Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Julia Belser


tzedakah charity, diasporic religious theory, mnemohistory, hebrew bible, rabbinic community, maimonides

Subject Categories



This thesis examines the reception of the tzedakah charity tradition through three dynamic periods of textual development: the Rabbinic Corpus, the Hebrew Bible, and the writings of Moses ben Maimonides. The purpose was to examine the narratives, social conditions, and textual development that contributed to an overall sense of Jewish justice. By utilizing the modern methods of diasporic religious theory and mnemohistory, the transtemporal ritualization of tzedakah charity emerges in light of diasporic attempts to negotiate boundary-making, collective identity, and social idealism. This thesis illuminates the influence of diaspora upon the formation of tzedakah, as the texts' authors fought to create/re-create a universal sense of Jewish identity, subsequently resulting in what Thomas Tweed calls "an imagined moral community."


© Krista Nichole Dalton

Campus Only