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The Mind of the Talmud : An Intellectual History of the Bavli - David Kraemer

The Mind of the Talmud

An Intellectual History of the Bavli

Hardcover Published: 6th December 1990
ISBN: 9780195062908
Number Of Pages: 240

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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.

"A very important contribution...to the modern study of rabbinic Judaism; any library with holdings in religious studies or Judaic studies should have this book."--Choice "Provides much food for thought for the history of rabbinic ideas."--Religious Studies Review "Using rigorous scholarly methods of literary criticism, the study of religion, and the sociology of knowledge ... Professor Kraemer docmuments how the structure of the Talmud speaks to the religiou struggles of today's Jews ... This book heralds a vital partnership between academy and synagogue."--Conservative Judaism "A delightful dance of theology and intellectual revisionism....Those who have the patience to follow the delights of his well wrought argument will close the book profoundly satisfied and deeply disturbed."--Shofar "A significant work--well thought through, balanced in its judgments, judicious in its criticism of other scholarship, vigorously and carefully argued, and lucidly written. It is very much on the forefront of its field, displaying considerable methodological and conceptual sophistication, and responding as well to much recent work in the areas of literary and rhetorical criticism, religious studies, and the sociology of knowledge."--Richard S. Sarason, Hebrew Union College "A very important contribution...to the modern study of rabbinic Judaism; any library with holdings in religious studies or Judaic studies should have this book."--Choice "Provides much food for thought for the history of rabbinic ideas."--Religious Studies Review "Using rigorous scholarly methods of literary criticism, the study of religion, and the sociology of knowledge ... Professor Kraemer docmuments how the structure of the Talmud speaks to the religiou struggles of today's Jews ... This book heralds a vital partnership between academy and synagogue."--Conservative Judaism "A delightful dance of theology and intellectual revisionism....Those who have the patience to follow the delights of his well wrought argument will close the book profoundly satisfied and deeply disturbed."--Shofar "A significant work--well thought through, balanced in its judgments, judicious in its criticism of other scholarship, vigorously and carefully argued, and lucidly written. It is very much on the forefront of its field, displaying considerable methodological and conceptual sophistication, and responding as well to much recent work in the areas of literary and rhetorical criticism, religious studies, and the sociology of knowledge."--Richard S. Sarason, Hebrew Union College "Ambitious in its scope, goals, and methods....Kraemer has provided a stimulating basis for further work....No future work in these problems can ignore this study."--The Jewish Quarterly Review

Glossaryp. xiii
Abbreviationsp. xv
Introductionp. 3
On Writing an Intellectual History of the Bavlip. 9
The Meaning of Literary Formsp. 9
The Bavli: A Preliminary Descriptionp. 16
The Bavli's Sources: On the Reliability of Attributionsp. 20
A History of Amoraic Literary Expressionp. 26
The First Amoraic Periodp. 30
The Second Amoraic Periodp. 35
The Third Amoraic Periodp. 39
The Meaning of the Evidencep. 41
The Preservation of Amoraic Argumentationp. 50
The Evidencep. 55
More Evidence and Conclusionsp. 63
The Data at a Glancep. 72
The Data in Detailp. 72
The Bavli Considered as a Wholep. 79
The Urgency for Argumentationp. 79
Building on Earlier Argumentationp. 80
Building on Brief Traditionsp. 84
Fictional Argumentationp. 87
Argumentation for Its Own Sakep. 90
The Bavli and the Yerushalmi Distinguishedp. 93
The Meaning of Argumentationp. 99
A Philosophical Analysis: The Indeterminability of Truthp. 99
Historical Underpinningsp. 112
Theological Underpinningsp. 120
The Erosion of Authority in the Bavli's Sourcesp. 127
The Bavli on "Truth,"p. 139
The Separation of Truth and Practicep. 139
The Centering of Human Reason: Reason and Revelationp. 146
Human Reason on Its Own Terms: Learning Becomes Torahp. 156
The Bavli in Comparative Perspectivep. 171
Truth in the Classical Philosophical Traditionp. 175
Religious Traditions and Truthp. 179
Philosophy Meets Scripturep. 183
In Conclusion: Why the Bavli?p. 187
Notesp. 191
Bibliographyp. 207
General Indexp. 213
Index to Primary Rabbinic Sourcesp. 217
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195062908
ISBN-10: 0195062906
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 6th December 1990
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.61 x 15.04  x 2.13
Weight (kg): 0.44