By Jacob Neusner

The Talmud - the Mishnah, a philosophical legislation code, and the Gemara, a dialectical statement upon the Mishnah - works by means of translating primary modes of Western philosophy and technological know-how into the research of the principles of rationality governing the principles of humble, daily truth. technology, particularly the tactic of hierarchical type attribute of ordinary background, offers the strategy of creating connections and drawing conclusions to the Mishnah, the law-code that varieties the foundation-document of the Talmud, as Neusner proven in his "Judaism as Philosophy. the strategy and Message of the Mishnah," the following he proceeds to teach how philosophy, particularly dialectical research, defines the good judgment of the Gemara and courses the writers of the Gemara's compositions and the compilers of its composites of their research and amplification of a few of the topical displays, or tractates, of the Mishnah.

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Extra info for Jerusalem and Athens: The Congruity of Talmudic and Classical Philosophy (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume 52)

Sample text

I maintain that that message and method exhibit congruence with philosophies of the same kind, that is, philosophies that, whole or in part, ask the same types of questions and pursue the same means for answering them. We pursue these matters in Chapter Two. 16 What I said about the points of commonality and difference with the Zoroastrian Rivayat-writing of a somewhat later period pertains here as well. 17 There, as I have already noted, the dispute gives way to considerable analytical arguments.

To begin with, some ancient writings exhibit marks of careful composition, and others do not. Some bear the marks of a single writer and attest to his idiosyncrasy, as in the ·case of Paul's letters. , are anonymous and laconic, avoiding marks of distinctive modes of personal expression. The Mishnah is a good example of that kind of public writing. Some adhere to a protocol of dignity and clarity and elegance of argument and expression, like the writings of Aphrahat. Others prove catch-as-catch-can, like major composites of the Talmud of Babylonia, which meander hither and yon, bear in their midst sizable interpolations, carry in their wake huge appendices of information lacking all clear argument.

C. Said R. Yohanan, "The Holy One, blessed be He, made a covenant with Israel only on account of words that are memorized: 'For by memorizing these words, I have made a covenant with you and with Israel' (Ex. " Bavli Gittin 60b For our sages, the medium of oral formulation and oral transmission, through memory, takes priority in the preservation of tradition. But the reasons given in the Phaedrus do not intersect with the theological convictions implicit in the Talmudic passage. What is important for our argument is only the shared point of insistence on the priority of a medium of formulation and transmission that is, by its nature, public.

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