The Mind of the Talmud

The Mind of the Talmud : An Intellectual History of the Bavli

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This critical study traces the development of the literary forms and conventions of the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, analyzing those forms as expressions of emergent rabbinic ideology. The Bavli, which evolved between the third and sixth centuries in Sasanian Iran (Babylonia), is the most comprehensive of all documents produced by rabbinic Jews in late antiquity. It became the authoritative legal source for medieval Judaism, and for some its opinions remain definitive today. Kraemer here examines the characteristic preference for argumentation and process over settled conclusions of the Bavli. By tracing the evolution of the argumentational style, he describes the distinct eras in the development of rabbinic Judaism in Babylonia. He then analyzes the meaning of the disputational form and concludes that the talmudic form implies the inaccessibility of perfect truth and that on account of this opinion, the pursuit of truth, in the characteristic talmudic concern for rabbinic process, becomes the ultimate act of rabbinic piety.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 150.4 x 226.1 x 21.3mm | 507.6g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • tables
  • 0195062906
  • 9780195062908
  • 2,125,158

Review quote

this thoroughly revised version of his 1984 dissertation is ambitious in its scope, goals, and methods...Kraemer has provided a stimulating basis for further work...Kraemer has provided us with a stimulating and articulate view of one of the strands that makes up the tapestry that is the Babylonian Talmud...the attempt is praiseworthy, and the result still has much to recommend itself. No future work on these problems can ignore this study. * The Jewish Quarterly Review LXXXIV *
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