(Foreign Worship), the eighth tractate in the order Nezikin
, discusses, in five chapters, various laws regulating personal, business, and other types of interactions between Jews and Gentiles, especially idolaters. Its placement in Nezikin
is due, in part, to its association with Makkot
, which also deals with the laws of idolatry. The treatise contains a good deal of aggadic as well as important historical material concerning the relations between Jews and non-Jews, including Christians, Gnostics, and Zoroastrians. While the Bomberg text of Avodah zarah
is complete and unexpurgated, many later editions suffered grievous losses at the hands of Christian censors. In fact, the sixteenth-century Basel edition of the Babylonian Talmud omitted the tractate entirely. Intact early copies of the treatise are thus particularly scarce.
A.M. Habermann, Ha-madpis daniyyel bombirgi u-reshimat sifrei beit defuso (Safed: The Museum of Printing Art, 1978), 34 (no. 25).
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