By Richard Kalmin

The Babylonian Talmud was once compiled within the 3rd via 6th centuries CE, by means of rabbis dwelling lower than Sasanian Persian rule within the sector among the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. what sort of society did those rabbis inhabit? What influence did that society have on vital rabbinic texts?In this ebook Richard Kalmin deals an intensive reexamination of rabbinic tradition of past due vintage Babylonia. He indicates how this tradition used to be formed partially by way of Persia at the one hand, and through Roman Palestine at the different. The mid fourth century CE in Jewish Babylonia was once a interval of relatively severe “Palestinianization,” whilst that the Mesopotamian and east Persian Christian groups have been present process a interval of excessive “Syrianization.” Kalmin argues that those heavily similar techniques have been sped up by way of third-century Persian conquests deep into Roman territory, which ended in the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of Christian and Jewish population of the jap Roman provinces in Persian Mesopotamia, japanese Syria, and western Persia, profoundly changing the cultural panorama for hundreds of years to come.Kalmin additionally deals new interpretations of numerous attention-grabbing rabbinic texts of overdue antiquity. He exhibits how they've got frequently been misunderstood via historians who lack attentiveness to the position of nameless editors in glossing or emending previous texts and who insist on attributing those texts to 6th century editors instead of to storytellers and editors of previous centuries who brought alterations into the texts they realized and transmitted. He additionally demonstrates how Babylonian rabbis interacted with the non-rabbinic Jewish global, frequently within the type of the incorporation of centuries-old non-rabbinic Jewish texts into the constructing Talmud, instead of through the come across with real non-rabbinic Jews within the streets and marketplaces of Babylonia. every one of these texts have been “domesticated” sooner than their inclusion within the Babylonian Talmud, which used to be in general entire via the rabbinization of the non-rabbinic texts. Rabbis reworked a story’s protagonists into rabbis instead of kings or clergymen, or portrayed them learning Torah instead of undertaking different actions, considering the fact that Torah examine used to be seen through them because the most vital, possibly the single very important, human task. Kalmin’s arguments shed new gentle on rabbinic Judaism in overdue vintage society.

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Meir’s proof as one of similarity rather than complete identity. R. Meir, who asserts that ‘‘a man who is ritually impure by reason of a seminal emission . . chants the shema but does not do so loudly enough for his ears to hear,’’ wishes to show his opponents that there is another case in which special circumstances make it necessary to say the shema quietly. The action of R. Akiba and his students proves that there is religious value in saying the shema quietly when it is not possible or feasible to say it out loud.

Often, however, the process of rabbinization is incomplete; the priest or king is dominant and the rabbi only secondary or absent altogether, a claim I will substantiate in detail in chapters 2 and 3. Sometimes, in other words, nonrabbinic voices find a place, albeit muted, within rabbinic documents, and a source’s nonrabbinic features survive the process of editorial homogenization. And if nonrabbinic voices deriving from Josephus find their way into the Bavli, then why should the same not occur, at least occasionally, with nonrabbinic voices deriving from late antique Babylonia itself ?

Part A’s reference to Hanina occupying himself with one matter, Torah study, explains why he_ lacks sufficient merit and therefore will not be saved from the Romans; part A’s reference to Elazar occupying himself with deeds of lovingkindness and Torah study explains why he has sufficient merit and therefore will be saved. According to part A, Torah study and deeds of lovingkindness are not the reasons for the rabbis’ arrest; that point is not made until part B. 24 To sum up the discussion thus far, the first Palestinian tradition in the Bavli (part A), like the Palestinian tradition in Sifrei Deuteronomy, is not concerned with the question of why the Romans arrested Hanina ben Teradion and Elazar ben Perata.

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