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Q: Was polygamy accepted during the first century? How common was it in the first century?

A: The best record we have, from a traditional Jewish perspective, on first-century life would be the Talmud, the first stages of which were published around the year 200. Any legal matter pertaining to marriage very clearly accounted for the possibility of more than one wife – e.g. the Talmud discusses how to divide an estate between multiple wives, or how levirate marriage works if there’s more than one wife. There is one mention of a limit of 4, just as a practical matter of how much, um, “physical attention,” a normal guy can be expected to provide to all these women.

Jewish Life & Learning
Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture
Isaac E. Moses, Editor

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