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Collected EssaysVolume III$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113997

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.001.0001

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Jewish and Roman Law: A Study in Interaction

Jewish and Roman Law: A Study in Interaction

(p.379) Chapter Fourteen Jewish and Roman Law: A Study in Interaction
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the laws regulating usury (ribbit). In the course of studying ribbit, more specifically, the problem of personal surety in usury contracts, certain peculiar developments in Provençal halakhic thought came to the author's attention which were not explainable by indigenous forces. The geographical distribution of the discussion seemed oddly disproportionate, the fictions too blatant, the types of problem that were raised seemed inappropriate for the period, and the terminology was occasionally alien. The author was compelled to look outside Jewish law for possible stimuli. Placing the Jewish developments within the context of twelfth-century Provençal law shed light on a number of seemingly inexplicable points. The Jewish literature, on the other hand, provided new information about the Gentile law of the time and yielded fresh corroboration for theories of the penetration of Roman law in Provence. However, at the same time this material seemed to point to an earlier date for certain legal developments than is generally accepted. It is these findings that the author wishes to bring to the attention of the scholars of Provençal law.

Keywords:   usury, ribbit, personal surety, usury contracts, Provençal halakhic thought, Jewish law, Provençal law, Gentile law, Roman law

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