This volume brings together studies by experts in the rabbinic literature of late antiquity and by specialists in the history of the Jews in that period in order to reveal the value of rabbinic material as historical evidence and the problems and issues which arise in its exploitation.
A substantial introductory section discusses the current state of knowledge about Palestine in this period and debates about the difficulties involved in editing and dating rabbinic texts. Specific core texts and text categories are then introduced to the reader in a series of ten discrete studies. The volume concludes with six thematic analyses which illustrate the use and limitations of rabbinic evidence for cultural, religious, political, economic and social history. This volume will be essential reading for all scholars concerned with the history of the later Roman Empire.