Building Blocks of Rabbinic Tradition: The Documentary Approach to the Study of Formative Judaism

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University Press of America, 2008 - Religion - 284 pages
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This book responds to a question that came to the author from Professor Maren Niehoff of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem: 'Have you written a simple introduction to your documentary theory and method, which can serve as a starting point for my students?' In this book are gathered eight of the more fundamental items of documentary theory and practice_three in theory, five in practice_for Professor Neihoff's students and anyone else who takes an interest in the formative history of Judaism. The documentary thesis of Rabbinic literature holds that the document_the Mishnah, Sifra, Lamentations, Rabbah, the Bavli, for example_forms the basic building block of the Rabbinic tradition. Excluded by that definition are sayings attributed to, and stories told about, named sages. These cannot serve in the reconstruction of the Rabbinic tradition, its literature, history, religion, and theology.

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
THE DOCUMENTARY FOUNDATION OF RABBINIC CULTURE
25
HOW DOCUMENTS RELATE AND WHY IT MATTERS
39
DOCUMENTS AND THEIR TRAITS FORM ANALYSIS AND
47
Why It Matters
76
EXTRA AND NONDOCUMENTARY WRITING IN THE RABBINIC CANON
83
THE MISHNAHS EXTRADOCUMENTARY FORMS AND
105
When Sages Wrote for the Mishnah They Wrote with the Mishnahs
155
Redaction and Writing The Extreme Case of the Mishnah
164
Pericopes Framed for the purposes of a Particular Document But Not
170
The Three Stages of Literary Formation
178
Not the Parable an Autonomous Literary Genre but Parabolic
200
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF JACOB NEUSNER
209
Copyright

About the author (2008)

Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Theology at Bard College and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard as well. He is a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ and Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, in England. He has published more than 900 books and unnumbered articles, both scholarly and academic and popular and journalistic, and is the most published humanities scholar in the world.

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