Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud

Overview

Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud offers a new perspective on perhaps the most important religious text of the Jewish tradition. It is widely recognized that the creators of the Talmud innovatively interpreted and changed the older traditions on which they drew. Nevertheless, it has been assumed that the ancient rabbis were committed to maintaining continuity with the past. Moulie Vidas argues on the contrary that structural features of the Talmud were designed to produce a discontinuity with tradition, ...

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Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud

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Overview

Tradition and the Formation of the Talmud offers a new perspective on perhaps the most important religious text of the Jewish tradition. It is widely recognized that the creators of the Talmud innovatively interpreted and changed the older traditions on which they drew. Nevertheless, it has been assumed that the ancient rabbis were committed to maintaining continuity with the past. Moulie Vidas argues on the contrary that structural features of the Talmud were designed to produce a discontinuity with tradition, and that this discontinuity was part and parcel of the rabbis' self-conception. Both this self-conception and these structural features were part of a debate within and beyond the Jewish community about the transmission of tradition.

Focusing on the Babylonian Talmud, produced in the rabbinic academies of late ancient Mesopotamia, Vidas analyzes key passages to show how the Talmud's creators contrasted their own voice with that of their predecessors. He also examines Zoroastrian, Christian, and mystical Jewish sources to reconstruct the debates and wide-ranging conversations that shaped the Talmud's literary and intellectual character.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Vidas's book exemplifies the best possibilities of contemporary Talmud scholarship—a foretaste, in just those moments when it upsets received wisdom about the Talmud, of the next step in the ancient dance of new and old."—Raphael Magarik, MAKE Literary Productions
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691154862
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/4/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,296,881
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Moulie Vidas is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion and the Program in Judaic Studies at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents

A Note on Style Conventions vii
Introduction 1
PART I 21
Chapter One The Alterity of Tradition 23
Chapter Two The Division into Layers 45
Chapter Three Composition as Critique 81
PART II 113
Chapter Four Scholars, Transmitters, and the Making of talmud 115
Chapter Five The Debate about Recitation 150
Chapter Six Tradition and Vision 167
Conclusion 203
Acknowledgments 215
Bibliography 217
Source Index 233
Subject Index 237

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