This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about rabbinic texts of late antiquity and their application in the study of the history of late-Roman Palestine. It investigates whether these rabbinic texts existed in anything like their present form in late antiquity and examines the differing status as historical evidence for late antiquity of different sorts of rabbinic literature. It provides a series of thematic studies of historical topics for which rabbinic evidence has been considered as useful evidence and denied such a role by others.
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