The Origins of Jewish Charity and Social Justice


Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships




For residence at the Cogut Center for the Humanities, Brown University


This project examines Hebrew texts from third-through fourth-century Palestine (e.g. Mishnah Peah and Sifra) in order to understand how the early rabbinic movement proposed to remedy poverty. The texts are examined using lexical tools and in light of ideas from ethics, economics, and other disciplines to uncover the authors’ remedies for poverty. These concepts are situated in their late-antique contexts using comparative literature by early Christian, Greek, and Latin authors. The study investigates rabbinic ethics at the time in which Judaism and Christianity began to differentiate their respective worldviews. This project also helps us understand the early rabbis’ enduring contribution to ethical thought, as their texts were later canonized into normative Jewish law.