The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud

The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud


By (author) David Weiss Halivni

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 236mm x 32mm | 600g
  • Publication date: 22 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199739889
  • ISBN 13: 9780199739882
  • Sales rank: 426,405

Product description

Jeffrey L. Rubenstein offers a translation from the Hebrew of The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud by David Weiss Halivni. Halivni's work is widely regarded as the most comprehensive scholarly examination of the processes of composition and editing of the Babylonian Talmud. Halivni presents the summation of a lifetime of scholarship and the conclusions of his multivolume Talmudic commentary, Sources and Traditions (Meqorot umesorot). Arguing against the traditional view that the Talmud was composed c. 450 CE by the last of the named sages in the Talmud, the Amoraim, Halivni proposes that its formation took place over a much longer period of time, not reaching its final form until about 750 CE. The Talmud consists of many literary strata or layers, with later layers constantly commenting upon and reinterpreting earlier layers. The later layers differ qualitatively from the earlier layers, and were composed by anonymous sages whom Halivni calls Stammaim. These sages were the true author-editors of the Talmud, who reconstructed the reasons underpinning earlier rulings, created the dialectical argumentation characteristic of the Talmud, and formulated the literary units that make up the Talmudic text. Halivni also discusses the history and development of rabbinic tradition from the Mishnah through the post-Talmud legal codes, the types of dialectical analysis found in the different rabbinic works, and the roles of reciters, transmitters, compilers, and editors in the composition of the Talmud. This volume contains an introduction and annotations by Jeffrey Rubenstein.

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Author information

DWH: Professor Emeritus of Classical Jewish Civilization, Columbia University. JLR: Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature, New York University.

Review quote

A lucid, helpful, and altogether gripping translation and condensation of Halivni s multi-volume Hebrew work, The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud...Editor Jeffrey Rubenstein is a master explainer, and as with his own important and crystalline books on the Talmud, ensures Halivni s thought is clear and well footnoted. This is not a breezy read. It is better, a challenging one. --TabletOne cannot underestimate the scale of what Halivni has accomplished...The sheer magnitude of the material that one must master before attempting a grand theory of the Talmud is mindboggling [Rubenstein] formulates Halivni s highly complex theory in a manner that can be understood even by someone who has never read a page of Talmud. It is worthwhile for anyone even peripherally interested in the field of Rabbincs to read this introduction. --The Talmud Blog"Jeffrey Rubenstein's new English translation of David Weiss Halivni's Formation of the Babylonian Talmud is a tremendous step forward in advancing the accessibility of critical Talmudic study. Professor Halivni's dedicated efforts toward rethinking our understanding of the composition of rabbinic texts, and the Babylonian Talmud in particular, has helped to revolutionize the field... Rubenstein's expert translation not only navigates the precision of the original Hebrew but presents a flowing style that is easy to follow." --The Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization"David Weiss Halivni is one of the world's preeminent Talmudists, and Jeffrey Rubenstein has done a real service in making Halivni's pioneering analyses accessible to a new audience. For anyone interested in the formation of the Talmud, this is the book." --Shaye J.D. Cohen, Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy, Harvard University"This volume brings to the reader a systematic statement of the results of more than a half-century of pioneering Talmudic research by Professor David Weiss Halivni. His work has li

Table of contents

Biography of David Weiss Halivni ; Translation Conventions ; Abbreviations ; Introduction by Jeffrey L. Rubenstein ; Preface ; I: The Stammaim ; II: The Editing of the Talmud ; III: Apodictic Transmission and Dialectical Argumentation ; IV: Compilers and Transposers ; V: Postscript ; Notes ; Annotations ; Selected Bibliography ; General Index ; Source Index