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Image of the Non-Jew in JudaismA Historical and Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws$
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David Novak

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764074

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764074.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

The Law of Sexual Relations

The Law of Sexual Relations

(p.113) Chapter Six The Law of Sexual Relations
Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism

David Novak

Liverpool University Press

This chapter evaluates how Noahide law forbids several types of sexual relations, including incest, homosexuality, and bestiality. Regarding attitudes towards incest, few differences can be found between Jews and non-Jews, although the rabbis recognized a significant dissimilarity toward relations between brother and sister. Noahide law was more permissive in this instance because it was also more general, whereas Jewish law knew of the specific prohibition of brother–sister relations. The rabbis were not the only Jews to reflect on prohibited relations: Philo held that sexual closeness between parents and children, or between siblings, breached the prior relationship of father and daughter, mother and son, or brother and sister. The chapter then looks at how the rabbis and later medieval thinkers addressed homosexuality, which was pervasive in the Greco-Roman world, and the nature of gentile family ties.

Keywords:   Noahide law, sexual relations, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, Jews, non-Jews, Jewish law, gentile family ties

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