This book has argued that it is precisely when the Babylonian Talmud's creators seem most conservative—when they preserve traditions rather than reject or revise them—that we find their most profound break with tradition. It has examined recitation as a practice against which the Talmud's creators shape their own literary practice, as well as the authority of the Talmud as an important factor in the reception of the layered structure. This conclusion recapitulates the book's central arguments and considers their implications. It also offers some reflections on developments in Jewish history that directed rabbinic culture away from the concerns and contexts studied in this book. It suggests that even if the Talmud's negotiation of tradition and its ideology of scholarship were born out of a particular historical dynamic, they still belong in the longer intellectual history of Judaism.
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