Legal Fictions: Studies of Law and Narrative in the Discursive Worlds of Ancient Jewish Sectarians and Sages.

Author:Milgram, Jonathan S.
Position:Book review

Legal Fictions: Studies of Law and Narrative in the Discursive Worlds of Ancient Jewish Sectarians and Sages. By Steven D. Fraade. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, vol. 147. Leiden: Brill, 2011. Pp. xix + 627. $251.

In this elegantly presented collection of essays, Steven D. Fraade, among the leading scholars in the held of early rabbinic interpretation and thought in comparative context, brings together a number of his most important studies, almost all of them previously published. The formerly published chapters include "Nomos and Narrative Before 'Nomas and Narrative'" (2); "Interpretive Authority in the Studying Community of Qumran" (3); "To Whom It May Concern: Miqsat Ma'ase Ha-Torah (4QMMT) and Its Addressee(s)" (4); "Rhetoric and Hermeneutics in Miqsat Ma'ase Ha-Torah (4QMMT): The Case of the Blessings and Curses" (5); "Qumran Yahad and Rabbinic Havurah: A Comparison Reconsidered" (7); "Looking for Legal Midrash at Qumran" (8); "Looking for Narrative Midrash at Qumran" (9); "Shifting from Priestly to Non-Priestly Legal Authority: A Comparison of the Damascus Document and the Midrash Sifra" (10); "Deuteronomy and Polity in the Early History of Jewish Interpretation" (11); "Ancient Jewish Law and Narrative in Comparative Perspective: The Damascus Document and the Mishnah" (12); "Theory, Practice, and Polemic in Ancient Jewish Calendars" (13); "'The Torah of the King' (Deut 17:14-20) in the Temple Scroll and Early Rabbinic Law" (14); "Priests, Kings, and Patriarchs: Yerushalmi Sanhedrin in Its Exegetical and Cultural Settings" (15); "Navigating the Anomalous: Non-Jews at the Intersection of Early Rabbinic Law and Narrative" (16); "Literary Composition and Oral Performance in Early Midrashim" (17); "Rewritten Bible and Rabbinic Midrash as Commentary" (18); "Rabbinic Midrash and Ancient Jewish Biblical Interpretation" (19); "Rabbinic Polysemy and Pluralism Revisited: Between Praxis and Thematization" (20); "Moses and the Commandments: Can Hermeneutics, History, and Rhetoric Be Disentangled?" (21); "Hearing and Seeing at Sinai: Interpretive Trajectories" (22); "The Temple as a Marker of Jewish Identity before and after 70 C.E.: The Role of the Holy Vessels in Rabbinic Memory and Imagination" (23); and "Local Jewish Leadership in Roman Palestine: The Case of the Parnas in Early Rabbinic Sources in Light of Extra-Rabbinic Evidence" (24).

The author affirms that the studies have not been "'updated' in any appreciable...

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