Are you enjoying growing your tomatoes this summer? Did you know that there were particularly Jewish gardens in the past? In this presentation, Dr. John Mandsager will show how early rabbinic Jewish literature (ca. 3rd century C.E.) presents a sophisticated spatial vision of Jewish rural life. He will discuss the garden in particular to show how the early rabbis imagine agricultural space to be well-ordered, while visually communicating the Jewish farmer’s Jewishness. Rabbinic attention to geometric precision in the creation of garden beds, in order to abide by the biblical prohibition against mixing crops in the same space (Lev 19:19 and Deut 22:9-11), and with an eye towards order and beauty, demonstrates the scrupulousness of the Jewish farmer, and overlaps and competes with gardens found in Roman villas. Roman spaces and Roman authors discussing the villa are overt in their presentation of aesthetic spatial ideals, and villas mixed ornamental and agricultural growth to utilitarian and aesthetic effect: in this presentation, he will show that the rabbinic attention to spatial details creates gardens that would not be foreign to Romans, yet emphasizes a particularly Jewish approach to gardening. The garden as a whole visually demonstrates the aesthetic refinement and managerial skill of the estate-owner, while the rabbinic garden additionally communicates the adherence to biblical law that marks the space as distinctly Jewish.