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Fall 2023 Course

Jews, Christians, and Law at the Beginning

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: Last Class Take-Home

This course explores the complex relationship between Jews, Christians, and the development of law in the first centuries CE. Starting with the period of the Second Temple, students will examine how Jews and Christians understood and interacted with legal systems, both their own and those of their neighbors, and how these interactions influenced the development of their respective legal traditions. Throughout the course, students will engage with a range of primary sources, including biblical and rabbinic texts, as well as Christian legal writings such as part of the Gospels and the writings of the Church Fathers. We will also examine how legal systems were used to establish and maintain power relationships between different groups, such as Jews, Christians, and Romans and the ways in which legal systems shaped and reflected religious identities.