Reading the Rabbis: The Talmud as Literature / Edition 1

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Overview

Traditionally, the Talmud was read as law, that is, as the authoritative source for Jewish practice and obligations. To this end, it was studied at the level of its most minute details, with readers often ignoring the composite whole and attending only to final decisions. Methods of reading have shifted as more readers and students have turned to the Talmud for evidence of rabbinic history, religion, rhetoric, or anthropology; still, few have employed a genuinely literary approach. In Reading the Rabbis, Kraemer attempts to fill this gap. He uses the tools developed in the study of other literatures, particularly rhetorical and reader-response criticisms, to unearth previously unnoticed levels of meaning. His book offers a new understanding of the complexity of Rabbinic Judaism, and a new model of rabbinic piety.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A strong scholarly contribution to the field of Rabbinics in particular, and to Jewish studies and Theology in general....Reading the Rabbis, combined with Kraemer's earlier Mind of the Talmud, changes the field of Talmudic studies. Given that the field has been vigorously pursued for fifteen centuries, this is a remarkable achievement."—Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

"This collection of intertextually related essays...confirm the author as a fine interpreter of the rabbinic way....Gracefully written."—Choice

"A strong scholarly contribution to the field of Rabbinics in particular, and to Jewish studies and Theology in general....Reading the Rabbis, combined with Kraemer's earlier Mind of the Talmud, changes the field of Talmudic studies. Given that the field has been vigorously pursued for fifteen centuries, this is a remarkable achievement."—Burton L. Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary

"...this book makes an important argument for seeing the Bavli as literature, and for engaging in the analysis of sugyot from a literary perspective."—Hebrew Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195096231
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.63 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
1 Introduction: The Talmud as Religious Literature 3
2 Torah, Written and Oral 20
3 The Rabbis and Scripture 33
4 Rhetorics of Tradition and Innovation 49
5 On Truth, Human and Divine 60
6 Pluralism and Pragmatism 71
7 Women Categorized 86
8 The Problem with Foreskin: Circumcision, Gender, Impurity, and Death 109
9 On Human Suffering 124
10 The Difference a Lens Makes 142
Notes 151
Bibliography 159
Index 163
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