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Tractate Sanhedrin, Mishnah and Tosefta

by Herbert Danby


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This is a translation of the Talmud tractate Sanhedrin, which deals with judicial procedure, particularly relating to capital punishment. The author is a Christian academic, and the translation includes the primary text (Mishna) and the second-level commentary (Tosefta). This book is a good supplement to the Rodkinson translation of the same tractate, particularly because this version has extensive scholarly apparatus lacking in the Rodkinson translation.

Title Page
Synopsis of Contents

Jurisdiction of the Various Courts

Cases which can be tried by Three Judges
Cases which must be tried by the Lesser Sanhedrin
Cases which must be tried by the Greater Sanhedrin
Concerning the Number of Members in the Greater and Lesser Sanhedrins
The Duties and Restrictions relating to the High-Priest
The Duties and Restrictions relating to the King

II. Judicial Procedure

Those who are Eligible and those who are Ineligible as Judges or Witnesses
The Method of Legal Procedure in Non-Capital Cases
Differences in Legal Procedure distinguishing Capital from Non-Capital Cases
The Arrangement of the Court, and the Method adopted for adding to the Number of the Judges
The Method of admonishing Witnesses in Capital Cases
The Method of Legal Procedure in Capital Cases

III. The Four Capital Punishments

The Carrying out of the Sentence of Stoning
The Hanging and Ultimate Disposal of the Corpse
The other Forms of Death Penalty: Burning, Decapitation, and Strangulation

IV. Offenders Liable to Capital Punishment

A. Those Who Are Punishable By Stoning:
1-6. Those Guilty of Incestuous and Unnatural Crimes
7. The Blasphemer
8. The Idolater
9. He who offers his Children to Moloch
10-11. The Ba‘al ‘Ob and the Yidd‘oni
12. The Sabbath-breaker
13. Who curses His Parents
14. The Seducer of a Betrothed Damsel
15. The Beguiler to Idolatry
16. He who leads a Town astray
17. The Sorcerer
18. The Stubborn and Rebellious Son
The Housebreaker
Those who may be killed untried
B. Those Who Are Punishable By Burning
C. Those Who Are Punishable By Decapitation:
1. The Murderer
Irregular Justice

Interpolated Section

Those Who have no Share in the World to Come

Those Punishable By Decapitation (continued)

(2) The Members of a Beguiled City
D. Those Who Are Punishable By Strangulation:
(1) Who strikes his Father or Mother
(2) Who steals a Soul from Israel
(3) The Elder who defies the Court
(4) The False Prophet
(5) He who prophesies in the Name of a False God
(6) The Adulterer
(7) The False Witnesses against a Priest's Daughter


Index To Biblical Quotations In Mishnah And Tosefta
Rabbinical Authorities Mentioned or Quoted in Text
General Index