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Vol. 10, No. 4 Summer 1992 111 Giustiniano, ebrei e samaritani alla luce delle. fonti storico-letterarie ecclesiastiche e giuricliche, by Alfredo M. RabeIlo. 2 vols. Monografie del vocabolario de Giustiniano, 2. Milano: Dett. A. Giuffre Editore, 1987-1988. 974 pp. 42,000 lire. That justinian's code is one of the greatest 'achievements of classical antiquity is a statement that requires no further elaboration. The code summed up the previous legal tradition, and it served as an example and a guide for successive generations, mostly from the twelfth century on. It has harsh legislation concerning jews (and Samaritans), most of which is borrowed from previous codices; but it has also "new" laws (Novellae) issued at the initiative of the emperor or of his advisers. The most well known of these Novellae is no doubt number 146 where a gross intervention in jewish religious practices is recorded (pp~ 814-828): Hebrew is the only language in which the Torah can be read, and rabbinic interpretation of it (thiS seems to be the meaning of the term "Deuterosis") is forbidden. Giustiano, ehrei e samaritani is the second in a series labelled "Vocabulary of justinian" which the publisher A. Giuffre of Milan started. One has to welcome this initiative wholeheartedly, especiaIly since the code of justinian occupies only some two hundred of the almost one thousand pages of the study. Professor RabeIlo set for himself a very ambitious goal when starting the project: besides legal texts he coIlected all available mention of Jews and Samaritans by the historians of the time (mostly Procopius and Malalas, pp. 155-449), surveyed the Hebrew materials (pp. 453-478), and presented all relevant conciliar legislation (pp. 495-599). He also cled icated the nrst 150 pages of the book to a concise sketch of the history of the Jews in the classical world ("The Second Temple Periocl") so that the reader gets a solid background. Familiar with practically all scholarship, both the old and' the most recent, and in command of all necessary languages, our author is one of the very few scholars able nowadays to engage in such an undertaking. In what concerns the actual presentation of the information, RabeIlo foIlows a strategy he designed in previous books of his, but does it here on a much greater scalc. The texts are presented first in their original languages and then in translation, usuaIly in Italian, translations in most cases borrowed from other publications. Then foIlows a lengthy discussion in which no stone is left unturned: we learn about the historical or legal significance of thc information and foIlow the author's fascination with philology and linguistics. SmaIl details are not pushed aside in favor of broad generalizations; however, RabeIlo does not pay equal attention .to all his topics. The anti-Jcwish Icgislation in Visigothic Spain is discussed 112 SHOFAR only ·brielly (pp. 58-69), and the author refers us to his book about the subject published in 1983 in Jerusalem, leaving in limbo those who do not have Hebrew as a working language. Similarly, for some reason no systematic discussion is offered of the Theodosian code-and yet no less than 25 of the 37 laws concerning the Jews were borrowed by Justinian from these compilations. On the other hand, the reader is grateful for his decision to provide us with appendices and special discussion of particular points, like the one on pp. 619-656, which is a thorough study of the formula converts were required to pronounce or subscribe to. The encyclopedic nature of Rabello's scholarship is demonstrated throughout this monumental study. from among the hundreds of issues he elaborates on, the following two seem to be typical: on pages 827-828 he confronts the problem of the inscription discovered in recent years in Ein Gedi in which worshippers are warned not to disclose the secret (Sod) of the community. Does the Aramaic read "karta" (city) or should it be deciphered "kJ)'a" (reading) as suggested in 1970 by Professor Aaron Dotan of 'I'd Aviv University. The first reading may lead us to the conclusion that some industrial secret (the preparation of medical confection) is at stake; the second would link the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 111-113
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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