Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Yifat Monnickendam (a1)


What happened to biblical law when transferred into late antique Christianity? How can answering this question provide a paradigm that helps us understand the rise and development of late antique Christian legal traditions? In the first centuries of the Common Era, the Christian legal tradition began to evolve in Roman, Greek, rabbinic, and biblical contexts. Focusing on the biblical institution of levirate marriage, this article offers a paradigm that elucidates how Christians might have adopted, adapted, and sometimes rejected their legal heritage; it may illuminate the overall development of Christian legal discourse. Following a short survey of the rabbinic adaptation of biblical levirate marriage and the Roman and Christian rulings regarding this practice, I analyze the Christian exegetical and theological discourse on levirate marriage, focusing on the acceptance or rejection of levirate marriage as a whole and adaptations to the biblical institution. This analysis demonstrates the disparity between the rabbinic discourse, the Christian and Roman rulings, and the theological and exegetical discourse. It shows how Christians remodeled their biblical heritage according to Greek and Roman legal concepts, namely the Roman adoption and the Greek epiklerate, and treated it as part of inheritance law and child-parent relationships, whereas the rabbis used different adaptations and treated it as part of matrimonial law and sexual relationships. This discussion therefore recontextualizes the legal discourse, positioning the Christian approach to levirate marriage as a complex case of legal transplant and adaptation of a legal heritage.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hide All

1 See, for example, Biondi, Biondo, Il diritto Romano Cristiano [Roman Christian law] (Milan: Giuffrè, 1952–54); Gaudemet, Jean, Le droit Romain dans la littérature Chrétienne occidentale Du IIIe au Ve siècle [Roman law in western Christian literarute from the third to fifth centuries], Ius Romanum Mediiaevi I, 3, b (Mediolani: Typis Giuffrè, 1978); and Evans-Grubbs, Judith, Law and Family in Late Antiquity: The Emperor Constatntine's Marriage Legislation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

2 See, for example, Derrett, J. Duncan M., Law in the New Testament (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970); Sanders, Ed Parish, Paul, the Law and the Jewish People (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983); Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah (London: SCM Press, 1990); Instone-Brewer, David, Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002). For a further bibliography, see the review by Tomson, Peter J., “Halakhah in the New Testament: A Research Overview,” in The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature, ed. Bieringer, Reimund, Martínez, Florentino García, Pollefeyt, Didier, and Tomson, Peter J., Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 136 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 136206.

3 Gaudemet, Jean, L’église dans l'Empire Romain: IVe–Ve siècles [The church in the Roman Empire: Fourth to fifth centuries], Histoire du droit et des institutions de l’église en occident 3 (Paris: Sirey, 1958), 527–28; Goody, Jack, The Development of the Family and Marriage in Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 6062; Linder, Amnon, The Jews in Roman Imperial Legislation (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987), 191–93.

4 Corcoran, Simon, “The Sins of the Fathers: A Neglected Constitution of Diocletian on Incest,” Journal of Legal History 21, no. 2 (2000): 1–34, at 13–15.

5 de Bonfils, Giovanni, Gli schiavi degli ebrei nella legislazione del IV secol: Storia di un divieto [The slaves of the Jews in fourth-century legislation: The history of a ban], Pubblicazioni della facoltà giuridica dell'università di bari 103 (Bari: Cacucci, 1993), 148–54.

6 For further discussion on the distinction between legal and non-legal sources, and the method used in this research, see Monnickendam, Yifat, “Late Antique Christian Law: Toward a New Paradigm,” Studies in Late Antiquity 2, no. 1 (2018): 4083.

7 For further discussion of biblical levirate marriage and the differences between these three sources, see Davies, Eryl W., “Inheritance Rights and the Hebrew Levirate Marriage: Part 1,” Vetus Testamentum 31, no. 2 (1981): 138–44; Davies, Eryl W., “Inheritance Rights and the Hebrew Levirate Marriage: Part 2,” Vetus Testamentum 31, no. 3 (1981): 257–68; Weisberg, Dvora E., “The Widow of Our Discontent: Levirate Marriage in the Bible and Ancient Israel,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28, no. 4 (2004): 403–29.

8 New Jewish Publication Society of America, based on the Masoretic text, with changes. For commentary, see Tigay, Jeffrey H., Deuteronomy, The JPS Torah Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996), 231–33; Christensen, Duane L., Deuteronomy 21:10–34:12, World Biblical Commentary 6B (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), 603–09, and further bibliography noted there.

9 The root ybm appears in Ugarit and other Semitic languages, meaning brother-in-law and the verb relating to consummating marriage with that brother-in-law: see Watson, Wilfred G. E., “Terms Related to the Family in Ugaritic,” Historiae, no. 10 (2013): 1750, at 27; del Olmo Lete, Gregorio and Sanmartín, Joaquín, A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition, trans. G. E. Watson, Wilfred, Handbook of Oriental Studies / Handbuch Der Orientalistik 112 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 2:937. This is also its meaning in biblical Hebrew: Köhler, Ludwig, Baumgartner, Walter, and Stamm, Johann Jakob, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 5 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1994–2000), 2:383. Likewise, the institution of marrying the widow of a family member appears in the ancient Near East, albeit referring to more family members. For a survey, see Kutsch, E., “יבם,” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. Johannes, G. Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren (Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans, 1986), 367–73.

10 Belkin, Samuel, “Levirate and Agnate Marriage in Rabbinic and Cognate Literature,” Jewish Quarterly Review 60, no. 4 (1970): 275329; Weisberg, Dvora E., Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2009); Witte, John, The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy, Cambridge Studies in Law and Christianity (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 5055.

11 Regarding polygamy in late antique Palestine, see Schremer, Adiel, Male and Female He Created Them: Jewish Marriage in the Late Second Temple, Mishnah and Talmud Periods (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center, 2003), 183218; Satlow, Michael L., Jewish Marriage in Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 189–92. For a review of monogamy in the Greco-Roman world, see Scheidel, Walter, “Monogamy and Polygyny,” in A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman Worlds, ed. Rawson, Beryl, Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World Literature and Culture (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 108–15.

12 Sifre on Deuteronomy 288, ed. Louis Finkelstein (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2001), 305–07.

13 Friedman, Mordechai Akiva, “עכשיו אמרו מצוות חליצה קודמת למצוות הייבום” [The commandment of pulling off the sandal takes precedence over the commandment of levirate] Te'uda, no. 13 (1997): 3566. Concerning the changes from early Tannaitic to Amoraic halakhic approaches to haliza and its status, see Rosenthal, Eliezer Shimshon, “Tradition and Innovation in the Halakha of the Sages,” Tarbiz 63, no. 3 (1994): 321–74 (in Hebrew with English summary); Gilat, Yitzhak D., Studies in the Development of the Halakha (Jerusalem: Bar Ilan University Press, 1994), 273–80.

14 Theodosian Code 3.12.2. For further discussion, see Grubbs, Judith Evans, Women and the Law in the Roman Empire: A Sourcebook on Marriage, Divorce and Widowhood (London: Routledge, 2002), 161–62. Regarding its attribution and dating, see Bonfils, Giovanni de, “Legislazione ed ebrei nel IV secolo: Il divieto dei matrimoni misti” [Legislation and the Jews in the fourth century: The ban on mixed marriage], Bullettino dell'istituto di diritto Romano, no. 29 (1987): 389438.

15 For the definition of conubium, the legal capacity to marry in Roman law, and its significance for inheritance, see Treggiari, Susan, Roman Marriage, Iusti Coniuges from the Time of Cicero to the Time of Ulpian (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 4349; Roselaar, Saskia T., “The Concept of Conubium in the Roman Republic,” in New Frontiers: Law and Society in the Roman World, ed. du Plessis, Paul J. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), 102–22.

16 Justinian Code 5.5.5. For dating, see Seeck, Otto, Regesten der Kaiser und Päpste für die Jahre 311 bis 476 N. Chr. [Synopses of the emperors and popes for the years 311–476 AD] (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzlersche, 1919), 30.

17 Theodosian Code 3.12.4.

18 Justinian Code 5.5.8. This prohibition is presented contrary to Egyptian law, which allowed marriage to the wife of the deceased brother, because the wives remained virgins during their first marriage. Ludwig Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den östlichen Provinzen des römischen Kaiserreichs: mit Beiträgen zur Kentniss des griechischen Rechts und der spätrömischen Rechtsentwicklung [Imperial law and local law in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire: with contributions to the knowledge of Greek law and late Roman legal development] (Leipzig: Teubner, 1891), 223–24, related this to trial marriage, which was less binding than regular marriage. In any case, clearly Zeno did not consider consummation a criterion for the validity of the marriage.

19 Justinian Code 5.5.9.

20 Gaius, Institutions 1.56–64.

21 Justinian Code 5.4.17. Concerning its historical background, see Chadwick, Henry, “The Relativity of Moral Codes: Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity,” in Early Christian Literature and the Classical Intellectual Tradition in Honorem Robert M. Grant, ed. Schoedel, William R. and Wilken, Robert Louis, Théologie historique 54 (Paris: Éditions Beauchesne, 1979), 135–53.

22 Council of Neo-Caesarea 2, in Acta et symbola conciliorum quae saeculo quarto habita sunt [Acts and symbols of the fourth century], ed. Engbert Jan Jonkers (Leiden: Brill, 1954), 35–38, at 36.

23 Basil, Letters 199.23, in Saint Basil, The Letters, vol. 3, ed. and trans. Roy J. Deferrari, Loeb Classical Library 243 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1961), 102–35, at 114–15. (Hereafter all references to Loeb Classical Library are abbreviated LCL.) For dating, see Fedwick, Paul Jonathan, The Church and the Charisma of Leadership in Basil of Caesarea, Studies and Texts 45 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1979), 148. Regarding Basil's view on marriage according to his canonical letters, see Pouchet, Robert, Basile grand et son univers d'amis d'après sa correspondance [Basil the Great and his world of friends according to his letters], Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 36 (Rome: Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, 1992), 423–29.

24 Council of Elvira 61, in Jonkers, Acta at symbola, 5–23, at 19. For the claim that this text is not concerned with levirate marriages but only with the remarriage of widowers, see Hosang, F. J. E. Boddens, Establishing Boundaries: Christian-Jewish Relations in Early Council Texts and the Writings of Church Fathers, Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series 19 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 7275. For the debate over the exact dating of the Council of Elvira, see Heid, Stefan, Celibacy in the Early Church: The Beginnings of a Discipline of Obligatory Continence for Clerics in the East and West, trans. Miller, Michael J. (San Francisco: Igantius Press, 2000), 109–10, and the bibliography noted there.

25 Basil, Letters 217.78, in Deferrari, Saint Basil, The Letters (LCL 243), 3:258–59. For dating, see Fedwick, The Church and the Charisma, 148.

26 Apostolic Constitution 8.47.19, in Les Constitutions apostoliques, vol. 3, ed. and trans. Marcel Metzger, Sources Chrétiennes 336 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf 1987), 280–81. (Hereafter all references to the Sources Chrétiennes are abbreviated SC.)

27 Basil, Letters 160, in Deferrari, Saint Basil, The Letters (LCL 243), 2:398–411. Concerning dating, see Fedwick, The Church and the Charisma, 148. For a full discussion of the relationship between Basil's rejection of levirate and sororate marriage, and that of the Romans, see Gaetano Colantuono, “Note sul canone 2 del concilio di Neocesarea: La proibizione delle seconde nozze tra cognati nella tarda antichità” [Notes on canon 2 of the Council of Neocesarea: The prohibition of second marriage between in-laws in late antiquity], Rivista di diritto Romano, no. 6 (2006): 1–17.

28 For a review of scholarship on the authorship of the Collatio and the attribution to a Christian, see Frakes, Robert M., Compiling the “Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum” in Late Antiquity, Oxford Studies in Roman Society and Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 124–51.

29 Collatio 6.4–5, in Frakes, Compiling the “Collatio Legum Mosaicarum, 171–74, the translation at 214–16, and the discussion at 120–21.

30 Das Syrisch-Römische Rechtsbuch [The Syro-Roman Lawbook], ed. and trans. Walter Selb and Hubert Kaufholded, Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für antike Rechtsgeschichte 9, 3 vols. (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2002). For full review of scholarship, see Monnickendam, Yifat, “The Kiss and the Earnest: Early Roman Influences on Syriac Matrimonial Law,” Le Muséon 125, no. 3/4 (2012): 307–34.

31 Syro-Roman Lawbook 98a, in Selb and Kaufhold, The Syro-Roman Lawbook, 2:136–37; see also the discussion at 3:207–09. Levirate marriage may also be implied in Syro-Roman Lawbook 79, 2:100–01 regarding the prohibition on creating brotherhood. In this brotherhood, the wives are not part of the partnership. This may imply that, in cases of biological brothers, wives could have been passed on when a brother died. For further discussion of this paragraph, see Selb and Kaufhold, Syro-Roman Lawbook, 3:157–60; Crone, Patricia, The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 410–11. For a discussion regarding the general phenomenon of brotherhood agreements, their history, and their development in liturgy, see the following articles in the special section “Ritual Brotherhood in Ancient and Medieval Europe: A Symposium” in Traditio, no. 52: Shaw, Brent D., “Ritual Brotherhood in Roman and Post-Roman Societies,” Traditio, no. 52 (1997): 327–55; Brown, Elizabeth A.R., “Introduction,” Traditio, no. 52 (1997): 261–83; “Ritual Brotherhood in Western Medieval Europe,” Traditio, no. 52 (1997): 357–81; Rapp, Claudia, “Ritual Brotherhood in Byzantium,” Traditio, no. 52 (1997): 285326. See also Rapp, Claudia, Brother-Making in Late Antiquity and Byzantium: Monks, Laymen, and Christian Ritual, Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

32 This explanation is also absent from the Christian sources. As far as I have been able to determine, only Tertullian alludes to it, claiming that the marriage between Herod and Herodias was driven by lust, after the death of Philip. Tertullian, however, does not claim that Herod killed Philip for the sake of this marriage, nor is this claim supported by Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 8.106–08; see Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 4.34.9, in Tertullian Adversus Marcionem, ed. and trans. Ernest Evans (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), 452–53.

33 Requests for approval of irregular marriages can be found in late Roman sources (Theodosian Code 3.10.1, which is dated to January 23, 409; Justinian Code 5.8.1, which is dated to January 2, 409) but not with regard to levirate and sororate marriages. Furthermore, a legal way to legitimize forbidden close-kin marriages is not raised in any of the other marriages mentioned in the following paragraph, namely, nieces, aunts, and the wife or concubine of a father.

34 For a recent study and review of scholarship concerning the relationship between the Life of Rabbula and his history, see Bowersock, G. W., “The Syriac Life of Rabbula and Syrian Hellenism,” in Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity, ed. Hägg, Tomas and Rousseau, Philip (Berkeley: University of California, 2000), 255–71; Phenix, Robert R. Jr. and Horn, Cornelia B., eds. and trans., The Rabbula Corpus: Comprising the “Life of Rabbula,” His Correspondence, a Homily Delivered in Constantinople, Canons and Hymns (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017), xviiccxviii.

35 Life of Rabbula 37, in Phenix and Horn, The Rabbula Corpus, 2–83, at 54–55; Commandments and Admonitions for the Priests and the Children of the Covenant 57, in Phenix and Horn, The Rabbula Corpus, 102–17, at 114–15.

36 For the gradual rise in bishops’ authority and power, see Rapp, Claudia, Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition, The Transformation of the Classical Heritage 37 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Humfress, Caroline, “Bishops and Law Courts in Late Antiquity: How (Not) to Make Sense of the Legal Evidence,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 19, no. 3 (2011): 375400.

37 Concerning the importance of the Davidic lineage in the New Testament and the contradicting genealogies, see Johnson, Sherman E., “The Davidic Royal Motif in the Gospels,” Journal of Biblical Literature 87, no. 2 (1968): 136–50; Johnson, Marshall D., The Purpose of the Biblical Genealogies, with Special Reference to the Setting of the Genealogies of Jesus, Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 8 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 139252; Flusser, David, Jesus (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2001), 25–26, 180–86; cf. Brown, Raymond E., The Birth of the Messiah, a Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 505–12, who claims the Davidic genealogy of Jesus has a historical background and is not only based on theological needs; and Karrer, Martin, “Von David zu Christus” [From David to Christ], in König David—Biblische Schlüsselfigur und europäische Leitgestalt [King David: Key biblical figure and European leader], ed. Dietrich, Walter and Herkommer, Hubert (Freiburg: W. Kohlhammer, 2003), 327–65, who minimizes the importance of Jesus's Davidic lineage. For a survey of the early Jewish Davidic traditions, see Pomykala, Kenneth, The Davidic Dynasty Tradition in Early Judaism: Its History and Significance for Messianism, SBL Early Judaism and Its Literature 7 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995); Waschke, Ernst-Joachim, “The Significance of the David Tradition for the Emergence of Messianic Beliefs in the Old Testament,” in “David,” special issue, Word & World 23, no. 4 (2003): 413–20; Fitzmyer, Joseph A., The One Who Is to Come (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 3355. For a partial discussion regarding the importance of the Davidic kingdom in Ephrem's Commentary on Genesis, see Jansma, Taeke, “Ephraem on Genesis XLIX, 10: An Enquiry into the Syriac Text Forms as Presented in His Commentary on Genesis,” Parole de l'Orient 4, no. 1/2 (1973): 247–56; Rompay, Lucas van, “Antiochene Biblical Interpretation: Greek and Syriac,” in The Book of Genesis in Jewish and Oriental Christian Interpretation, ed. Frishman, Judith and van Rompay, Lucas, Traditio Exegetica Graeca 5 (Louvain: Peeters, 1997), 103–23, at 117–19; Monnickendam, Yifat, “How Greek is Ephrem's Syriac? Ephrem's Commentary on Genesis as a Case Study,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 23, no. 2 (2015): 213–44, 227–42.

38 Origen, in his Contra Celsum, mentions that the contradictions were used as charges against the Christians and an inner-Christian theological question, but does not detail the charges: see Origen, Contra Celsum 2.32, in Contre Celse, Livres I et II, vol. 1, ed. M. Borret, SC 132 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2005), 364–65. Emperor Julianus, in the fourth century, claims that the contradictions among the genealogies prove their falsehood: see Cyril of Alexandria, Contra Julianum 8.261, Patrologia Graeca 76, 900D. (Hereafter, all references to the Patrologia Graeca are abbreviated PG.)

39 This part of the tradition was probably unknown to Julius Africanus.

40 For some of the commentary on the contradictions in the genealogies, see Albright, William Foxwell and Mann, Carl, Matthew, The Anchor Bible (Garden City: Doubleday, 1971), 16; Fitzmyer, Joseph A., The Gospel According to Luke (I–IX), The Anchor Bible (Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1979), 488505; Davies, William David and Allison, Dale C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1988), 1:161–90; Nolland, John, Luke 1–9:20, Word Biblical Commentary 35A (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), 166–74; Bovon, François, Luke 1, trans. Thomas, Christine M., Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002), 133–37; Luz, Ulrich, Matthew 1–7, trans. Crouch, James E., Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 7989 and further bibliography noted there.

41 Guignard, Christophe, La lettre de Julius Africanus à Aristide sur la généalogie du Christ: Analyse de la tradition textuelle, édition, traduction et étude critique [Julius Africanus's letter to Aristide on the genealogy of Christ: Analysis of the textual tradition, editing, translation and critical study], Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 167 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011), 296, 298. (My translation.)

42 Regarding adoption in Roman law, see Corbier, Mireille, “Constructing Kinship in Rome: Marriage and Divorce, Filiation and Adoption,” in The Family in Italy from Antiquity to the Present, ed. Kertzer, David I. and Saller, Richard P. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991), 127–44; Corbier, Mireille, “Divorce and Adoption as Roman Familial Strategies (Le divorce et l'adoption ‘en plus’),” in Marriage, Divorce, and Childern in Ancient Rome, ed. Rawson, Beryl (Canberra: Humanities Research Centre and Clarendon Press, 1992), 4778, at 63–76; Gardner, Jane F., Family and Familia in Roman Law and Life (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 114–32; “Status, Sentiment and Strategy in Roman Adoption,” in Adoption et fosterage [Adoption and fostering], ed. Mireille Corbier, De l'archéologie à l'histoire (Paris: De Boccard, 1999), 63–79; Lindsay, Hugh, Adoption in the Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

43 Concerning this claim, see Levin, Yigal, “Jesus, ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of David’: The ‘Adoption’ of Jesus into the Davidic Line,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 28, no. 4 (2006): 415–42, at 415–25; Monnickendam, Yifat, Jewish Law and Early Christian Identity: Betrothal, Marriage, and Infidelity in the Writings of Ephrem the Syrian (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019); Augustine, De consensu evangelistarum 2.1.2–3, in Consensu evangelistarum. Libri quattuor, ed. Franz Weihrich, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 43 (Vienna: F. Tempsky 1904), 4:82–83. (Hereafter all references to the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum are abbreviated CSEL.)

44 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 1.7, in The Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, ed. and trans. Kirsopp Lake, LCL 153 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959), 54–65.

45 Eusebius, Greek Questions 4.2, in Questions évangéliques, ed. Claudio Zamagni, SC 523 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 2008), 119–21; Eusebius, Syriac Questions 11.4, ed. and trans. Beyer, Gerhard, in “Die Evangelischen Fragen und Lösungen des Eusebius in Jakobitischer Überlieferung und deren Nestorianische Parallelen” [Eusebius's evangelic questions and answers in Jacobite transmission and their Nestorian parallels], Oriens Christianus 2, nos. 12–14 (1925): 3070, at 64–69;  Eusebius, Syriac Questions, bericht 6, ed. and trans. Beyer, Gerhard, in “Die Evangelischen Fragen und Lösungen des Eusebius in Jakobitischer Überlieferung und deren Nestorianische Parallelen” [Eusebius's evangelic questions and answers in Jacobite transmission and their Nestorian parallels], Oriens Christianus 3, no. 2 (1927): 5769, at 66–67. For dating, see Zamagni, Questions évangéliques, 42–46.

46 On Severus's life and work, see recently Moss, Yonatan, Incorruptible Bodies: Christology, Society, and Authority in Late Antiquity, Christianity in Late Antiquity 1 (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016), 16. The claim that Severus's Roman legal training influenced his hermeneutics was raised by Roux, René, “The Concept of Orthodoxy in the Cathedral Homilies of Severus of Antioch,” Studia Patristica, no. 35 (2001): 487–93; Roux, René, “Severus of Antioch at the Crossroad of the Antiochene and Alexandrian Exegetical Tradition,” in Severus of Antioch: His Life and Times, ed. D'Alton, John and Youssef, Youhanna, Texts and Studies in Eastern Christianity 7 (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 160–82; Moss, Yonatan, “‘Packed with Patristic Testimonies’: Severus of Antioch and the Reinvention of the Church Fathers,” in Between Personal and Institutional Religion: Self, Doctrine, and Practice in Late Antique Eastern Christianity, ed. Bitton-Ashkelony, Bruria and Perrone, Lorenzo, Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 15 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), 227–50; and Yonatan Moss  Incorruptible Bodies, 126–34.

47 Severus of Antioch, Homily 95, in Les Homiliae cathedrales de Sévère d'Antioche: Homélies XCI à XCVIII, ed. and trans. Maurice Brière, Patrologia Orientalis 121 (25.1) (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1943), 80–84. (Hereafter all references to the Patrologia Orientalis are abbreviated PO.)

48 Jerome, Matthew 1.16, in Commentaire sur saint Matthieu, vol. 1, Livres I–II, ed. Émile Bonnard, SC 242 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1977), 74–77, in response to Emperor Julianus, whose composition Against the Galilaeans is preserved by Cyril of Alexandria. For this section, see Cyril of Alexandria, Contra Julianum 8.261 (PG 76), 900D. For dating, see Bonnard's introduction to Commentaire sur saint Matthieu (SC 242), at 11–12.

49 Ambrose, Luke 3.15, in Traité sur l’Évangile de S. Luc, vol. 1, ed. Gabriel Tissot, SC 45 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1956), 127. For dating, see pages 9–11.

50 Hilary of Poitiers, Matthew 1.1, in Sur Matthieu, Chap. 1–13, ed. Jean Doignon, SC 254 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1978), 90–93. Unlike the other commentators, Hilary of Poitiers adds that the levir should be the eldest brother. A similar requirement also appears in rabbinic sources: Mishnah, Yebamot 2:8; Tosefta, Yebamot 4:3; Sifre Deuteronomy 289, in Finkelstein, Sifre Deuteronomy, 307; Palestinian Talmud, Yebamot 2:8, 4b, in The Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language (Jerusalem: The Academy of the Hebrew Language, 2001), 840:10–16 (hereafter Academy ed.); Babylonian Talmud, Yebamot 24a. The Sifre, Palestinian Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud learn this from Deuteronomy 25:6: “And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother,” even though this verse describes the oldest son, rather than the oldest brother. A similar process may have occurred in Hilary's reading of Deuteronomy 25:6.

51 Ambrosiaster, Question 56, falsely attributed to Augustine and published in Pseudo Augustini, quaestiones veteris et novi testament CXXVII, ed. Alexander Souter, CSEL 50 (Vienna: F. Tempsky 1908), 101–03. For this reference, I used the forthcoming edition by Marie-Pierre Bussières and thank her for sharing her unpublished materials with me.

52 Augustine, Retractations 33.2, in Sancti Aureli Augustini, Retractationum libri duo, ed. Pius Knoll, CSEL 36 (Vienna: F. Tempsky 1902), 139–40; Augustine, Retractations 42, in Knoll, Sancti Aureli Augustini (CSEL 36), 149–51. See also Augustine, Contra Faustum 3.3, in S. Aureli Augustini, ed. Joseph Zycha, CSEL 25.1 (Vienna: F. Tempsky 1891), 249–797, at 263–65, to which Augustine himself refers. In this section Augustine explains the concept of adoption and its relation to Christianity.

53 While Jean-René Vieillefond argued that Julius Africanus was a Jew, Ephrat Habas-Rubin showed he was not: Jean-René Vieillefond, Les “Cestes” de Julius Africanus: Étude sur l'ensemble des fragments, avec édition, traduction et commentaires [The “Cestes” of Julius Africanus: Studies of the fragments, with an edition, translation and commentaries], Publications de l'institut français de florence Ie série, Collection d’études d'histoire, De critique et de philologie 20 (Firenze: Sansoni, 1970); Habas-Rubin, Ephrat, “The Jewish Origin of Julius AfricanusJournal of Jewish Studies 45, no. 1 (1994): 8691. For Africanus's general use of Palestinian sources in other cases, see Adler, William, “Sextus Julius Africanus and the Roman Near East in the Third Century,” Journal of Theological Studies 55, no. 2 (2004): 520–50; Adler, William, “The ‘Chronographiae’ of Julius Africanus and its Jewish Antecedents,” Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 14, no. 3 (2011): 496524.

54 The lack of concept of adoption in late antique as well as modern halakha was not significantly discussed. For the latest discussion, see my study on child exposure, Monnickendam, Yifat, “The Exposed Child: Transplanting Roman Law into Late Antique Jewish and Christian Legal Discourse.American Journal of Legal History 59, no. 1 (2019): 130, at 9–18 and the bibliography noted there. For the definition of a mamzer, who may not marry a Jew yet is not disinherited and is viewed as a son of his parents, see the following: Epstein, Louis M., Marriage Laws in the Bible and the Talmud, Harvard Semitic Series (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1942), 279–82; Cohen, Boaz, “On the Theme of Betrothal in Jewish and Roman Law,” Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, no. 18 (1948–49): 67135, 110; Büchler, Adulph, “Family Purity and Family Impurity in Jerusalem before the Year 70 CE,” in Studies in Jewish History: The Adolph Büchler Memorial Volume, ed. Brodie, Israel and Rabbinowitz, Joseph B., Jews’ College Publications, n.s. 1 (London: Oxford University Press, 1956), 6498, at 72–81; Touati, Charles, “Le Mamzer, la Zona et le statut des enfants issus d'un mariage mixte en droit rabbinique” [The Mamzer, the Zona and the status of children born of mixed marriage in rabbinic law], in Les Juifs au regard de l'histoire: mélanges en l'honneur de Bernhard Blumenkranz [The Jews in history: Collection in honor of Bernhard Blumenkranz], ed. Dahan, Gilbert (Paris: Picard, 1985), 3747, at 37–39; Levitsky, Joseph, “The Illegitimate Child (Mamzer) in Jewish Law,” Jewish Bible Quarterly 18, no. 1 (1989): 612; Cohen, Shaye J. D., The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties, Hellenistic Culture and Society 31 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 263307. Regarding the possible influence of conubium on rabbinic halakha, see Katzoff, Ranon, “Children of Intermarriage: Roman and Jewish Conception,” in Rabbinic Law in Its Roman and Near Eastern Context, ed. Hezser, Catherine, Texte und Studien zum Antiken Judentum 97 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 277–86.

55 Sifre Deuteronomy 289, in Finkelstein, Sifre Deuteronomy, 307; Midrash Tannaim to Deuteronomy, 25:6, Der Midrasch Tannaim zum Deuteronomium, ed. David Zvi Hoffmann (Berlin: Itzkowski, 1909), 166; Babylonian Talmud, Yebamot 24a; the discussion of Weisberg, Levirate Marriage and the Family in Ancient Judaism, 174–76.

56 Sifre Deuteronomy 288, in Finkelstein, Sifre Deuteronomy, 306; Sifre Zuta Deuteronomy 25:5, in Sifre Zuta on Deuteronomy, Citations from a New Tannaitic Midrash, ed. Menahem Kahana (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2002), 387–92, and the discussion at 387–90, where Kahana distinguishes between the two hermeneutical ways to restrict levirate marriage to paternal brothers alone; Hoffman, Midrash Tannaim to Deuteronomy,  25:5, 164; Palestinian Talmud, Yebamot 1:1, 2b, in Academy ed., 829:33–36, 42–44; Yebamot 1:1, 2d, in Academy ed., 832:7–12; Babylonian Talmud, Yebamot 17b.

57 Christian literature uses no specific term to describe levirate marriage. The Septuagint does not employ any particular terminology in translating the root יב"מ but rather several paraphrases (for example, Deuteronomy 25:6: ὁ ἀδελφὸς τοῦ ἀνδρὸς … καὶ συνοικήσει αὐτῇ, translating יְבָמָהּ… וְיִבְּמָהּ). The verb ἑπιγαμβρεύω appears here for the first time in this specific context. In the Septuagint it is used to refer to becoming an in-law through marriage (rather than to marry someone), with respect to any kind of marriage (rather than specifically levirate marriage, for example, Genesis 34:9; I Samuel 18:22–27; II Esdras 9:14; I Maccabees 10:54–56). Early Christian writers who use this term do not restrict it to levirate marriage (see for example, Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.21.24, in Stromate 1, ed. Claude Mondésert and Marcel Caster, SC 30 [Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1951], 137; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 10.8.2, in Lake, Ecclesiastical History, 466), other than in cases discussing Matthew 22:24 (for example, Epiphanius, Panarion 14.3.1, in Ancoratus und Panarion, ed. Karl Holl [Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung, 1915], 1:208; translation in The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis. Book I (sects. 1–46), Frank Williams [Leiden: Brill, 2009], 1:40).

58 Matthew 22:23–33 (New Revised Standard Version); Mark 12:18–27; Luke 20:27–40. For commentary, see Luz, Ulrich, Matthew 21–28, trans. Crouch, James E., Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 6874; Collins, Adela Yarbro, Mark, Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 557–64; Marcus, Joel, Mark 8–16, The Anchor Yale Bible 27A (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 826–36; Bovon, François, Luke 3, trans. Crouch, James E., Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 5878; Fitzmyer, Joseph A., The Gospel According to Luke (X–XXIV), The Anchor Bible 28A (New York: Doubleday, 1983), 1298–308.

59 Matthew 22:24; Mark 12:19 (ἐξαναστήσῃ); Luke 20:28 (ἐξαναστήσῃ); and similarly in Ruth 4:5, 10.

60 Tertullian, de resurrectione carnis 2.1, in Tertullian's Treatise on the Resurrection, ed. and trans. Ernest Evans (London: S.P.C.K., 1960), 4–7; Tertullian, de resurrectione carnis 36, in Evans, Tertullian's Treatise on the Resurrection, 98–102; Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 4.38, in Evans Adversus Marcionem, 474–81; Tertullian, Ad Uxorem 1.1.4–6, in À son Épouse, ed. and trans. Charles Munier, SC 273 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1980), 94–95; Irenaeus, Haereseas 4.5.2, in Contre les hérésies, Livre IV, ed. and trans. Adelin Rouseau, SC 100 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1965), 428–31; Methodius in Epiphanius, Panarion 64.43.1, in Holl, Ancoratus und Panarion, 2:466, and Williams, Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis 2:168.

61 Epiphanius, Panarion 14.3.1 in Holl, Ancoratus und Panarion, 1:208, and Williams, Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis 1:40.

62 For a similar claim in modern scholarship, see Urbach, Efraim Elimelech, “Inheritance Laws and After-Life,” Proceedings of the World Congress of Jewish Studies 1.4.1 (1965): 133–41. For the Jewish belief in the resurrection of the dead and the similarity between the Jewish and Christian apologetic claims, see Monnickendam, Yifat, “‘I Bring Death and Give Life, I Wound and Heal’ (Deut. 32:39): Two Versions of the Polemic on the Resurrection of the Dead,” Henoch 35, no. 1 (2013): 90118, and the bibliography noted there.

63 Guignard, La lettre de Julius Africanus, 296.

64 Eusebius, Greek Questions 4.2, in Zamagni, Q uestions Évangéliques, 119–21; Syriac Questions 11.4, in Beyer, “Die Evangelischen Fragen” [1925], 64–69; Syriac Questions, bericht 6, in Beyer, “Die Evangelischen Fragen” [1927], 66–67.

65 Ephrem, Diatessaron 16.22, in Commentaire de l’évangile concordant: texte syriaque (manuscrit chester beatty 709), ed. Louis Leloir (Dublin: Hodges Figgis, 1963), 180; translation in McCarthy, Carmel, Saint Ephrem's Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron: An English Translation of Chester Beatty Syriac MS 709, Journal of Semitic Studies Supplement 2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 254.

66 Ambrose, Luke 3.15, in Tissot, Traité sur l’Évangile de S. Luc (SC 45), 127–28.

67 Jerome, Matthew 3.22.23–25, in Commentaire sur s. Matthieu, vol. 2., Livres III et IV, ed. and trans. Émile Bonnard, SC 259 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1979), 150–53. See Scheck, Thomas P., St. Jerome: Commentary on Matthew, The Fathers of the Church 117 (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2008), 254, who related this to Tobit 3.8–9. Similar cases are also discussed in rabbinic literature, such as Palestinian Talmud, Yebamot 4:11, 6c, in Academy ed., 852:21–30. Following Mishnah, Yebamot 4:11 regarding a man who must marry the three widows of his three deceased and childless brothers, the Palestinian Talmud raises a question concerning a man who must marry the twelve widows of his twelve deceased and childless brothers. This question is probably theoretical, yet may reflect a reality of multiple levirate marriages. For further discussion, see Schremer, Male and Female, 200–01 and the further bibliography noted there.

68 John Chrysostom, Matthew 70.2 (PG 58), 657. See also Epiphanius, Panarion 64.43.1 in Holl, Ancoratus und Panarion, 2:466, and the translation of Williams, Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, 2:168.

69 Matthew 14:3–5, (New Revised Standard Version). See also Mark 6:17–18; Luke 3:19. For commentary, see Luz, Matthew 21–28, 305–09; Hagner, Donald A., Matthew 14–28, Word Biblical Commentary 33B (Dallas: Word Books, 1995), 412; Yarbro Collins, Mark, 307; Mann, Carl S., Mark, The Anchor Bible 27 (New York: Doubleday, 1986), 296; Guelich, Robert A., Mark 1–8:26, Word Biblical Commentary 34A (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), 330–31; Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke (I–IX), 476–478; Nolland, Luke 1–9:20, 155–57; Bovon, Luke 1, 127–28.

70 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18.109 and 18.136; see also the discussion in Kokkinos, Nikos, “Which Salome Did Aristobulus Marry?,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 118, no. 1 (1986): 3350, at 39–42.

71 Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 4.34.8–9, in Evans, Adversus Marcionem, 452–53.

72 Origen, Matthew 10.21, in Origenes Matthäuserklärung, ed. Erich Klostermann, Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller 40.10 (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1935), 29, mentions the fact that Philip had a daughter, and was possibly even alive; similarly, see Origen, Homilies on Luke 27.3, in Homélies sur s. Luc, ed. and trans. Henri Crouzel, François Fournier, and Pierre Périchon, SC 87 (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1962), 346–47.

73 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 1.11.1, in Lake, Ecclesiastical History, 78–79, who cites Josephus, claiming that Herod divorced his own wife and forced Herodias to divorce Philip, enabling their marriage.

74 Jerome, Matthew 2.14.3–4, in Bonnard, Commentaire sur saint Matthieu, II (SC 242), 296–99.

75 John Chrysostom, Matthew 48.3–4 (PG 58), 489.

76 Ambrose, Psalms 35.13, in Explanatio psalmorum xii, ed. Michael Petschenig, CSEL 64 (Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1919), 58–59.

77 See Duval, Yves-Marie, La décrétale ad gallos episcopos: Son texte et son auteur [The Decretal ad Gallos episcopos: Its text and composer], Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 73 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 3841 and discussion at 100–02; Reutter, Ursula, Damasus, Bischof von Rom (366–84): Leben und Werk [Damasus, Bishop of Rome (366–84): Life and work], Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum 55 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 203–04. The authorship and dating of this letter are debated. Duval, La décrétale, 1–7, reviewed previous research and argued that Damasus, the preceding pope, wrote this letter. Later, Hornung, Christian, Directa ad decessorem: ein kirchenhistorisch-philologischer Kommentar zur ersten decretale des Siricius von Rom [Directa ad decessorem: A commentary of church history and philology on the First Decretal of Siricius of Rome], Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum. Kleine Reihe 8 (Münster: Aschendorff, 2011), 267–83, claimed that it was written by Siricius. The difference in dating, however, is not significant; it was written toward the end of the fourth century.

78 For convenience, I have used the common spelling of the names Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi, rather than a transliteration of the Greek—Boos, Routh, and Noemin.

79 Ruth 4:1–12 (New English Translation of the Septuagint; minor changes to translation by author). The Septuagint was the text most Christian writers used, including Severus of Antioch. See, for example, Ruth 4:4 אִם־תִּגְאַל גְּאָל : “if you are willing to redeem, redeem,” is translated in the Peshitta as (if you demand, demand), and in the Septuagint as εἰ ἀγχιστεύεις, ἀγχίστευε (if you are acting as next-of-kin, act as next-of-kin). Severus's version is closest to that of the Septuagint:   (if you are the next-of-kin, be the next-of-kin). This phenomenon continues throughout Severus's citations.

80 For further discussion, focusing mainly on the Hebrew biblical text, see Jack M. Sasson, Ruth: A New Translation with a Philological Commentary and Formalist-Folklorist Interpretation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press), 102–57; Jeremy Schipper, Ruth: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Yale Bible 7D (New Haven: Yale University Press), 162–77.

81 Babylonian Talmud, Ketubbot 7a–7b; Palestinian Talmud, Ketubbot 1:1, 25a, in Academy ed., 954:32–34.

82 Babylonian Talmud, Baba Meṣiʿa 7a; Baba Meṣiʿa 47a; Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 45b.

83 Severus of Antioch, Homily 95, in Brière, Les Homiliae cathedrales de Sévère d'Antioche: Homélies XCI à XCVIII (PO 121), 80–82. (My translation.)

84 Severus of Antioch, Homily 95, in Brière, Les Homiliae cathedrales de Sévère d'Antioche (PO 121), 83–84.

85 Ambrose, De fide 3.10.69, in De fide ad Gratianum Augustum, CSEL 78, ed. Otto Faller, Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 78 (Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1962), 133–34; Ambrose, Psalms 43.64, in Petschenig, Explanatio psalmorum xii (CSEL 64), 307.

86 Ambrose, Luke 3.31–34, in Tissot, Traité sur l’Évangile de S. Luc (SC 45), 137–39.

87 John Chrysostom, Matthew 70.2 (PG 58), 657.

88 Guinot, Jean-Noël, “Theodoret Von Kyrrhos,” in Theologische Realenzyklopädie [Theological encyclopedia], ed. Müller, Gerhard, 36 vols. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2001), 33:250–54.

89 Theodoret of Cyrus, “The Questions on Ruth,” in The Questions on the Octateuch, vol. 2, On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, ed. and trans. John F. Petruccione and Robert C. Hill (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 2007), 362–375, at 368–75.

90 A brief survey of Biblia Patristica: Index des citations et allusions bibliques dans la littérature patristique [Index of biblical citations and allusions in patristic literature], ed. Jean Allenbach et al., 7 vols. (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1975–2000), yields only a few citations of Ruth. Nevertheless, within these, a considerable number refer to Ruth's Moabite lineage (for example, 1:4, 22) or to her marriage in chapter 4.

91 Regarding the epiklerate in ancient Greece, see Harrison, Alice Robin Walsham, The Law of Athens, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 1:132–08, 309–11; Lacey, Walter Kirkpatrick, The Family in Classical Greece (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1968), 139–45; Pomeroy, Sarah B., Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity (New York: Schocken Books, 1975), 40–41, 662; Schaps, David M., Economic Rights of Women in Ancient Greece (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1979), 2547. I thank Professor Uri Yiftach for this reference.

92 See, for example, the papyrus P. Cairo Isid. 77 from 320 CE, published in The Archive of Aurelius Isidorus in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the University of Michigan (P. Cair. Isidor.), ed. Arthur E. R. Boak and Herbert Chayyim Youtie (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1960).

93 Harpocration, Lexicon in decem oratores atticos [Lexicon of ten Attic orators], ed. Wilhelm Dindorf, 2 vols. (Groningen: Bouma's Boekhuis, 1969), Ἐπίδικος 1:123–24; Dionysius, Attika onomata [Attic names], in Untersuchungen zu den attizistischen Lexika [Investigations to the Attic lexica], ed. Hartmut Erbse (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1950), ἐπίκληρος; Moeris, Moeridis atticista, in Ps.-Herodian, de Figuris / Das Attizistische Lexikon Des Moeris, ed. Kerstin Hajdú and Dirk U. Hansen, Sammlung griechischer und lateinischer Grammatiker 9 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1998), 71–156, at 98, ἐπίκληρος; Pollux, Julius, Onomasticon 3.33, in Pollucis onomasticon, ed. Bethe, Erich, 3 vols. (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1900), 1:165; Timaeus, Lexicon Platonicum Πατρούχου παρθένου, in I lessici a Platone di Timeo Sofista e Pseudo-Didimo, ed. Stefano Valente, Sammlung griechischer und lateinischer Grammatiker 14 (Berlin: De Gruyter 2012), 180; Hesychius, ε236, ε4865, in Hesychii Alexandrini Lexicon, vol. 2 [Epsilon]–[Omikron], ed. Kurt Latte (Hauniae: E. Munksgaard, 1966), 9, 159.

94 Procopius, Historia arcana 5.20, in The Anecdota or Secret History, ed. and trans. Henry Bronson Dewing, LCL 290 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1969), 6:60–63; Procopius, Historia arcana 29.17–25, in Dewing, Anecdota, 6:338–43; Alciphron, Letters 1.6, in The Letters of Alciphron, Aelian and Philostratus, ed. and trans. Allen Rogers Benner and Francis H. Fobes, LCL 383 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1949), 38–341, at 50–51; Alciphron, Letters 3.28, in Benner and Fobes, The Letters of Alciphron, Aelian and Philostratus, 220–21.

95 Libanius, Declamations 32.1.7, my translation, following that of Russell, Donald Andrew, Libanius: Imaginary Speeches (London: Duckworth, 1996), 149. For dating, see Russell, Libanius, 1–15.

96 Philo, Laws 2.126, in Philo, vol. 7, ed. and trans. Francis Henry Colson, LCL 320 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1937), 380–81.

97 Sifra Emor 4.3; Babylonian Talmud, Baba Batra 120a; Babylonian Talmud, Taʿanit 30b. For the similarity and differences between epiklerate and the biblical levirate law, see Katz, Marilyn A., “Patriarchy and Inheritance in Greek and Biblical Antiquity: The Epiclerate and the Levirate,” Proceedings of the World Congress of Jewish Studies 10 A (1990): 159–66; Sealey, Raphael, The Justice of the Greeks (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1994), 8389. Cf. Satlow, Jewish Marriage, 186–89, 343–45, who claimed that the rabbinic explanation of Levirate marriage is that of the epiklerate.

98 Origen, Matthew 17.31, in Klostermann, Origenes Matthäuserklärung (GCS 40.10), 672–78.

99 Jerome, Matthew, 1.3.11, in Bonnard, Commentaire sur saint Matthieu (SC 242), 92–93, on the basis of Matthew 3.11 and Luke 3.16.

100 Ambrose, De fide 3.10.69–71, in Faller, De fide ad Gratianum Augustum (CSEL 78), 133–35 using Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:16. See also Ambrose, Luke 3.15, in Tissot, Traité sur l’Évangile de S. Luc (SC 45), 127–28; Ambrose, Psalms 43.64, in Petschenig, Explanatio psalmorum xii (CSEL 64), 307.

101 For the dating of Tertullian's various works to the beginning of the third century, see Barnes, Timothy D., Tertullian: A Historical and Literary Study (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 3048.

102 Tertullian preserves legal traditions that are similar to Roman law, as Gillian Clark and David Hunter have shown; see Clark, Gillian, “‘Spoiling the Egyptians’: Roman Law and Christian Exegesis in Late Antiquity,” in Law, Society, and Authority in Late Antiquity, ed. Mathisen, Ralph W. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 133–47, at 137–38; Hunter, David G., “Marrying and the Tabulae Nuptiales in Roman North Africa from Tertullian to Augustine,” in To Have and to Hold: Marrying and its Documentation in Western Christendom, 400–1600, ed. Reynolds, Philip Lyndon and Witte, John (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 95113, at 99–102. This resemblance led to a discussion of the possibility that Tertullian, the Christian writer, was actually a jurist, or even the Roman jurist Tertullianus. For further discussion, see Barnes, Tertullian, 22–29; Rankin, David, “Was Tertullian a Jurist?,” Studia Patristica, no. 31 (1997): 335–42; and Harries, Jill, “Tertullianus & Son?,” in A Wandering Galilean: Essays in Honour of Seán Freyne, ed. Rodgers, Zuleika, Daly-Denton, Margaret, and Fitzpatrick-McKinley, Anne, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 132 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 385–99. While it is not clear that Tertullian was, indeed, Tertullianus the jurist, the sources supporting this claim surely serve as evidence regarding his broad legal knowledge.

103 Tertullian, De monogamia 7, in Le Mariage unique, SC 343, ed. Paul Mattei (Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1988), 156–63. For a similar claim, see Tertullian, De monogamia 16.4–5, in Mattei, Le Mariage unique (SC 343), 202–05.

104 Leviticus 18:18 structured on the model of Deuteronomy 27:15–26.

105 Duval, La décrétale ad gallos episcopos, 38–41, and discussion at 100–02; Reutter, Damasus, Bischof von Rom, 203–04. (My translation.)

106 Theodoret of Cyrus, “Questions on Deuteronomy,” in Petruccione and Hill, The Questions on the Octateuch, 2:170–259, at 222–23.

107 For a survey of research on the false attribution to Justin Martyr, and the dating to mid-fifth-century Syria, see Toth, Peter, “New Questions on Old Answers: Towards a Critical Edition of the Answers to the Orthodox of Pseudo-Justin,” Journal of Theological Studies 65, no. 2 (2014): 550–99. For further discussion regarding the genre of Questions and Answers, see Papadoyannakis, Yannis, “Instruction by Question and Answer: The Case of Late Antique and Byzantine Erotapokriseis,” in Greek Literature in Late Antiquity: Dynamism, Didacticism, Classicism, ed. Fitzgerald, Scott Johnson (London: Routledge, 2016), 91105.

108 Quaestiones et Responsiones ad Orthodoxos 132, in Corpus apologetarum Christianorum saeculi secondi, vol. 5, ed. J. C. T. Otto (Jena: Mauke, 1881), 482–83. (My translation).

109 On the tension between promoting asceticism, as in the writings of Tertullian and Origen, and the endorsement of marriage, especially for the purpose of begetting children, see, among others, Hunter, David G., “The Reception and Interpretation of Paul in Late Antiquity: 1 Corinthians 7 and the Ascetic Debates,” in The Reception and Interpretation of the Bible in Late Antiquity: Proceedings of the Montréal Colloquium in Honour of Charles Kannengiesser, 11–13 October 2006, ed. di Tommaso, Lorenzo and Turcescu, Lucian, Bible in Ancient Christianity 6 (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 163–91.

110 Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:9.

111 The epiklerate has been discussed in comparison to Numbers 27:1–11, the case of the daughters of Zelophehad. As their father had no sons, they as daughters inherit his property but must marry their kinsmen to ensure that the inheritance remains within their tribe. In this case, however, there is no claim that the daughters’ children are the heirs of the deceased. Rather, they are the heirs of their fathers, who inherit the property from their wives, the daughters of Zelophehad. For further discussion on the difference between epiklerate and the biblical levirate law, see Katz, “Patriarchy and Inheritance”; Sealey, The Justice of the Greeks, 83–89.

112 Alan Watson has discussed legal transplants on several occasions. For his main discussion, see Watson, Alan, Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1974). Likewise, he has argued that law is not influenced by society, mainly focusing on Roman law. For this claim, see the following: Watson, Alan, The Making of the Civil Law (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981); Watson, Alan, Sources of Law, Legal Change, and Ambiguity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984); Watson, Alan, Society and Legal Change (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001); Watson, Alan, “Legal Change: Sources of Law and Legal Culture,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 131, no. 5 (1983): 1121–57; Watson, Alan, The Spirit of Roman Law, The Spirit of the Laws 1 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995); Watson, Alan, “Law and Society,” in Beyond Dogmatics: Law and Society in the Roman World, ed. Cairns, John W. and du Plessis, Paul J., Edinburgh Studies in Law 3 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), 935.

113 Concerning this term in understanding Watson's theory, see especially Ewald, William, “Comparative Jurisprudence (II): The Logic of Legal Transplants,” American Journal of Comparative Law 43, no. 4 (1995): 489510.

114 Legrand, Pierre, “The Impossibility of Legal Transplants,” Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law 4, no. 2 (1997): 111–24. Legrand wrote this paper as a response to Watson's description of legal transplants, which led to a vehement debate on this concept. While Legrand did not necessarily describe Watson's claims accurately, he nevertheless highlighted the importance of noting the significant changes in legal traditions when transferred to a different habitat. For a review of this debate and further bibliography, see the edited collection by Nelken, David and Feest, Johannes, Adapting Legal Cultures (Oxford: Hart, 2001) and the recent survey by Beata Kviatek, “Explaining Legal Transplants: Transplantation of EU Law into Central Eastern Europe” (PhD diss., University of Groningen, 2015), 47–82.

115 Regarding the problem of parallelomania (a surplus of untested claims concerning parallels), see the fundamental article of Samuel Sandmel, “Parallelomania,” Journal of Biblical Literature 81, no. 1 (1962): 1–13. Six years later, Bernard Jackson expressed similar warnings regarding comparative law; see Jackson, Bernard S., “Evolution and Foreign Influence in Ancient Law,” American Journal of Comparative Law 16, no. 3 (1968): 372–90. In response, Howard Eilberg-Schwartz emphasized the importance of comparative studies, to understanding the similar ways remote cultures develop, even if not influenced by one another. See Eilberg-Schwartz, Howard, The Savage in Judaism: An Anthropology of Israelite Religion and Ancient Judaism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 87102. On the comparable phenomenon of polemomania (a surplus of ungrounded claims concerning polemics), see Goshen-Gottstein, Alon, “Polemomania: Methodological Reflection on the Study of the Judeo-Christian Controversy between the Talmudic Sages and Origin over the Interpretations of the Song of Songs,” Jewish Studies, no. 42 (2003–2004): 119–90. Israel Yuval responded to this claim, warning against parallelophobia, which leads to overlooking hidden polemics and the historical context in which these sources were written; see Yuval, Israel Jacob, “Christianity in Talmud and Midrash: Parallelomania or Parallelophobia?” in Transforming Relations: Essays on Jews and Christians throughout History in Honor of Michael A. Signer, ed. Harkins, Franklin T. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), 5074.

116 For this phenomenon, especially in the east, see, for example, Shepardson, Christine, “Anti-Judaic Rhetoric and Intra-Christian Conflict in the Sermons of Ephrem Syrus,” Studia Patristica, no. 35 (2001): 502–07; Shepardson, Christine, Anti-Judaism and Christian Orthodoxy: Ephrem's Hymns in Fourth-Century Syria, Patristic Monograph Series 20 (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2008).

117 For a similar claim, based on the Roman sources, see Colantuono, “Note sul canone 2 del concilio di Neocesarea.”

118 Examples of such models are usually found regarding ritual. See, for example, Ezra, Daniel Stökl Ben, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity: The Day of Atonement from Second Temple Judaism to the Fifth Century, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 163 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 261–89; and Tomson, Peter J., “Jewish Purity Laws as Viewed by the Church Fathers and by the Early Followers of Jesus,” in Purity and Holiness: The Heritage of Leviticus, ed. Poorthuis, Marcel and Schwartz, Joshua, Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series 2 (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 7391, regarding purity laws.

119 For the continued use of the Hebrew Bible and appreciation of the biblical law, see the survey by Frakes, Compiling the “Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum,” 136–40.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO


  • Yifat Monnickendam (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.