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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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The Debate about Recitation

The Debate about Recitation

(p.150) Chapter Five The Debate about Recitation
Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud

Moulie Vidas

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines discourses about recitation in Zoroastrian and Christian literature. It first considers a Zoroastrian distinction similar to the one the Babylonian Talmud makes between the reciter and the scholar. It then looks at a Christian author who is also using a negative portrayal of Zoroastrian recitation and argues that in both the Talmud and the Christian text, the representation of Zoroastrian practice is employed to promote particular visions of Judaism and Christianity and dehabilitate others. Both texts contrast the performative, embodying practice of recitation with the scholarly approach that they promote, and by associating that recitation with Zoroastrian ritual they seek to mark it as foreign, as non-Jewish or non-Christian. It is possible that the encounter with Zoroastrian culture, in which recitation took a central role as a main component of ritual and as the exclusive interface to sanctified traditions, increased the importance of recitation for some Mesopotamian Jews and Christians.

Keywords:   recitation, Zoroastrian literature, Christian literature, Babylonian Talmud, Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrian ritual, tradition, Jews, Christians

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