Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Lawrence Toombs

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study is a detailed examination of the institution of betrothal in the early rabbinical literature. The primary sources for the study include the Mishnah, the Tosefta and the Babylonian Talmud. Part One of the thesis examines the procedural elements of betrothal: how a valid betrothal is contracted; the relative powers in the process of the three primary participants (the woman, her father and the man doing the betrothing); the significance of the betrothal: invalidating and terminating the betrothal. Part Two examines the rights and obligations which are associated with the betrothal period, especially in regard to the woman. The issues include: the levirate obligation; adultery; vows; the right to eat the priestly Heaven-offering; and, the marriage contract. The primary aim of the study is to determine the status and rights of the woman who is betrothed and to assess the relative authority of the institution of betrothal.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season