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An Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law$
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N. S. Hecht, B. S. Jackson, S. M. Passamaneck, Daniela Piattelli, and Alfredo Rabello

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262626.001.0001

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Halakhah and Law in the Period of the Geonim

Halakhah and Law in the Period of the Geonim

Chapter:
(p.196) (p.197) 8. Halakhah and Law in the Period of the Geonim
Source:
An Introduction to the History and Sources of Jewish Law
Author(s):

Gideon Libson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262626.003.0008

The geonic period signifies the five centuries between the consolidation of the Talmud during the sixth century C.E. and the emerge of the rishonim authorities in the eleventh. The name of this period was derived from ga' on: a term which meant ‘Excellency’ and was used to refer to the Sages who had authority over such agencies as the Academies of Sura and Pumbedita in Babylonia. This chapter makes use of four major sources of literature to look into the progress experienced by Jewish law in the geonic period: the Story of Nathan haBavli, the Epistle of Rav Sherira Gaon, shtarot from Cairo Genizah, and various letters that were written by the Geonim that include significant historical information. It is important to note that this chapter includes a discussion about the saboraic period (due to the similar nature of the Geonim and the Saboraim) which results in a difficulty in distinction between the two periods.

Keywords:   geonic period, Talmud, rishonim, Geonim, Saboraim

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