship over the conjugal one. A man should mourn for a year for a parent, but less for a spouse. Men are expected to remarry eventually: "R. Yannai said in the name of R. Shmuel bar Nahman, 'If you had children in your youth, take a wife in your old age and raise children.' " And whereas men are at least advised to wait a year before remarrying, a woman who loses her husband need only wait three months, in order to be certain that she is not carrying her husband's child. Here too, the mourning laws do not suggest that a woman would be grieved at the loss of her husband to the point that she would delay remarriage. We have no hint here of the univera, a wife who honors her deceased husband's memory by not remarrying. This ideal, missing from rabbinic literature, is reflected in some of the Jewish Hellenistic litera108

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ture. Judith, for example, is praised for her refusal to remarry despite her being a "very beautiful and attractive woman" (Judith 8:7). If there was a Palestinian ideal that spouses should love one another and be grieved upon the other's death, it penetrated only very shallowly into rabbinic rules of mourning. Another exceptional Palestinian source that reflects a sentimental ideal is found in a late midrash: There we learnt: If a man marries a woman and remains with her ten years and she did not bear children, he is not permitted to restrain [from the commandment of procreation]. R. Idi said: Once there was a woman in Sidon who remained for ten years with her husband and she did not give birth. They came before R. Shimon ben Yohai, and they wanted to be divorced from each other. He said to them, "By your life, just as you came together to each other with feasting and drinking, so too you should not part without feasting and drinking." They went their way and made for them­ selves a feast, and made a great meal and he drank too much. When he regained his senses he said to her, "My daughter, see any good thing that I have in this house. Take it and go to your father's house." What did she do? After he went to sleep she summoned her slaves and maid-servants and she said to them, "Lift him in the bed and take him and bring him to the house of [my] father." In the middle of the night he woke from his sleep. When her donkey grew faint, he said to her, "My daughter, where am I being taken?" She said, "To [my] father's house." He said to her, "Why am I going to your father's house?" She said to him, "Did you not say to me last night that any good thing that is in my house take it and go to your father's house? There is nothing that I desire more (tov li) than you." They went to R. Shimon ben Yohai, and he prayed for them and they conceived. To teach you that just as the Holy One blessed be He visits sterile women, so too do the righteous visit sterile women. 111

The seed of this story is the rabbinic law that if a woman has not conceived within ten years of marriage, her husband must divorce her. The rule, our midrash suggests, is cruel. It takes a second feast (we might call this a second "honeymoon") to reawaken the woman's desire for her husband, and it is this desire that ultimately leads to her conceiving. Although the story credits this desire to R. Shimon ben Yohai's prayer, which in turn leads to her conceiving, we might also see in this tradition an allusion to contemporary medical beliefs. Other rabbinic sources, and Greek medical texts, link female sexual desire to conception. In this understanding of the story (which perhaps the storyteller is subtly countering), the purpose of a wife's desire for her husband is not to maintain a "good" marriage, but to increase procreation. Ultimately, her "de­ sire" is irrelevant to the maintenance of her marriage. By conceiving she re­ moves the halakic compulsion for divorce. This midrash is exceptional not only because it clearly portrays and lauds a passionate marriage, but also because it is the only rabbinic source known to 112

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me that portrays a wife desiring her husband. But together with the other Palestinian evidence surveyed above, it does indicate that some Palestinian rabbinic circles, in contrast to those in Babylonia, saw a positive role for emo­ tional attachment within marriage. In regard to Jewish Hellenistic writers and Palestinian rabbis, this conclu­ sion is not surprising. Throughout this book I have noted several similarities between Palestinian rabbinic understandings of marriage and those of Greeks and Romans, especially those identified as Stoic. The presence of the senti­ mental ideal is yet another similarity, as Stoics emphasized this ideal in their moralizing tracts. It would be misleading, however, to suggest that this marital sentimental ideal was prevalent, even in the rarefied world of the rabbinic academy. The ideal appears infrequently, and then in only a single Palestinian document. Jewish Hellenistic writers and Palestinian rabbis found a more compelling model for the husband in a benevolent paternalism. A husband should respect and care for his wife as a superior, but with the concern that a father might have for his daughter. Wives must submit to their husband's superior knowledge. When it came to other wifely ideals, however, the Jewish Hellenistic writers and Palestinian rabbis part company. The latter emphasized the importance of physical desire in marriage, sometimes (as in the case of Rabbi Akiba) ques­ tioning if in fact there was much more to the attachment between husband and wife. Regarding Babylonian rabbis, the absence of a sentimental ideal of marriage might be unexpected. If it is correct that the age gap between spouses among Babylonian Jews was (or was at least expected to be) relatively slight, then one would expect that there might be more of an emphasis on companionate mar­ riage. The reverse appears to have been the case. If Palestinian rabbis tended to ignore a sentimental ideal, Babylonian rabbis downright rejected it. Babylonian dicta suggest a society that tried very hard to enforce a rigid gender hierarchy. It is interesting to note that Pahlevi literature also reflects such a gender hierarchy. Zoroastrian women are exempted from the periodic saluta­ tions of the sun and moon; they are to replace them with salutations of their husbands. A woman's righteousness is linked to her obedience: "every time that they [i.e., wives] perform work by command of the husband they call them righteous in the religion; and if not, what do they call them?" one text asks rhetorically. Babylonian rabbinic attitudes mirror this understanding of a wife's place. 114

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EXEMPLA

Prescriptive and moralistic literature is only one genre that a culture can use to transmit its values and ideals. A second genre is the exemplum. An exemplum is an "illustrative story," and in antiquity most commonly took the form of a

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story about some hero. They were usually intended for a broader audience than the philosophical or prescriptive texts, presenting an easy-to-understand story that makes a moral point. In this section, I will be using the term some­ what loosely to represent literature that describes "real" Jewish marriages with the goal of portraying good or bad spousal qualities. This literature takes two sometimes overlapping forms, biblical exegesis and stories. The Hebrew Bible contains usually sparse stories of several marriages: How did later generations of Jews construe these marriages? What values are reflected in these exegeses? How do these values relate to those contained in the prescriptive and moralistic literature? The same questions apply for the stories of rabbinic marriages. 118

Biblical Marriages The Bible itself contains relatively few models of marriage. We can, however, follow the exegetical trail of the marriages of biblical characters. For rea­ sons of contrast, I will analyze the exegetical life of two biblical marriages in early Jewish sources. Of all the patriarchal marriages, Abraham and Sarah are singled out by later commentators as demonstrating admirable spousal quali­ ties. After reviewing their marriage, I will turn to exegetical history of a less auspicious marriage, David and Michal, the daughter of Saul. The Bible does not tell us much about the marriage of Abraham and Sarah. We are told that Sarah was responsible for preparing the food for some guests (Gen. 18:6); that she was vexed (probably with jealousy) by her slave Hagar, whom she gave to Abraham to serve as a surrogate mother (16:2); and that she could have a sharp tongue, mocking the promise that she would bear children in her old age (18:12-15). Her beauty is also noted (12:14, implied in 20:1-3). About Abraham's role as a husband we are told even less. He tells Sarah to lie, implying that if necessary she should sleep with an Egyptian Pharaoh in order to save his own skin (20:11-13); he is ready to sacrifice their only child with­ out consulting her (22); and he bends easily to Sarah's demand that he banish Hagar and their son Ishmael (21:9-13). Philo is thefirst,and foremost, biblical exegete to turn these biblical shreds into an example of a marriage worthy of emulation. He enumerates and dwells upon Sarah's wifely virtues in his eulogy of her: "After this, in the course of time, [Abraham] lost the wife who was the darling of his heart (thumerestate)" Philo praised Sarah for her "love of husband" (philandria), which earned her Abraham's admiration. Sarah demonstrated her love by leaving kinsfolk and homeland when they departed to the Land of Israel; by wandering with him through inhospitable places; and by remaining always at his side, a "true partner in life and life's events" who unlike some women who "run away from mishaps and lie ready to pounce on pieces of good luck, accepted her portion of both with all alacrity as the fit and proper test of a wedded wife." Philo illustrates her praise with the story of Hagar. Sarah selflessly "gives" 119

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Hagar (whom Philo makes a point of telling us is fit to sleep with the patriarch Abraham because of her noble interior) to Abraham when she realizes that she is infertile, in order not to deny him fatherhood. In Philo's eyes Sarah is thus the ideal wife primarily because she continu­ ously subordinated whatever desires or needs that she may have had (desires and needs of which we never hear) to those of her husband. She is contrasted with those wives who are not as reliable, staying with their husbands only when all is going well. Earlier, Philo related the biblical notice of Sarah's physical beauty, adding that she had goodness of soul as well. While not denying Sarah's physical beauty, Philo desires to emphasize her nonphysical qualities. We find exactly the opposite tendancy in another retell­ ing of Genesis, this time from Qumran. The Genesis Apocryphon expands the biblical story of Abram's sojourn in Egypt to nine times its original size. In­ cluded in the retelling is "a massive embellishment" of Sarah's beauty in the genre of the wasf. Sarah's physical beauty is highlighted to the complete neglect of any of her moral characteristics, and it is her beauty that accounts for Pharaoh's "love" (rhm) for her. When R. Ban'ah came to mark the cave of Abraham, a rabbinic legend reports, 122

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he found Eliezer, Abraham's slave, standing at the entrance. He said to him, "What is Abraham doing?" He said to him, "He is lying on Sarah's lap, and she is looking at his head." He said to him, "Go tell him that Ban'ah is at the entrance." [Abraham] said to [Eliezer,] "Let him enter. Know that there is no evil inclination in this world." 125

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The passage then continues by stating that Sarah's beauty was third only to Adam's and Eve's. Abraham's posture clearly suggests his erotic desire toward his wife. Sarah's gazing at Abraham's "head" might carry a double meaning, indicating both her affection for him and her status as his inferior. Under normal circumstances, Sarah's beauty and their intimate position would require modesty. Because, however, they are dead, living in a world where there is no "evil inclination," Ban'ah is allowed to enter and observe them. The story portrays sexual desire, conjugal sentimentality (perhaps), wifely subordination, and modesty as marital values. Unfortunately it is difficult to know if this story is Palestinian (following the provenance of its protagonist, R. Ban'ah) or Babylonian, as its placement and language suggests. Despite her extraordinary beauty, Sarah is presented as being modest. Here there is a difference between the way she is portrayed in Palestinian and Baby­ lonian sources. A Palestinian midrash explicates Gen. 21:7 ("Sarah nursed children"): Why is the plural used? The foundation story that both this mid­ rash and its version in the Babylonian Talmud share is that Sarah lactated so heavily that she nursed many children other than her own. The Palestinian version describes Sarah as "modest," and she publicizes this great miracle only 127

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at Abraham's insistence. As a result, she nurses the neighborhood children, presumably in private. But the parallel in the Babylonian Talmud omits the notice of Sarah's modesty and sets the "miracle" at a public party that Abra­ ham and Sarah threw for all of the leaders of the world. Although the sugya in which this midrash is set begins by interpreting Gen. 18:9 (Abraham is asked where Sarah is) to mean that Sarah is modest, it continues with alterna­ tive explanations. The Babylonian Talmud does not emphasize Sarah's modesty. Sarah is also pious and domestically oriented. Sources in Genesis Rabba term Sarah "that righteous woman" and praise her for her faith in following Abraham to the Land of Israel. She is attributed with running a hospitable household, keeping the dough "blessed," and making sure that "a candle burned from one sabbath eve until the next." All of our sources comment very little on Abraham in his role as a husband. Philo is the only author to discuss this directly. Whatever Sarah's good quali­ ties, according to Philo, Abraham has more, including "one of which concerns the death of his wife, in which his conduct should not be passed over in si­ lence." Although "he had lost his life-long partner . . . when sorrow was making itself ready to wrestle with his soul," Abraham resisted over-mourning Sarah's death, using reason to "quietly and gently lighten the blow." The result was that when the natives observed Abraham "and saw nothing of the sort of mourning which was customary with themselves, no wailing, no chant­ ing of dirges, no beating of breasts,... but a quiet sober air of sorrow pervad­ ing the whole house, they were profoundly amazed." Philo here goes well beyond the biblical account, constructing Abraham as a Stoic sage who bears life's misfortune with equanimity. Philo assumes that grief is a natural re­ action to the death of one's spouse, but holds up Abraham as an example of the proper, restrained reaction to this grief. Rabbinic sources, on the other hand, do not comment on Abraham's grief at Sarah's death. The marriage of David and Michal furnishes a second example of contem­ poraneous marital values being read into a biblical story. According to 1 Sam. 18:17-29, Saul proposes that David marry his oldest daughter, Merab, but before they could marry Saul gave her to another man. Immediately thereafter, it is reported that Saul's other daughter, Michal, fell in love with David. Saul told David that in order to win Michal he must bring him the foreskins of 100 Philistines, which he did. Saul gave David his daughter in marriage. The mar­ riage does not calm Saul's jealousy of David, and he soon sends men to kill him; Michal helps him to escape (19:9-17). During his absence, Saul gave Michal, "David's wife," to another man, Palti son of Laish (25:44). When David was in a better position, he demanded that Saul's house restore to him Michal, "my wife, whom I betrothed with 100 Philistine foreskins" (2 Sam. 3:14). As she was led away her husband followed her, weeping (2 Sam. 3:15). The next, and last, time that we hear about Michal is when she rebukes David 130

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for dancing immodestly before the ark, and, the narrator concludes, "to Michal, the daughter of Saul, there was not a child until her dying day" (2 Sam. 6:20-23). Josephus recasts this story in a more romantic vein. In his retelling, the older daughter Merab does not appear, and Michal falls in love with David because of his valor. In reply to David's assertion that he was not worthy of marriage to the royal family (given, in the biblical account, in reply to Saul's proposal that he marry Merab at 1 Sam. 18:18), Saul responds that he desires no gifts from David, for "that would be to sell my daughter, not to give her in mar­ riage," but rather asks for a demonstration of his bravery. Josephus assumes that valor, which as a spousal quality plays no part in the biblical story, is normally an attractive attribute in a husband. For her part, Michal saves David out of "dreadful anxiety about her own life, for she could not endure to live if bereft of him." Michal is the loving and devoted wife. Josephus sanitizes Michal's transfer to Palti. When Saul married Michal to Palti (Pheltias, in Josephus's version) she was already "once the wife of David"; Josephus does not tell us when and how they separated, but the sug­ gestion is certainly that they had. When David asks for the return of his wife, "who had been purchased by him," Josephus omits any description of her crestfallen husband. Michal's rebuke of David for exposing himself is far milder than the biblical account, with Josephus adding that before she rebuked him she blessed him. Finally, Josephus clumsily attempts to reconcile the contradiction between 2 Sam. 6:23 and 21:8 (which attributes five children to Michal from Adriel, mentioned in 1 Sam. 18:19 as the husband of Merab): "Now this Michale, while she lived with David, bore no children, but, after her later marriage to the man on whom her father Saul bestowed her—at this par­ ticular time David, who had taken her away from him was again her hus­ band—she bore five children." Where Scripture suggests that her childless­ ness was a curse for her rebuke of David, Josephus adds that she did have children and presents her lack of children from David as a simple fact, without moral overtones. Josephus's small additions and modifications of the biblical narrative ulti­ mately portray David and Michal's marriage very differently than it appears in the Bible. David, in Josephus's account, is a model husband: he is brave and does not overreact to Michal's rebuke. He reclaims his wife, but at no reported human cost. Michal is attributed with a devotion beyond what the Bible re­ ports, and she couches criticism of her husband in praise and blessing. Jo­ sephus transforms the tumultous, and apparently doomed, biblical marriage into a completely respectable one. Shulamit Waller has noted that the (Babylonian) Talmud ignores Michal's "independent acts and initiatives, and turns [her] into [a] subdued and legiti­ mate" wife. One example of this is the complete obliteration of Michal's love for David. Curiously, though, the Babylonian Talmud does ascribe to 136

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David a love for Michal, something at which the Bible does not even hint: "Rav said, Egla, this is Mical. And why is she called Eglal Because she was as beloved to him as an egla (heifer), and thus it says, "had you not plowed with my heifer" (Judg. 14:18).' " This statement is part of a larger technical discussion of how many wives David had. Its point of departure is the notice in 2 Sam. 3:5 that David had a wife named Egla, who is otherwise unattested. Rav proposes that this is a kind of pet name for Michal, which indicates her husband's sexual desire for her. The implication of both the proof text— Samson's statement about his wife—and the clause "beloved to him" (habibah lyw) both point to an erotic overtone. Rav's attribution to David of sexual desire for Michal, a fact lacking in the biblical narrative, casts their marriage in the rabbinic mold. The Palestinian Talmud, however, offers a different explanation of Michal's second name. "How was she punished? To Michal, the daughter of Saul, there was not a child until her dying day.' But is is written, 'the sixth [child was] Yitram, [born to] Egla his wife'! She moaned like a heifer and died." This version solves the contradiction between 2 Sam. 3:5 and 6:23 by positing that Michal died in childbirth—at her death she gave birth to Yitram, David's son. A similar solution (attributed to R. Hisda) appears in the Babylonian Talmud immediately after the tradition on the egla cited above, but there it is not connected to the actual word " egla." The implication of the difference be­ tween the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds is that whereas the former in­ jects "love" into the marriage of David and Michal, the latter stresses the pun­ ishment that Michal must suffer for rebuking her husband. The Palestinian Talmud is as bothered by Michal's behavior as was Josephus, but instead of softening her behavior its exegetical strategy is to punish her. Michal's portrayal in the Palestinian Talmud is not entirely negative. This same tradition that critiques her language to David emphasizes her modesty; her language may have been inappropriate, the Talmud asserts, but it should be understood against her and her family's extreme concern with modesty. When David exposed himself publicly, from her perspective "today the honor of father's house was revealed." The Babylonian Talmud contains another tradi­ tion that emphasizes that even when Michal was in the house of her second husband, she was chaste. Her "husband" Palti insisted that they not have sex; his restraint is praised as greater than that of both Joseph and Boaz. This sugya goes to great lengths to eliminate the possibility that Michal could have had children by Palti. "Her" five children of 2 Sam. 21:8 are said to have been born to her sister Merab but raised by her, and were thus given her name. The rabbis wanted to keep Michal chaste for several reasons. First, because "the line of David" becomes very important in rabbinic thought, especially in Babylonia, even the suggestion that David's "wives" would have been having sex with other men could have been particularly disconcerting. Second, ac­ cording to the Mishnah, a king's widow should not remarry. Michal may iC

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have had sex with the future king before having been given to Palti (the bibli­ cal text is not clear on this point), and thus might have come under this stric­ ture. Josephus was concerned with neither of these issues, and thus had no problem attributing children to her from her second marriage. Third, for Michal to serve as any kind of wifely role model, she could not have had sex with a man other than her husband. The Babylonian sources could have done more to emphasize her modesty (e.g., giving the initiative to her rather than to Palti), but at least they preserved her chastity. Rabbinic Exempla If there was one rabbinic marriage that rabbinic sources present as a model, it is that of R. Akiba. The story, which I cited above in another context, has recently received much scholarly attention. Akiba's wife comes from a wealthy and well-known family; when her family objects to the match, she abandons home and family to marry. She consents to Akiba's long absences from home while he studies and selflessly gives of herself, even comparing herself to her "master's beast." She is modest, in all senses of the word. Akiba, in turn, honors his wife, attributing all of his success to her (in the Babylonian version) or bedecking her with expensive jewelry (Palestinian version). Most of the ideological elements of this story are found in other rabbinic exempla, although no other source as expertly weaves them together. Good wives are, of course, presented as modest. Kimhit is so modest that she does not even undress in the privacy of her own home; her reward was the privilege of giving birth to great and pious sons. Rav criticizes Hezekiah for allowing his wife to appear before others. Rabbinic wives are frequently seen in­ volved with domestic tasks. A good rabbinic wife keeps herself attractive, gives charity, and if necessary, defends the family honor. A good rabbinic wife also knew her place. The Babylonian Talmud de­ scribes how wives could continue to serve their husbands while they were menstruating. One whose "wife rules over him," according to a baraita, lives a life not worth living. There is rabbinic concern that a beautiful or rich wife might become overbearing. When a Palestinian story wants to illustrate the "evil wife with a large marriage settlement," it chooses a wife who deliberately defies her husband's meal requests, as did the sugya analyzed in chapter l . Rabbinic exempla confirm the marital values given in other rabbinic sources. Women should be modest, subordinate to their husbands, and domes­ tic. Men should honor their wives. No rabbinic exempla show what we would call a "loving" or "sentimental" relationship; even the midrash of Sarah and Abraham holding each other reinforces a spousal hierarchy. The only element lacking from these exempla that is found in other rabbinic genres is sexual desire of a husband for his wife. It seems likely to me that the rabbis were not 149

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shy about expressing such values in the abstract, but that when it came to describing the desire that a specific rabbi had for his wife they drew back. Sexual desire was double-charged; nearly all of the stories about rabbis in which sexual desire plays an important role exhibit a wary attitude about its power. Hence to describe a rabbi as sexually desiring his wife was to risk demeaning him as not having the self-control necessary to counter such desire. Conversely, when it came to describing real wives as taking care to keep their husbands' sexual interest, there was a risk of blurring the line between proper and modest wifely behavior and the improper behavior of those women who do not conduct themselves according to the "Jewish law." The rabbis may have expected (and desired) a wife to keep her husband's sexual interest, but they did not extend this expectation into an ideal of a sexually passionate marriage. 158

INSCRIPTIONS

Inscriptions allow us to approach the same problem from another angle. Our written sources, for all of their multivocality, were produced and redacted by and mainly for men of a particular class. The marital ideals of rabbinic litera­ ture are rabbinic marital ideals. There are virtually no Jewish, nonrabbinic literary texts against which we can compare these rabbinic ideals in order to ascertain whether they were shared by other contemporary Jews. What sur­ vive instead are scores of Jewish inscriptions, almost all of them epitaphs. The value of these Jewish inscriptions is not that they present the reality as opposed to the idealized nature of rabbinic sources, but that they present the ideals of nonrabbinic Jewish communities. One needs only to stroll attentively through a modern graveyard to notice how formulaic epitaphs are: they speak more about the qualities that a society values and thinks worthy of commemo­ ration than about the individual him/herself. Modern epitaphs, for example, rarely note that an individual was a good cook, although that person may have been quite proud of his or her cooking. Conversely, one wonders how many "loving spouses" were really so loving. The goal of this section is to recover the marital ideals of these ancient Jewish inscriptions, and then to compare these ideals against those of the liter­ ary texts. To recover these ideals, we must ask, when possible, three kinds of questions of the inscriptions. First, what epithets are applied to Jewish spouses? When one spouse commemorates another, what does s/he want us to know about the spouse? Second, what can the patterns of dedication reveal about marital ideals? Because the person who made (i.e., paid for) the inscrip­ tion in most cases indicates this on the inscription, we can track the patterns of commemoration. Finally, what does the context of the inscriptions tell us? A few Jewish family tombs from antiquity, all from Palestine, have been unearthed, and these allow us to see the dynamic of family burials and commemorations. 159

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Jewish Inscriptions from the Diaspora The largest concentration of Jewish inscriptions from antiquity are from the Jewish catacombs of Rome. These catacombs appear to have been used by the Jewish communities of Rome between the second and fourth centuries CE (or later); it is, unfortunately, impossible to date these inscriptions with much more precision. According to the count of the most recent corpus of these inscriptions, 550 Jewish inscriptions from Rome survive, along with another thirty-seven whose provenance is questionable. We know the original con­ text (i.e., exactly where they were placed in the catacomb) of only very few of these inscriptions. Frequently, although certainly not always, epitaphs in antiquity note who made the inscription, and the relationship of that person to the deceased. Of the Roman inscriptions, about forty-four inscriptions are said to have been made by a parent for a child, and another sixteen by a child for a parent. Twentysix inscriptions were set up by husbands for their wives, and thirteen by wives for their husbands. Another sixteen inscriptions identify a woman as a wife, and the husbands, while not explicitly noted on the epitaph as commemorators, most likely purchased the stones. Only a few epitaphs of those identified as spouses also indicate another relationship of the deceased. These numbers raise two issues. First, there appears to be a spousal imbal­ ance. The chronic underrepresentation of women in all inscriptions from an­ tiquity explains this imbalance to some extent, as does the tendency in premodern populations for the sex ratio to tilt toward males, with time. It is also likely that the imbalance reflects something deeper about spousal expectations in these Roman Jewish communities. If a woman died while married to a man who had the means to commemorate her, it was most likely expected that he do so. This appears to have been the case even when they were married for only a short time. If a man died while married to his wife, however, the obliga­ tion to commemorate him may have primarily fallen upon his children or par­ ents. Most of the dedications of a wife to her deceased husband are well made, and all are in Latin. If Leonard Rutgers is correct that the Jewish community used increasingly more Latin with the passage of time, then only a woman of means from the later stages of the use of the catacombs (fourth century CE?), probably without a grown child, was in a position (or expected?) to commem­ orate her deceased husband. Second, and more intriguingly, the imbalance between commemorations between parents and children and husbands and wives is not nearly as great as one might expect. Even if we assume that parents made the inscriptions that note only that a child had died, without mentioning the commemorator (thus bringing the total of such inscriptions to sixty-six), given the high mortality rates expected among children, the imbalance still cannot reflect a 161

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demographic reality. It appears that within this community, the spousal bond was seen as a relatively strong one, one that was expected to be noted in death. Most of the spousal dedication inscriptions apply at least one epithet to the deceased. The most common Latin spousal epithet was "well deserving" (bene merens); the most common Greek term was "having lived well (to­ gether)." A couple of women are termed "monandros" ("having had one husband"); another two are called "philandros" ("husband-lover"). One wife commemorates her "dearest, well deserving spouse," who was "incom­ parable" and with whom she lived "without complaint." A difficult Latin inscription written in Greek letters appears to honor a wife for her "good learn­ ing." Roman non-Jews commonly used all of these terms to commemorate their spouses as well. Serena Zabin has recently argued that there is a substantial difference in the ways that Jewish and pagan women were commemorated. Instead of empha­ sizing "fidelity to the household," as do pagan inscriptions of women, epitaphs of Jewish women "stress faithfulness to the community." The evidence from the epitaphs of married Jewish women from Rome does not support this con­ clusion. Jewish wives (and husbands) are commemorated along the same lines as their pagan counterparts. A single, oft-cited inscription provides an intriguing counterexample to the relatively sparse and banal use of epithets in these Roman Jewish spousal inscriptions. In the third or fourth century CE, a Jewish man in Rome erected a memorial on a marble plaque at the grave of his beloved wife: 168

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Here is buried Regina, covered by such a tomb, which her spouse set up in accor­ dance to (his) love of her (?). After twice ten (years), she spent with him a year and a fourth month with eight days remaining. She will live again, return to the light again. For she can hope therefore that she may rise into the age promised for both the worthy and the pious, she, a true pledge, who deserved to have an abode in the venerable country. Your piety has achieved this for you, your chaste life, your love of family (?) also, your observance of the law, the merit of your marriage, whose honour was your concern. From these deeds there is future hope for you, and your grieving spouse seeks his comfort in that. 175

In its length, its verse structure, and its clear expression of hope in an afterlife, this inscription is highly unusual. What is of interest to us here is the enumera­ tion of the characteristics of an ideal wife. This inscription makes several dis­ tinct assertions: (1) Regina married when she was twenty, and died a bit over a year later; (2) her husband loved her (eius amori) and grieves (maestus) for her; (3) Regina displayed "piety" (pietas), "a chaste life" (vita pudica), "love of her family" (amor generis), and "observance of the laws" (observantia legis), and (4) by exhibiting "honor" (gloria) to her marriage, she 176

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achieved "merit" (meritum). As we have just seen, the emotions expressed in (2) and the qualities enumerated in (3) are sui generis for Roman Jewish in­ scriptions. Nor do the epithets applied to Regina appear in other commemorations of Jewish wives. The "love" and "grief of the surviving spouse are almost totally lacking in other Jewish epitaphs from antiquity. Jewish inscriptions in Greek do contain many epithets prefixed with the term philo, "lover of; Re­ gina is a "lover of her family." Yet the prefix—attached to anything at all!— is used rarely in spousal epitaphs. Regina's inscription in fact highlights the lack of epigraphical evidence from the Jews of Rome of the existence of a spousal sentimental ideal. Regina's inscription is the closest Jewish equivalent to the remarkable Laudatio Turiae, in which a Roman noble lauds his deceased wife, and it is quite lame in comparison. Given the fact that the epigraphical remains of nearly every Jewish commu­ nity from antiquity lacks any sign of a sentimental ideal, some (possibly) Jew­ ish inscriptions from Asia Minor are striking. Two examples: 178

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I, Aur(elius) Kyrion, have made the grave, while alive, for myself and for my wife Aur(elia) Ioulias. And I want that no one else will be placed (in it), after I will have been deposited, except my child. 183

Fl(avia) Teuthrantis built this tomb for herself, while alive, and for her husband, Hermogenes, son of Hermogenes. But after the two of them have been buried, if anyone will open (the grave) or will plot (to do so), an iron broom must go into his house. 184

While neither of these inscriptions express the "love" of one spouse for the other, each commemorator expects that s/he will be buried with her or his spouse. In thefirst,it appears that a man prepared the grave when his wife died. The inscription assumes that he will not remarry, or if he does, that his (last) wife, should she outlive him, will not be buried in the family plot. An unmar­ ried child, it is expected, would be buried with her or his father, and a married woman with her husband. The second inscription (the Jewish nature of which is admittedly not clear) shows a woman who wants eventually to be buried with this husband. She assumes that she will not change her mind. In sum, the dedicatory patterns and content of these Jewish spousal inscrip­ tions from the Diaspora are hardly surprising. Men of means were probably expected to commemorate their wives and did so in the most conventional ways. Although Jewish inscriptions generally attest to a number of epithets distinctive to Jews, almost none of them are applied to individuals identified as spouses. Somewhat more interesting is what the inscriptions do not in­ clude. Jewish inscriptions frequently praise women who died unmarried and chaste (parthenos); they rarely praise a wife for her modesty and faithfulness. Husbands warrant conventional and abstract epithets (e.g., "well deserving"; "excellent one"), but there are no distinctive "husband" values, such as having 185

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honored and provided for his wife. Spouses rarely love or grieve over each other in these inscriptions. In this sense, they differ from the inscriptions be­ tween parents and children. This distinction is even more pronounced in the Jewish inscriptions from Palestine. Jewish Inscriptions from Palestine Beginning around the first century BCE, Jews in the Land of Israel began to practice secondary burial. The deceased would be left to decay, and sometime later someone would gather the bones and inter them, often in an ossuary, which was then left in a tomb. The ossuary was sometimes marked with an inscription. These ossuaries comprise the earliest substantive epigraphical evi­ dence of Palestinian Jews during the Second Temple period. In his recent catalogue of Jewish ossuaries, L. Y. Rahmani lists 897 speci­ mens. These ossuaries, he is careful to state, are not necessarily representa­ tive, as many of the unadorned and uninscribed ossuaries never made it into the collections that he surveyed. The inscriptions are usually very simple, fre­ quently just a name. The identifications of women are as follows: 187

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"Wife of N," with her name: "Wife of N," without her name: Daughter, alone: Wife and daughter: Mother, alone: Daughter and mother: Wife and mother: In addition, four ossuaries record the names of a man and a woman with no explicit indication of their relationship; they may have been married. These numbers, which it should be remembered are a very small proportion of even the inscribed ossuaries, suggest that a woman who died while married was primarily commemorated as a wife. In a few cases, her father's family had enough clout to also gain a mention. In one case she is mentioned as a wife and buried with two of her children. If she died after her husband and had surviving children, presumably they would have buried her and commemorated her only as a mother, not as the wife of their father. A few of these ossuaries provide a slightly more nuanced picture of spousal expectations. One ossuary commemorates "Shalom, daughter of Shaul," who died in childbirth. It appears that her father, Shaul, was buried in an ossuary in the same tomb. Shalom was most likely widowed or divorced while preg­ nant and moved back into her father's house. Since her relationship with her husband was severed, his name was not included on her ossuary. A large at­ tractive ossuary found in a tomb on Mt. Scopus is inscribed in Greek "Of Phasael"; around it was carved shallowly in the same hand, "and of Iphigenia" 196

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and "of Phasael, son." Phasael was buriedfirstand commemorated with no reference to his living wife and (still-to-be born?) son. Later their bones too were added. While normally a woman whose husband died might be expected to remarry or to return to her father's house (like Shalom, the daughter of Shaul), Iphigenia (or those who buried her) preferred interment with her for­ mer husband. Perhaps she and her son died relatively soon thereafter. More revealing are family tombs, a few of which have enough detail to allow us to reconstruct burial sequences and commemorations. One Jewish family tomb from Jerusalem from the Second Temple period, for example, contains an ossuary inscribed "Dostas, our father," and another "Slamsin our mother." Were they married? Two other ossuaries commemorate, re­ spectively, "Mattatya," and "Shalom and Matya, her son/Mathya's wife and her son." It appears as if Shalom and her young son Matya predeceased her husband, Mattatya, and were buried in his tomb. Sukenik thought that because Mattatya is the exact Hebrew version of the Greek name Dostas, that he was Dostas's son. This relationship is plausible, although impossible to prove. Dostas and perhaps his wife died and were commemorated using the same formula (our mother/father) by their children: their children do not commemo­ rate them as husband and wife. Mattatya at some point then may have buried his wife and child before himself dying. If this sequence is correct, then again the husband did not commemorate his wife as such. Even if Mattatya prede­ ceased his wife and son—less likely given that the wife is buried in his family tomb—still nobody thought to note their marital bond. The tomb contained other families, but their relationship to each other is impossible to ascertain. Similarly, the "tomb of the Nazirite" found on Mt. Scopus contains at least two generations. A Nazirite male was most likely buried in a large sarcophagus decorated with grape clusters (!); his wife may have been buried in the other, plain sarcaphogus in the tomb. Their son was "Hanania son of Jonathan the Nazirite," who was buried in an ossuary. The only other inscribed ossuary, simpler than Hanania's, contains the name of "Shalom wife of Hanania son of the Nazirite." Shalom probably diedfirst,was interred in the family tomb, commemorated by her relationship to her husband and father-in-law, and later Hanania died without mention of his former wife. A monumental Jewish tomb from Jericho provides a larger, more complex example. This tomb, which contained twenty-two ossuaries, of which thirteen were inscribed, and the skeletal remains of thirty-one people, was used by (at least) one family over three generations, from about 10 CE-60 C E . The head of this family was Yehoezer son of Eleazar, who died when he was 25-35 years old. His unusual height apparently gave the nickname "Goliath" to his descendants. Next to him was the ossuary of "Shlomsion, mother of Yehoezer Goliath," which contained the remains of a 50-60-year-old woman. Yehoezer no doubt predeceased her and was therefore not identified as her husband. 200

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Shlomsion apparently did not remarry, stayed connected to his family, and was buried by a son next to her former husband. Yehoezer and Shlomsion had at least two sons, Theodotus (also called Nat[an]el) and Yehoezer. Theodotus married a woman named Shlomsion, and they had a daughter named Maria: she lived until she was about forty and was buried in the family tomb, apparently unmarried. Theodotus lived until he was 50-60 and is identified only as a freedman of Queen Agrippina. There are no signs of his wife, Shlomsion. The second son, Yehoezer, married Salome. She appears to have died when between forty and fifty years old and was interred in an ossuary with one child: the inscription identifies her as "wife of Yehoezer Goliath" and notes that two sons, Ishmael and Yehoezer, are buried with her. The ossuary inscribed only with her husband's name, "Yehoezer son of Yehoezer Goliath," contained the remains of a man between twenty andfiftyyears old and was placed next to hers. 208

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The tomb contains several other inscriptions of family members, but their exact relationship is uncertain. One ossuary, among the closest to the tomb entrance, is inscribed "Mariame wife of Judah" and contains the remains of a twenty-year-old woman and an infant. Judah himself is nowhere to be found, although the excavator suggests that he is another son of the founding member of the family, Yehoezer son of Eleazar. From our perspective, the most important features of these burials are: (1) only two women, at least one of whom predeceased her husband, are iden­ tified as a "wife"; (2) one daughter of the family buried in the tomb who died around age forty is commemorated only as a daughter; (3) no man is commem­ orated as a husband; and (4) the ossuaries of at least two married couples were placed next to each other. These features reflect the relatively low importance placed on the marital bond. Wives whom their husbands buried were com­ memorated by their husbands' names, but rarely in Jewish Palestinian inscrip­ tions from this period do we find a husband commemorated with his wife's name. Unmarried women, whether or not they were once married, could be buried in their biological family's tomb, but presumably married women would be buried in those of their husbands. The inscriptions emphasize biol­ ogy over conjugality. On the other hand, the placement of the remains of spouses next to each other does indicate that there was some sentimental value placed on the conjugal bond. It is somewhat remarkable that Shlomsion, whose husband Yohoezer son of Eleazar might have predeceased her by more than twenty-five years, was ultimately interred next to her husband. The son who buried her, Yohoezer Goliath, had his and his wife's own ossuaries placed directly in front of his parents'. Jewish burial customs changed between the Second Temple and rabbinic periods. After the first century CE, secondary burials in ossuaries placed in family tombs went out of style in favor of a return to primary inhumation. Yet 211

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despite this shift the burial and commemoration customs relating to spouses were relatively stable. The continuity of Jewish epigraphical customs relating to spouses can be seen from a survey of the burial patterns and inscriptions found at the largest necropolis from the rabbinic period presently known, Bet She arim. Out of the 221 Greek and 58 Semitic inscriptions found at Bet She'arim (and published), only five inscriptions explicitly identify a woman as a wife. Three of these inscriptions simply identify the woman as the wife of a particular man (there is no indication of her father in these inscriptions); two commemorate the grave of a man and his wife. None of the men or women in these inscriptions are given any epithets. That is, none are commemorated for their ideal charac­ teristics as spouses. Not a single inscription uses a term for "husband." As in some of the family tombs from the Second Temple period, what is particularly intriguing about the burial customs at Bet She'arim is that there the absence is of spousal commemoration, not necessarily spouses themselves. One simple example is found in Catacomb 1, Hall I. Here there is a Greek inscription: "(a) Ruth, the daughter, mother of Judah; (b) Mathe is also [bur­ ied] inside." The second part of the inscription, (b), has been squeezed into the margin. This leads Schwabe and Lifshitz to say: "Apparently, Mathe was Ruth's husband, died after her, and was buried farther inside the arcosolium." That Mathe died after Ruth is a reasonable supposition; his rela­ tionship to her is more ambiguous. If Mathe really was her husband and died after her, then he would have buried Ruth—and commemorated her by her status as daughter and mother, but not as wife. Why would he have done this? A second, more complex, example comes from Catacomb 1, Hall G. Lif­ shitz and Schwabe see at least two distinct family units buried in this Hall. One family spans five generations; nine men and two women. One of the women, Sarah, is commemorated as the mother of Yosi. This Yosi is apparently the Yosef mentioned as the son of Mokim. No inscription commemorates Mokim himself. Hence, it is likely that Mokim died prior to Sarah and was buried elsewhere, leaving open the question of the identity of the body inhumated in the same arcosolium as Sarah. One of her sons, Yosi, then made the inscription, choosing to leave out her relationship with her other son and for­ mer husband. In another family, buried in the same hall, it appears that two brothers, Joseph and Judah, predeceased their sister Sarah, whose inscription reads: "Sarah the pious, their sister, lies here." Apparently it was Isaac, her hus­ band, who made this inscription, as the inscription "Isaac and Sarah" is en­ graved above grave delta on the edge of the arcosolium. If this sequence is correct, then her husband, Isaac, has chosen to identify his deceased wife by her relationship as a "sister" rather than as a wife, inhumating her near her natal family rather than his. e

212

213

214

215

216

217

218

257

THE IDEAL MARRIAGE

A survey of other Jewish inscriptions relating to spouses from Palestine during the rabbinic period yields similarly meager results. Few of the epitaphs from the Jaffa cemetery commemorate married couples. One relatively early epitaph from Arsouf from 79 BCE applies the term philandros to a deceased husband. Among the many donation inscriptions from Palestine, especially from synagogues, very few spouses appear. A Jewish couple from Ashkelon recorded their synagogue donation on a column; another couple donated to a synagogue at Hamat Gader. A man from Naaran commemorates his de­ ceased wife in a synagogue mosaic; this is the only commemoration of this kind found in a synagogue. The most economical explanation for the relative infrequency of spousal commemorations in Jewish inscriptions from Palestine is that this relationship was viewed as weak. Inscriptions emphasize the relationship between parents and children, in both directions. The vast bulk of inscriptions in which a de­ ceased is mentioned as a spouse are those of married women who predeceased their husbands. Since their husbands buried them, they commemorated them by their married relationship. One can imagine that in cases where the husband had little or no family in the area and the wife did, or when she came from a higher social strata than he did, then there might be a tendency to com­ memorate her by her relationship to her natal family, or at least to include her father's name. Even when the children buried their mother near their father, they commemorated her by her relationship to them rather than her former husband. 219

220

221

222

By combining the literary and epigraphic data from this chapter with the as­ sumptions of the legal material reviewed in the last chapter, we can arrive at a reasonably good approximation of the marital ideals of Jews from antiquity. For Greek-speaking Jews outside of Palestine, the ideal spouse was character­ ized by the same qualities that marked the good Greek or Roman spouse. A good wife was modest, domestic, and honored her husband, while her husband respected her and guided her, as a beneficent father might guide his daughter. Exempla, such as Philo's portrayal of Abraham and Sarah, reinforced these virtues. The correspondence between marital ideals of Greek-speaking Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors of literary sources extends also to epigraphic commemorations. A Jewish husband was expected to bury his wife if she pre­ deceased him, and he usually used conventional epithets to commemorate her. We do not yet have evidence of family burial of Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews, and it appears that there was no emphasis made to bury spouses next to each other, although there were a limited number of Jewish cemeteries in each locale. While there is no significant difference between the general picture of the marital ideals of Palestinian and non-Palestinian Jews at the end of the Second

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Temple period, archaeological data provide a more nuanced picture of Pales­ tinian Jewry. Although well off Jews were buried in family tombs, marriages were only infrequently noted, and where they were, again, they were mostly cases in which a woman predeceased her husband. Marriage took a second seat to consanguinity, especially through the paternal line. Rabbinic law regulating spousal relations buttresses this interpretation of the epigraphical material, which remains similar into the rabbinic period. Rab­ binic law presupposes a degree of nonintimacy between spouses: they each had reciprocal obligations toward the other, but there is no sense of true com­ munity, of a blurring of the lines between the spouses. The married couple was seen, in the eyes of the law, as two individuals bound by certain obligations toward each other rather than as a partnership. This seems to be similar to the assumptions underlying the Palestinian epigraphic material. Men and women married to form a family, and the family, with its biological ties, was more important than any conjugal ties within it. Spouses could, and did, die, divorce, and remarry—the marital bond was regarded as ultimately unstable. The rabbis made only a few changes in the classical marital ideals be­ queathed to them. Rabbinic law attempted to put teeth into certain ideals, such as a woman's modesty and a man'sfinancialobligations to his wife. Rabbinic ideals and (biblical) exempla emphasize the role of erotic attraction in mar­ riage, understood as the need for a wife to keep her husband's sexual attention. A wife was expected to obey and serve her husband, a trait that appeared to be more important for Babylonians than it did for Palestinians. Among Pales­ tinian rabbis there was a notion that husbands and wives might establish emo­ tional ties with each other, but this sentimental ideal never appears in the exempla or the epigraphical record from Palestine. As R. Hiyya taught, "A woman is only for beauty; a woman is only for [bearing] children." He came pretty close to the rabbinic mark. 223

CONCLUSIONS

"IN JEWISH TEACHING," begins the entry on Marriage in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, "marriage is the ideal human state and is considered a basic social institution established by God at the time of creation." This assessment of Jewish marriage comfortingly echoes the values of its author and of the encylopedia's audience. The scholars of today, no less than those of antiquity, tend to translate traditional texts and rituals into a modern and comprehensible language. Before I discuss the implications of this study for understanding modern, especially Jewish, discourses of marriage, I will attempt to elaborate the mari­ tal ideals and practices of different Jewish groups in antiquity as a whole. Throughout this book I have fractured the descriptions of historical communi­ ties. Here, I will bring these different threads together into more coherent views of the communities themselves. 1

JEWISH MARRIAGE DURING THE PERSIAN PERIOD

Ultimately, we know exceedingly little about most concrete aspects of Jewish marriage at this time, in any place. The two principle repositories of data are the Jewish legal contracts from Elephantine and the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The former are skewed almost entirely toward economic issues; the latter to issues of endogamy and exogamy. No source provides even a glimpse of Jewish marital ideals, customs, or rituals from the Persian period. It is likely that in the Judah to which Ezra and Nehemiah returned, extended families (bet *abot) were the primary social units and controlled power within the society. In such a social structure marriages would have had political ram­ ifications, and we might expect that consideration of family, social status, and wealth would have played far larger roles in the selection of mates than they do today. In at least one case, there is indeed evidence that a marriage, if not arranged for political advantage, at least facilitated it (Neh. 13:28). On the other hand, the marriages between (powerful?) Jewish men and non-Jewish women testify either to a lack of such considerations or to a very high degree of cooperation between Jewish and non-Jewish families in Persian Judah. In any case, I have argued that Ezra's and Nehemiah's anti-exogamous pro­ gram had two underlying motives, ideological and social. The Jewish commu­ nity in Persia that redacted the Torah, of which Ezra and Nehemiah were repre­ sentatives, might also have had an understanding of the people Israel as a priestly community. At least certain conceptions that the Priestly source of the Penteteuch applied only to priests were now incumbent on all of Israel. All

260

CONCLUSIONS

Jewish men, not merely priests, now had "holy seed." The mingling of this holy seed with the impurity of Gentile women not only undermined this under­ standing, but was seen as a true abomination. This ideological conception re­ appears later among Jewish sectarians. Ezra and Nehemiah, though, also faced a social battle in which this antiexogamous stance could help. For them to acquire social power required a weakening of the bet 'abot. A side, if not primary, goal of their concern with family matters was precisely such a weakening, in order to get the extended families to acknowledge that these Jewish officials had a legitimate right to interfere in their domestic affairs. Such an acknowledgment would legitimate political control beyond the family. Unfortunately, we have absolutely no idea whether these sources accurately report the reactions to their anti-exogamous sermons and strictures. The Elephantine documents, more or less contemporary with Ezra and Ne­ hemiah, tell a different story. Their story is one of real life; the economic and legal mechanics of the marriages of real Jews. These Jews contracted mar­ riages with Jews and non-Jews. Their marriage contracts in no way invest marriage with any "Jewish" relevance: they neither invoke the Jewish God nor contain any reference to the laws or customs of the Jews. Nor do these con­ tracts recognize any authority with more power than the couple itself. While the assembly might be called upon to witness the breakdown of a marriage and enforce the obligations of the contract, the marriage contracts clearly locate the power of the agreement in the spouses: external powers are not recognized as having the right to interfere in their agreements. These contracts also show an aspect of marriage completely ignored by the sacred documents, the very human concern with economic issues. The Elephantine marriage contracts testify to the savvy with which these families approached the economic issues of marriage. Fathers wanted to pro­ tect their daughtersfinanciallywhile not relinquishing too early their control of them and their marital choices. The relatively few surviving Jewish archives from Elephantine are from those women and families that "won"; there can be no doubt not all were so lucky. While the Jewish sources from this period that relate to marriage are scant, they do nicely illustrate the methodological problems probed throughout this book. What is one to do with sources as divergent as Ezra-Nehemiah and papyri from Elephantine? Clearly, neither source alone can give a complete picture of marriage: each focuses on a very different and specialized aspect of it. Yet at the same time, I do not think that they can be combined to form a single picture. That is, there is no sign that the communities of Ezra-Nehemiah and Elephantine have enough in common to form, from an analytical view, a composite picture of "the" Jewish community. Ultimately, we are left with two narrow glimpses of marriage during this period in two distinct communities of Jews.

261

CONCLUSIONS

A further methodological problem that deserves emphasis is that of class distinction. Class distinctions were wider and far more significant in antiquity than they are today, as was the chasm between city and rural life. Our sources are products, for the most part, of an urban elite. We should assume that there were differences between rural and urban concerns regarding marriage, but there are not enough extant sources to probe these differences. JEWISH MARRIAGE DURING T H E HELLENISTIC PERIOD

In what was probably one of the ethnographic excurses to his monumental but lost work on Egypt, the Greek historian Hecataeus of Abdera wrote about the Jews: As to marriage and the burial of the dead, he [Moses] saw to it that their customs should differ widely from those of other men. But later, when they became subject to foreign rule, as a result of their mingling with men of other nations (both under Persian rule and under that of the Macedonians who overthrew the Persians), many of their traditional practices were disturbed.

2

Hecataeus of Abdera wrote in about 300 BCE, shortly after Alexander's con­ quests, and his testimony here is highly significant. When Hecataeus referred to the traditional "customs" (nomima) of Moses, he most likely had in mind biblical marriage customs and laws, as he learned them through a nowunknown intermediary source. Hecataeus himself had never seen anything peculiar about Jewish marriage customs, going so far as to consign their de­ mise to the distant past. Political and social fortunes had caused the demise of the Jewish "traditional practices" (ta ton patrion ... nomimon), especially in matters of marriage and burial. Throughout this book I have argued that Hecataeus was essentially correct: there was little to differentiate the marriage customs and understandings of Jews during the Hellenistic period—whether in the Diaspora or in the Land of Israel—from those of their non-Jewish neighbors. For these Jews, the purpose of marriage was to establish a household (oikos). Through the creation of an oikos a Jewish man, like his non-Jewish brethren, found acceptance in the body politic. Jews, no more than (and perhaps even less than) their neighbors, would think of understanding marriage as a metaphor for their relationship with their god. Similarly, except perhaps for some rural Jewish communities in the Land of Israel, Jews understood the formal and legal formation of mar­ riage much like the Greeks. Within this fundamental similarity of the conceptions of Jews and their host cultures regarding marriage, there was still much room for Jews to cast their marital practices distinctively. Good Greek values such as endogamy were well suited for expression in a "traditional"—in this case biblical—idiom. Just as Greeks evoked and praised their gods as part of the celebration of a 3

262

CONCLUSIONS

wedding, so too Jews appropriated similar customs, perhaps even going so far as to offer a small wedding sacrifice. Even in "semi-Hellenized" Arabia into the Roman period, wedding contracts between Jews show only superficial Jewish content and no familiarity with a distinctive Jewish law of marriage. The evidence from Jewish sectarian groups from this period demonstrates a telling exception to this picture. The Essenes, Qumran community (if differ­ ent), and early Christians all adopted a counternormative attitude toward the society from which they separated. One of the more distinctive social traits of early Christians would have been their rejection of the biological family and transference of traditional familial loyalties to Jesus. This community logically redefined marriage to accord with its social and theological presuppositions. The result of this redefinition was a profound ambivalence toward (although not rejection of) human marriage and an elevation of the metaphor of marriage as a description of the relationship between God and His (new) people. The community that produced the Dead Sea scrolls similarly promotes a radically counternormative stance toward marriage. The scrolls clearly indi­ cate a place for human marriage, albeit one that is tightly controlled and cir­ cumscribed (as with the Essenes, as described by Josephus). Yet even these sectarian groups demonstrate the deep influence of Hellenism. The stances of both the early Christians and the Dead Sea community are reactions to (rather than, for example, preservations of traditional and "authentic" mores), and therefore predicated upon, the social order. Moreover, they at least share many of their attitudes toward marriage and its conflict with the demands of a spiri­ tual life with some Hellenistic philosophical groups. These groups have not rejected "Hellenism" per se, but have, rather, traded in one brand for another. JEWISH MARRIAGE IN ROMAN PALESTINE

The coming of Rome into Palestine radically transformed many social rela­ tionships within Jewish society. Marriage was not one of them. There are traces of Roman influence in some of the rabbinic legal discussions of mar­ riage, but on the whole Jewish marriage appears to have remained far more Greek than Roman. The rabbis continued to promote endogamy and condemn exogamy, a "misanthropic" Greek characteristic that Roman satirists duly noted. Our scarce evidence for nonrabbinic Jewish communities during this time similarly do not demonstrate any far-reaching changes either in the way that marriage was understood, formed, or lived. Men and women were far more concerned with traditional values of honor and shame in negotiating and contracting their marriage than they were in adopting new Roman mores or rabbinic prescriptions. The primary shift regarding marriage that occurred in the early rabbinic period had more impact on Jews in later centuries than it did on contemporary Jews: the rabbinic construction of and legislation on marriage. The rabbis,

CONCLUSIONS

263

motivated by a desire to identify the precise moment of marriage objectively, transformed its legal structure. Marriage itself was an object of rabbinic inter­ est only to the extent that touched upon other rabbinic legal concerns (e.g., adultery; desecration of the sabbath). Nevertheless, the tannaim and early amoraim began to develop the language and categories that would eventually trans­ form marriage into a Jewish "religious" institution. Palestinian rabbinic writings on marriage demonstrate a complex relation­ ship with the wider Jewish society. On the one hand, they show familiarity and engagement. The rabbis formed new legal institutions (e.g., betrothal and ketubba) with the loopholes that would allow common folk to achieve the goals that they wanted: they were aware that their legal institutions would be difficult to sell to the wider Jewish community, but they tried nevertheless. On a more fundamental level, I have argued that many "utopian" rabbinic texts can only be understood against their engagement in an impossibly conflicted reality. "Utopian" rabbinic texts do not describe a true "utopia" at all, but they do construct an alternative reality that allows their readers to negotiate irrecon­ cilable societal and cultural demands. On the other hand, the rabbis understand themselves as a study circle, much as contemporary philosophical groups or the earlier Jewish sectarians, and thus construct themselves as a "family." To the extent that early Palestinian rabbis saw themselves as a family, they trans­ ferred the value of endogamy to their own group, promoting in-marriage. Rab­ binic endogamy would have weakened biological families; increased rabbinic group cohesion both ideologically and biologically; and created a caste system within Israel. Even engagement with other Jews had its limits. Rome may not have had much of an impact on Jewish marriage in Palestine, but the ascendancy of Christianity did. Among the latter Palestinian amoraim there is an increased interest in the myth and metaphor of marriage. I have suggested that these interests reflect an indirect rabbinic response to Christian portrayals of marriage. Just as Christians were Christianizing certain classical conceptions (e.g., the natural state of marriage) so too rabbis were Judaizing these same conceptions. I do not see direct evidence of a polemic in these writings. Rather, both communities, certainly aware of the other, were clarify­ ing their own distinctive identities and boundaries in this area as, I would presume, in many others. Note that what continues to be lacking from this summary is the appearance of the "real" family. The papyri from En-Gedi and later rabbinic economic law suggest that marriage was to a large degree seen as reciprocal and contractual. Each partner was expected to contribute to the marriage, although the areas of responsibility differed for each partner, based on gender expectations. Tannaitic law takes this conception to such an extreme that later rabbinic texts attempted to undermine it. But at these broad understandings our knowledge ceases. We cannot confidently answer even the most fundamental of demo­ graphic questions, such as the average age atfirstmarriage, rate of divorce and

264

CONCLUSIONS

remarriage, or intermarriage rate. Perhaps the discovery of new material, or a methodological breakthrough, will one day allow access to these aspects of Jewish marriage in antiquity. JEWISH MARRIAGE IN BABYLONIA

Despite the fact that at least as much rabbinic material relating to marriage survives from Babylonia as it does from Palestine, ultimately less is known about Babylonian Jewish marriage. The basic reason for this discrepancy is that the Babylonian rabbinic group reflected in the Babylonian Talmud ap­ pears to have been a relatively closed community. They disdained nonrabbinic Jews to a far greater extent than did their Palestinian brethren, and appear to have interacted with them less. Nor do we have any archaeological evidence or testimony of non-Jews or nonrabbinic Jews on Jewish marriage that would flesh out the rabbinic sources. Babylonian rabbis understood themselves as a caste of scholars. This selfunderstanding had two primary implications for their view of marriage. First, they understood marriage to compete with study, which in turn led them to a deeply ambivalent view of marriage. As I argued in chapter 1, this competition can best be understood in light of contemporary non-Jewish philosophical de­ bates over the relationship between marriage and pursuit of wisdom. Second, Babylonian rabbis, drawing on the traditional caste structure of Sassanian Babylonia, applied marriage restrictions to themselves. By understanding themselves as a caste and redefining the borders of "endogamy," Babylonian rabbis limited "intermarriage" with other Jews, even rabbis from Palestine. These Babylonian rabbinic concerns, which permeate their discussions of marriage, are precisely that, Babylonian and rabbinic. It is likely that these concerns were not shared by nonrabbinic Jews in Babylonia, most of whom would not have been engaged seriously in the pursuit of wisdom. About their understanding of marriage and its goals we know exceedingly little. Social isolation is not cultural isolation, however, and rabbinic sources do reveal knowledge of the world in which they lived. There are strong paral­ lels between the ways in which Babylonian rabbis and contemporary Zoro­ astrians understood the goals of procreation, and it is reasonable to conclude that this "deep" understanding extended to nonrabbinic Jews. Babylonian rabbis refer to wedding customs that were also probably shared by other Jews, and which are consistent with a more individualistic and salvific understand­ ing of marriage and procreation. A complete ease with polygyny character­ ized non-Jewish, nonrabbinic (we assume), and rabbinic society in Sassanian Babylonia. Finally, what is of most importance for later Judaism is Babylonian ritualization of certain aspects of marriage. Babylonian rabbis attempted to standard-

CONCLUSIONS

265

ize a wedding liturgy and to make themselves an indispensable part of any Jewish wedding. These attempts did not come to fruition in the talmudic pe­ riod, as marriage between Jews remained governed more by familial needs and communal customs than by legalized rituals. Yet these rabbinic desires were entombed in the traditional texts, always available to be vivified at a later time. BROADER IMPLICATIONS

As I attempted to show in the first chapter, there is nothing new about the modern marital "crisis." Jewish and non-Jewish families alike in antiquity were more fluid than they are even today. Men were more or less expected to be "unfaithful" (by our definition); Jews married non-Jews (if the polemics from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources are any guide); and the Jewish elite joined the contemporary debate between Stoics and Cynics on the utility and state of marriage. While on the one hand belying the claim that there is a unique crisis in America today, these similarities do call for an explanation. When and why does a society engage in a debate on marriage? It is significant that among the Jews examined in this study, it appears primarily to be the rabbis (and Jewish sectarians) who were troubled about marriage. This concern can be explained in two ways, each exemplified by a different rabbinic community and each of which is applicable to modern issues. In a stunningly influential book, Mary Douglas has argued that societies often transfer their anxieties about group boundaries to the body: the body, its boundaries, and the way in which a society regulates it represents the group. This model, although old and sometimes overused, nevertheless accounts well for the discussions on marriage. A group anxious about its boundaries can transfer those anxieties not only to the body, but also to marriage. Marriage is an institution that inherently involves group boundary issues. Moreover, in honor-and-shame societies, in which much rested on the assumption that a woman would be a virgin at the time of herfirstmarriage, physical penetration of the body is part and parcel of both the conception of marriage and its rituals. It is logical to suppose that a group that feels threatened could "apply" their anxieties to marriage. The fact that Palestinian rabbis were attempting to clarify what it meant to be a Jew at the same time that they were defending marriage is no accident. In Roman Palestine, especially after 212 CE and then again in the early fourth century, Jews had options. They could elect to integrate into non-Jewish com­ munities with full rights of Roman citizenship, or they could identify with Christians. Increasing urbanization in Palestine throughout the fourth century must have had an impact on undermining traditional values in rural communi­ ties. The Palestinian rabbinic arguments for marriage (which indirectly attest 4

5

266

CONCLUSIONS

that there were arguments against marriage among Palestinian Jews) might then represent a transference of these anxieties. When rabbis talk of the natu­ ralness, purity, and integrity of marriage, they are expressing their ideals for Israel as a whole. The value of the oikos is affirmed as it increasingly becomes a victim to urban life. Most obviously, this anxiety is expressed in the discus­ sions of exogamy, which for Palestinians was centered on the issue of mar­ riages between Jews and non-Jews. The Babylonian rabbis, who may have been anxious about their own boundaries as an elite group, tellingly directed their diatribes against intermarriage at other Jews. A second explanation for the debate on marriage, exemplified in the Baby­ lonian Talmud's ambivalent compositions on marriage, is that it is a response to individualism. Babylonian rabbis appear to have lived in a world that em­ phasized the individual more than that of their Palestinian colleagues. Babylo­ nians, for example, justified procreation on soteriological rather than social grounds. The Babylonian rabbinic academy reflects this assumption. Learning and debate was structured and seen as a kind of individualized warfare. Neither the assumption nor the structure of the academy go very well with marriage. Men need women in order for them to fulfill God's will, but women interfere with their primary occupations. These ideological and material conditions set up irreconcilable conflicts. Debate about marriage thus fulfills a role in this community as what I have called a performance of frustration. In our own society, both of these conditions exist. The myths that are sup­ posed to bind us together as a nation have come under withering attack over the last two decades. As ethnic and other groups assert their right to engage in "identity politics," it has become increasingly unclear what binds Americans together. Whether or not this is a good and timely thing, old myths die hard, and to some extent the debate on marriage has little to do with marriage, and much more to do with the perceived threat of group boundaries. The Babylonian situation speaks even more directly to the American condi­ tion. Our society is far more individualistic than that of the Babylonian rabbis, and our economy's neglect of the social context of its workers is well known and ruthless. The tension between family and work is a common plaint in America today. As our economy demands an increasingly mobile labor force, and as job security wanes, the individual will become increasingly on her or his own. Our values and economy drive us inexorably toward questioning the place and value of marriage, and of course family, in our society. These forces might, ultimately, be irreconcilable with marriage. A society can respond to such forces by eliminating marriage (most unlikely); redefining it to function better in its context; or creating outlets for frustration. In America today we are seeing attempts tofigureout what marriage actually means, at the same time that a rhetoric of panic is serving to vent the tensions of the conflict. The political argument to expand "marriage" to include any monogamous loving couple, of whatever gender,flowslogically from our emphasis on indi-

267

CONCLUSIONS

vidualism. If the point of marriage is for each partner to find personal happi­ ness, why should two men or two women not be allowed to "marry"? Once the political role of the family and the societal value on procreation are eliminated as justifications for marriage, it becomes very difficult to counter the demand for gay marriage. For that matter, it would be very difficult to counter the demand for polygamous marriage between fully consenting adults. The real issue in this debate, it seems to me, is to define what we mean by marriage. Are we talking only about the legal and economic rights and responsibilities that derive from the recognition of a marriage by the state, or are we talking about the vestiges of "social respectability" or holiness conferred by the community or religion? These are two very separate issues. I will return below to what this means in a Jewish context. I am neither trained nor able to offer any solutions to these modern issues. Nor can Jewish marriage in antiquity serve as a model for solutions. The ways in which these ancient Jews thought of and ritualized their marriages is so vastly different from the ways in which we do that they can, on the one hand, give us a historical perspective that helps us to clarify what is really at stake. On the other hand, this same historical chasm makes their own constructions largely irrelevant. The forms that marriage took among Jews in antiquity is neither better nor worse than marriage today, just different. As much as one might admire the rabbinic understanding of marriage as forming an oikos, for example, such a concept is impossible to transfer to our own society, with its own very different material conditions. Similarly, whether women had it worse or not in marriages in antiquity requires an extraordinary, and ultimately fruit­ less, amount of speculation about the subjective condition of these women. No doubt a modern woman would not want to be in an ancient marriage; but then I doubt that an ancient woman would prefer our type of marriage in her own historical circumstances. The same, I think, would apply for men. To use the marital relationships of Jews from antiquity to support or to critique contem­ porary social institutions is to abuse this history. One of the historical arguments of this book is that there was nothing essen­ tially Jewish about Jewish marriage in antiquity. This thesis points toward a much larger issue: What does it mean for something to be "Jewish"? The issue has two components. First, how inclusive is the adjective "Jewish"? Second, is the survival of Judaism to be explained by the fact that "Jews, from ancient Israel on, conscientiously and deliberately cultivated their own difference from their surroundings, occupying a position on the margins of others' cultures," or are "Jewish survival and creativity . . . to be explained by an uncanny Jew­ ish talent for adaptability to each and every new environment"? In a recent and provocative essay, Arnold Eisen argues for a definition of "Jewish," at least in modern America, that involves "some distinctive patterns of communal life guided by distinctive norms arising from 'Sinai.'" For Eisen, "Jewish" is defined neither by the informed engagement with Jewish 6

7

268

CONCLUSIONS

traditions and texts that are usually the preserve of the elite, nor by culturally distinct acts (e.g., eating bagels and lox) that have no connection to any Jew­ ish understanding of revelation. Moshe Halbertal offered a complimentary analysis: What made disparate world views "Jewish" despite their diversity was their shared interpretive commitment to canonical texts. With the decline in textcenteredness, Jewish thought and creativity can no longer be defined simply in these terms. The modem conception of noninterpretive Jewish creativitity and thought, which is considered Jewish only because it is produced by Jews, is symp­ tomatic of the crisis in Jewish life. 8

Although programmatic and directed toward the modern period, these formu­ lations are useful for understanding the implications of the argument made in this book. Many, perhaps most, Jews in antiquity shared the marital ideologies of their host cultures. At the same time, however, they "marked" marriage as Jewish. They did this through a complex process of reading their own tradi­ tional texts and practices through the lens of their host cultures. Traditional texts, customs, and rituals served as a kind of "toolbox." Each Jewish com­ munity mobilized those tools that fit best into ideological and theological pre­ suppositions and economic realities. Thus, for example, late Palestinian rabbis rehabilitated the marital metaphor, which had not served the needs of their predecessors. Through the use and adaptation of these tools, Jewish commu­ nities made marriage Jewish. This reconstruction implies both a certain superficiality of Jewish culture and an intentionality in its creation. The first implication is hard to refute, although there can be great latitude in degree. That is, if this model—drawn only about a single topic (marriage) at a particular time—can be universalized, it suggests that Jews begin with the same basic assumptions and understand­ ings of their host cultures and create within them distinctive patterns. De­ pending on the group, these patterns can be more or less distinct, but they are all superimposed over basic shared assumptions. This model thus blurs, to some degree, the dichotomy of historical explanations outlined above. Jews do adapt, in the most fundamental ways, to their host cultures, but they also "cul­ tivated their own difference." The implication of intentionality, the consciousness and deliberateness of Jewish adaptation and construction, is, I think, mistaken. The construction of Jewishness is not a conscious, insincere endeavor. Jews engaged their tradi­ tions unconsciously and sincerely, putting them into an idiom that they could understand. The making of Jewish marriage did not result from a deliberate attempt by the Jewish elite to Judaize fundamentally non-Jewish marital ideol­ ogies, but the result of a long and complex conversation. The genius of the rabbinic enterprise was its ability to synthesize the universal, the local, and the

CONCLUSIONS

269

truly particular in a way that survived its own day. The rabbis confronted their sacred texts and traditions with integrity, seeking to understand them against their own cultural presuppositions. Conversation and synthesis, of course, did not cease at the end of the rabbinic period. Through its integration into Israel's canon—itself the result of a long communal conversation—the rabbinic en­ gagement and synthesis have become part of the tool kit, the texts and tradi­ tions with which later Jewish communities conversed and translated into their own idiom. To the whole process there is, as Clifford Geertz calls it, the "aura of factuality." For scholars, this model implies a need to dismantlefinallythe "essentialist" constructs of "Judaism" and "Hellenism." To claim that there was a conflict between Judaism and Hellenism, or even in its more modern and sophisticated garb that there was interaction between these cultural systems, is built on a mistaken assumption. "Judaism" does not exist essentially; one looks in vain for the "pure" Judaism that supposedly comes into conflict with its host cul­ ture. Jews in different places and times followed their often differing "ances­ tral" customs, and they did sometimes come into conflict with other dominant cultural systems. Some Palestinian Jews may have had a problem with certain Hellenistic practices during the Maccabean era, but even this conflict was not one of universal essences. Jewish marriage has changed since antiquity. Jews, like Christians, began to sacralize their marriages by the early Middle Ages. In antiquity, a wedding was a conglomeration of local customs, a celebration of a man's entrance into soci­ ety and a woman's initiation into sex and fertility. Gradually, marriage was circumscribed with prescribed laws and rituals; the wedding moved to the synagogue; and ritual experts (scribes to write the marriage contract; a rabbi to perform the ritual) were now necessary. It was a later engagement with the rabbinic tradition in a different cultural context that led to this transformation. Today, Jewish marriage faces three primary and interconnected problems. First, as noted in the Introduction, sociologists point grimly to the intermar­ riage rate between Jews and non-Jews. Second, feminists and the gay and lesbian community have challenged the definition of Jewish marriage, arguing that it should be more inclusive. Finally, there is a question about the "Jewishness" of a Jewish marriage: What elements make a marriage or wedding Jew­ ish? These issues are simply more pointed and specific expressions of those discussed above. While the increase in the intermarriage rate between 1970 and 1990 is a statistical fact, the significance of this fact is far less clear. Others are better equipped than I to assess the actual danger to Jewish continuity that this dem­ ographic fact poses. What interests me here is the rhetoric of panic. Given the current American panic about marriage, and the reasons for it that I suggested above, Jewish panic is to be expected. Both of the conditions that generate this 9

270

CONCLUSIONS

anxiety, the concern with group preservation and the strength of forces that promote individualism, are pronounced in the Jewish community today. Mar­ riage might be a force for assimilation, but the focus on marriage and the intermarriage rate is also a response to more general concerns about Jewish cohesiveness. Jews are becoming increasingly assimilated into American life. By focusing attention on intermarriage (rather, for example, than on the inade­ quate state of Jewish education), American Jews at once adapt the dominant cultural rhetoric while Judaizing it, tying the argument back to the ancient arguments against intermarriage. That is, modern Jewish anxiety about inter­ marriage is an extraordinary example of how Jews read and adapt their own traditions in the language of their culture. Above I noted the necessity of separating the civil and religious aspects of marriage. One of the more divisive questions now before the Jewish commu­ nity is whether a gay couple can have a Jewish marriage. The answer to this question hinges on what it means for a marriage to be "Jewish." Jews in an­ tiquity never confronted the issue of gay marriage, not because they were try­ ing to define what "Jewishness" meant (which they were), but because their understandings of the purpose of marriage excluded gay marriage from consid­ eration. To the extent that Jews today understand the goal of marriage as per­ sonal fulfillment, they must confront the logical consequences of that under­ standing. On this issue, the modern assumptions about the goals of marriage, which have themselves been Judaized over the last 150 years, clash with the traditions and texts of the Jewish "toolbox." Jewish law clearly cannot handle gay marriage, nor does the traditional liturgy, heavily infused with male/ female references and metaphors, fare any better. Even those Jewish theolo­ gians who are engaging sacred texts with integrity in an attempt to make Jew­ ish marriage more inclusive have discovered that the tradition provides little support for this expansion. On the other hand, Jewish theologians who are against expanding the boundaries of Jewish marriage on traditional grounds but who at the same time understand the goal of Jewish marriage to be personal fulfillment, end up with a similar cognitive dissonance. In this case, the conflict is not between ideology and reality, but within the ideological con­ struction itself. With marriage, as with so many other areas, the adjective "Jewish" is fluid and often negotiable. What connects and distinguishes the polygynous mar­ riage of Yemenite Jews, the modern Orthodox marriage of Israeli kibbutzniks, and the marriage of an intermarried couple, with a wedding performed in ac­ cordance with a Jewish rite? Modernity has fractured and weakened the unify­ ing function of rabbinic law. Yet most people would probably agree that a few distinctively Jewish wedding customs, such as breaking the glass, are insuffi­ cient for constituting a Jewish wedding. Jews today arefindingthemselves in a familiar situation, wrestling with their tradition through their own contempo­ rary lens. Jews in antiquity, like their Greek, Roman, and Christian neighbors, 10

11

CONCLUSIONS

271

thought long and hard about marriage, over hundreds of years, struggling to reconcile their own presuppositions with the revelation at "Sinai," as they understood it. They took marriage seriously enough to formulate good ques­ tions and to offer complex and sophisticated—even if sometimes inadequate— solutions to them. Shouldn't we?

NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1. Quayle 1992,518. 2. Mayer and Sheingold 1990 already sounded the alarm. 3. This approach is, of course, taken from Geertz 1973, 3-30. Geertz attributes the term to Gilbert Ryle. 4. For further information on these sources, see Schiirer 1973-86, volumes 3.1 and 3.2; S. Safrai 1987; S. J. D. Cohen 1987; Strack and Stemberger 1992. 5. Geertz 1973, 15: "we begin with our own interpretations of what our informants are up to, or think they are up to, and then systematize those." 6. For a summary of some of these issues, see Kalmin 1999, 1-24. 7. See Rubenstein 1999, 1-33, esp. 3-5. CHAPTER ONE

WHY MARRY?

1. Mosseri VII.68.A. The entire Mosseri collection of Geniza fragments remains unpublished and in private hands. The collection is available on microfilm and cata­ logued in Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts 1990. 2. Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts 1990, 196; Goitein 1967-93, 3:53, 438 n. 22. The talmudic sugya is B. Yev. 62b. 3. Goitein 1967-93, 3:438 n. 22, following the printed version of the Babylonian Talmud, counts only six laudatory aspects of marriage in B. Yev. 62b. In the manuscript version I cite below, probably used by this darshan, there are several more. The aspects not found in this sugya but found elsewhere in rabbinic literature are "atonement," and "life." Those not found in rabbinic literature are: "satisfaction," "wealth," and "crown." It is interesting to note that in their context in rabbinic literature, these aspects pertain to a man who has any wife, not necessarily one "good in deeds." 4. M . Yev. 6:6 (ed. Albeck 3:38). 5. The Rosh reports this attribution as R. Nahman bar Shmuel, a fourth-generation Palestinian amora. See Liss 1977-91, 3.2:331 ad loc. 6. See T. Yev. 8:4: "A man is not permitted to live without a wife, and a woman is not permitted to live without a husband" (ed. Lieberman 3.1:25). On the textual variants of the second clause, see TK 8:67-68. 7. MS Oxford 367 reads "another woman"—apparently an endorsement of polygamy! 8. On the Palestinian provenance of this halaka, see Y. Bik. 3:7, 65d (attributed to R. Shimon ben Gamaliel); B. Meg. 27a (attributed to R. Yohanan in the name of R. Meir). The redactor also uses this ruling at B. BB. 151a. Note that the redactor does not cite T. Yev. 8:4 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:25): "A man is not permitted to dwell without a wife, and a woman is not [or perhaps, according to some mss., is] permitted to dwell without a husband." Was this tradition unknown to the redactor?

274

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

9. Following MS. Munich 95. He is a second generation Palestinian amora. 10. Many manuscripts change the order of this enumeration. See Liss 1977-91, vol. 3.2 ad loc. 11. This paragraph follows MS Munich 95. The printed version, supported by sev­ eral (but inferior) manuscripts, reads: In the West they say, "Without Torah and without a wall. * Without Torah,' as it is written, Truly I cannot help myself; I have been deprived of resourcefulness' [Job 6:13]. 'Without a wall,' as it is written, '. . . a woman encircles a man' [Jer. 31:22]." Rabba bar 'Ulla said, "Without peace, as it is written, 'You will know that all is well in your tent; when you visit your home you will never fail' [Job 5:24]." 12. "Help" is being read, based on Gen. 2:18, as meaning "wife." The Hebrew term for "resourcefulness," rrtoro, shares the same root as "salvation," and is apparently being read here as "wisdom." 13. The only quality not given a proof text is Torah. In the printed and other manu­ script versions, which omit "wisdom," Job 6:13 is used as the proof text for Torah. There seem to have been several versions of this tradition in circulation. I couldfindno parallels anywhere in classical rabbinic literature to the attribution of "wisdom," "Torah," "wall," or "dwelling" to the married man. 14. The redactor excerpted this paragraph from a longer tradition enumerating the ten curses that Eve received, found at B. Eruv. 100b attributed to Rav Yishak bar Abdimi ("bar Adimi" is missing in MS Munich 95. Cf. DS 3:197. There is an unattributed parallel at ARN, A, 1 [ed. Schechter 2b]). The Hebrew of the printed version and of the parallel in ARN is rfrjn by nppraa nemo. HaBah, at B. Eruv. 100b corrects the by to in accordance with the language of Gen. 3:16. 15. Several manuscripts add, "although our rabbis said that man is obligated to sep­ arate from his wife near her period." See Liss 1977-91, 3.2:103 ad loc. 16. This follows MS Munich 95, among other witnesses. The printed version reads "Rabba," and some manuscripts read "Rav." Cf. ibid. 17. Cf. B. Shab. 34a. Here Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi cites this same verse in an entirely different context. 18. Cf. B. Shevu. 18a-b; B. Nid. 31b (parallel at B. Pes. 72b). 19. Cf. Satlow 1993, 265-78. 20. It appears as two separate baraitot in its single parallel, at B. Sanh. 76b. 21. On mnemonics in the Babylonian Talmud, see Kohn 1952, IX-XV. 22. This dictum of Rabbi Eliezer's is missing from MS Munich 95, but is likely that the omission was due to a scribal mistake. See Liss 1977-91, 3.2:406 ad loc. 23. Following MS Munich 95. The printed version inserts the word "no" here. 24. The midrash is an attempt to explain the seemingly superfluous term "at last" (zo't hapaam) in the biblical text. 25. For a slightly different wordplay, see Gen. Rab. 17:3 (ed. Theodor and Albeck, 152): "If he merits, [she will be a] help, and if not, [she will be] against him." Rather than focusing on the ambiguity of kngdo it plays off the appearance of the word "help" directly before it. 26. See previous note. Rather than focusing on the ambiguity of kngdo, this midrash plays off the appearance of the word "help" directly before it. See below for an evalu­ ation of this statement in context.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

275

27. Cf. Y. Qid. 4:4, 66a: "Rav said to Hiyya his son, 'Descend a level and take a wife.'" 28. The "bar Abina" is missing in the Yalkut Shimoni. It is likely that the redactor understood this dictum to be another statement of R. Eleazar's. Had this been the case, then the statement could easily have been linked to R. Eleazar's comment (in the part of the sugya not cited) that blessings come into the world on Israel's account. 29. This sentence ("Is there anything harsher than death?") is missing in MS Munich 95. Most likely this is a scribal mistake, but in any case the question is implied in the answer. 30. The attribution is missing in MS Munich 95. See Liss 1977-91, 3.2:416 n. 7. 31. The last two clauses are paralleled in B. Ber. 8a with different attributions. 32. On the notion that a man is granted "atonement" at his marriage, see Y. Bik. 3:3, 65d. 33. Wegner 1991b, 80 understands these dicta to mean that she, "having aroused her husband by 'preparing the dish,' offers him her mouth" or anal sex instead. 34. "Rabbah," according to MS Munich 95. 35. One fragment, Munich Codd. Hebr. 153,2, reads "permitted" in place of "misvah." 36. From the beginning of this sentence to here is missing in MS Munich 95, proba­ bly, again, due to a scribal error. 37. The entire attribution is missing in MS Oxford 367 and MS Moscow Cod. 594, and MS Munich 95 reads "Ravana." 38. The manuscripts read ISD, and the printed version ISOD. Rashi had that latter reading before him and interpreted it as referring to a man who did not have land. More likely, this dictum interprets Lam. 1:14 as referring to one whose livelihood depends on his (or her husband's) labor. 39. This is paralleled at B. Ber. 56a in a completely different context. In the middle of a discussion of dreams and their interpretations, the astrologer says to Rabba: "Your wife will die, and then her sons and her daughters will come to another woman," as Rabba said in the name of R. Yermiyah bar Abba in the name of Rav, "What does it mean that 'Your sons and daughters shall be delivered to another people?' This is the wife of the father." On the "dreambook" generally, see Alexander 1995; Kalmin 1994, 61-80. 40. After these verses there follows the citation of a few more, irrelevant verses from Ben Sira. The collection of verses as a whole was apparently imported from B. Sanh. 100b. On this collection of verses, see M. Segal 1958, 41. 41. Y. Yev. 6:6, 7c. 42. The real oikos, as opposed to its ideology, is very slippery. It does seem clear, however, that the lived household was never in complete accord with the ideal. Cf. Cox 1998 on the oikos in classical Greece; Meleze Modrejewski 1970, 1981; and Patterson 1998, 180-225 for an excellent discussion of the weakened relationship between the oikos and the polis in the plays of Menander. 43. Hesiod Works and Days 405. 44. Cf. Aristotle Pol 1.2. 45. On the criteria that Athenian citizens have two Athenian citizen parents, see Aristotle Ath. Pol. 26.4. Socrates' proposal in Plato's Republic 461d5-465e3 that all women and children be held in common of course dispenses with the reproductive function of the oikos. This is no doubt one of the reasons it met with such resistance.

276

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

46. Xenophon Oec.\ Aristotle Pol. 1.10 and, on the importance of familial affection to the smooth workings of the city, 2.10. Cf. Pomeroy 1994, 41-67. 47. Cf. Pomeroy 1994, 51-55. 48. Plato Laws 721A, trans. Bury in LCL, 1:311, slightly modified. Cf. Aris­ totle Pol. 1.2. Later, Pseudo-Demosthenes will famously express this same idea more pointedly: For this is what living with a woman as one's wife means—to have children by her and to introduce the sons to the members of the clan and of the deme, and to betroth the daughters to husbands as one's own. Mistresses we keep for the sake of pleasure, concubines for the daily care of our persons, but wives to bear us legitimate children and to be faithful guardians of our households ("Against Neara" 59.122). Cf. Roy 1999 on the complex relationship between oikos and polis. 49. On the Roman notion of the familia, which more or less conforms to the Greek oikos, see Treggiari 1991a, 8-13; Humbert 1990. 50. See especially the speech of Pausanius in Plato Symposium 180C-185C, in which he compares mundane love, among which is love for women, to the "heavenly" love that attaches only to boys. Cf. Xenophon Oec. On classical writings on household management, see Balch 1981, 23-59; Yarbrough 1983, 31-63. 51. Many of the "handbooks" are known only through the fragments collected by Stobaeus in the fourth orfifthcenturies CE. Many of these fragments remain untrans­ lated into English. See the critical edition by Wachsmuth and Hense 1958. According to Treggiari 1991a, 205-6, Let us take as an initial example the sententia of a censor of the late second century BC on the mixed advantages and disadvantages of marriage: "If we could manage without wives . . . we would all do without the annoyance (molestia), but since nature has taught us that we cannot live comfortably with them, nor live at all without them, we must take thought for our eternal welfare rather than our tempo­ rary pleasure." Stobaeus gives a list of quotations on this precise topic of the mixture of advantages and disadvantages. His topoi-headings derive from much earlier sources. The anthology here includes tags to show that you cannot have a household without evil, that although the rich wife stops her husband from doing what he wants she produces one good result, children, and that marrying is an evil but a necessary evil. Treggiari cites Gellius 1.6 (who, she points out, misattributes this dictum: it should be credited to Q. Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus), which itself derives from Aristoph­ anes (see below). 52. Plutarch Moralia 748E-771E. See also his Advice to Bride and Groom (Moralia 138B-146), especially 138D: In Boeotia, after veiling the bride, they put on her head a chaplet of asparagus; for this plant yields thefinestflavoured fruit from the roughest thorns, and so the bride will provide for him who does not run away or feel annoyed at herfirstdisplay of peevishness and unpleasantness a docile and sweet life together. Even the best bride will, inevitably, annoy her husband.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

277

53. Fragment XIV in Lutz 1947, 90-97. 54. Quintilian Inst. III, 5, 8 (trans. Butler, L C L 1:401). 55. On the marriage as a topos in antiquity, see Praechter 1901, 121-31; Yarbrough 1983, 31-63; Balch 1981, 23-62; Deming 1995, 50-107. Cf. Diogenes Laertius 7.39160, and on this passage, Goldin 1965, 16-18. For some ancient satirists, there were no advantages to marriage. See, most notoriously, Juvenal 6. 56. Hunter 1987,1989. Most prominent among these early Church debates are those between Augustine and Jerome. See P. Brown 1988, 385-86, 396^08. 57. See the translation in Farah 1984. 58. SVF 3.254.23-257.10 (Stobaeus 4.507.6-512). Translation in Deming 1995, 226-27. 59. In Plato Laws 4, 721B-D, the Athenian stranger argues that a man who does not marry violates his nature, which is to gain immortality through reproduction. A similar argument is advanced in Pseudo-Lucian Erotes 19-20. 60. See the survey in Deming 1995, 50-107. 61. Ibid., 57. 62. See, for example, the lex irnitana, ch. 56. This lex is a (typical?) municipal constitution in the Flavian period. The text and commentary is in Gonzalez 1986, 168— 69, 189, 216. 63. According to Trenchard 1982, 17, "This does not suggest that she is beautiful because she has efficiently or aesthetically arranged her home. Rather, this is merely the setting in which she is being viewed." Trenchard here underestimates the domestic overtones of this verse. Cf. Ben Sira 36:29-30, which states that a woman helps a man to settle down. 64. Cf. Philo Spec leg. 4.203. 65. Much has been made of the parallels between this Haustafel ("housecode") and passages in the New Testament (especially Col 3:18^4:1; Eph. 5:22-6:9). Cf. Crouch 1972; van der Horst 1978, 225; Thraede 1980; Balch 1981; Yarbrough 1983. 66. Philo Quest Gen 1.26 (trans. L C L 15). 67. Philo Jos 3S. 68. Philo Spec leg. 2.129. 69. Philo Gig 29. The Cynic position is discussed below. 70. Philo Det 102; Praem 108; Spec leg. 3.36; Jos 43. 71. I have followed Deming 1995, 90-91 in calling this idea "Stoic." Gaca 1996 prefers to associate Philo's principles of sexual conduct to the Neo-Pythagoreans. Both Deming and Gaca appropriate Pseudo-Lucanus for their arguments! For our purpose, it does not really matter whether Philo here is "more" stoic or neo-Pythagorean; at this level both make similar arguments. 72. Josephus Ant. 3.274. 73. Josephus Ant. 1.247, 1.255. 74. Josephus Against Apion 2.199-204. On Against Apion 2.199, Gafni 1989, 16 writes that Josephus "actually claims that the sole purpose of marriage was to have children" (original emphasis). This is overreading Josephus, who simply claims that sex should only be engaged in for procreation, and therefore can only take place within marriage. 75. Josephus War 2.161. It has been argued that this is also the meaning of an un­ paralleled line in a manuscript of the Damascus Document, 4Q270: rm6 [njnp' "itfffi

278

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

tfn ran C D D t o - M K u™*?, "And he who approaches to fornicate with his wife in violation of the law shall depart and return no more." The text and translation are from J. Baumgarten 1992a, 270, who thinks it most likely that this refers to one who violates a period of sexual abstinence. Kister 1993, 280-81 interprets this rule as refer­ ring to one who has nonprocreative sex. 76. Pseudo-Phocylides, in fact, advises, "Do not deliver yourself wholly unto un­ bridled sensuality towards your wife" (193, trans, van der Horst 1978,240). Ben Sira is most explicit about the negative side of marriage. The primary problem with wives is that they can commit adultery, but they can be annoying for other reasons too. See 23:6-8; 26:11-14; 25:20, 26:9, 31. Cf. Ilan 1995, 60-62. 77. Gen. Rab. 9:7 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 71-72), attributed to R. Shmuel bar Nahman. 78. T. Ket. 6:8 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:77-78). Cf. T. Pe. 4:10; Sipre Deut. 116 (ed. Finkelstein 175). The parallel at B. Ket. 67b reads: "bed and all [necessary household] implements." 79. See Neusner 1990; Lapin 1995, 233-34: "the Mishnah regularly addresses the concerns of one particular group of people: substantial landowners whose wealth is sufficiently great that they need not engage in the labor of production themselves, but instead exploit their holdings through leases or hired labor; who live 'in town'; and who sell of their produce and store their wealth (at least in part) in the form of money, and feed themselves from purchases in the marketplace" (233). 80. T. Sot. 7:20 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:199-200), citing Prov. 24:27; B. Sot. 44a. 81. This is expressed clearly at Y. Ket. 4:8, 28d, in which one Palestinian rabbi notes the dual role (wife and slave) played by a wife. TK1:185 notes that in several places the Palestinian Talmud asks, "how does a wife differ from a female slave" (cf. Y. Shev. 8:5, 38b; Y Ma. S. 1:1, 52b; Y Ket. 5:4, 29d), without sufficiently answering it. Hence, Lieberman writes, KTI BOO VIDI ^ e r i T n ^ " i ("according to the Palestinian Talmud a woman is generally [seen as] as servant"). 82. Gen. Rab. 60:16 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 656-57); Lev. Rab. 22:1 (ed. Margulies 494-98). 83. Eccl. Rab. 1:2 (ed. Hirshman 17). Cf. R. Yohanan's description of marriage at B. Qid. 29b (cited below) as a "millstone." B. Ber. 57a: "Three things give a man comfort: a nice dwelling, an attractive wife, and nice [household] implements." This tradition is unattributed, but could have a Palestinian origin. Cf. Westreich 1992, who lias argued that Palestinian rabbis tended more strongly than Babylonian rabbis to legal­ ize the obligation of a man tofinanciallysupport his young children, again reinforcing the man's duties toward his oikos. 84. Y. Qid. 4:7, 66b. 85. B. Yev. 47a. 86. See Klein 1939, 1.1:175; 77^6:282. The term "one God" could indicate that this is a Samaritan inscription. See Di Segni 1994. Zori 1966 reports the finds of a broken marble lintel in the courtyard of an ancient Jewish mansion in Bet Shean, in which a certain Nonnus gives a gift "for the salvation of his oikos" (133, no. 5). The original provenance of the inscription is unclear, and it is uncertain whether the inscription is in fact Jewish. 87. See Sukenik 1935, 129-36. 88. Reprinted in R. Kraemer 1988, 116. TO

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

279

89. Cf. the "betrothal formula" as reported by Menander: "I betroth my daughter to you, young man, for the 'plowing' of legitimate children" (Dysc. 842^43; cf. Perikeiromene 1013-14; Samia 726-27). 90. Lines 175-76, trans, van der Horst 1978, 225. 91. Daube 1977; D. Feldman 1974, 46-59; J. Cohen 1989, 124-65. 92. The dating issues are complex. The mishnah records a debate between the Schools of Hillel and Shammai, which would place the commandment before the de­ struction of the Temple (70 CE). Daube accepts this dating and, drawing a parallel to the Augustan laws, dates the obligation to procreate to this time (Daube 1977). Jacob Neusner 1971a, however, has demonstrated the problems in accepting attributions to the Schools of Hillel and Shammai at face value, and J. Cohen 1989, 160-61 correctly dismisses Daube's argument. Cohen (126-27) instead prefers to date the understanding of procreation as a commandment to after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE. 93. T. Yev. 8:4-7 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:24-26). See also Gen. Rab. 34:13 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 326-27). 94. Daube 1977, 36-37. "Which of the Talmudic pronouncements are due to general Hellenistic inspiration, which to the laws of Augustus in particular and which to inter­ nal evolution may be left open" (37). 95. In his critique of Daube's position, J. Cohen 1989, 159-61 notes the problems with this logic, yet himself suggests that "the Mishnaic statement may also date from the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba rebellion, when rabbinic leaders had to vie against a spirit of pessimism that stifled a desire for progeny" (126). 96. J. Cohen 1989, 162. 97. Ibid., 144-54. 98. Lorberbaum 1997, 228-68. 99. Y. Yev. 6:6, 7d; Gen. Rab. 8:12 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 66): "R. Yitzhak said in the name of R. Hanina, 'The halakah is according to R. Yohanan ben Broqa.'" In the published edition from Venice the attribution is to R. Yermiah, R. Abbahu, and R. Yitzhak bar Maryon, which is similar to the list of rabbis from the Palestinian Tal­ mud who support this position. For the Babylonian position, see B. Yev. 75b. Cf. Daube 1982; J. Cohen 1989, 141-43. On the rejection of mishnaic statements, see Halivni 1981. 100. B. Yev. 62a. 101. B. Yev. 62b. This statement is paralleled at Eccl. Rab. 11:6 (ed. Vilna 29a) and ARN, A, 3 (ed. Schechter 8b). Two slightly, but perhaps significantly, different ver­ sions are found at Gen. Rab. 61:3 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 660-61) and Tanhuma Sarah 6 (ed. Buber 61b-62a). The version from Gen. Rab. reads: "R. Dostai and R. Yannai in the name of R. Shmuel bar Nahman [said], 'If one had children in one's youth, marry a wife in one's old age and have children.'" Our baraita separates procre­ ation from marriage, whereas the parallel in Genesis Rabba prescribes marriage in one's old age in order to continue to procreate. 102. M . Yev. 6:6 (ed. Albeck 3:38); T. Yev. 8:5-6 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:25-26). It is interesting to note that assuming that she married for the first time at eighteen, she would be forty-eight when divorced from her third husband and still entitled to her ketubba. 103. This may be based on the assumption that pregnancy lasted for ten months. On this belief, see Wasserstein 1985. Rashi, ad loc, offers a different explanation:

280

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

"Twenty-seven months is the period of pregnancy, and another month for each [of the three] pregnancies for the period of purity of a pregnant woman close to her period." 104. Cf. B. RH 11a; B. Ber. 29a; Y. RH 1:2, 56d. 105. B. Yev. 64b. 106. Rav is sometimes even cited as a tannaitic authority. See Kalmin 1994, 44 n. 1. 107. B. Yev. 62a. The discussion is on the mishnah of our sugya (cited above), and is from the start odd considering how explicit the mishnah itself is. The tanna R. Natan ascribes the need for only a single child to bet Hillel, and Rabba (a Babylonian amora) supports this position by citing Isa. 45:18, which states that God created the world for habitation, for which only a single child is necessary. The continuation of the sugya appears to accept Isa. 45:18 as the justification for procreation, although many Babylo­ nian amoraim assume, pace the Mishnah, that two children are necessary. 108. Cf. Satlow 1994. 109. See, for example, Y Yev. 6:5, 7c: Rabbi Yehudah ben Pazi said, "It is written 'Between rows [of olive trees] they make oil, [and, thirsty, they tread the wine-presses]' [Job 24:11] [and, referring to adulterers,] '[May they beflotsamon the face of the water; may their portion in the land be cursed;] may none turn aside by way of their vineyards' [Job 24:18]. Because his act of intercourse was not for the sake of children." Rabbi Shimon said, "It is written, 'Truly, they shall eat, but not be sated; they shall swill, but not be satisfied, [because they have forsaken the Lord to practice lech­ ery]' [Hos. 4:10-11], because their acts of intercourse were not for the sake of children." It is written, "Lamech took to himself two wives: [the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other was Zillah]" [Gen. 4:19]. "Adah" because he used to be refreshed through her body, and "Zillah" because he would sit in the shade of [her] children. Cf. Sipra Qod. (ed. Weiss 90d) (a girl is to be transferred only for the sake of marriage); Satlow 1994, 1995a, 290-94. 110. Cf. Z. Safrai 1998, contra Hirschfeld 1997. 111. Cf. Horsley 1995, 189-201, who also argues that the Galilean family typically was a household: "In the maintenance of generational continuity, the family household carried out a number of political, economic, and religious functions" (196). 112. No manor houses have yet been found in the Galilee. Note that the best attested Judaean landowners, known from the Judaean desert papyri, typically owned several noncontiguous parcels of land. 113. Josephus War 2.120-121. 114. Ibid., 160-61. 115. Philo Hyp 11.14-17 (but note the absence of any mention of asceticism in his other report at Probus. 75-91); Pliny NH 5.17.4 (73); Josephus War 2.124 (cf. Philo Probus 76). 116. Josephus War 2.120: ovyyevelg fjyovvrai. 117. Ibid., 2.161. For this interpretation, see J. Baumgarten 1990, 16. Qumran frag­ ments of the Damascus Document contain rules that a man should not "fornicate with Ms wife contrary to the law" (4Q2707 i 12-13 [trans. DJD XVHI, 164]; cf. Kister 1993,

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280-81) nor have sex with a pregnant woman (4Q270 2 ii 15-16). Baumgarten (DJD XVIII, 165) appears to understand the former as having anal intercourse, the problem being that the intercourse was nonprocreative. This would also agree with Josephus's description of the Essenes as having sex only for procreation (War 2.160). 118. Josephus uses genos to refer to the Jews explicitly at War 2.119. 119. The identification of the Qumran community as Essene is, of course, complex and controversial. For a handy summary of correspondences between Josephus's de­ scription of the Essenes and the Dead Sea scrolls, see Beall 1988. Zussman 1989/90 and Schiffman 1995, 83-95 convincingly demonstrate the Sadducean character of the law of the Dead Sea community, although this does not preclude its later identification by Josephus as Essene. Many of the discrepancies between Josephus's account and the data from Qumran might be due to Josephus's own limited knowledge of the somewhat secretive community and misinformation in his sources, whatever they may have been. 120. See the evidence collected by Schiffman 1995, 127-36. 121. J. Baumgarten 1990, 20. Cf. Guillaumont 1971, 395^04. 122. CD VII 6-7; UQTemple 45:11-12, and cf. Yadin 1983, 1:288-89. 123. On the other hand, it is possible that this passage, which seems out of its origi­ nal context, migrated into the Damascus Document from places unknown. Cf. J. Baum­ garten 1990, 18. 124. Qimron 1992. 125. De Vaux 1973,45^7. Cf. de Vaux 1953,95-103; 1954,207; 1956, 569-72 (on 571 it is reported that there are 1,200 graves). See also the map and photographs in Humbert and Chambon 1994, 213-27. Hirschfeld 1998, 185 thinks that the number of reported graves has been exaggerated, and places the number at "a few hundred." His assertion that the graveyard contains remains of women and children is misleading, as nearly all of the remains of women, and all of the remains of children, were found in the smaller grave site. Cf. Taylor 1999. 126. De Vaux 1973,47. The segregation of the bodies by gender is not clear from his prior reports. In 1953, 103 he reports that of the nine bodies examined, all presumably from the primary cemetery, an expert reported that "il y a plusieurs femmes." The fact that a second expert dated most of the adults that he examined to around 30 years old also does not inspire confidence (de Vaux 1956, 569-71). Cf. Steckoll 1968, 335, who also records remains of women, but it is unclear exactly where he found them. See now the comprehensive forensic reexamination of Rohrer-Ertl, Rohrhirsch, and Hahn 1999. 127. Bar-Adon 1977, 16. Cf. Eshel and Greenhut 1993, who identify a third ceme­ tery of this type at Hiam el-Sagha. Of the two graves checked, one was a child and the other a twenty-five-year-old man. Kloner and Gat 1982 found a small tomb in Jerusa­ lem that they suggest was Essene. Against this it should be noted that this was a tomb, in contrast to the three cemeteries from the Judaean Desert, and that there was at least one infant found with two adult men (gender and age of the remains of the other three or four people found are not specified). Zissu 1998 also implies that a similar kind of grave found in Jerusalem is Essene. 128. Joe Zias presented the evidence for this assertion at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature in Boston, Novem­ ber 21, 1999. At the time of this writing the paper is unpublished. 129. Hachlili 1993, 263.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

130. Two qualifications to this argument should be made. First, this assumes that de Vaux's observations about the layout of the cemeteries and the absence of women from the main cemetery is substantively correct. Second, that nonsectarian, contemporary Jews of lower classes did not adopt a "Qumran" burial. Because the tombs from Jericho and Jerusalem were those of the higher classes, it is possible that the division is along a class axis, rather than between sectarian/nonsectarian. The "Essene burial" in Jerusa­ lem might in fact be more characteristic of those with less money. 131. Pomeroy 1997,125-26 observes that most people in Greek antiquity were bur­ ied in public cemeteries; family plots were exceptional. Burial in public cemeteries reflected an ideology of the polis: "Just as every citizen had to belong to an oikos, but was expected to put loyalty to the polisfirst,so in death the polis took precedence" (126). 132. For a review of modem scholarship on the interaction between the family and society, i.e., the ability of the family to maintain its cultural values in the face of societal change, see Hareven 1991, 111-19. 133. Josephus War 2.134. 134. A. Baumgarten 1997a, 42-51, generally on the attraction of Jewish sectarian­ ism to members of the upper classes. 135. A. Baumgarten 1997b. 136. Matt. 10:34-39. Cf. Luke 12:51-53, 14:25-33. The contextualization of this latter passage is revealing. Luke follows the parallel with two parables that demonstrate that a man should calculate the costs before making any commitment. He then con­ cludes with, "So also, if you are not prepared to leave all your possessions behind, you cannot be my disciples" (14:33). The words are most likely Luke's, and show his assumption that "family" and "possessions" are all part of the same package. 137. Luke 9:59-60. Cf. Matt. 8:21-22, which lacks the second clause. Hengel 1996 and Sanders 1993 interpret this logion as Jesus' rejection of a Jewish law that com­ mands burial of one's parents. Bockmuehl 1998 has offered an excellent analysis of their positions. His own suggestion that the logion should be seen against Nazirite imagery is itself doubtful. Bockmuehl concludes that the logion means that "Those who are wholly consecrated to God have even more important things to do" (577). My interpretation here goes one step beyond this, namely that at one level Jesus is radically rejecting the family and widely held social obligations. Neither a legal nor a Nazirite context are necessary to understand the logion. 138. Mark 3:31-35. Cf. Matt. 12:46-50; Luke 8:19-21. 139. Matt. 25:1-13; Mark 2:18-20. Cf. Meier 1991, 332-45. 140. Theissen 1992, 33-114. 141. Luke 9:61-62 is a story attributed to Jesus but unparalleled in the other Gospels that emphasizes again the opposition of family to a life following Jesus. 142. Meier 1994, 398^54. 143. Cf. 1 Cor. 7:7-9. 144. 1 Cor. 14:34-35; Col. 3:18-4:1. 145. See, for examples, Eph. 5:21-6:9; 1 Tim. 2:8-6:2; Titus 1:5-9, 2:2-10. 146. See above, n. 65. 147. On the composition of these early churches, see Meeks 1983, 75-77. 148. See Rubenstein 1999, 19-20, 24-26. Alternatively, if there is a true historical

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

283

"kernel" to this story, Rabbi Hiyya was originally Babylonian, and might here be ex­ pressing a Babylonian idea. See H. Albeck 1987, 144. 149. B. Qid. 29b-30a. 150. The Babylonians are generally less optimistic about a man's ability to control his sexual desire than are Palestinians. See Satlow 1995a, 158-69. 151. The redactor appears to think here that thoughts of sex are not as serious as for­ nication itself. Elsewhere, the redactor holds the opposite view: rrvni^ft nop rrrnj? mmn "thoughts of sin are more difficult than sin [itself]" (B. Yoma 29a). 152. The phrase "an arrow in your eye" always is addressed to Satan. See B. Suk. 38a; B. Qid. 81a; B. Men. 62a. 153. B. Qid. 29b. 154. B. Men. 110b. The wording of the attribution is, in my opinion, deliberately vague. The statement can be read either as a direct quote of R. Yohanan's or as a gloss. On this idea, see Aphrahat Dem. 18:12 (trans. Neusner 1971b, 82); Anderson 1989, 122-23; Boyarin 1993, 139 n. 10. 155. B. Yoma 72b. 156. B. Pes. 87a. For Palestinian explications of the verse, see B. BB 75a; B. Sanh. 100a. Sipra B'hukotai 3:7, (ed. Weiss, 111b) offers an entirely different interpretation of the verse. 157. See also B. Qid. 21b, in which the redactor justifies (first) intercourse with and marriage to a captive woman, allowed by Deut. 21:10-14, with the reason that "the Torah speaks here only against the evil inclination." 158. Cf. J. Cohen 1989, 76-82. 159. Lev. Rab. 20:10 (ed. Margulies 464); PRK 26:9 (ed. Mandelbaum 395). Cf. Shinan 1979, 210. 160. T. Yev. 8:7 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:26). 161. B. Ber. 10a (R. Hamnuna). 162. B. Shab. 31a (Rabba). 163. B. Pes. 113a, anonymous statement brought in a series of statements that enu­ merate characteristics: "Seven are those banned from heaven: A Jew who does not have a wife; one who has a wife but no children; one who has children but does not raise them in the study of Torah." A Christian censor might have substituted the word "Jew" for an original reading of "one." For an example of this phenomenon elsewhere, see J. Cohen 1989, 114-15 n. 177. 164. B. Eruv. 63b (Abba bar Pappa). This amora was said to have moved from Babylonia to Palestine. See H. Albeck 1987, 215. Cf. B. Sanh. 93a, in which Joshua's punishment is blamed on his allowing his sons to marry women not fitting for the priesthood. 165. The tannaitic attribution is missing in MS Oxford 367, and is attributed to a Palestinian amora in a parallel at B. BQ 83a. According to this latter version of the tradition, if there were 21,199 Israelites and a pregnant woman, and a dog barked and caused her to miscarry, the dog would be responsible for the departure of the Shekina from Israel. Unsurprisingly, this tradition occurs within a sugya about keeping dogs. 166. B. Yev. 63b-64a. 167. Mekilta a"Rabbi Ishmael Yitro b'Hodesh 3 (ed. Horovitz and Rabin 212); Mekilta d'Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai 19:11 (ed. Epstein 141); Sipre Numbers 84 (ed.

284

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

Horovitz 83-84). For unclear reasons, Lorberbaum 1997, 230-31 prefers the version in the Babylonian Talmud over the one in these tannaitic sources. 168. B. Yev. 62a, 63b; B. AZ 5a; B. Nid. 13b. Cf. Urbach 1975, 236-42, and on the attribution, 792 n. 79; J. Cohen 1989, 115-20. 169. Gen. Rab. 24:4 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 233). 170. Shayast La-Shayast 10.22 (ed. SBE 5:325). Cf. ibid., 12.15. 171. Sanjana 1932, 508-9. 172. Datestan i Denig 36.29, cited in Snaked 1969, 209; Gafni 1989, 21: "Through the great mystery full of marvel, he gave to the living [people] long immortality: the descent of offspring, that which is the best and most excellent immortality of that which has adversity. For an eternal being, who has adversity, suffers always pain. That one has wondrous power who has been endowed with offspring, he is constantly young in adversity thanks to his good offspring, family, and descendants. The constancy of his life is eternal [a gloss reads: that is, their living continues through their children and descendants]." 173. B. Yev. 63b. It is followed by a another version that has only minor variations, including the attributions. The tradition first appears at T. Yev. 8:7 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:26). Cf. Gen. Rab. 34:13 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 326-27). 174. Fraade 1986, esp. 274-75; Biale 1992, 33-59. 175. Cf. Boyarin 1993, 134-66. 176. B. Qid. 29b, trans. Boyarin 1993, 138. Compare B. Men. 110a, in which R. Yo­ hanan, perhaps, is ascribed with the opposite position. 177. This collection has been extensively discussed by J. Fraenkel 1981, 99-115; Waller 1993, 56-80; and Boyarin 1991 and 1993, 134-66. 178. B. Ket. 62b-63a. There is a more elaborate version at B. Ned. 50a. The differ­ ences between these two versions is discussed by Waller 1993, 73-79. Cf. ARN, A, ch. 6 (ed. Schechter 14b-15b). 179. On this story see Waller 1993, 73-79; Boyarin 1993, 150-56. 180. J. Fraenkel 1981, 99-115 only suggests this, but it is explicit in Boyarin 1993, 155 n. 36. 181. Y. Shab. 6:1, 7d (paralleled at Y. Sot. 9:16, 24c). The context for the discussion is an attempt to define the term " /r of gold," which I translate here as "headdress." This story is alluded to at B. Shab. 59b. 182. Boyarin 1993, 165. 183. But cf. T. Bek. 6:10 (ed. Zuckermandel 541), which does at least contain a hint of this same problem, ascribed to R. Yehudah. The concern of this tradition appears to reflect more of a concern with the power of sexual desire than it does with a conflict between marriage and Torah study. 184. There is no scholarly consensus on the degree to which the rabbinic movement was institutionalized in Babylonia. Gafni 1990, 177-236 has argued for a fairly high level of institutionalization (e.g., study at academies); Goodblatt 1975 has argued for almost complete decentralization; and Kalmin 1994, 193-212 (which has a review of the scholarly debate) has taken a middle position. It does seem clear, though, that rabbinic instruction in Babylonia became increasingly institutionalized as time passed. See D. Sperber 1982. 185. D. Kraemer 1993. 186. Rubenstein 1999, 34-63, 176-211, 270-72. e

NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

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187. Cf. L. Levine 1989, 25-29, 83-89; Hezser 1997a. 188. Similar positions can be found attributed to Epicureans and Pythagoreans. Cf. Epictetus III.7.19. The lines were fuzzy; as Deming 1995, 51-52 admits, "Cynic" posi­ tions are often found in the mouth of "Stoics." What is important to us is that this position, to whomever we ascribe it, was well known and seen as opposite the one usually identified with the Stoics. 189. Marriage, according to Musonius, "was no handicap to Pythagoras, nor to Soc­ rates, nor to Crates, each of whom lived with a wife, and one could not mention better philosophers than these," and later, "It is clear, therefore, that it is fitting for a philos­ opher to concern himself with marriage and having children" (XIV, "Is Marriage a Handicap for the Pursuit of Philosophy?" trans. Lutz 1947, 91-93, 97). 190. Diogenes, Letter 47, trans. Malherbe 1977, 179. 191. Diogenes, Letter 44, trans. Malherbe 1977,175. Diogenes recommends mastur­ bation as a sexual outlet. 192. Pseudo-Lucian Erotes 33. This sentiment is mitigated in the debate's "verdict": "Therefore all men should marry, but let only the wise be permitted to love boys, for perfect virtue grows least of all among women" (51). 193. See B. Qid. 32a-b, in which this concern is attributed solely to Babylonian amoraim. Cf. Boyarin 1993, 197-225. 194. It is important to emphasize that this is an "ideological" value. As we will see in chapter 5, most Babylonian Jews probably put a great deal of weight on blood descent. 195. B. BB 116a. 196. Shdyast Ld-Shdyast 10.2 (SBE 5:322-23, with minor stylistic modifications). On the date of this composition, see ibid., lxiv-lxv. 197. Some manuscripts omit the "even" in this and the next clause. 198. Gen. Rab. 17:2 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 151-52). The parallel at Eccl. Rab. 9:9 contains "Torah" (ed. Vilna 24a). 199. Cf. J. Epstein 1962,292-94, who does not consider the possibility that some of the traditions introduced by the term "in the West they say" (nDR Kmuon) are not authentic. 200. See, for example, B. Besa 32b: "Our rabbis taught, 'For three, their lives are not life [i.e., not worth living]: . . . one whose wife rules over him.. . . ' " Babylonian amo­ raim counsel a man to marry neither a rich nor too beautiful wife, for fear that she will become haughty. See B. Yev. 63a; B. Sanh. 107a; Y Qid. 4:4, 66a. For (nonexhaustive) lists of classical parallels to this theme, see van der Horst 1978, 243^14; Halevi 1982, 212-14. Menander expresses this succinctly: "a wealthy wife is an irksome thing" (Misogynist 325K, 7). 201. The text reads nns, the translation of cpepvrj. This could mean either "ketubba" or, as is more usual, "dowry." See Friedman 1980, 1:310-11; Satlow 1993. 202. Aramaic: rpmn pan:. This translation follows Theodor and Albeck 153. 203. Gen. Rab. 17:3 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 152-54). This story is followed by a shortened version of the same story. Substantively similar parallels can be found at Lev. Rab. 34:14 (ed. Margulies 802-6) and Y. Ket. 11:3, 34b. 204. That this is the "misfortune" that came upon them is implicit in this story but explicit in the other versions. Blindness, of course, would cause a city guard to lose his job.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 1

205. On rabbinic biography see Green 1978. 206. Another Palestinian tradition applies this verse to one's relatives. See T. Sot. 7:2 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:191), paralleled at B. Shevu. 39a. The Babylonian Talmud's redactor apparently assumed this interpretation at B. Ket. 52b (paralleled at B. Ket. 86a). 207. The notion of "performance" of rabbinic texts has not been sufficiently studied. Fraade 1991 does not use this language, but he does argue that to understand at least one rabbinic text, Sipre Deuteronomy, it is necessary to view it in its original social context. Recent work on "orality" in rabbinic texts also points toward the performative aspects of these texts. Cf. D. Stem 1991, 34-37; Jaffee 1994, who limits his notion of perfor­ mance to the homily; he expands his scope in Jaffee 1997. In Satlow 1996a I explore how rabbinic "pornography" may have functioned. 208. On reading oppositionally, see Chambers 1991, esp. 1-18. Cf. Boyarin 1993, 165-66. Waller 1993, 23-95 too reads several sugyot oppositionally, claiming that the aggadic material serves to undermine the halakic message of these sugyot. Should that be the case here, then the sugya would actually undermine marriage, which, especially in the context of other rabbinic literature, seems unlikely to me. 209. Thefirstversion goes back to Aristophanes Lysistrata 1039. 210. See, for example, Fantham, Foley et al. 1994, 69: "Every respectable woman in classical Athens (ca. 480-323 BCE) became a wife if she could; not to marry, as Medea argues, provided no real alternative"; G. Clark 1993, 13; Ilan 1995, 62-65; Treggiari 1991a, 8: "A wife may be defined as a woman whom a man takes for the breeding of legitimate children. No writer will stop to think of defining a husband or his function." 211. T. Ket. 12:3 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:96). Cf. T. Ket. 6:8 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:77), with parallel at B. Ket. 67b. 212. B. Yev. 113a. The tosepta is also cited, in a different context, at B. Git. 49b and B. Ket. 86a. 213. See, e.g., B. Ket. 22a, 52b; B. Qid. 30b; B. BQ 80a. 214. B. Qid. 7a (with parallels). 215. There are very few rabbinic sources on female ascetics. For a survey of this material, see Weinstein 1997, 107-44. 216. E. Clark 1995; Malina 1995; Elm 1994. 217. See Hunter 1987 and 1989. 218. They are described only by Philo in Vit Cont. Cf. R. Kraemer 1989a. 219. E.g., 4 Mace. 17:1; Judith 8:1-7, 16:22. 220. I do, however, think it likely that Palestinian rabbis did have some direct con­ tact with Stoic arguments on marriage. Josephus claims that there were correspon­ dences between Pharisaic and Stoic ideas (Life 12). The amassing of parallels between classical and rabbinic material, although often without an analysis of the significance of these parallels, began in the nineteenth century, and has continued through the middle of the twentieth century. Bergmann 1912, 158-59 even noted, albeit superficially, the parallels between Stoic and rabbinic dicta on marriage. Recently, it seems, scholars have lost interest in this issue. The standard works on the topic remain Lieberman 1942 and 1950; Hengel 1974; B. Cohen 1966; and the essays collected by Fischel 1973. Fischel claims that rabbinic literature was permeated with Greco-Roman philosophical ideas and forms (especially Cynic and Epicurean), but his study (1973) is very limited

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in scope. Cf. Goldin 1965, 3: "The rabbis were not Platos in Hebrew disguise, nor were they students (much less disciples) of Plato. On the other hand, however, . . . it is impossible to deny that in the tents of Shem quite a number of Japhet, Hellenistic influences took up residence." For a notable attempt to revive interest in the relationship between the rabbis and their non-Jewish counterparts, see the essays in Goodman 1998. 221. Cf. Jones 1941; Tsafrir 1996. 222. Cf. D. Sperber 1978. 223. Cf. Rubenstein 1999, 279-82. CHAPTER Two

METAPHOR AND MYTH

1. Cf. Perkins 1995,41-76. 2. Cf. N. Graetz 1995 for a less optimistic reading of this story. 3. The referent of the "you" is not entirely clear. It appears to be Zion, but the previous verse refers to "your land," which implies that Israel is being addressed. 4. Cf. Brenner 1997, 153-74. 5. See, for examples, Amos 3:2, 5:2; Isa. 61:10; Jer. 2:20-25, 3:1-13; Mai. 2:14. Cf. Hugenberger 1994, 280-338. 6. G. Cohen 1966, 8. 7. Ibid., 4-8, 13-15. For a theological interpretation of the biblical metaphor of "whoredom," see Ortlund 1996, 15-136. 8. Cf. Brettler 1989. 9. Mai. 2:14 refers to Israel's betrayal of "the wife of your youth... your covenanted spouse." This might refer to God. But at Mai. 3:17 God refers to His coming kindness to Israel as a father toward a favored son. Deutero-Isaiah, as noted above, does compare the marriage of God and Israel to a married couple. 10. Husband's obligations to his wife: Exod. 21:2-10; a woman's sexual fidelity: Exod. 20:14, Num. 5:11-31, Deut. 22:22; polygyny: Deut. 21:15. It is unclear whether a woman was, in biblical law, entitled to initiate divorce, although it seems likely. See Deut. 24:1; Zakovitch 1981; and Brewer 1998, who argues that the purpose of the biblical divorce certificate was to abrogate a man's right to later reclaim his wife—the implication is that the divorce document itself did not affect the divorce. 11. The meaning of Mai. 2:16 is highly contested. For a recent review of the ques­ tion, see Collins 1997, 125-26, who states that "Malachi clearly intended to condemn divorce." But cf. van der Woude 1986, who contends that "Mai 2:10-16 does not deal with divorce at air (66, original emphasis), and translates Mai. 2:16: "for he who neglects (his Jewish wife) puts forth his hand (in hostility)" (71). 12. Cf. Ben Sira 4:11-19 for a Hebrew adaptation of Prov. 8. 13. See Philo Post 78 (making sophia a spouse); Heres 5-9 (acquiring culture is preliminary to the full marriage of the acquisition of virtue), 41, 59 (soul is the legiti­ mate wife); Fug 52 (God begats wisdom, to whom Jacob goes for a bride); Somn 1.198-200 ("marriage" of different kinds of thoughts, gives good wise "offspring," with a similar image at Abr 100-1, where the union is between virtue and thought); Somn 2.234 (wisdom is spouse); Spec Leg 2.30 (mind "wedded" to logos); Vit Cont 68 (women remained virgins to "wed" sophia). Cf. Horsley 1979. 14. Cf. Winston 1979, 193-94.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 2

15. Aseneth 8:5 (trans. OTP 2:208). 16. Aseneth 15:7 (trans. OTP 2:226); 15:6 in short version: jioAig Karoxpvyfjg. 17. Aseneth 21:7 (trans. OTP 2:235). The account is less elaborate at the text in Philonenko 1968, 196 (21:5). 18. Cf. Hezser 1997b; R. Kraemer 1998, 9-11, 191-221. Wills 1995, 170-84 posits that Aseneth is a combination of two distinct story lines, a love-adventure romance (that itself has at some point been spiritualized) and an allegorical story of conversion. The former storyline would resemble Greek romance novels more closely than the finished product. 19. For a summary of the novel's form, see Reardon 1991, esp. 15^5. The Greek novels are marked by an emphasis on symmetrical erotic love. Cf. Konstan 1994. Note that in Aseneth only the heroine is stricken by love. 20. R. Kraemer 1998, 201. 21. Cf. Wills 1995, 172. 22. Perkins 1995, 41-76, contra Konstan 1994. 23. Hezser 1997b, 2. 24. Cf. Gruen 1998, 95: "The fact that the wedding of Joseph and Aseneth takes place under the auspices of Pharaoh, who had not himself become a convert, holds central symbolic significance." 25. Gruen 1998, 89-99. 26. Cf. Tcherikover 1963, 116-59; Meleze Modrzejewski 1995, 161-83. 27. Cf. Tcherikover 1956. Chesnutt 1995, 153-253 adheres to this traditional view of Aseneth. 28. R. Kraemer 1998, 205, 253-72. 29. Wills 1995, 184. 30. See the surveys of Yarbrough 1993 and Reinhartz 1993 on the evaluation of filial relationships among Hellenistic Jews. Neither author directly compares parent-child relationships to marital ones, but the evidence they cite does indicate a clear valuation. 31. Even Paul, who preached that "there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28), does not abandon the traditional understanding that "[man] is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. . . . For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head" (1 Cor. 11:7,10). Paul appears to realize his contradictory position in the continuation of this passage, but hardly solves it. Cf. Eph 5:22-24. 32. See Satlow 1996b. 33. For some examples, see the discussion of A. Hanson 1992. It is important to note that while the Septuagint tends to euphemize anthropomorphisms, it does not do so in every case. Cf. Jellicoe 1968, 270-71. The Greek translation of Hos. 2, for example, preserves the marital metaphor. Later Greek translations and the Aramaic targumim more consistently eliminate anthropomorphisms. See McCarthy 1989. 34. On Philo's understanding of the ontology of "reason," see Wolfson 1968,1:20094. 35. See Cathcart and Gordon 1989, 1-18 for a discussion of the characteristics and provenance of the Targum to the minor prophets. But cf. Schiirer 1973-86, 1:101-2, which suggests a later date. 36. Translation: Cathcart and Gordon 1989, 34. Text in A. Sperber 1962, 3:389.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 2

289

37. On Jewish communal organization and its relation to the polis, see Schiirer 1973-86,3.1:87-137. 38. Matt. 22:1-14; Mark 2:19-20. Luke 14:16-24 parallels Matt. 22:1-14, but the setting is not a wedding. John 3:27-30 puts the comparison in the mouth of John the Baptist. 39. Cf. Rom. 1:2-4 and Earnshaw 1994; Grant 1961. 40. Probably a better translation would be "married you." The technical implica­ tions of betrothal are considered in the next chapter, but Greek legal sources occasion­ ally use this same verb (armozo) to denote marriage generally. Cf. P. Oxy. 906, line 7. 41. Rom. 7:1-4. Earnshaw, 1994, 68-71 succinctly summarizes the interpretive problems of the analogy; his own exegetical solution, though, is not entirely convinc­ ing. Note that in no reading of Rom. 7:1-4 is Israel (or the singular Jew) said to have been married to God, but only to God's Law. 42. Rev. 21:2, 9-10 develop the prophetic metaphor of the marriage of Christ and Jerusalem. 43. Matt. 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12. Matthew glosses this prohibition to allow for divorce in the case of female adultery, probably in order to bring Jesus' dictum into line with contemporary practice. 44. Cf. 1 Cor. 7:10-11. 45. This is not to deny that there were other factors also at work. The use of Gen. 1:27 and 2:24 in these justifications points to an argument from nature. Paul's assumption of monogyny is certainly conditioned by his working within monogamous gentile communities. Nevertheless, the congruence between the use of a marital meta­ phor to describe the relationship between Christ and the church and of complimentary marital practices (which contradict the marital practices of the Hebrew Bible) is sig­ nificant. Augustine noted the problem of the absence of any explicit prohibition of polygamy in the New Testament; see The Good of Marriage 20-22. By following this logic in reverse, one would expect to find the marital metaphor present at Qumran. The Dead Sea scrolls decisively reject polygyny, and might also reject divorce. Does a marital metaphor lurk in the background of this marital legisla­ tion? I have been unable to find any evidence within the scrolls themselves that the community saw itself as "married" to God. 46. John Chrysostom Horn. 20 on Ephesians 4 (trans. Hunter 1992, 83, with minor stylistic modifications). 47. Ibid. 48. Paulinus of Nola Carmen 25 (trans. Hunter 1992, 135). 49. Vikan 1990. 50. Ibid., 160. 51. M . Ta. 4:8 (ed. Albeck 2:345) has been seen as containing the metaphor in the form of a commentary on Song of Songs 3:11. The verse reads "his mother crowned him [King Solomon] on his wedding day"; the midrash interprets "his wedding day" as referring to the day of the giving of the Torah. This midrash, however, is a late gloss. See Albeck ibid., 2:344-45, notes ad loc; J. Epstein 1964, 2:686-87. 52. Mekilta d'Rabbi Ishmael Yitro b'Hodesh 3 (ed. Horovitz and Rabin 214). Cf. Mekilta d'Rashbi ad Exod. 19:17 (ed. Epstein 142-43). The midrash itself keys off Deut. 33:2, but is not found in the Sipre's commentary on this verse. Exod. 19:17 says

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that Moses brought the people toward God. By using using Deut. 33:2 here, the darshan implies a certain reciprocity, generating the image of bride and groom approaching each other on their wedding day. 53. T. BQ 7:4 (ed. Lieberman 4:29). 54. Note that a parallel at ARN, B, ch. 2 (ed. Schechter 10-11) makes a different point. In that version, Moses deliberately breaks the tablets so that Israel should not sign them. If she did sign them and then continued to worship the calf, she would be liable for punishment as an adulteress. 55. See Sipre Deut. 306 (ed. Finkelstein 330). Fraade 1991, 131-32 understands this midrash as expressing hope for the ultimate reconciliation between God and Israel, but the metaphor itself is used here only to illustrate the initial break between them. For the assertion that the midrash's denial that Israel and God are actually divorced is a re­ sponse to Christian polemics, see Hammer 1985, and the bibliography in Fraade 1991, 267-68 n. 35. 56. Meir 1974; Ziegler 1903. 57. See, for example, the metaphor of a king marrying his son at Y. Sot. 1:10, 17c, which is not applied to the relationship of God and Israel. 58. Gen. Rab. 9:4 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 69), 10:9 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 85); 28:6 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 265). Traditions (apparently Palestinian) that associate the Sabbath with a bride are also found at B. Shab. 119a; B. BQ 32b. Cf. Tuker 1989. 59. B. Sanh. 108a. 60. See Lev. Rab. 20:10 (ed. Margulies 468); Song Rab. 8:11. Sipre Deut. 343 (ed. Finkelstein 398) uses a parable of a man marrying off his son, who appears to represent Israel. 61. Sipra Semini petihta 16 (ed. Weiss 44c). 62. B. Ket. 71b; B. Pes. 87a (ascribed to Rabbi Yohanan). 63. B. Pes. 87b. Cf. Sipre Deut. 270 (ed. Finkelstein 291), which offers a hyperliteral reading of Jer. 3:1, erasing the biblical metaphor. 64. Ibid., attributed to Shmuel. 65. Ibid. According to MS Munich 95, Israel is one of three of God's possessions, a difference that is not relevant to this discussion. 66. The meaning of the connective "and" in Hosea's protest is not clear: does it really mean "because" here, or does it indicate that there is a second reason that Hosea is unable to divorce her? Is Hosea unable or unwilling to divorce her? What is implied by using both clauses, "send her away" and "divorce her"? 67. The progression that leads to this discussion is not entirely clear. The Talmud here apparently interprets a mishnah that prohibits a man from riding on a king's horse, sitting on his throne, or using his scepter euphemistically: What is the status of a woman "used" (but not widowed, which is dealt with at M. Sanh. 2:1) by a king? The discussion then turns to Abishag and the suggestion that David would have married her had he not already reached his limit of eighteen wives. David is then said to have been forbidden to divorce one of his other wives to marry her. The reason behind this prohibition is never clarified, but it does lead into the passages here. 68. This is paralleled at B. Git. 90b. 69. B. Sanh. 22a-b. 70. The "specialness" of afirstwife is alluded to in a nonmidrashic context also at B. BB 144a (Rabbi Hanina). Baron deduces from this source that "[t]here was a slight

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291

idealistic preference for the 'wife of one's youth,' but legally it resulted, at most, in the advice of the Jewish sages . . . to refrain, as far as possible, from divorcing her" (Baron 1952-76, 2:226). 71. B. Ket. 7b-8a. 72. The blessing might also draw on Ps. 19:6, which compares the rising of the sun (!) to a groom leaving his chamber, or Joel 2:16. Cf. Anderson 1992, 59, who points to the "eschatological significance" of the sixth blessing. 73. Lam. Rab. ad 3:21, text in D. Stern 1991, 281-82. 74. D. Stern 1991, 56-62, 180-83, quote at 60. A similar interpretation can apply to Lam. Rab. ad 1:56, a parable of a king who gets angry at his wife and evicts her from her home, leaving her no place to go because she has followed his directives by ceasing contact with her former cronies. 75. Song. Rab. ad 1:6 (3), 9b, attributed to R. Yitzhak. On this story see Urbach 1971, 262-65. 76. See, for examples, Deut. Rab. Ekeb 3:7, 106a-b; 3:10,106c. A similar use of the metaphor is attributed to Rav Nahman at B. Yoma 54a, that compares Israel's unfaith­ fulness upon entering the land to a bride entering her new husband's house. 77. On patristic interpretations, see Meloni 1992. Boyarin 1986-87, esp. 480-91 convincingly argues that the tannaim saw Song as a text whose primary use was to eludicidate the secrets of the Torah. The same can be said of Song Rabba. 78. Song Rab. ad 4:10, 27c-d. This tradition is paralleled at Deut. Rab. 2:37, 104d5a, but this appears to be a late addition. 79. Song Rab. ad 1:2 (3), 4d; ad 5:16 (6), 33a. 80. Mahzor Piyyute Rabbi Yannai 27 (ed. Rabinowitz, 171-75), with a translation of the fourth stanza in Carmi 1981, 215. 81. Ibid. 2:265-72, 272-89. 82. Ibid., 2:284, lines 124-25. 83. Ibid., 2:287 line 165. A liturgical use of the image is also reflected in the piyut "pi? ia» "o, in which the phrase: i n n nnw " p i n i]» appears. This piyut, which appears in the musaf prayers for Yom Kippur, is of indeterminate provenance, although it might be quite early. 84. Translation from Carmi 1981, 223, modified slightly. 85. Ibid., 224. 86. The entire poem is found in Fleischer 1975, 154-64, the part cited is at 159-61. The translation is slightly modified from Carmi 1981, 221-23. 87. Goshen-Gottstein 1987. 88. Cf. Satlow 1996b. 89. See J. Cohen 1989, 8-66 on the "career" of this verse within the Hebrew Bible itself. 90. For different modern approaches to the problem, with some references to the older material, see Skinner 1925, 51-53 and Sarna 1989, 16. 91. Cf. Trible 1978, 72-143; Bal 1987, 104-30; C. Meyers 1988, 72-121. 92. See Bird 1981. 93. The Septuagint (yvvfj) and the Aramaic translation of Onkelos («nn«) preserve this shift in meaning from "woman" to "wife." 94. On the need to read these accounts together see Bird 1981, 157. Hamilton ar­ gues that the biblical myth and metaphor of marriage are linked. See ABD 6:568.

292

NOTES TO CHAPTER 2

Hugenberger 1994, 124-67 argues that Mai. 2:15 alludes to the story of Adam and Eve in his development of a marital metaphor. 95. The Jewish marriage documents from Elephantine are TAD B2.6 (=EPE B28); TAD B3.3 (=EPE B36); TAD B3.8 (=EPE B41). All three documents give to each spouse the right to initiate a divorce and reciprocal rights of inheritance from the other; TAD B3.8 also forbids polygyny and gives to each spouse a right to conjugal relations. Note that the reciprocal formulations of these contracts fall short even of the Greek non-Jewish marriage contract (P. Eleph. 1) found at the same location. 96. Tobit 8:5-8 (trans. APOT 1:223-24). 97. See Nickelsburg 1984, 40^6; J. Thomas 1972; Gafni 1990, 55-61, who tenta­ tively argues for a Babylonian provenance. Wills 1995, 68-92 argues that chapters 2-12 form an independent story later framed by the author of chapters 1 and 13-14. 98. Flusser and Safrai 1983 suggest that there is quite a bit of correspondence, but their view is overly optimistic. See Gafni 1990, 60-61 for general cautions on using Tobit as a historical source. 99. Ben Sira 36:24 (36:25 in Hebrew). The Hebrew isTOand the Greek fiorjOdv. 100. 4QMMT B 40. On the language in 4QMMT see DJD X 159, n. 122; Strugnell 1996, 541-46. 101. 4Q416 2 iv 4 = 4Q418 10 6. 102. The text was edited, annotated, and translated into French by Maurice Baillet, DJD VII 81-105. 103. For alternative explanations, see J. Baumgarten 1983; Satlow 1998. 104. "His wife" (TOK): 1 line 3 (cf. fr. 309, that might preserve it as a single word); "to make seed" Qn? nto ?): 1 line 4 (cf. line 9, rro); "his companion" (rrm): 1 line 7. 105. For this terminology see A. Baumgarten 1997a. 106. CD IV 20-V 2. The text is notoriously difficult, and is unfortunately unparal­ leled in any fragment from Qumran. On the textual problems and their implications, see the summary in Mueller 1980, 253-54. On the possibility that this passage prohibits divorce (which I reject), see Fitzmyer 1976 and 1978. Deut. 17:17 is the sole source behind the condemnation of polygyny at HQTemple 56:18-19. 107. Josephus Ant. 1.32-36. Josephus's primary concern was to harmonize the two creation stories, which he did by interpreting "male and female he created them" in Gen. 1:27 as referring to the animals. Hence, because God creates only "man" in Gen. 1:27 there is no contradiction at Gen. 2:18 when Adam is described as being alone. 108. Gen. Rab. 8:12-13 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 66-67). 109. (A): M. Ket. 1:1; Y. Ket. 1:1,24d; B. Ket. 5a. (B): M. Yev. 6:6 (containing only the statement of R. Yohanan ben Baroqa); Y. Yev. 6:6, 7d; Y Meg. 1:6, 70c; B. Yev. 65a; B. Git. 43b; B. Qid. 35a; B. Shab. 111a. On the commandment to procreate, see above, pp. 17-20. 110. The term "cup of blessing" is used to refer to a cup of wine over which the blessings after a meal are recited (e.g., B. Ber. 51a). On Adam's groomsmen, see Eccl. Rab. 7:6; ARN, A, ch. 4 (ed. Schechter 19). Cf. B. Sot. 14a, a tradition attributed to a Palestinian amora (R. Hama b. R. Hanina) that parallels (D), but omits any mention of a bride and groom. 111. In parallel traditions there are many variations of this attribution. 112. Gen. Rab. 18:1 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 161). 113. Y Shab. 10:7, 12c; B. Shab. 95a; B. Nid. 45b. 1

NOTES TO CHAPTER 2

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114. B. Ber. 61a; B. Eruv. 18a (the last clause is attributed to R. Yermiah ben Elazar in thefirstsource, but is unattributed in the second). 115. B. BB 75a; Lev. Rab. 20:2 (ed. Margulies 446). 116. Y. Hag. 2:1,77a. 117. Gen. Rab. 17:3, see above pp. 35-36. 118. M. Meg. 4:3 (ed. Albeck 2:365); T. Meg. 3 (4): 14 (ed. Lieberman 2:356-57). Cf. TK 5:1182-84. On the seven days of feasting, see Sipra Tazria, perek 5 (ed. Weiss 63d) (parallel: Sipra Mesora, par. 5 [ed. Weiss 73b]). 119. The text also recurs, with many variants, in Gaonic literature. For a textual history of the grooms' prayer, see Hildsheimer 1942. 120. This blessing is missing from MS Munich 95, probably having been mistakenly omitted by the scribe. 121. B. Ket. 7b-8a. 122. See Bar-Ilan 1985, 10-13. 123. Lorberbaum 1997, 244-46 argues that this blessing refers to God, who creates an eternal abode for Him, in that man, by means of a woman, "increases" God through procreation. The primary advantage of this reading is that the antecedent of "abode" ibinyan) makes better sense: How, according to my reading here, is woman an "abode"? Nevertheless, Lorberbaum's reading is strained. The labelling of woman as an "abode" appears to grow from the midrashic reading of the verb vayiben. 124. See Deut. 4:16-17; Isa. 54:13; Thanksgiving scrolls 1:21-22; 7:9, 13:14-15; 1QS4:21-22; 1QM10:14. Cf. Flusser and Safrai 1983,459-61; Lorberbaum 1997, 243. 125. B. Ket. 8a. 126. Hahiluqim 28 (ed. Margulies 83), and see Margulies's discussion at 143^4-5. Flusser and Safrai 1983, 457 attempt to identify these three blessings, but the exercise is entirely speculative. Note that the report here that the Babylonians recited seven blessings, presumably adding a blessing over wine that is done to this day, indicates a post-talmudic date to the tradition as a whole. 127. The early pay tan Yannai also testifies to Palestinian familiarity with this bless­ ing, although he relies on the midrash in Gen. Rab. that God blessed thefirstmarried couple. See 32:5. Mahzor Piyyute Rabbi Yannai, 1:216, lines 35-37. Flusser and Safrai 1983, 458-61 discuss the third blessing in great detail, and attempt to show that it (or some form of it) was known by the authors of some of the Dead Sea scrolls. Their suggestion is unconvincing. Cf. Anderson 1992, 57 (the blessings "had a long pre­ history"); Lorberbaum 1997, 240, who states that "there is no dispute" that these bless­ ings were connected to the tannaim, if not their predecessors. Although I agree that these blessings do point to a Palestinian provenance, this conclusion is not indisputable. 128. See J. Heinemann 1977, 47, citing especially B. Hul. 9a. 129. Rav Ashi mentions that in certain cases the grooms' blessing should be nnft&rrcj *rn "rtfffi i]ran (B. Ket. 8a). The allusion to an otherwise unmentioned prayer greatly occupied later commentators. See also Song Rab. ad 2:2 (4), 14b, that states that most people do not know the grooms' blessing. Since this continues with a statement that most people also do not know how to recite the shema, however, this might better indicate general ignorance rather than the nonstandardization of liturgy. 130. See also Y. Ber. 9:1, 12d (parallel Gen. Rab. 8:6 [ed. Theodor and Albeck 206]), which learns from the biblical creation story that "it is impossible for a man without a woman; it is impossible for a woman without a man; and it is impossible for

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

both of them without the Shekinah." The Palestinian Talmud applies this comment to procreation (i.e., man, woman, and God are partners in making a child—cf. Y. Kil. 8:4, 31c; B. Nid. 31a), but it bears upon marriage as well. 131. Menander Rhetor 411 (trans. Russell and Wilson 157). 132. The same lack of concern with linking marriage to a creation myth is reflected in Zoroastrian writings. The Bundahi, chapter 15 (ed. SBE 5:52-59), for example, re­ counts the creation of male and female, the beginnings of desire, and procreation: mar­ riage is entirely absent from this account. CHAPTER THREE

MARRIAGE AND LAW

1. Cf. S. Albeck 1981 and Oppenheimer 1998 for recent, if overly optimistic, state­ ments on this issue. 2. Cf. Exod. 22:15; Deut. 20:7, 22:23, 28:30. Cf. Neufeld 1944, 142-14. 3. G. Driver and Miles 1952, 1:249-50. Cf. G. Driver and Miles 1935, 142-72; Neufeld 1951, 143-44; Yaron 1969, 109-12; Westbrook 1988, 29-38. 4. Outside of sexuality, it is not clear in the Hebrew Bible to what degree the be­ trothed woman was considered "married," and what legal consequences would result if one of the partners died or changed his or her mind at this stage. Yaron 1969,112 thinks that in this case the legal consequences would be entirely pecuniary; a divorce, for example, would not be needed. 5. TAD B2.5 ( = Cowley 48). On this document, see Porten 1971, 256-57. 6. Cf. Patterson 1991, 48-53 for this claim and a review of the evidence. 7. Wolff 1939, 67-72; Meleze Modrzejewski 1981, 53. 8. See, for examples, H. Albeck 1944; Buchler 1956, 127-37; Friedman 1980, 1:202-7. 9. Reprinted in Bickerman 1976-86, 1:201-15. Cf. below, pp. 200-204. I use the term "they" for the translators only for stylistic reasons. 10. Exod. 22:15 (16); Deut. 20:7, 22:23, 25, 27, 28; Hos. 2:21, 22 (Greek: 19-20). 11. Liddell, Scott, and Jones 1940, 2:1140, s.v. juvrjorsvo). 12. Josephus Ant. 2.244; Against Apion 2.200. In the latter he clearly uses the verb mnesteuo in a nonlegal sense. 13. Josephus Ant. 4.251. 14. Eliezer, for example, is sent to "woo" the hand of Rebekkah for Isaac, who is then "promised" to him (Josephus Ant. 1.245, 255). Cf. Ant. 5.286; 9.197; 13.80. Even where Josephus simply summarizes the biblical marriage laws, his language indicates that he does not fully understand the concept of inchoate marriage. In Ant. 4.246, where he recounts the biblical claim of virginity, he adds to the Septuagintal account that "he sued for her as a virgin" (cbg Jtapdevov juvrjrevodjuevog), that is, that he pursued her with the understanding that she was a virgin (cf. Thackery's translation as "betrothed" [LCL 4:593] which is unnecessary). Both the Hebrew text and its Greek translation mention only that the man "took" the woman as a wife; the virginity action is an entirely objective one, which Josephus apparently found troubling. Where Deut. 20:7 gives an exemption from military service to the betrothed man, Josephus adds an exemption also to the "newly married" (Ant. 4.298); perhaps he did not understand why

NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

295

a man should receive an exemption on the basis of simply being promised a wife. Note that both Philo Agr 148 and the Greek translation of 1 Mace. 3:56 simply follow the Septuagint's wording without comment. 15. Josephus Ant. 19.355; 20.139. According at least to rabbinic law, a betrothal could be terminated only by divorce. 16. E.g., Josephus War 1.508; Ant. 20.143, 145, 147. One possible exception might occur at War 1.241 where Herod is said to have "married" Mariamme, although it appears that they did not actually marry until 1.344 (where she is described as KaOcojuokoyrjjuevrjv). In this account, they thus were betrothed in 42 BCE and married in 37 BCE. But in Josephus's parallel account in Ant. 14.353, Mariamme is described as the one that Herod will marry (a^eodai Jipdg yd/uov), with marriage occurring later (14.467), at which point Mariamme is described as "having been betrothed" (eyyeyvrjjuevog). 17. Shemesh 1998, 251-52. 18. See, for example, 11QT 66:8-11, cited by Shemesh. Another fragment contains the term *rusim, "betrothed males," but the context is unknown (4Q266 14a). 19. 4Q197 4 ii 3, 6. 20. DJD XIX 49, with no justification. 21. Morgenstern 1997. 22. The translation reads: r\?wy KD"p nnu KOIKD *bi wbm "in; n«i YP$b rrb (ed. A. Sperber 1962, 1:126). Two factors mitigate for understanding the clause niwp* KQ"p as meaning "establishing a marriage." First, it is more in line with the meaning of the root Dip. Second, the verse itself demonstrates knowledge of a different word for betroth, KO~IKQ. It seems unlikely to me that here, or in the Hebrew text upon which it is based, the two clauses are identical. Such an interpretation can also attach to the other occurrences of the term in the context of marriage at Exod. 21:8, 9 and Deut. 28:54, 56. Cf. Grossfeld 1988, 64 n. 9. Note that the Septuagint (followed by Targum Neofiti) translates this last phrase, "dower her with a dowry [as] a wife for himself": cpepvfj cpepvtel avxrjv avrdb yvvalxa. 23. There is no legal consequence to the "doubling" in this verse. In 7:12 Raguel tells Tobias that he gives permission and blessing for the match, and in the next verse he actually hands her over to him. 24. Philo Spec leg 3.72. 25. Colson's translation "needed for wedlock" is misleading: ra akka ra km ovvodoiq more probably refers more generally to things related to married life, like financial arrangements. 26. I. Heinemann 1932, 293-307; Goodenough 1929, 92-96. Some of the terms in this passage (e.g., vjioydjutov; vjiEpeyyvfjocooi) are found in no other extant Greek document. 27. Ibid. See the objections of Colson L C L 7:634-35; Gulak 1994, 48-55. Wolff 1939, 74-76 sides with Gulak against Goodenough, thinking that Philo here is discuss­ ing a uniquely Jewish legal institution. 28. Goodenough 1929, 95 believes these were Greek lawyers; Katzoff 1996a, con­ siders them Roman lawyers. The problem with evaluating this passage as a statement of legal fact, with attendant legal terminology, is that it ignores Philo's own vagueness. Lawyers of any stripe would not consider a crime to be "midway" between two techni-

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

cal terms, without having a name of its own. That Philo uses this language suggests that he is referring to what "people" tend to think, that once a woman and a man have agreed to marry and have worked out some of the financial arrangements, it would be morally odious—but perfectly "legal"—for her to have sex with another man. 29. If Philo really believed what he was saying and knew what biblical betrothal was, he should not have used the term "form": under these conditions she would be committing adultery, with no qualification. 30. Cf. Fitzmyer 1976, 212-13; R. Brown 1979, 123-24; Balz and Schneider 1992, 1:140, s.v. ajtoXvo), 2:436, s.v. juvrjorsvojuai, and the sources listed there. Cf. the interpretations of Strack and Billerbeck 1924-28, 1:45-47, 50-53; Albright and Mann 1971, 7-8. 31. Cf. Albright and Mann 1971, CLX-CLXXVI; Saldarini 1994, 11-26. 32. T. Ket. 4:9 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:68). Parallels (with minor variations) at Y. Ket. 4:8, 28d; Y Yev. 15:3, 14d; B. B M 104a. 33. See Gulak 1994, 61-62, and the extensive note (by Katzoff) at 67 n. 52; H. Albeck 1944, 16-18; B. Cohen 1948/49, 92-95; TK 6:246-47; Friedman 1980, 1:196-97; Katzoff 1996b. 34. The tradition itself uses several rabbinic terms and concepts: conpft, miro, and nntQQ among them.

35. M. Ket. 5:1 (ed. Albeck 3:103). 36. B. BM. 104a. The discrepancy is noted, but not explained, by Buchler 1927, 95. 37. Aristotle Ath. Pol 26.4. 38. D. Cohen 1991. 39. Patterson 1998, 108-9. 40. Cf. Wolff 1939, 48-82. 41. On the lex Julia de adulteriis see Radista 1980 and Mette-Dittmann 1991. Canterella 1991, 232 comments on the Roman jurists' attempt to define marriage more precisely as a result of this law, but the evidence is sparse. 42. Cf., for examples, Laws of Hammurabi 159-161; Middle Assyrian Laws 41. Even the much later Theodosian Code refers to an objective marker of betrothal (the kiss) only in the context of economic issues (C.Th. 3.5.6). 43. Anne 1941, 103-35. 44. Evans Grubbs 1994. 45. Shemesh 1998, argues that Qumran showed precisely such a concern, defining intercourse as the objective act that forms a marriage. His argument is indirect and speculative. 46. Secondary concerns included defining who had authority over a woman's vows (father or husband) and economic issues relating to the betrothal gifts. 47. M. Qid. 1:1 (ed. Albeck 3:313). 48. Friedman 1980, 1:202 unnecessarily reads this mishnah as referring to qiddushin. 49. J. Epstein 1957, 52-53. 50. M. Yev. 13:1 (ed. Albeck 3:58-59). This source, however, is ambiguous. The disagreement is whether a minor who had been betrothed by her mother or brother has the right, when coming of age, to refuse the match without requiring a divorce. The School of Shammai answers affirmatively only if the betrothal had occurred but the

NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

297

wedding had not, while the School of Hillel grants this right to a woman even if she had already married. "Betrothed" might not be being used in a technical or legal sense here, but rather an indication of a serious, but not legally constitutive, agreement. Two other mishnahs, M. Ed. 4:7 (ed. Albeck 4:300) and M. Git. 8:9 (ed. Albeck 3:299) record a disagreement between the Schools of Hillel and Shammai over whether a divorced couple who stay together in an inn requires a second divorce, on the assumption that they would have had sex. The mishnah continues with a qualification, that the disagree­ ment relates to whether the original divorce was from betrothal or marriage. This qualification appears to be a later gloss: The original disagreement is perfectly compre­ hensible as it stands. 51. See, for examples, M . Ket. 5:1 (ed. Albeck 3:103^1), in which R. Eleazar b. Azariah deals with the fiscal ramifications should a betrothed man die before he has married and T. Yev. 6:6 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:19-20), which attributes a tradition to Yavneh that a widow should neither remarry nor betroth again for three months after the death of her husband. Cf. Sipre Deut. 270 (ed. Finkelstein 290-91). 52. For relevant scholarship on this term, see especially Friedman 1980, 1:192 n. 1. 53. M. Ed. 4:7 (ed. Albeck 4:300) for the attribution to the Schools. Cf. D. Weiss 1964, 245 n. 12. 54. B. Qid. 2b. On the Saboraic provenance of this sugya, see A. Weiss 1944. For a discussion of this term see Neubauer 1994, 138—43 and the sources cited there. 55. T. Qid. 1:1 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:276); B. Qid. 5b. 56. According to this proposal, the following lexical changes would have had to occur: (1) the initial e would have been dropped; (2) the K would have been transcribed with a p rather than a D; and (3) the o would have been transcribed as a rather than a o. All of these changes are unusual, but (2) and (3) are attested elsewhere. It is possible, though, that ekdosis was not transcribed directly, but served as the impetus the for the application of qds to marriage. 57. Gafni 1989. 58. See B. Cohen 1948/49, 77-78; Halivni 1968, 613-15. 59. Koschaker 1917, 111-214; 1950, esp. 293-94 n. 99 on qiddusin. 60. For a summary of the critique of Koschaker, see Westbrook 1988, 53-58. See also Neubauer 1994, 28-31. 61. See, for example, Ilan 1995, 88: "The transfer of the woman from the authority of her father to the authority of her husband was viewed conceptually by the rabbis as the transfer of property by purchase." 62. Wegner 1988, 21-23,45. Cf. Hauptman 1998, 60-76. The idea goes back to the concept of brideprice as a "Morgengabe," or compensation for virginity. 63. See the critique of Hauptman and King 1992. 64. B. Ket. 82b. On the ketubba payment and its development, see Satlow 1993. 65. Hence, marriage, like the transfer for example of property or slaves, requires one of three legal instruments. L. Epstein 1927, 11-12 has argued that M. Qid. 1:1 requires all three means, but this was refuted by H. Albeck 1944, 17 n. 18. Cf. Friedman 1980, 1:202-7. Archer 1990, 155-59 revives Epstein's thesis (relegating it to the "original meaning") without sufficiently dealing with the objections to it. 66. Cf. Harrison 1968, 1:108-15; Gardner 1986, 5-29. 67. Cf. Neusner 1981, 189-98.

298

NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

68. Westbrook 1988, 60. 69. For surveys of these laws, see ET 2:182-86; Friedman 1980-81, 240-41. 70. Rabbinic law gives independent women up to 30 days between betrothal and marriage. Y. Ket. 1:1,24d notes a rabbi who combined the betrothal and wedding of his daughter into a single sexual act. 71. T. Yev. 13:2 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:46). 72. M . Qid. 1:1 (ed. Albeck 3:313); M . Ned. 10:6 (ed. Albeck 3:179-80). Cf. J. Epstein 1957, 52-53 on the antiquity of thefirstchapter of Qiddusin, and D. Weiss 1964, who argues that the language of acquisition when applied to a woman has no true importance. 73. Friedman 1980, 1:206. It is interesting to note that sources from the Second Temple period mention only written instruments as effecting marriage. 74. Presumably, most people in antiquity would turn to a scribe to draw up legal documents. Scribes varied in education and status, and more complicated (and unique) documents would require better—hence more expensive—scribes. In light of the dis­ covery of the legal instruments from the Judaean desert, a new study of scribal activity is necessary. See Saldarini 1988, 241-76; Wise 1994, 140^42 (my thanks to Hanan Eshel for this reference). Note that not a single scrap of papyrus from the Hellenistic or Roman period has been identified as a betrothal document. The legal problem with "intercourse for the sake of betrothal" (T. Qid. 1:3 [ed. Lieberman 3.2:276]) is that it removes the possibility of a man making any claim regarding a woman's virginity on their wedding night. The social problem with using intercourse for the sake of betrothal is that Babylonians emphasized the sexual component of marriage, especially the first sexual encounter of the woman. Hence, the prescription of flogging for one who betroths by intercourse found at B. Qid. 12b (paralleled at B. Yev. 52a) is absent from the parallel at Y. Qid. 3:10, 64b. It should be noted that by ruling that in order for inter­ course to betroth it must be stipulated explicitly as such, the rabbis essentially legiti­ mate premarital sex, especially for men. Women who engaged in nonmarital sexual encounters were socially punished; men, though, could engage in such activities with­ out legal consequence. 75. M. Qid. 2:3 (ed. Albeck 3:318). 76. This same mishnah gives other examples of factual conditions: if he says that he is a kohen, a levi, a netin, a mamzer, a village-dweller, that his house is near or far to a bath, that he has an adult daughter or maid-servant, that he does or does not have children. Other rabbinic sources give other conditions of this type, e.g., that she not have any vows or physical defects (M. Qid. 2:5) or that he has a certain profession (T. Qid. 2:2 [ed. Lieberman 3.2:282]). For a survey, see Hirshberg 1923a, 85-86. Cf. M. Qid. 3:5 (ed. Albeck 3:322), which states that the condition must be explicit for it to be assumed that one misled the other. 77. M. Qid. 3:6 (ed. Albeck 3:322). 78. This specific example is not mentioned in the rabbinic sources, but is taken from Maimonides Mishnah Torah, Halakot * I shut 6:3. My point is merely that rabbinic law accommodates conditions that involved mutual fulfillment of obligations, thus giving to each spouse the ability to annul the betrothal retroactively. Maimonides' example is, incidentally, a legal subversion of T. Qid. 1:1 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:276) which expressly forbids a woman giving money to a man in order to effect betrothal. But cf. B. Qid. 6b-7a, and Hauptman 1998, 72-74.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

299

79. Y. Qid. 3:2, 63d. The last clause, "there will be nothing to me on your account," follows MS Leiden, the suggested "fix" in the text itself, and the parallels: Y Eruv. 3:5, 21b; Y Qid. 3:3, 64d; Y. Git. 7:6, 49a. 80. Gulak 1934, 126; D. Sperber 1984, 119 s.v. paro, who correctly suggests that when in the Babylonian Talmud (B. Qid. 10b; B. BB. 10a) this term has a different derivation and meaning. 81. The phrase "the order [seder] of X is thus" appears several times in the Palestin­ ian Talmud, and in no case does it necessarily indicate the wording of document. Cf. Y. Qid. 1:1, 59a; Y. Sot. 2:1,17d; Y Sanh. 7:4, 24c. 82. Gulak 1934; 1994, 56. 83. Gulak 1934, 126, 128-29. 84. See below, pp. 200-203, on the ketubba payment. According to M . Ket. 5:1 (ed. Albeck 3:103—4), this sum of money was promised during the betrothal period, and she is entitled to at least part of it if the marriage does not occur. 85. The single case of use of the simpon (Y. Qid. 3:2, 63d) is hardly enlightening. Cf. Y. Ket. 1:1, 24d, in which R. Mattanya combines betrothal and marriage into one ceremony, which effectively erases the significance of betrothal. 86. M. Ket. 5:2-3 (ed. Albeck 3:104-5); T. Ket. 5:1 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:71). 87. H. Albeck 1944, 18-24; Buchler 1956, 145-59. The reasons offered by Babylo­ nian amoraim at B. Ket. 58a-b are hardly more compelling. There, the reasons behind the later, stricter rule are ascribed to (1) the possibility that she will share the tithes with her family, who are not legally entitled to eat this holy food, or (2) the possibility that she has a blemish that will only be discovered at the consummation of the marriage. Should she have such a blemish, she would be disqualified from marrying a priest and thus eating the tithes. 88. By the Geonic period, betrothal was commonly accepted by Palestinian Jews. Cf. Friedman 1980, 1:194. It would be interesting to try to correlate this development with women's status at this time. 89. For an example of what is almost surely afictionalcase, see B. Ned. 20b, in which two women separately ask rabbis to prohibit their husbands from having anal intercourse with them. 90. The real problem in using cases is discerning what qualifies as a genuine case. See the strict criteria of Ben-Menahem 1991, 33-35. 91. Y. Qid. 2:1, 62b. 92. Cf. Y. Qid. 2:1, 62a (Rav); B. Qid. 9a, 12a-b, 52b, 79b. 93. This dictum also appears at B. Qid. 6a, whither it appears to have been copied. 94. B. Qid. 13a. 95. The translation appears to be of the last clause in the verse, translated as "and adultery are rife: crime follows upon crime": mi wmi D W I tna *)Wi, translated as

p^oia p i n by p i n pnnnn *ra pn

P'TID.

96. The documents are: TAD B2.6 ( = Cowley 15 = Sayce-Cowley G); B3.3 ( = Kraeling 2); B3.8 ( = Kraeling 7+15+18/1, 3, 8, 13, 18, 19, 22, 26, 30); B6.1 ( = Kraeling 14); B6.2 ( = Cowley 36); B6.3 ( = Cowley 46); B6.4 ( = Cowley 18 and nos. 71 + 79). 97. Aramaic: P. Mur. 20, 21; P. Yadin 10. Greek: P. Mur. 115, 116; P. Yadin nos. 18, 37 (==P. Hev. 65); P. Hev. 69. P. Hev. 11 is an Aramaic document that might be a marriage contract, but it is too fragmentary to be certain.

300

NOTES TO CHAPTER 3

98. Sirat et al. 1986. 99. See the survey in Wolff 1939. 100. See Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 265-74; Cotton 1998a. In the documents from Elephantine, only the ethnic designators of the parties allow us to identify them as Jewish. 101. For a summary of this evidence, see Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 270-73. Curi­ ously, this stipulation is missing in the late Egyptian contract. The documents of wife­ hood from Elephantine not only omit such a stipulation, but in fact several of them explicitly specify that the wife should inherit her husband should he predecease her while they are childless. 102. Num. 27:1-11,36:1-11. 103. Cf. Harrison 1968, 1:122-62; Gardner 1986, 163-203. 104. Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 272. 105. For a discussion of Jewish polygyny, see chapter 8. 106. P. Yadin 10 line 5; P. Mur. 20 line 3 (last part restored): "vnm nm p s . For a justification of this reading, see Yadin, Greenfield, Yardeni 1994, 86. 107. Eshel and Kloner 1996, line 5: ]nn )nn. 108. Ibid., 12. It would be helpful for this discussion to have the Aramaic text of Tobit 7:12, which has not yet been recovered. 109. Cf. CPJ, vol. 2, no. 144, which might testify to an archive of the "politeuma" of the Jews. 110. While this strikes me as the most plausible explanation, it has difficulties. Fol­ lowing Eshel and Kloner, I am suggesting that din and nomos in these documents be seen as synonyms, and that they mean "custom." The Greek term nomos easily bears this meaning, but it is less clear when and how the Hebrew din would have acquired this meaning. The L X X never translates din with nomos, and where it appears in the Bible din does seem to mean "law" rather than "custom." The L X X typically renders din with krisis, the term also found in Tobit 7:12. To complicate matters, a parallel phrase in the Babylonian type ketubba and in rabbinic literature uses the term dat in place of din. Cf. Gulak 1994, 32-4; Yadin, Greenfield and Yardeni 1994, 86, with reference to Y. Ket. 4:8, 29a. Perhaps the rabbis themselves saw the customary use of the term din in this clause to be odd, and thus replaced it with a term that clearly lacks a legal nuance. 111. Sirat et al. 1986, line 8: b*rm* [ran ^D] OIITD. 112. P. Yadin 18 lines 16 and 51: eXXnvLKcb vojuco. 113. Cf. Lewis et al. 1987; Wasserstein 1989; Katzoff 1991; Lewis 1989, 82 Klines 16 and 51, with reference. 114. Theenas wrote several documents in this archive (P. Yadin 14, 15, 17, and 18). Hisfirstname is obscure, but certainly not Greek; his father could well have been a Jew. While there is no direct evidence known to me that he also authored Aramaic or Nabataean documents, it is certainly possible that he also had training as a scribe in one or both of these traditions. Alternatively, after the inner document was written one of the parties may have decided that s/he wanted this clause included, although the scribe himself knew it was not customary in such a document. This would explain the inclu­ sion of the clause interlinearly above the line in the inner document and its ordinary inclusion in the outer text. 115. The inscriptions are CIG III 5361 and SEG XVI 931. Cf. SchUrer 1973-86, 3.1:94-95; Applebaum 1979, 130-200; LUderitz 1994, 210-21.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 4

301

116. Philo Flacc 14. 117. Schurer 1973-86, 3.1:95-102. 118. SchUrer 1973-86, 3.1:119. Cf. Juster 1914, 2:93-214. 119. I have been informed that a papyrus archive of a Jewish politeumata from the Fayum in Egypt is under preparation for publication. The papyri are currently located in Vienna and Cologne, and show definitively that Jewish communities in Egypt could constitute themselves as a politeumata. 120. P. Ent. 23 ( = CPJ, vol. 1 no. 128). 121. CPJ 1:238 n. 2. 122. See the comprehensive study of Friedman 1980, especially vol. 1. 123. See the discussion and evidence in Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 268-69. 124. Ibid.; Geller 1978. 125. Cf. Friedman 1980, 1:169-70. 126. For the evidence and discussion, see Satlow 1993. 127. Cf. R. Kraemer 1989b; S. J. D. Cohen 1999, 69-106. 128. On the continuity of pagan and Christian marital customs in late antiquity, see Evans Grubbs 1994. 129. Bagnall 1987. 130. Baron 1952-76, 2:218. CHAPTER FOUR SHREDS OF REAL MARRIAGE

1. I owe this formulation to Hopkins 1990. 2. Geertz 1973, 3-30. 3. TAD B2.3 = C 8 = EPE B25,1. 3. 4. Cf. Szubin and Porten 1983, 39^1. On the size of the house, see EPE 165 n. 19. 5. TAD B2.4 = C 9 = EPE B26. Because the same thirteen witnesses signed both this and the document described in the last paragraph, it is likely that they were written at the same time. 6. Lines 5-6. The house was itself the source of controversy, attested to in TAD B2.1 = C 5 = EPE B23 and TAD B2.2 = C 6 = EPE B24. These documents were transferred along with the grant of the house to the daughter. It is unclear to me why Mahseiah expected Jezaniah to move out of his own house. 7. Lines 12-13 (trans. EPE 174). Note that if he divorces her, he apparently has no rights to the house. 8. Line 7. Cf. line 10. 9. It is also possible, although unlikely in light of her possession of his house, that they divorced. Note that TAD B2.10 = C 25 = EPE B32, line 17, might suggest that Jezniah had children by a woman other than Mibtahiah. Was this simply a legal for­ mula, or did he contract another marriage, before, after, or at the same time as his one with Mibtahiah? In this document from 416 BCE his own house is the subject of later litigation. Mibtahiah apparently inherited it on his death, but his nephew thought that he had rights to it. 10. TAD B2.6 = C 15 = EPE B28. Note that by 416 BCE (TAD B2.10) Eshor is called by the name "Nathan," apparently having taken a Jewish name. 11. Porten and Szubin 1995, 55-56 have argued that lines 22-29 do not refer to divorce, but to the repudiation of the wife's status as the "primary" wife. In light of the

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 4

explicit connection between repudiation and the wife's departure from Eshor's house in these clauses, I find this explanation somewhat strained. Note that the penalty for ini­ tiation of divorce is not equal: should Mibathiah initiate divorce, she is fined 7.5 shek­ els, whereas Eshor would lose only his mohar of 5 shekels. 12. TAD B2.7 = C 13 = EPE B29. It is possible that this is a sham sale, and that for some reason Mahseiah preferred to transfer the house to his daughter by means of an instrument of sale rather than of gift. 13. Cf. Szubin and Porten 1988, 38, who do not comment on the tension. 14. See TAD B2.9 = C 20 = EPE B31, a renunciation of claims from September, 420 BCE, addressed to "Jedaniah and Mahseiah, all (told) 2, sons of Eshor son of Djeho from Mibtahiah daughter of Mahseiah, Jews . . . " (line 3, trans. EPE 191). 15. TAD B2.8 = C 14 = EPE B30. 16. According to Porten, "the new date proposed for TAD B2.6 . . . would mean that Mibtahiah was married at the time to Eshor" (EPE 189, n. 10). TAD B2.6 was the document of wifehood; I am following Porten's proposed date of 449 BCE for it. I see no necessary contradiction between this dating of the document of wifehood and the interpretation of TAD B2.8 as evidence of the breakup of Mibtahiah's third marriage. Moreover, it is not at all clear how Porten now wants to understand the clause "wife­ hood document," if it does not mean "the wifehood document between Mibtahiah and Peu." Cf. Porten 1968, 240-58 for a different chronology, and 245-48 for (what I think is) the correct interpretation of TAD B2.8. 17. TAD B2.10. Six years later, in 410 BCE, the two brothers divide their mother's four slaves among them (TAD B2.ll = C 28 = EPE B33). Perhaps they did not do this previously because only now was one of them moving out. 18. TAD B3.3 = K 2 = EPE B36. 19. See TAD B3.6 = K 5 = EPE B39, in which Meshullam emancipates Tamet and her daughter, to take effect after his death. 20. TAD B3.4 = K 3 = EPE B37; TAD B3.5 = K 4 = EPE B38. 21. EPE 216. 22. TAD B3.6. 23. TAD B3.7 = K 6 = EPE B40. The designation "life estate of usufruct" is Porten's and is based on the absence in this lacunose document of an explicit right to alienate the property. See Szubin and Porten 1988, 43: "Anani gives his daughter at this early stage only the bare minimum." 24. TAD B3.8 = K 7+15+18/1, 3, 8, 13, 18, 19, 22, 26, 30 = EPE B41. This was obviously a fragmentary document. 25. Lines 37^10, dealing with "the law of one or two of his/her colleagues's wives/ husbands" apparently refers to conjugal relations. 26. rA£>B3.10 = K 9 = £ P £ B 4 3 . 27. See lines 20-21, and Porten and Szubin 1987, 187-88. 28. TAD B3.ll = K 10 = EPE B44. 29. TAD B3.12 = K 12 = EPE B45. 30. The remaining documents in this archive dispose of the entire house without any reference to Pilti. 31. Cf. Cotton and Yardeni 1997 155-56. 32. P. Yadin 3, described by Yadin 1962, 240, 241. On the equivalency, see Yadin, Greenfield, and Yardeni 1994, 89-92; Friedman 1996, 56-60.

NOTES TO CHAPTER 4

303

33. Cotton and Greenfield 1994. 34. P. Yadin 16. Cf. Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 180-85. 35. Lewis 1989, note ad lines 18-20, suggests that each seah is about thirteen liters, and each bet se*ah about afifthof an acre. Cotton suggests that a "black" is worth half a denarius (Cotton and Yardeni 1997,171, note ad lines. 8-9). Thesefigureswould give Babatha land holdings of around 6 acres, and a tax burden of some 3,055 liters of dates and 6-7 denarii. This does not include the fixed percentage of half of her crop that she must pay in taxes on her smallest plot. 36. P. Yadin 7, published by Yadin, Greenfield, and Yardeni 1996. 37. Cf. Yaron 1992. 38. P. Yadin 5. This deposit must have been drawn up soon after the elder Jesus' death; it also notes that the mother of Jesus son of Jesus received back her wedding money from the estate. Jesus son of Jesus received 1,120 "blacks," an obscure monetary unit that might translate into 660 denarii. Cf. Cotton and Yardeni 1997,171 note to lines 8-9; Lewis 1996a. 39. Lewis 1989, 22 states that Babatha "was then [in 124 CE] at most some twenty years old, and may even have been as young as fifteen or sixteen." The logic for this assertion is unclear, other than that she had a young son in 124 CE. Perhaps the skeletal remains, which include the skulls of seven women who died between the ages of 20 and 35, influenced Lewis's determination. See Yadin 1963, 34, 36. In any case, contra Yadin, I think that it is unlikely that any of these remains were those of Babatha. First, they were all found in secondary burial. It is difficult to imagine that later survivors would have found the cave, scoured and gathered the skeletal remains, and then placed the skulls in a basket and left the basket in that same cave. Second, none of the ages of the children's skulls match the age range of Babatha's son. 40. P Yadin 12, 13. Lewis 1989 deduces the sum of the trust from P. Yadin 15. 41. P Yadin 7, line 16. 42. P. Yadin 11 (May 6, 124 CE). But see Broshi 1992, 239-40. 43. P. Yadin 26, 34, in which Miriam is also described as being from En-Gedi. It is possible that they met in Mahoza, but more likely that they came there together. In P. Yadin 18 (April 5, 128 CE) Shelamzion is married. If she wasfifteenat that time, she would have been born in 113 CE. 44. In P. Yadin 14 and 15 (both dated 11 or 12 October, 125 CE) Judah represents Babatha in her suit against her son's guardians, "a function normally performed by a woman's husband" (Lewis 1989, 58). This claimfindsadditional support in P. Hev. 63 (between April 25 and December 31, 127 CE) and P Hev. 64 (November 9, 129 CE), transactions in which women are represented by their husbands. Yet in both of these latter documents the female guardian is explicitly referred to as a husband. Judah is not termed Babatha's husband until P. Yadin 17 (February 21, 128 CE). It could be that they married in late 127 CE, in which case Babatha's registration of date orchards, devolved from her mother, would closely follow her new marriage (P. Yadin 16). This timing would parallel Judah's own gift to Shelamzion following her marriage (P. Yadin 19). Katzoff 1995 has questioned whether Babatha's second marriage was indeed polygynous, but Lewis 1997 convincingly refuted this doubt. 45. P. Yadin 10, published by Yadin, Greenfield, and Yardeni 1994. The claim that ketubba here means dowry is controversial, and is discussed below at pp. 200-203. Judah owes Babatha this amount of money (lines 6, 8), but it is not clear whether this

304

NOTES TO CHAPTER 4

represents Babatha's dowry or just his future obligation on the dissolution of the mar­ riage. Nearly all scholars have interpreted this as the mohar, an endowment pledge, due to Babatha from Judah. See Friedman 1996, 56-61, but this leaves, as Friedman notes (71), no reference to a dowry. It is hard to imagine that she did not have a dowry, or that the document that recorded it—one of the most important economic docu­ ments to a widow or divorcee—would be missing from her archive. On the other hand, the troublesome (from the standpoint of rabbinic law) clause at the end of line 16 (^ "ia[n *]i pi ^Dm) in P. Yadin 10 is paralleled in later Greek marriage contracts that contain a donatio propter nuptias, lending some support to the notion that the money to which P. Yadin 10 refers too was coming from the groom. See Kuehn 1993. P. Yadin 10 unfortunately contains a gap at lines 11-13, which the editors (93) sug­ gest contains a standard clause that only insures that her wedding money would be inherited by any male children that they have together. 46. P. Yadin 10, lines 5, 12-13, and 14, respectively. Lines 12-13 are almost entirely reconstructed. 47. P. Yadin 21, 22 (September 11, 130 CE). 48. P. Yadin 17 (February 21, 128 CE). Note that in the former document Babatha's guardian for the transaction is Jacob the son of Jesus. Lewis 1989, 74 suggests that this could be her first husband's brother. If so, it would be interesting that she still retained ties with her former husband's family. 49. P. Yadin 18 (April 5, 128 CE). 50. P. Yadin 19 (April 16, 128 CE). This is the same courtyard that Judah mortgaged for his father in 124 CE (P. Yadin 11). See Cotton 1996. 51. P. Yadin 20. As Cotton 1996 notes, this courtyard is not mentioned in P. Yadin 11 and 19. Cotton suggests that Shelamzion acquired this courtyard directly from her grandfather, perhaps even after her father's death. I think that this is unlikely. In P. Yadin 11, written in 124 CE, Judah mortgages a courtyard which, he acknowledges, belongs to his father. In P. Yadin 19, Judah is in full possession of this courtyard and is able to give it to his daughter. The implication is that his father had died in the interim, leaving him the courtyard, and perhaps also the one in R Yadin 20. If so, then the claimants of P. Yadin 20 (representing the children of Judah's deceased brother) would be acknowledging that the (intestate?) transmission of this property from Eleazar to his son Judah (and not his son Jesus) was valid. Judah's ability to transfer this property to his daughter would not be questioned. In any case, the document that transfered posses­ sion to Shelamzion did not survive. 52. P. Yadin 21, 22. Cf. Cotton 1997. 53. P. Yadin 26. On Miriam living in Mahoza, see Lewis 1996b. Judah's possessions in En-Gedi passed to his daughter Shelamzion. It is interesting to note that although the guardians of Judah's nephews challenge Babatha's seizure of the date orchards (P. Yadin 23, 24, 25), Miriam does not. 54. Cotton 1995, 172. 55. According to P. Hev. 63 Levi had died by 127 CE (?) and his daughter, Salome, was represented by her husband. Assuming that she was at least thirteen years old at this time, and that she was their first child, Levi and Salome Grapte could not have married later than 113 CE. It is likely that they married even earlier. My observation about Salome Grapte's age relative to Babatha's assumes, of course, that they both entered

305

NOTES TO CHAPTER 5

theirfirstmarriage at around the same age, and that Babatha was married at or around 120 CE. 56. P. Hev. 63. Cotton plausibly suggests that this son is the subject of P. Hev. 61, the conclusion of a land declaration dated to April 25, 127 (Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 174-75). His death then occasioned the renunciation of claim later that year. 57. P. Hev. 63, lines 6-7. 58. Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 161. 59. Cotton maintains that it was unlikely that this marriage ended in divorce, be­ cause Salome's archive contained Sammouos's papers (Cotton and Yardeni 1997,162). It could be, however, either that after the divorce Salome just neglected to clean out her "file" (these papers are relatively unimportant, and Sammouos would not have missed them), or that they are actually part of Sammouos's archive, and he was with them in the same cave. Moreover, if Salome and Sammouos were still married in 127 CE, it is odd that he would not have been called her husband in P. Hev. 64. 60. P. Hev. 62, line 13. 61. Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 195. 62. Cotton and Greenfield 1994 have implicitly argued against the possibility that a woman could inherit her son. As Cotton 1998b has recently admitted, there is not enough evidence to support such an argument. 63. P. Hev. 65. There is some controversy over whether this document is converting an unwritten marriage into a written one, or that it indicates that Salome, as an orphan and a minor, was living together with her husband from the time of her betrothal. I here follow Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 226-29. 64. P. Hev. 65, lines 9-10: ovv alpeoei xpocpr\g [xal ajuytaojuov avrfjg] re xal rd)v jU£lX6vTco[v T£K]V(DV vdju[(p] [eMrjviK]*}) xal £XX[rj]vix

T '2Dtii±> nnmb r\m b& [mp] '). This text only sets a minimum age for sexual intercourse; although we might assume that this implies mar­ riage, nothing in the text itself compels such an interpretation. 27. Lam. Rab. 1:2 (ed. Vilna lOd). 28. B. Qid. 29b-30a. 29. Eccl. Rab. 3:2 (ed. Hirshman 231). 30. B. Sanh. 76b. The parallel to this baraita, found at B. Yev. 62b, was cited in full 1

NOTES TO CHAPTER 5

307

above, p. 6. The context makes it likely that the "original" location of the baraita is in B. Sanh., which is an extended discussion of the age at marriage. There is some debate over whether the baraita recommends that one marry one's daughters, sons, or both near their time of puberty. Cf. Schremer 1996b, 51 n. 21; Ilan 1995, 66. 31. For a female, see T. Yev. 6:9 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:21); cf. T. Nid. 5:4 (ed. Zuckermandel 645). For a man, see Y. Yev. 13:8, 13d. The phrase also occurs at T. Kippurim 4:2 (ed. Lieberman 2:239), in reference to when one should start training children (both girls and boys) to fast on Yom Kippur. 32. It is true, however, that the Mishnah establishes the minimum male legal age of marriage at nine for a male and three for a female. Cf. M. Yev. 10:8 (ed. Albeck 3:51); M. Nid. 5:4 (ed. Albeck 6:390). I do not understand the assertion of Juster 1914, 2:54 that the minimum age was much higher. Schremer 1996a, 63 n. 76 has argued that there is no minimum age for marriage, but only for sexual intercourse, which strikes me as too fine a distinction. Despite the opinion of R. Menahem ben Shlomo HaMeiri (Bet HaBeh. to B. Sanh. 76b), the minimum legal age of marriage says nothing about what people actually did, and only slightly more about their ideals. Some Palestinians, as mentioned, do advise a man to marry his son when he is still a qatan. In these sources, the word most likely means "young," and denotes no specific or legal age. See Gilat 1990; Schremer 1996a, 91-94; idem 1996b, 49. 33. Reines 1970; Friedman 1980,1:216-17; Archer 1990,151-53; Schremer 1996a, 63-72. Schremer (70) writes: "The clear and unequivocal impression that arises from these sources is that they are speaking of a real (and even widespread) custom" (my translation). This, however, confuses quantity with quality. The tannaim discuss the marriage of female minors at length precisely because they are so legally problematic and interesting, not because they necessarily are consumed with a set of real problems. There is relatively little material from the Second Temple period on the age of Jewish women at marriage. See Josephus Ant. 19.277, 19.354 and the comments of Ilan 1995, 67-68. Katzoff 1997 attempts to prove that Jewish women typically married very young from three legal institutions: (1) the tendency of the sources to speak of men betrothing their daughters; (2) the Mishnah (M. Ket. 1:1) establishes that the marriage of a "virgin" should take place on Wednesday so that, if necessary, a man can bring a claim concern­ ing her virginity to the court, which sits on Thursday. The Tosepta (T. Ket. 1:3), how­ ever, says that a man cannot bring such a claim against a woman older than twelve and a half or thirteen. Ergo, the position of the Mishnah only makes sense if a "significant number" of women married when under that age; and (3) for the rabbis to establish the radical right of a woman to "refuse" a match made for her by anyone other than her father when she is still a minor demonstrates that it is responding to a "real" situation. These arguments all are based on assumptions about the relationship between rabbinic law and Jewish society (and even between different rabbinic works) that are, minimally, unsupportable. Without directly stating so here, Katzoff suggests that one of the Jewish marriage contracts from antiquity, P. Yadin 18, should be interpreted as referring to the marri­ age of a female minor. He develops this argument in Lewis, Katzoff and Greenfield 1987, 240-41 and Katzoff 1991, 172-73. Both Wasserstein 1989, 109-10 and Cotton (in Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 161-62, 265-66) have convincingly refuted this interpre-

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tation: P. Yadin 18 is not a "Jewish" legal instrument, and thus its statement that the bride was "given away" by her mother should be understood as the Greek ekdosis, and implies nothing about the bride's age. 34. See B. Nid. 64b, 66b. At B. Nid. 45a two relevant cases are reported, both of which are set in tannaitic times (but have no parallels). The first records the marriage of a non-Jewish woman when she was three years old. In the second case a woman comes before Rabbi Akiba claiming that she had intercourse when she was three years old, but it is not clear if this was supposed to have taken place within a marital relationship. 35. Schremer 1998a provides a fine and comprehensive survey of this material. 36. Cf. Krauss 1910-12, 2:28; Herr 1985, 148; Rappaport 1914, 2:78-90; Schremer 1998a. 37. Abram: Jubilees 11:15 and 12:9; Jacob: Jubilees 19:13 and 28:1. Jubilees fol­ lows the biblical accounts that Isaac married when he was forty (Gen. 25:20; Jubilees 19:10), and Joseph when he was thirty (Gen. 41:46; Jubilees 40:11). Of all the biblical patriarchs, Josephus (Ant. 2.91) mentions only Joseph's age at marriage. Ilan 1995, 66 misidentifies Jacob's age of marriage in Jubilees as 63, which was his age when he set out to Laban's house (Jubilees 25:4). 38. In Test. Levi 9:10 Levi advises taking a wife while young, and in 11:1 and 12:5 he tells us that he married at twenty-eight. Hollander and de Jonge 1985, 158, note ad 9:10, inexplicably say that Levi took a wife when he was eighteen. Cf. Test. Issachar 3:5. 39. Josephus relates his domestic history, but intentionally muddles it. Hisfirstre­ corded marriage was, as Vespasian's captive, to a captive woman who left him around 70 CE (Life 415-16). He married again and had three children, one of whom (probably the last) survived. He divorced this wife by 76 CE (Life 426-27) and married again almost immediately, having two more sons, in 76 CE and 78 CE. According to Life 5, Josephus was bom in 37/8 CE. SO he was around thirty at (what appears to be) his first marriage. Bilde 1988, 54, 58, assumes that Josephus's first wife was prior to the captive woman, but it is unclear to me whence he arrives at this conclusion. 40. Philo Op Mund 103. Plutarch (Moralia 493E) alludes to a law of Solon's against late marriage. 41. A 17-year-old man buried at Bet Shearim is still unmarried (BS, vol. 3, no. 26). A fragmentary inscription from Tiberius mentions a man who appears to have died unmarried at the age of 25 (Klein 1939, 63 no. 140, and the odd reading in CI J, vol. 2, no. 984, which would have the man be 75, but buried with his 22-year-old sister). Cf. Klein 1939, 39, which records an unmarried man who died when 20 years old. One inscription from Egypt testifies to a Jewish man married by 18 (JIGRE no. 78 [ = CIJ, vol. 2, no. 1502]), another to a man who marries at 30 (JIGRE no. 57 [ = CIJ, vol. 2, no. 1468]). Another inscription from Capua commemorates a man who married at 22 (JIWE, vol. 1, no. 20 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 553]). 42. It is possible that Ben Sira 7:23 advises, vaguely, that a man should marry his son while he is still young. Although this is of course a recommendation rather than a testimony about practice, it is sometimes cited as evidence for early marriage. In any case, there is much confusion in the manuscript tradition. Cf. M . Segal 1958 ad loc; Schremer 1996b, 48 n. 15. Skehan and DiLella 1987, 204, note ad 7:23, support an entirely different reading.

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309

43. Song Rab. 1:3 (ed. Vilna 36c). ^ 44. I thank M. A. Friedman for this insight. 45. Eccl. Rab. 1:2 (ed. Hirshman 17); Semehot 3:7 (ed. Higger 112). 46. ARN, ver. A., ch. 6 (ed. Schechter 28-29). The parallels are at B. Ket. 62b and B. Ned. 50a. For other rabbinic exempla, see Schremer 1996b, 57-59. 47. B. Ber. 27b-28a; Y. Ber. 4:1, 7c-d. Cf. Schremer 1996a, 54. 48. B. Qid. 71b. Cf. B. Qid. 29b; B. Ket. 61b-63a; Boyarin 1993, 134-66. 49. Cf. Schremer 1996a, 53-55, 61-62. 50. Ibid., 59-61. 51. Even in Rome, with its higher male age at marriage, the attendance of a father at a son's wedding would not have been rare; about a quarter of men would have had living fathers when they married. Cf. Sailer 1987. This underscores the problem of using these exempla from the Babylonian Talmud: we have no way of gauging them proportionally. That is, why should we even expect to find stories that involve "wed­ dings at which the groom's father is not present" in the Babylonian Talmud? Although unlikely, perhaps these stories represent the sum total of rabbis whose sons married while they were still alive. 52. In my opinion, the best tannaitic evidence that females (how many?) married while minors is a rabbinic recommendation (or perhaps legislation) that girls who have not yet reached puberty use a contraceptive device. See T. Nid. 2:6 (ed. Zuckermandel 642-43); B. Yev. 12b, 100b; B. Ned. 35b; B. Nid. 45a. Cf. D. Feldman 1974, 169-93; Satlow 1994, 150-52; Ilan 1995, 67. 53. Inscriptions from Rome show one woman married at 12 (JIWE, vol. 2, no. 205a [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 105]), three at 15 (JIWE, vol. 2, nos. 205 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 136]); 308 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 242 and no. 276]); 349 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 268]), one by, and another at, 19 (JIWE, vol. 2, nos. 258 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 237]; 172 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 314]), one at 22 (JIWE, vol. 2, no. 179 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 457]); one by 23 (JIWE, vol. 2, no. 380 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 247]), and one at 24 (JIWE, vol. 2, no. 416 [ = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 69]). Cf. Horsely 1987, 221-29; Blumenkranz 1959, 344. Two inscriptions from Palestine commemorate women who were still unmarried at 18 (CIJ, vol. 2, no. 1169) and 22 (BS, vol. 3, no. 15; [ = CIJ, vol. 2, no. 984]). Cf. Ilan 1995, 68-69. 54. JIGRE no. 31 ( = CIJ, vol. 2, no. 1508) 55. Ilan 1995, 66, and n. 38 there, overplays the evidence for a higher female age at marriage. She offers a few aggadot that describe biblical women (e.g., Esther; daugh­ ters of Zelophehad) marrying while relatively old (B. BB 119b; Gen. Rab. 39:13 [ed. Theodor and Albeck 378]; 68:5 [ed. Theodor and Albeck 773]). But these traditions are making a point about the lack of fertility of these particular women, and thus cannot serve as evidence that women really married at relatively advanced ages. 56. See M . Ket. 7:7-8 (ed. Albeck 3:112-13); M . Qid. 2:5 (ed. Albeck 3:318). Wegner 1988, 85 writes, "Thus on becoming betrothed, she must honestly disclose any impediment to her performance of the wifely role.... Concealment of impediments constitutes a breach of duty to her husband and she must suffer the penalty of divorce with forfeiture of settlement." The duty, I think, falls less on her and more on her father, who might in most cases in arranging the betrothal. For an elaboration of what counts as a blemish, see T. Ket. 9:10 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:81-82). 57. M . Ket. 7:8 (ed. Albeck 3:113).

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58. Cf. T. Qid. 1:4 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:276): "A man should not marry until the daughter of his sister matures [mm* m biTXD lis]" The implication is that she must mature enough for him to see if she would make a suitable wife, rather than simply betrothing her when she is still a baby. On endogamous marriages, see chapter 6. 59. 4Q271 3 7-15 (trans. DJD XVIH:176. I have made some minor stylistic modifications). The restorations are indicated by brackets; most are reasonably certain, being based on parallels at 4Q270 5 and 4Q269 9. 60. Cf. Brin 1995, 226-27, who sees this text and the Mishnah as more similar than argued for here. 61. M. Yev. 13:1-5 (ed. Albeck 3:58-60); T. Yev. 13:1-6 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:4547). Cf. Ilan 1995, 84-85. This institution most explicitly applies to a female betrothed, after her father's death, by her mother or brother. It seems possible to me, however, that the institution could be applied more broadly to a female whose father betrothed her and then died before the wedding. 62. T. Yev. 13:5 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:47); Y. Yev. 1:2, 2b; 13:1, 13c; B. Yev. 105b (somewhat unclear if a minor is involved), 107b; B. Nid. 52b. The exception is at Y. Yev. 13:1, 10c, which as Schremer has shown, appears to be Babylonian. Cf. Ilan 1995, 84-85; Schremer 1996a, 70-71, 78-79. 63. On this reading, see Schremer 1996a, 74, n. 95. 64. B. Qid. 81b. 65. B. Qid. 41a. Maimonides Mishna Torah, Women 3:19 construes this as a recom­ mendation rather than a law. 66. Y.Ket.5:3,29d.Cf.T.Ket.5:l (ed. Lieberman 3.1:71): "If she is a minor, either she or her father can delay [the wedding]." 67. B. Ket. 57b; B. Yev. 110a. Cf. B. Ket. 13b-14a, on a story about a pregnant betrothed woman, who obviously must be past the age of menarche. The conclusion is reached in B. Ket. 57a that a woman who has reached the age of majority (i.e., thirteen) is counted as "one that is claimed," that is, she has one year from the date of her reaching majority to prepare herself for her wedding, whether or not she is claimed, or even betrothed! Hence, a woman who is betrothed on her fourteenth birthday and immediately claimed has only a month to prepare for her wedding, instead of the year normally given to "virgins" (rrfrirQ). Schremer 1996a, 82-87 has inge­ niously argued that the identification of the age of majority with "one who is claimed" is a Babylonian legal innovation that reflects the early age of women in Babylonia, and hence the irrelevance of the institution of "claiming" after the age of majority. It is possible, however, that this identification is found already in at T. Ket. 5:1 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:71). In MS Erfort the reading is nirnnn -inn. Cf. Schremer 1996a, 86, n. 118. Whether or not this is the preferred reading, the same identification is found at Y. Ket. 5:3,29d, thus mitigating against a Babylonian provenance. Cf. H. Albeck 1944, 21-23; Halivni 1968, 335-37; Friedman 1980, 1:193, n. 4. Margoliot suggests that a higher age for Palestinian women at marriage would explain the odd (and later) Pales­ tinian custom of a new husband breaking his bride's hymen with his finger. See Hahiluqim 161. 68. Cf. Sailer 1987; 1994, 36-41. Roman senators and other elite probably married when a bit younger. Cf. Syme 1987. 69. Cf. Shaw 1987; Sailer 1994, 36-41; Bagnall and Frier 1994, 111-21. Roman

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woman from the highest social classes may have married a bit younger. Cf. Hopkins 1965. This parallel extends to the nobility: Agrippa I apparently betrothed his daughters while they were still children (Josephus Ant. 19.277, 355). 70. Roth 1987. 71. The factors that contribute to the average age at marriage are extremely varied. The classic works that outline modern marriage "patterns" and the relationship between these patterns and economic forces are Hajnal 1965, esp. 132-33 and Laslett 1983. For some important critiques of these models, see especially Reher 1991 and Kertzer and Hogan 1991. 72. Sailer and Shaw 1984. Note that Babatha's first husband, Jesus, was around twenty when he married. 73. Schremer 1998a, 67. 74. I thank David Haberman for this line of thinking. 75. J. Smith 1982, 53-65. 76. For critiques of Smith's interpretation of this ritual, see Ray 1991; Kimura 1999. 77. Cf. Bagnall and Frier 1994, 31^10. 78. Bagnall and Frier 1994, 75-110. They found that the census data conformed most closely with the Coale-Demeny Model West, Level 2 table for females, and the Coale-Demeny Model West, Level 4 table for males. Cf. Parkin 1992, 67-90. 79. The figures are calculated using the figures from the appropriate life tables (based on life expectancy at birth) from Coale and Demeny 1983. In order to account for the fact that women are born at different times within a marriage, I have used model fertility tables to predict the proportion of children born throughout the marriage. The fertility schedules are found in Coale and Trussell 1974; I have used thefiguresrepro­ duced in Bagnall and Frier 1994. Because my use of thesefiguresis only to get a rough idea of the demographic reality, I present here only one example of how these figures were derived. This table assumes (1) an average life expectancy at birth at 25 years; (2) an average age of female marriage at 20; and (3) an average age of male marriage at 30. The column l(x) is the figure of cohort decline, found in the life tables. The proportion is the product of the percent of children with the associated l(x): Father's age 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 TOTALS:

No. of children 1.304 1.376 1.192 .89 .426 5.188

% of children 25 26 23 17 8 99%

l(x) .600048 .538819 .470177 .382233 .281454

Proportion .150822 .141316 .108028 .065572 .023111 48.9%

80. Mekilta d'Rabbi Yishmael Mishpatim Nezikin 3 (ed. Horovitz and Rabin 258); Y. Qid. 1:7, 61a. Cf. Mekilta d'Rabbi Yishmael Mishpatim Nezikin 18 (ed. Horovitz and Rabin 315). Cf. Reines 1970; Schremer 1996b, 48. 81. On the nature of ancient novels, see Konstan 1994; Goldhill 1995. 82. Sarah had had seven husbands before Tobias, all of whom a demon killed before they could consummate the marriage. In 7:11 Tobias and Sarah are termed "brother and sister." As Zimmerman notes in his edition (89, note ad 7:12), this is in part due to the emphasis within the book on endogamy.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 5

83. Menander "Dyskolos" lines 761-62 (trans. Arnot, L C L 309): roiyapovv eycoye o[o]i eyyvd), didcojui navnov [rd)]v Oecbv kvavxiov eveyxecvog. I of course am not doing justice to a very funny play. 84. Aseneth 4:10. Note, though, that ultimately it is Joseph's "father," Pharaoh, who gives Aseneth to Joseph (20:7; 21). 85. See, for examples, the stories in B. Qid. 71b. See also the odd story at B. Qid. 59a of a man going to betroth a wife for his son but instead betrothed her for himself. 86. B. Qid. 45a. Ancient Iranian sources also assume that a man gives away his daughter. Cf. Shaki 1971, 324. 87. Tobit 6:18 (trans. APOT 1:220). 88. 4Q271, see above p. 107. 89. Josephus Against Apion 2.200. 90. Josephus Ant. 2.263. 91. Josephus Ant. 17.14: eyysyvrjro re eig yd/uov. Under urging from Antipater, he later changes these arrangements (17.18). 92. A tannaitic source reads, "What are the father's obligations to his son? To cir­ cumcise him, to redeem him, to teach him Torah, to teach him a trade, and to marry him to a woman." See T. Qid. 1:11 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:279); Mekilta d'Rabbi IshmaelBo IS (ed. Horovitz and Rabin 73); Sipra Emor 6 (ed. Weiss 94a). The Mishnah (M. Qid. 1:7 [ed. Albeck 3:315]) says that there are obligations between parents and children, but does not enumerate them. Here "marry" must mean something like "arrange for a mar­ riage" rather than actually "contract" a marriage, because rabbinic law does not recog­ nize the legal ability of a father to contract a betrothal for his son. In the single case, for example, that the Mishnah mentions "a minor whom his father married," it does so specifically in order to clarify the father's legal inability to contract a binding betrothal for his son. Cf. M. Ket. 9:9 (ed. Albeck 3:122), where a woman (girl?) is nevertheless still entitled to her marriage settlement (cf. T. Ket. 9:7 [ed. Lieberman 3.1:89]). Sipre Deut. 253 (ed. Finkelstein 279-80) uses the term in didactic exercise. Twice in the Tosepta are fathers portrayed "marrying" their sons, but here the term means something like "celebrate the wedding." Cf. T. Eruv. 8:11 (ed. Lieberman 2:113); T. Pes. 2:1 (ed. Lieberman 2:144). Similarly, as in M. Yev. 10:6-9 (ed. Albeck 3:50-51), the cases of a "minor who marries" are cited in order to explore the legal paradox. 93. B. Qid. 30a. The interpretation follows Rashi. Cf. Schremer 1996a, 105. 94. B. Qid. 30b. The redactor contrasts with a father's power to marry his daughter, which emphasizes the passive role expected of the prospective wife and her family. As noted above, a man has no legal power to betroth his son, unless the son explicitly designates his father an agent, a possibility that even the Babylonian amoraim regard as unusual. See B. Qid. 45b. 95. B. Ket. 62b. The story is set in Palestine, but it is surely a Babylonian creation. See Boyarin 1993, 142-66. The cycle of stories of which this is a part is discussed above, pp. 30-32. 96. B. Ket. 75b. This presumption appears only in the redactorial stratum of the Babylonian Talmud in this context. 97. B. Qid. 41a. The expression "some repulsive thing" is discussed below at pp. 235-36. 98. The Greeks, especially in the classical period—fearing a seducer or cuckholder

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313

around every corner—advised that "respectable" women be isolated. See Pomeroy 1975, 79-84. Female isolation in Greek society is thus a sign of respectability and class. This is the proper context for understanding the Jewish Greek sources that recommend or assert that Jewish women were isolated: Philo Spec leg. 3.169; Flacc 89; 2 Mace. 3:19; 3 Mace. 1:18; Pseudo-Phocylides lines 215-16; Aseneth 2:1, 7:1. Cf. CPJ, 1:35; van der Horst 1978, 251-52. Tcherikover calls the rabbinic call for female seclusion a "pium desiderium" without seeing how the same term might apply to the Alexandrian writers (CPJ 1:35 n.91). In a sense, these authors had to assert that female isolation was a Jewish value, for by not doing so they would be putting Jewish women on par with lower-class Greek women. Upper-class Jewish families in the Diaspora probably had the same low success rate at keeping their women isolated as did their non-Jewish counterparts. For some sources showing that Jewish women, especially in Palestine, were not isolated, see Ilan 1995, 129. 99. The verses that follow are omitted from MS Kaufman. J. Epstein 1964, 686 thinks that the verses are a later addition. 100. M. Ta. 4:8 (ed. Albeck 2:344). 101. Ilan 1995, 82-83. 102. Y. Ta. 4:8, 69c; B. Ta. 30b-31a. 103. Y Shab. 6:1, 7d; Y Pe. 1:1, 15c; Y. Sot. 9:16, 24c. 104. B. Ket. 59b. In antiquity paleness was seen as a mark of beauty. See Hirshberg 1923b, 3. 105. B. Ket. 52b; B. Qid. 30b. 106. B. Ket. 22a. Cf. a related story at B. BQ 80a. 107. B. Qid. 45b. Cf. B. Ned. 23a; B. Ber. 56a. 108. In rabbinic discussions, the role of a mother in securing a match for her children arises almost solely in cases in which the father has died. See, for example, M. Yev. 13:2 (ed. Albeck 3:59). 109. Treggiari 1991b. For an interesting parallel, see Josephus Ant. 16.233, in which it is the women of the court who observe the flirting between Syllaeus and Salome and report this to Herod. 110. "Matrona" appears frequently in rabbinic literature. She is supposed to repre­ sent an upper-class non-Jewish woman, and always serves as a foil for the rabbis. See Satlow 1996b, 34-35. 111. From here to the end of the citation is missing in Theodor and Albeck's base text (MS British Museum Add. 27169) but it is attested in the other manuscripts and parallels. 112. Gen. Rab. 68:3^4 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 771-72). 113. B. Sanh. 22a. 114. Cf. Lev. Rab. 8:1 (ed. Margulies 164-67); 29:8 (ed. Margulies 678-79); Y. Ta. 1:8, 64d; B. MQ. 18b; B. Sot. 2a; B. Sanh. 22a. 115. Noy 1990. 116. Contra Noy 1990, 382, who cites two sources in the Babylonian Talmud that mention a man's agent, which is a very different concept. 117. On patristic use of this theme (particularly by John Chrysostom at PG 55:509), see Noy 1990,383. For the rabbinic commentary see, for example, Gen. Rab. 59:11 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 637-39). Cf. Ginzberg 1909-38, 5:260 n. 287.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 5

118. Cf. Hirshberg 1923b. A study of ancient Jewish, and especially rabbinic, aes­ thetics is a desideratum. My intention in this paragraph is only to make some gross observations to help contextualize some of the material that follows. 119. Josephus, for example, expands on the beauty of Sara (Ant. 1.163), Rachel (Ant. 1.288), and Moses (Ant. 2.224, 232). The Genesis Apocryphon 20:1-8 from Qumran also dilates upon Sara's beauty, and Philo repeatedly reminds his readers that Moses was strapping (Philo Mos 1.2.9, 1.4.15, 1.4.18). Cf. L. Feldman 1992, 307-10. Aseneth expectedly emphasizes the beauty of both of its protagonists (e.g., 1:8,4:7)—Aseneth's beauty is said to be more in line with Hebrew than Egyptian women. 120. The extreme expression of this sentiment is the idea that a man should say a blessing over anything beautiful, even an animal or a non-Jewish woman (B. AZ 20a [parallel at B. Ar. 14a]; Y. AZ 1:9, 40a-b; Y. Ber. 9:2, 13b-c). On the notion that even an ugly "vessel" can contain much good, see B. Ta. 20a-b. For an ideological tale that compares "our" beautiful women to "their" ugly men, see B. Git. 58a. 121. Musonius Rufus XIIIB (translation Lutz 91). Cf. Treggiari 1991b, 99-102. 122. On not choosing a wife based on her dowry, see Josephus Against Apion 2.199; Pseudo-Phocylides, line 200 (cf. commentary by van der Horst 1978, 244). 123. Ben Sira 26:13, 15. The translation is mine from the text in Segal 1958, 159. 124. E.g., Ben Sira 36:27. 125. A story of a prostitute who attracts a sage, eventually converting to Judaism and marrying him, offers an interesting variation on this idea. Cf. B. Men. 44a and on this story, Harvey 1986. Even Abba Shaul's condemnation of a man who takes a levirate wife because she is beautiful, rather than to fulfill the commandment, assumes that under normal circumstances this would be acceptable. See T. Yev. 6:9 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:21). Note that his opinion is met with puzzlement and rejected at Y. Yev. 1:1, 2b. His opinion gets a slightly more sympathetic hearing at B. Yev. 39b, 109a. 126. One Babylonian story, B. Ta. 24a, portrays a man boring a hole in the fence to look at a man's beautiful daughter. While the intent of the story is obviously comic (terrifyingly so, at the end), it rests on the assumption that men will try to look at beautiful women, especially those they consider marrying. 127. B. Qid. 30b. 128. B. Shab. 80b. Cf. Hirshberg 1923b, 22. The language regarding her marriage settlement is unique: -TIT nim'i m bp®. The meaning of bpti here is "take," and it implies that he himself took the money of his daughter's marriage settlement as a kind of bride-price or mohar. See below, pp. 203-4. 129. Y Shab. 6:1, 7d; Y Pe. 1:1, 15c; Y Sot. 9:16, 24c. 130. M. Ned. 9:10 (ed. Albeck 3:177-78). 131. On the beauty of Jewish women, cf. B. Sanh. 92b; B. AZ 18a. 132. The Babylonian Talmud interprets this mishnah along different lines. A story at B. Ned. 66b, accentuates the woman's ugliness as a foil for R. Yishmael's cleverness: "beautiful [it is that] her name is 'Disgusting,' for she is disgusting with blemishes," Rabbi Yishmael triumphantly exclaims, having found one beautiful thing about her. 133. B. Ta. 31a; Y Ta. 4:11, 69c. Some manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud's sugya, including MS Munich 95, read "the ordinary ones" (rrmrn) here instead of "ugly ones" (rrniron). 134. Cf. Treggiari 1991a, 105-7; Rousselle 1988, esp. 63-77. Cf. Bergman, Ringgren, and Tsevat 1977.

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315

135. Josephus Ant. 4.244; Philo Spec leg. 3.51 (implied), 65-71. Cf. I. Heinemann 1932, 286-88. 136. Philo Vit Cont 68 describes the women as "mostly old virgins" (jtXslorai ynpatal jiapOevot). Note that Philo explicitly compares them to priests (82). Cf. R. Kraemer 1989a. 137. The literature on early Christian celibacy is vast. For a recent study with bibli­ ography, see Elm 1994. 138. 4Q271 3 10-15. 139. In addition to 4Q271, see 4Q159. Cf. Tigay 1993. 140. Cf. Philo Spec leg. 1.105-9. 141. See especially the texts cited by Kasher 1931, 33:27-32. 142. Cf. Satlow 1995b. 143. M. Sot. 6:1 (ed. Albeck 3:247). 144. T. Hor. 2:11 (ed. Zuckermandel 477); Y. Hor. 3:8, 48b. By "promiscuous" I do not want to imply that the slave-woman was necessarily a willing partner. One expected role of a female slave was to submit to her owner's sexual whims. A social-historical study of the role of Jewish slaves and slaveholding in antiquity is a desideratum. Cf. Y. Sot. 1:8,17b, in which the daughters of the Philistines (to whom Samson is attracted) are termed kilay'im, mixed species. The assumption behind this dictum is that their mothers were promiscuous. It is interesting that the Palestinian Talmud here applies the metaphor to the progeny of different non-Jewish partners, not to the child of Jew and non-Jew. 145. E.g., JIGRE, no. 33 ( = CIJ, vol. 2, no. 1510); JIWE, vol. 2, no. 1560 ( = CIJ, vol. 1, no. 319). 146. See, e.g., Philo Mos 1.59 (Jethro gives his most beautiful daughter to Moses because he recognizes Moses' physical and moral beauty); B. Ber. 48b. 147. M. Ket. 7:9-10 (ed. Albeck 3:113-14). 148. Gen. Rab. 60:15 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 655) reports a somewhat garbled (extrabiblical) tradition that when she first saw Isaac, Rebekkah noticed how handsome he was. I doubt that the rabbis would have quite understood Pliny when he calls a man's good looks a proper payment for a woman's virginity (Ep. 1.14). 149. The rare exception is Aseneth 4:9. Cf. Rev. 14:4, on which Ford 1975, 242: "Rev 14:4 refers to faithful elders of Jerusalem or all the faithful who have not defiled themselves with idolatry, the lust... of Babylon's harlotry." 150. The best known of these groups are the Essenes and Therapeutae. Cf. Fraade 1986; Biale 1992, 33-59; Boyarin 1993. 151. Philo Spec leg. 3.67. Cf. Josephus Against Apion 2.200. 152. Pseudo-Phocylides, line 198 (trans, van der Horst 242). "Without honorable wooing" is denoted by the rare word djuvr/revTa. 153. B. Qid. 41a. 154. See Friedman 1980, 1:147-61; Lipinski 1991, 65-68. Cf. Cotton and Yardeni 1997, 265-66. 155. Friedman 1980, 1:216-32; Schremer 1996a, 100-5. 156. M. Qid. 3:5 (ed. Albeck 3:322). 157. B. Qid. 62b. This statement, combined with the condition that follows it in this sugya (that the fetus was also showing), migrated into our text of the mishnah. Cf. Y. Qid. 3:5, 64a: ODTpn "IT nn cfrun nirn • « «n.

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158. B. Ket. 75a; B. Yev. 118b. Reish Lakish's statement is found alone at B. Qid. 7a, 41a; B. BQ 111a. 159. On Rav, see above, p. 116. On Rav Hisda, see B. BB. 12b. 160. See M . BB 6:4 (ed. Albeck 4:139) on the man who buys a "widow's house" for his daughter, and the "prayer" that a woman not return to her father's home at Gen. Rab. 26:4 (ed. Theador and Albeck 246-47); B. MQ 9b. 161. Assuming, of course, that rabbinic law here reflects a norm to which people adhered. The safest assumption is the minimalist one, that only in rabbinic circles did the father have the unilateralrightto betroth his daughter. Comparison with other con­ temporary Mediterranean and Eastern cultures, however, suggests that this right was ancient and widely accepted, even outside of rabbinic circles. See Westbrook 1988, 31; Roth 1989, 3-7; Yaron 1969, 109; Lacey 1968, 107-8. In Roman law the father did not have this right. "Whether the consent of the bride and even of the bridegroom was legally required may be academic if the pressure exerted by the family or by society was strong" (Treggiari 1991a, 83). 162. The rabbis imagine this possibility at B. Ket. 43b-44b. 163. T. Yev. 13:2 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:46). It is not clear whether this passage should be read "and marries herself," or "or marries herself." Cf. TK 6:153-54. 164. Y. Qid. 2:1, 62b; B. Qid. 46a. 165. See B. Cohen 1948/49, 86; Wegner 1988, 117-19. 166. B. Ned. 50a. Cf. B. Ket. 62b; ARN, ver. A, ch. 6 (ed. Schechter 29-30). Cf. Waller 1993, 73-80; Boyarin 1993, 134-66; Ilan 1995, 81-82. 167. Y. Ket. 5:1, 29c; B. Ket. 102b; B. MQ 18b; B. Qid. 9b. Rabbinic law contains nnnimum amounts for both dowry and ketubba payments, but assumes that the parties would negotiate payments beyond these minimum sums. The term frequently used in tannaitic literature that indicates these negotiations is pois. Cf. Friedman 1980, 1:239311 and below, chapter 9. Gulak 1934 and B. Cohen 1948/49, 107 have seen in this tradition and echo of the Roman practice of spondeo. It is possible that the rabbis adopted this legal form in order to establish maritalfinancialarrangements. In Roman law, and probably practice, however, also the betrothal itself could have been estab­ lished through spondeo (cf. Treggiari 1991a, 138^4-5). We have no trace of that in these rabbinic sources. 168. Gen. Rab. 68:2 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 770); 70:12-13 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 811-13). 169. The point of Rav's tradition is to say that such agreements were orally binding, but the Babylonian Talmud understands it to refer to a kind of preliminary document, a ntDtf wip-oa. Cf. ET 7:138-49; Gulak 1994, 62-63. 170. Rav: B. Yev. 52a. Shmuel is credited in the Palestinian Talmud with the ruling that any betrothal without negotiation merits flogging (Y. Qid. 3:10, 64b). Negotiation on the Sabbath: B. Ket. 5a; B. Shab. 12a; 150a. Note that the Babylonian Talmud appears to alter a tannaitic tradition in accordance with this understanding. According to T. Shab. 16:22: "And thus Rabban Shimeon ben Gamaliel would say that Bet Sham­ mai said: One does not collect []"poiD] charity for the poor on the Sabbath in the syna­ gogue, even to marry two orphans, and one does not make peace []*0"KDQ] between a husband and a wife." Yet B. Shab. 12a reports this tradition: "One does not collect charity from the public, even to marry two orphans, and one does not negotiate [p-RDD]

NOTES TO CHAPTER 5

317

for a minor for betrothal." (following MS Munich 95. See DS 2:18 ad loc). In the Babylonian Talmud the verb "pti is never used in the sense of the tosepta, "to make peace." Hence, it is possible that the Babylonian Talmud's redactor reworked this tosepta, interpreting "pti in line with its current usage as "negotiate for betrothal" In any case, the Babylonian Talmud favors the permissibility of holding these negotiations, which it attributes in the other places to "The School of Manashe." 171. See Treggiari 1991a, 138-45. 172. B. Shab. 130a; B. Nid. 65b. Friedman 1980, 1:267-68: "These negotiations . . . undoubtedly formed an integral part of the arrangements that accompanied almost every marriage. Achieving agreement on the sums to be paid was not a simple matter." There are to my knowledge no such hints found in Palestinian sources. 173. Y. Ket. 7:7, 31c. The clause euphemistically states rrma men n^n vb\ 174. M. Ket. 4:7-12 (ed. Albeck 3:102-3). 175. M. Ket. 12:1 (ed. Albeck 3:128-29). 176. T. Ket. 4:7 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:67-68). 177. Y. Ket. 5:2, 29d; B. Ket. 62b-63a. 178. Gen. Rab. 59:10 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 637). 179. Ibid., 59:12 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 639). The meaning of this tradition is not entirely clear. Apparently the rabbis are focusing on "at evening time" in Gen. 24:11, when a man can hear the "yelping bitches"—presumably the gossiping women. In their notes on this tradition, Theodor and Albeck interpret this to mean the gossip of "low men," but it is not clear to me why this interpretation would be preferable. 180. Gen. Rab. 60:5 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 644-45). Cf. M. Ket. 1:3 (ed. Albeck 3:390); Y. Ket. 1:2, 35b. 181. Gen. Rab. 60:6 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 645-46). 182. Ibid., 60:12 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 652-53). 183. Ibid. 184. Ibid., 60:14 (ed. Theodor and Albeck 654). The order of the procession is due to the belief that a man who walks behind a woman will be sexually tempted. 185. The possibility is raised expressly in the Mishnah: "One who says to a woman, 'Behold, you are betrothed to me . . . on the condition that [my] father agrees'—if [his] father agrees, she is betrothed, and if not, then she is not betrothed. If [his] father dies, she is betrothed. If the son dies, they instruct the father to say that he does not agree" (M. Qid. 3:6 [ed. Albeck 3:322]). See also the report of a case at Y. Qid. 1:7, 61a, in which a man comes to a rabbi asking him to compel his father to find him a bride. 186. I use "rape" in quotation marks to denote a staged rape, one in which a woman might consent to intercourse with her lover but then claim to her family that she was raped. Real rape, in which a man has intercourse with a woman against her will, is an entirely different matter, one that would force the clan or society to exact retribution. Cf. Patai 1959, 104-12. On "rape," or perhaps better, "abduction" marriages, in the Roman world, see Evans Grubbs 1989. 187. Council of Elvira Canon 14. 188. There is not enough data on ancient Israel to contextualize "seduction" within a larger framework. While the Bible lacks narratives of a man seducing a woman, it does contain the story of Tamar and Judah, in which a woman seduces a man (Gen. 38). This story, however, seems to be a special case. See Biale 1992, 16-20. In a spectacular

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 5

revaluation of the ambiguous biblical story of Reuben sleeping with Bilhah, his father's concubine (Gen. 35:22), Test. Reuben 3:9-15 (cf. Jubilees 33:1-9) apportions much of the blame to Bilhah, who tempted Reuben with her nakedness. 189. Cf. Brenner 1997,136-39, following Pressler 1993, 35-41, has emphasized the violence of these rapes. She understands the biblical concept of "rape" of an unmarried woman as violence committed not against the woman per se, but against her father, who controls her sexuality. But cf. Weinfeld 1972, 284-88, who portrays this law as a rec­ tification of "the moral and personal wrong committed against the maiden" (284). 190. For examples, see Trible 1984; Bal 1987. 191. On the Shechemites as foreigners, see Judith 9:2; Jubilees 30:11—14; Josephus Ant. 1.337-38. On the divine anger against the Shechemites, see T. Levi 6:6-7:1; Theo­ dotus, fr. 6. Cf. Kugel 1992. 192. Philo, Spec leg. 3.70: tva /ur) Xayveiag svsKa doxfj judXXov f) KCLT' epwra VOJUIJUOV ecpOapKEvm. See I. Heinemann 1932, 286-88. 193. UQTemple 66:8-11 (trans. Yadin 1983, 2:298). Cf. Schiffman 1992, 223. 194. Yadin 1983,1:368-71,400-1, but cf. Halivni 1986, 30-34. If the Temple Scroll here correlates with other Qumran material, then this might also exclude marriage of priests and nonpriests. 195. Schiffman 1992, 225. Schiffman appears to assume that the author of the Tem­ ple Scroll would regard the sexual intercourse as effecting marriage, a position that the document does not clearly articulate. Shemesh 1998 also subscribes to this interpreta­ tion. Following Weinfeld's interpretation of Deut. 22:29, Schiffman (224) also claims that the Temple Scroll "clearly regards this penalty as a payment." This is not so clear to me. 196. Mekilta d'Rabbi Yishmael Mishpatim Nezikin 17 (ed. Horovitz and Rabin 3089). For different conclusions, see Mekilta d'Rashbi, ed. Epstein 208-9. 197. B. Ket. 29b-30a discusses the reasons behind this discrepancy. 198. T. Ket. 3:7 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:65); B. Ket. 39b. 199. M. Ket. 3:9 (ed. Albeck 3:98). According to this mishnah the man is believed. The discussion in the Babylonian Talmud on this mishnah contains a countertradition that the man is not believed because, the redactor adds, without supporting evidence a man is not trusted to injure the reputation of another man's daughter (B. Ket. 41a). 200. M. Ket. 3:4-6, 9, 4:1 (ed. Albeck 3:97-99). 201. M. Ket. 3:4 (ed. Albeck 3:97). 202. M. Ket. 3:7 (ed. Albeck 3:98); M. BQ 8:1 (ed. Albeck 4:40); M. Ar 3:4 (ed. Albeck 5:203). 203. T. Ket. 3:6 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:64). In this translation I have, for stylistic rea­ sons, followed the Geniza version of the clause "her pain is inevitable." All manuscripts versions of this clause have essentially the same meaning. 204. Y Ket. 3:5, 27c. 205. B. Ket. 39a-b. The descriptions of this feeling are attributed to women. It is not uncommon for the Babylonian Talmud to attribute to women citations of sexual knowl­ edge. This phenomenon requires further study. It is also interesting to note that accord­ ing to M. Ket. 4:1, thefinefor damages for pain is the only payment that belongs to the girl rather than to her father. 206. M. Ket. 3:5 (ed. Albeck 3:97); Sipre Deut. 245 (ed. Finkelstein 275). If she is not "fitting" for him (as above, if the relationship is not incestuous) or if she commits

NOTES TO CHAPTER 6

319

adultery while married then he is not obligated to keep her as a wife. Cf. T. Ket. 3:7 (ed. Lieberman 3.1:65). 207. Y. Ket. 1:1, 24d. 208. M. Qid. 1:1 (ed. Albeck 3:313); Y. Qid. 1:1, 58b. Cf. L. Epstein 1927, 11-12; H. Albeck 1944, 17 n. 18; Friedman 1980, 1:202-5. 209. T. Qid. 1:3 (ed. Lieberman 3.2:276), my emphasis. 210. B. Yev. 61b; Y. Yev. 6:5, 7c, and parallels. 211. See Satlow 1995a, 121-26. 212. B. Yev. 110a. 213. While the case never explicitly states this, it is the most likely explanation of why she needed even to ask a rabbi. If her father betrothed her while she was still a minor, the betrothal would have been seen as completely valid, and there would be no question that she could not form a valid marriage with the second man. 214. Cf. Ben-Menahem 1991, 41-50. 215. Cf. Evans Grubbs 1989. 216. T. Rabinowitz 1972, 290: oriKn wbv Km ifpmptf rfrra. 217. Cf. Ibid., 292; Mann 1930, 14; Lieberman 1972/73, 93-95. 218. A parable of a seducing man at Sipre Deut. 37 (ed. Finkelstein 71) might also indirectly testify to use of this institution. 219. Gager 1992, 82. 220. See Winkler 1990, 71-98; Gager 1992, 78-115. 221. Seper Harazaim 1:4, lines 143-50 (ed. Margulies 74-75). I have made only formatting modifications to the translation from Morgan 1983, 35. See also 2:2, lines 30-37 (ed. Margulies 82-83), translation found in Morgan 1983, 45^6; Gager 1992, 106. 222. T.S. K 1.73 (printed in Naveh and Shaked 1985, 230-36, with the spell for a woman on the second page of the manuscript); T.S. K. 1.143, 6-7 (ibid., 190-91, 198— 99); T.S. NS 246.32,4 (ibid., 235-38); T.S. K 1.28, la, 2-11 (Schafer and Shaked 1994, 133-150). Cf. T.S. K 1.15,2.11-16 (Naveh and Shaked 1993,147-51), a spell for a man to attain the love of another man. 223. Naveh and Shaked 1985, 84-89. 224. Gager 1992, 112-15, with citation at 113. Cf. Lieberman 1942, 108-9. 225. This is precisely the case related in the the story of Rabbi Akiba's marriage, discussed above. From the perspective of the storyteller, Akiba's father-in-law cannot, of course, accuse the great rabbi of sorcery, although in a real-life situation he might have! 226. Y. Naz. 8:1, 57a. Cf. Lieberman 1942, 109; B. Yev. 53b. 227. Y. Ket. 1:1, 24d. Magic is the Palestinian Talmud's explanation of a compul­ sion that might prod a couple to marry immediately. CHAPTER SIX

ENDOGAMY AND EXOGAMY

1. The comments of Merton 1941, although dated, remain useful for understanding how societies manipulate the categories of "endogamy" and "exogamy." "Endogamy . . . serves further to accentuate and symbolize the 'reality' of the group by setting it off against other discernable social units" (368).

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NOTES TO CHAPTER 6

2. Tacitus, Histories 5.5.2 (trans. C. H. Moore, L C L 182 = M. Stern 1974-84, 2:26). 3. M. Stern 1974-84, 2:40 connects this comment to the dual ancient stereotypes of Jews as having many children and being sexually lustful. It is more probable that the "nothing is unlawful" refers to endogamous marriage. At Annals 12.5 Tacitus uses similar language to describe the relationship between Claudius and Agrippina: amore inlicito. Note, though, that Tacitus does use the same language to refer to other, more general sexual outrages (e.g., Hist. 3.41.4; Ann. 13.12.10). 4. For some different approaches to this issue, see Neufeld 1944; Patai 1959; Mace 1953; Bendor 1986; C. Meyers 1988; Steinberg 1993. 5. Exod. 34:16. Cf. S. Driver 1953, 370. 6. The meaning of this last passage, which prohibits a mamzer, Ammonite, Moabite, Edomite, and Egyptian from "entering the congregation of the Lord," is not clear. Mamzer probably referred to a people (see Zech. 9:6), and "entering the congrega­ tion" was interpreted at Qumran as meaning entering the Temple (4QFlorilegium). Cf. J. Baumgarten 1977; Shemesh 1997. Shemesh 1997, 199 n. 53 states that 4QMMT shows that the Qumran community interpreted "entering the congregation" as a prohi­ bition of marriage, but the text at this point is too fragmentary to make that argument. It is possible that the biblical listing of the seven nations is a metonymy, that is, that they represent "the whole world." 7. Knoppers 1994. 8. On the date for Ruth, see the survey in Hubbard 1988, 23-35. 9. Ruth 3:12-13. Cf. Belkin 1970, 284-87. 10. Gen. 27:46-28:9. On the attribution to P, see S. Driver 1926, 252. The dating (not to mention the precise meaning) of Num. 12:1, in which Miriam and Aaron com­ plain against Moses on account of his "Cushite" wife, is uncertain. Cf. Gray 1903, 121-22: "the mere assignment of marriage with a foreigner as a ground of offence savours of an age—the age of Ezra—much later than that to which to the main narrative of c. 12 belongs." 11. Gen. 24. Cf. S. Driver 1926, 302-8. Note that when Levi and Simeon foil this solution by killing all the men, they end up taking their wives and daughters for themselves! 12. Num. 27:1-11. On the assignation to P, see Gray 1903, 397. Cf. Milgrom 1990, 482-84; Fishbane 1988, 104-5. 13. Cf. Lev. 18, 20:10-21. See also Deut. 20:20-23. In the process, P (knowingly?) made Abraham and Jacob into violators of these taboos. This caused later biblical commentators considerable discomfort. 14. Lev. 21:7-9, 13-15. Cf. the stricter rules in Ezek. 44:22. 15. Cf. Zipor 1987. 16. Ezra 1:2-4; 2 Chron. 36:23. Cyrus did not single the Jews out for special treat­ ment. As the Cyrus scroll famously proves, Cyrus treated other cults as well with generosity. The text of the scroll can be found in ANET 1:315-16, with a revised read­ ing in Berger 1975. 17. Ezra 1:8, 5:14. One wonders if the description of Sheshbazzar as "governor" in the latter text, reportedly an administrative letter, is not the work of a Jewish editor. 18. Hag. 1:1. 19. Ezra 2, especially 2:64-65. This summary total is far higher than the total of the numbers reported in the chapter itself (29,818). Neh. 7 and 1 Es. 5 have higher numbers,

NOTES TO CHAPTER 6

321

but all are under the summary total. Throughout this section, I am assuming that Ezra and Nehemiah do contain some historical material. For more skeptical positions, see Lebram 1987; Grabbe 1991. 20. Ezra 6. 21. This is the Murashu archive. See Bickerman 1984. 22. See M. Smith 1971, 99-147. For a summary of the critiques of this position, see Grabbe 1992, 1:106-7. 23. Ezra 7:1-6 (10:10 on his explicit identification as a priest). The royal letter is cited at 7:12-26. There is great debate over exactly what law Ezra brought with him. Cf. Grabbe 1992, 1:98. The dating of these two books is a nearly intractable problem. See the survey in Clines 1984, 9-24.1 here follow what appears to be the present scholarly consensus of placing Ezra before Nehemiah. See the various papers of F. M . Cross for a defense of this position, cited and discussed in Grabbe 1992, 1:112-14. 24. Ezra 8:1-14. Cf. Blenkinsopp 1988, 158-63. 25. Ezra7:l-5. Cf. M . Smith 1971, esp. 99-147. In Ezra 9:8,13,14,15 andNeh. 1:2 the community is termed a no^s. Neh. 10 and 13 emphasize the role of the Levites at the expense of the priests. This phenomenon is probably a result of an expansion of the concept of the priesthood, which would in turn lead to a demotion of the importance of actual biological priests. On the sectarian character of the community represented in Nehemiah, see M . Smith 1961. 26. Maccoby 1996. 27. Cf. Batten 1980, 331. Cf. Glazier-McDonald 1987, 113-20 who argues for a socio-historical interpretation of Mai. 2:13-16. 28. Cf. Porten 1968,3-61. 29. Porten 1968, 250 asserts both that "the Elephantine Jews did not share the views of Ezra . . . but of those who favored intermarriage," while at the same time calling the extent to which Jews married "minimal." 30. TADB36( = K2)\TADBA\ ( = £ 7 + 1 5 + 1 8 / 1 , 3 , 8 , 1 3 , 1 8 , 1 9 , 2 2 , 2 6 , 3 0 ) . Porten 1996, 24 describes Tamet (the slave in B36) as "Jewish," but it is not clear to me how he arrived at this judgment. Cf. Porten and Szubin 1995. 31. Porten 1968, 148-49, 250-51 substantially increases this corpus of intermar­ riages by deducing ethnic identity from the onomasticon. He records fifteen cases in which men with non-Hebrew names had sons with Hebrew names, and twelve cases in which men with Hebrew names had sons with non-Hebrew names. Because the Jewish community at Elephantine had a primarily Hebrew onomasticon, Porten claims, the appearance of such "mixed names" points toward intermarriage. While this is possi­ ble, arguments made solely from names are notoriously tenuous. Porten seems to as­ sume here that in marriages between Jews and non-Jews at Elephantine, the Jewish partner—whether husband or wife—was powerful enough to dictate the name and to draw his/her spouse into the Jewish community. Historically it would be more likely that Jewish men would bring their non-Jewish wives into the Jewish community than the reverse, and because of the naming conventions (a person is designated as the "son/ daughter of his/her father"), the names would provide no evidence of intermarriage. 32. Cf. Ezra 10:18-44; Neh. 13:28. 33. Ezra 9:2, my translation. 34. But see Hayes 1999, 6-13 who correctly emphasizes Ezra's focus on the holy nature of the semen itself.

322

NOTES TO CHAPTER 6

35. On Isa. 6:13, see Williamson 1985, 131-32. 36. Vermes 1981. 37. Cf. Ezra 10:2. Cf. S. J. D. Cohen 1984-85, 23-25, who observes that the Jewish women married to non-Jews would have gone to live in their husbands' domains, thus no longer being resident in the community. 38. Ezra 10:10. 39. Milgrom 1991, 359-61. His first explanation for the appearance of this technical vocabulary in Ezra accords more closely with my argument than his second explana­ tion, which suggests that Ezra sacrificed a guilt offering to atone for the trespass that occurred when Israelite men married members of the prohibited nations. 40. Myers 1965,79, who points out the strong influence of the Deuteronomist on the author of Ezra. Myers also makes the point that the introductory phrase should not be taken as introducing a scriptural quotation. 41. Carter 1994. 42. Cf. Grabbe 1992, 1:118. 43. Cf. Zech. 12:9-14; Weinberg 1973. 44. S. J. D. Cohen 1999, 267-68. 45. Cf. Bossman 1979, who anticipates this argument along somewhat different lines. 46. Smith-Christopher 1994, follows a similar line of argument, although his em­ phasis is different. 47. Douglas 1970, 40-58. 48. In 508/7 BCE, Cleisthenes instituted demes, orfictitious"families," in Greece, probably in order to weaken the political power of individual oikoi. Cf. Pomeroy 1997, 75-82. Ezra and Nehemiah may have been engaged in a similar redefinition, for similar reasons. 49. Ezra 7:25-26. 50. See the survey of positions in Grabbe 1992, 1:32-36. 51. The last line of Ezra is surely corrupt. 52. Neh. 9:30, 10:23-29. Cf. Pichon 1997 who argues against attributing these re­ forms to Nehemiah himself. Mai. 2:11, 14 are sometimes understood as a polemic against marriage between Jews and non-Jews, but meaning of these verses is obscure. 53. Neh. 13:23-27. 54. Neh. 13:28. 55. Cf. Rosenthal 1881, 118-23; BUchler 1956;