Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests
The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran
University of California Press 2015
New Books in Biblical StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network February 22, 2016 Jason Schulman
In Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran (University of California Press, 2015), Jason Mokhtarian, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at the Indiana University, puts the Babylonian Talmud in its Persian context. He lays out a research program for Talmud studies that is contextual, rather than literary or exegetical. Analyzing references to Persians and Persian loanwords in the Talmudic text, as well as ancient seals and bowl spells, he argues that we need to understand ancient Iran, as a real historical force and an imaginary interlocutor, to fully understand rabbinic identity and culture.