Polygyny
(2,316 words)

1. Medieval Period

Polygamy, the marriage of a man to more than one wife, was legal in Middle Eastern, North African, and Spanish Jewish communities throughout the Middle Ages. The legal basis for this practice lay in biblical and talmudic law (e.g., B.T. Yevamot 65a; Maimonides, Yad, Ishut 14:3). Rabbinic authorities in Western Europe, as early as the tenth century. promulgated the famous taqqana (legal enactment) known as the ḥerem de-rabbenu Gershom, which prohibited a man from marry…

Cite this page
Ruth Lamdan and Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, “Polygyny”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 23 April 2017
First published online: 2010



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