The Jewish press in 1954 reported attempts to alter state laws so as to legalize marriages between uncle and niece, which is common in rabbinical circles. The Bible prohibits marriages between uncles and aunts, and with nieces and nephews, as incest. (Lev. 18:13,14).
Under "Talmudic Eugenics" in Baron's A Social and Religious History of the Jews (Jewish Publication Society, 1952), is this on incest: "In Egypt the Ptolemaic rulers themselves, for the most part, married their own sisters. In Parthia-Persia, marriages between parents and children were valid, and those among brothers and sisters were quite customary. [page 24] The Parsee religion ... encouraged such marriages as the fittest means of preserving family purity [cf. 'Yasna' 12, 9] ... . Artaxerxes 11 had married his two daughters, and . Mithraidates I had married his mother. Ardea Viraz is said to have married his seven sisters." (page 229, Volume 11) This was not harmful, we are told!
"On one point, particularly, Roman law differed from Jewish: marriages between an uncle and a niece. We recall that both Rabbi Eliezer and Abba married nieces, as did Rabbi Jose the Galilean . Rabbi Ishmael made a special effort to overrule his vow [not to marry his own niece] and to make the niece more attractive to him by improving her teeth . ." (page 230, same)
Moses commanded in God's name, that a woman should not marry her uncle, or a man his aunt. (Lev. 18:14) Nevertheless, today these "People of the Book" are striving to modify American state laws against such marriages, and have actually been successful in some states, on the ground that their "religion" requires such latitude.
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