How does the inner logic of the Aggadah, its narrative and theology (whether systematic or merely episodic) match the deepest rationality of the Halakhah, its norms and foci and points of tension and remission of tension? The answer emerges from the comparison and contrast of the large, organizing aggregates of the Halakhah and of the Aggadah. The Halakhic and the Aggadic category formations are explained fully. In the Mishnah-Tosefta-Yerushalmi-Bavli we have the best of all possible Halakhic category-formations for the purpose of defining the structure of Israel's inner life, the social order of the kingdom of priests and the holy people that God had in mind in bringing Israel into being. In the Rabbah-midrash compilations and their companions, we have the best of all possible Aggadic category formations for the purpose of narrating the working of the system of Israel's public life, the story of that kingdom of priests and holy people in history. These are presented in two distinct exercises, deductive and inductive. The dual discourse tells a continuous story.
About the Author
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard as well. He also is a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, and Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, in England.