Creation & Composition: The Contribution of the Bavli Redactors (Stammaim) to the Aggada

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The contributors to this book analyze how the redactors of the Talmud transformed and reworked earlier aggadic (non-legal) traditions. Critical study of the Babylonian Talmud is founded on the distinction between two literary strata: traditions attributed to named sages (the Amoraim, c. 200-450 CE) and setam hatalmud , the unattributed or anonymous material. The conclusion of modern scholars is that the anonymous stratum postdates the Amoraic stratum and should be attributed to the Talmudic redactors, also known as Stammaim (c. 450-700 CE.) The contribution of the Stammaim to the aggadic (non-legal) portions of the Talmud - to midrash, narratives, ethics and theology - has received minimal scholarly attention. The articles in this book demonstrate that the Stammaim made a profound contribution to the aggadic portions of the Babylonian Talmud and illustrate the processes by which they created and composed many aggadic traditions.
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Meet the Author

Jeffrey Rubenstein, Born 1964; B.A. in Religion from Oberlin College; M.A. in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary; Ph.D. from the Department of Religion of Columbia University; Professor in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies of New York University.
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Table of Contents

The power conferred by distance from power : redaction and meaning in b. A.Z. 10a-11a 23
A good story deserves retelling : the unfolding of the Akiva legend 71
"Rav Assi had this old mother" : the structure, meaning, and formation of a Talmudic story 101
"The holy one blessed be he ... does not permit the righteous to stumble" : reflections on the development of a remarkable BT theologoumenon 125
"The slave of a scholar is like a scholar" : stories about rabbis and their slaves in the Babylonian Talmud 181
Composition and redaction in Bavli, Pereq Heleq 201
Stammaitic historiography 219
The Yavneh-cycle of the Stammaim and the invention of the Rabbis 237
Agada unbound : inter-Agadic characterization of sages in the Bavli and implications for reading Agada 293
Aspects of the formation of the Talmud 339
The cultural dignity of narrative 361
The world of the 'sabboraim' : cultural aspects of post-redactional additions to the Bavli 383
Criteria of stammaitic intervention in Aggada 417
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