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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The category of social justice can be understood to encompass both protection of the vulnerable from abuse and support for the poor (charity). The chapter surveys aspects of social justice, conceived in these broad terms, in the classical rabbinic corpus (c. second to sixth centuriesce). After reviewing methodological challenges, important contributions, and scholarly lacunae, the chapter turns to the conceptualization of charity in rabbinic literature, and the light that rabbinic literature sheds on charity practices in Jewish late antiquity. The final section examines rabbinic interpretation of biblical verses mandating protection of the vulnerable from abuse, with particular attention to the liminal status of such provisions between law and ethics.

Keywords: rabbinic literature, late antiquity, social justice, charity, sabbatical year, law, ethics

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