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The Matrilneal Principle in Historical Perspective

According to rabbinic law, the offspring of a marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew automatically receives the status of its mother. The origins of this law are obscure, but in all likelihood it was introduced no earlier than the 1st or 2nd century CE, either as the result of the influence of Roman law or as the result of a novel rabbinic theory concerning the status of mixtures. Before the introduction of this rabbinic law, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages almost always followed that of the father.

From the journal "Judaism," Volume 34 no 1, Winter 1985, p 5-13.

Type: Article

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