First Steps in the Talmud: A Guide to the Confused

Overview

The Talmud is a confusing piece of writing. It begins no where and ends no where but it does not move in a circle. It is written in several languages and follows rules that in certain circumstances trigger the use of one language over others. Its components are diverse. To translating it requires elaborate complementary language. It cannot be translated verbatim into any language. So a translation is a commentary in the most decisive way. The Talmud, accordingly, cannot be merely read but only studied. It ...
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First Steps in the Talmud: A Guide to the Confused

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Overview

The Talmud is a confusing piece of writing. It begins no where and ends no where but it does not move in a circle. It is written in several languages and follows rules that in certain circumstances trigger the use of one language over others. Its components are diverse. To translating it requires elaborate complementary language. It cannot be translated verbatim into any language. So a translation is a commentary in the most decisive way. The Talmud, accordingly, cannot be merely read but only studied. It contains diverse programs of writing, some descriptive and some analytical. A large segment of the writing follows a clear pattern, but the document encompasses vast components of miscellaneous collections of bits and pieces, odds and ends. It is a mishmash and a mess. Yet it defines the program of study of the community of Judaism and governs the articulation of the norms and laws of Judaism, its theology and its hermeneutics, Above all else, the Talmud of Babylonia is comprised of contention and produces conflict and disagreement, with little effort at a resolution No wonder the Talmud confuses its audience. But that does not explain the power of the Talmud to define Judaism and shape its intellect. This book guides those puzzled by the Talmud and shows the system and order that animate the text.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761854357
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 12/16/2010
  • Series: Studies in Judaism Series
  • Pages: 222
  • Sales rank: 1,305,457
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob Neusner is a leading figure in the American academic study of religion. He revolutionized the study of Judaism and brought it into the field of religion, built intellectual bridges between Judaism and other religions, thereby laying the groundwork for durable understanding and respect among religions. He has advanced the careers of younger scholars and teachers through his teaching and publication programs. Neusner's influence on the study of Judaism and religion is broad, powerful, distinctive, and enduring.
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Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 How Many Language Does the Talmud Need? 1

i Language as Taxonomy 1

ii The Rules for Using Hebrew and Aramaic in the Talmud of Babylonia 3

iii Illustrations 5

iv Prior Explanations of the Same Facts 13

2 Translating Rabbinic Documents 19

i The Importance of an Analytical Reference System 19

ii An Undifferentiated Composite of the Bavli 21

iii Form-Analytical Translation: Why It is Necessary 27

3 The Talmud's Primary Discourse 37

i How Shall We Define the Bavli's Mishnah-Commentary? 37

ii Traits of the Bavli's Commentary to the Mishnah 40

iii The Bavli's Primary Discourse 44

iv Rhetorical Paradigms. Scriptual Foundations of the Laws of the Mishnah 45

v Authorities behind the Laws of the Mishnah 47

vi Meanings of Words and Phrases 50

vii Text-Criticism. The Issue of Repetition 52

viii Conflict of Principles Implicit in the Mishnah's Rules 54

ix Execution of the Law of the Mishnah 55

x The Operative Consideration behind the Law of the Mishnah 55

xi The Implications, for the Law in General, of the Mishnah's Particular Formulation 56

xii Settling the Point Subject to Dispute in the Mishnah 59

xiii Theological Implications 60

4 Who Speaks Through the Bavli? 63

i Saying the Same Thing about Many Things 63

ii The Talmud's One Voice 64

iii The Talmud's Rules of Composition 66

iv Types of Forms and the Order of Types of Forms: Exegesis of the Mishnah 67

v Exegesis of the Mishnah 73

vi Speculation and Abstract Thought on Law 77

vii Scripture 85

viii From Mishnah-Exegesis to Legal Speculation 90

ix The Bavli's Formal Coherence 93

5 The Talmud's Massive Miscellanies 99

i What is a Massive Miscellany? 99

ii The Composition and the Composite 100

iii The Bavli's Massive Miscellanies: The Problem of Agglutinative Discourse 107

iv Traits of Agglutinative Discourse 132

v A Case of Agglutinative Discourse: Mishnah Berakhot 1:1 146

6 The Law Behind the Laws 153

i From Many Cases, One Principle 153

ii The Law Behind the Laws: A Case in Point 154

iii The Law Behind the Laws: Is It Permitted to take the Law into One's Own Hands? 177

iv The Survey of Ten of the Nineteen Tractates 182

v A Distinct Source or a Component of a Tradition? 193

1 Sustained and systematic or Subordinate and Episodic? 193

2 Another Kind of Mishnah-Commentary or a Mere Adumbration of Another Way of Thinking about the Contents of the Mishnah? 193

vi Describing the Bavli 194

vii Is the Bavli Much More than a Mishnah-Commentary? 195

viii Is the Bavli a Writing that is Systematic or (Merely) Agglutinative? 195

ix How Rich a Corpus of Sources in the Bavli's Traditions? 196

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