This book examines the nature and sources of the unique authority accorded in Judaism to the Sages of the first five centuries AD. These teachers-often referred to reverentially as Chazal, a Hebrew acronym for "our Sages of blessed memory"-occupy a central and unrivalled position in traditional Judaism. Their statements, collected in the vast corpus of Rabbinic literature, serve as the basis for Halakhah (Jewish law) which developed since the Babylonian Talmud was redacted over thirteen centuries ago. Berger critically examines the notion of the Sages' authority, laying bare the assumptions that undergird it and the implications that follow from it. Berger's purpose is not to justify specific normative claims about talmudic law, but to show the deeply nuanced concept of authority in a textual and interpretive tradition.
- Hardback | 240 pages
- 158.5 x 238.3 x 21.6mm | 576.07g
- 15 Oct 1998
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
Berger's pioneering work, fully documented and containing many fresh insights, will be helpful to readers who want a sophisticated understanding of who the Rabbis were and what they came to be, as the study of the Talmud engaged the mind of brilliant students throughout the ages. * Louis Jacobs, Times Literary Supplement *