98 leaves (13¾ x 9¼ in.; 324 x 235 mm) including f. 57 in duplicate, title supplied in photocopy, double-leaf signatures; ff. 13-24 strengthened at gutter, ff. 16-24 supplied from another copy; water-staining especially in the beginning, some marginal mends. Half vellum.
Vinograd, Venice 29; Habermann 25
Avodah Zarah (Idolatrous Worship) is included in the order of Nezikin, since it is associated with the tractates Sanhedrin and Makkot, which also refer to laws on idolatry. The tractate contains a large percentage of aggadic material as well as important historical material concerning the relations between Jews and non-Jews. It conveys information on a variety of religions including Christianity, Gnosticism, and Zoroastrianism. In light of the often troubled relations with non-Jewish authorities, copies of this tractate, subject as they often were to heightened scrutiny and censorship, have always been particularly scarce. While the Bomberg text of Avodah Zarah is complete and unexpurgated, many later editions suffered grievous losses at the hands of Christian censors. The sixteenth century Basel edition of the Talmud omits the tractate entirely.
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