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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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Composition as Critique

Composition as Critique

(p.81) Chapter Three Composition as Critique
Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud

Moulie Vidas

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines a thematic series of sugyot that concern the genealogical division of the Jewish people, arguing that the Babylonian Talmud trains its audience to view the production of genealogical knowledge, and the traditions in which it is transmitted, as manipulated and personally motivated. The chapter offers a critique of this genealogical knowledge, which encompasses statements, rulings, bits of information that the rabbis transmitted in the matter of Jewish genealogy, in particular, the classification of certain persons, families, or regions as genealogically “unfit” or “impure” for the purpose of marriage. Two principal sections of the Bavli's discussion of m. Qidd., each illustrating a different aspect of Talmudic composition, are analyzed. The first is a conversational sugya, which focuses on the purification of Israel. The second segment has at its center a long story about Rav Yehuda, and it concludes with a list of genealogical traditions.

Keywords:   sugyot, Jewish people, Babylonian Talmud, genealogical knowledge, rabbis, Jewish genealogy, sugya, Israel, Rav Yehuda, genealogical tradition

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