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AJS Review 1985: Spring, No. 1 by Robert Chazan

By Robert Chazan

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The answer was obvious. 44. This is not, however, the logic of paragraph C; incestuous and various other prohibited relations produce a mamzer, not a fatherless child who follows its mother. THE ORIGINS OF THE MATRILINEAL PRINCIPLE 33 (the child is a gentile), the law had to penalize a Jewish woman who conceived a child from a gentile man: the child is a Jew but a mamzer. Roman law provides a good analogy to this process (see below). If this exegesis is correct, paragraph D of M. Kiddushin3:12, as elaborated by M.

43 summarizes the Periclean law as follows, "If our mother was not a citizen, we are not citizens" (quoted by Lacey, Family in Classical Greece, p. 282, n. 14). 19. This was sensed by Thomas de Vio Caietan (1469-1534) in his commentary on Ezra 10:5, 11, and 44; see his Opera Omnia quotquotin Sacrae Scripturae Expositionem Reperiuntur, THE ORIGINS OF THE MATRILINEAL PRINCIPLE 25 story, we mustascribeits originnot to Ezrabut to an unheraldedmemberof the clan of Elam. 20When confrontingthe biblical narrativesabout the heroes of Israel who married foreign women, an exegete committed to the matrilinealprincipleand to the prohibitionof intermarriagewith all gentileshas only threeoptions:(1) he can assertthat the principleand the prohibitionwere in effect in biblical times, but that they were occasionallyignored;(2) he can admit that the principleand the prohibitionwere not in effectin biblicaltimes;or (3) he can arguethat the principleand the prohibitionwere in effect and were observedby all.

104c). Nalhmanides and many other medieval commentators are puzzled by this statement, for how can the son of an Israelite woman, that is, a born Jew, convert to Judaism? None of the answers they offer is as strong as the question. 52 Similarly, some rabbis believed that the offspring of a gentile mother and a Jewish father was a mamzer, not a gentile. R. "53Even more extreme is the view of Jacob of Kefar Neburaya, who argued that such a child was a Jew in all respects-the old patrilineal view of 51.

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