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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, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

The Law of Robbery

The Law of Robbery

(p.127) Chapter Seven The Law of Robbery
Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism

David Novak

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on the prohibition of robbery, which is based on the principle that society is necessary for human flourishing. And a central element of the construction of any human society is property, or the relation of persons to things, especially in economic transactions. The rabbinic tradition makes fine distinctions between Jews and gentiles regarding robbery, ultimately creating a double standard. Although the practical effects of a socially unfair law were removed, the rabbis maintained that Noahide law remained stricter than Jewish law regarding robbery. Like other violations of the Noahide commandments, the penalty was assumed to be death. In atypical historical circumstances—especially times of war or oppression—the rabbinic supposition was that all gentile robbery was aggressive and occurred because of anti-Jewish attitudes and not greed. Because the crime was ideological and not practical, its intent was far more lethal and therefore any act of robbery, no matter how minor, was to be punished with death.

Keywords:   robbery, rabbinic tradition, Jews, gentiles, Noahide law, Jewish law, Noahide commandments, death penalty, gentile robbery, anti-Jewish attitudes

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