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Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud$
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Moulie Vidas

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154862

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154862.001.0001

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Scholars, Transmitters, and the Making of Talmud

Scholars, Transmitters, and the Making of Talmud

Chapter:
(p.115) Chapter Four Scholars, Transmitters, and the Making of Talmud
Source:
Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud
Author(s):

Moulie Vidas

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154862.003.0005

This chapter examines three passages that associate with the “conservative,” transmission-oriented aspects of Torah study the occupation with the two bodies of knowledge that the rabbis received: the Written Torah (Scripture) and the Oral Torah (rabbinic tradition). These passages are all premised on a dichotomy between the “received” knowledge of Scripture and oral tradition, on the one hand, and the innovative, creative aspects of study on the other. Building on the work of Daniel Boyarin, Jeffrey Rubenstein, and others who showed that the Babylonian Talmud places a high value on dialectic and analysis at the expense of tradition and memorization, the chapter demonstrates the centrality of this preference to the self-perception of the Talmud's creators and situates it within a polemical conversation among Jews in late ancient Mesopotamia.

Keywords:   rabbis, Torah study, Written Torah, Oral Torah, Scripture, oral tradition, Babylonian Talmud, dialectic, Jews, Mesopotamia

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