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December 1, 2004
9780801881398
English
248
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August 17, 2005
9780801882654
English
248
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.75 Pounds (US)
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v2.1 Reference

The Culture of the Babylonian Talmud

In this pathbreaking study Jeffrey L. Rubenstein reconstructs the cultural milieu of the rabbinic academy that produced the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, which quickly became the authoritative text of rabbinic Judaism and remains so to this day. Unlike the rabbis who had earlier produced the shorter Palestinian Talmud (the Yerushalmi) and who had passed on their teachings to students individually or in small and informal groups, the anonymous redactors of the Bavli were part of a large institution with a distinctive, isolated, and largely undocumented culture.

The Culture of the Babylonian Talmud explores the cultural world of these Babylonian rabbis and their students through the prism of the stories they included in the Bavli, showing how their presentation of earlier rabbinic teachings was influenced by their own values and practices. Among the topics explored in this broad-ranging work are the hierarchical structure of the rabbinic academy, the use of dialectics in teaching, the functions of violence and shame within the academy, the role of lineage in rabbinic leadership, the marital and family lives of the rabbis, and the relationship between the rabbis and the rest of the Jewish population. This book provides a unique and new perspective on the formative years of rabbinic Judaism and will be essential reading for all students of the Talmud.

About the Author

Jeffrey L. Rubenstein is a professor in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. He is the author of The History of Sukkot in the Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods, Rabbinic Stories, and Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition, and Culture, the last available from Johns Hopkins.

Reviews

"This well organized, well written, fascinating, broad ranging, carefully argued book reconstructs the cultural milieu of the rabbinic academy that produced the Babylonian Talmud (Bavli)."—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

"A picture of the inner life of rabbinic academies in late-antique Babylonia (now Iraq) . . . This book is important for all libraries with collections in Judaic or ancient religion."—Choice

"[Rubenstein's] style of writing is remarkably clear and deserves special recognition . . . His familiarity with the aggadot he analyzes, his precise translations, and his clear analysis make the book a pleasure to read. His historical conjectures and reconstructions make it a must."—Joshua Kulp, Journal of Biblical Literature

"Rubenstein remains a dynamic, productive scholar, whose future works should be looked forward to with anticipation and interest."—Sacha Stern, Journal of Jewish Studies

"Rubenstein's reconstruction of the social setting of the Bavli, building on the work of his previous book, Talmudic Stories, is remarkable because there is no direct evidence for the existence of such an Academy, or the anonymous scholars who labored in it. Recovering the distinctive culture that produced the Bavli is much like recovering the setting for the redaction of the Hebrew Bible. The Culture of the Babylonian Talmud fills a critical scholarly gap and should begin a healthy and overdue discussion of the role, culture, and underestimated contributions of the redactors of the Bavli."—Michael Satlow, Brown University

The Johns Hopkins University Press

9780801881398 : the-culture-of-the-babylonian-talmud-rubenstein
Electronic book text
248 Pages
$25.00 USD
9780801882654 : the-culture-of-the-babylonian-talmud-rubenstein
Paperback / softback
248 Pages
$25.00 USD

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