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Forms of Rabbinic Literature and ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Alexander Samely

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296736

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296736.001.0001

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Parts and Wholes in Rabbinic Literature

Parts and Wholes in Rabbinic Literature

Chapter:
(p.25) 2 Parts and Wholes in Rabbinic Literature
Source:
Forms of Rabbinic Literature and Thought
Author(s):

Alexander Samely (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296736.003.0003

This chapter examines if and how rabbinic literature constitutes a unified historical phenomenon. A number of observations supporting such a unity are presented. A crucial role is ascribed to the hermeneutic assumption of such a unity. This assumption is supported by the aggregate nature of rabbinic works. Some of the effects of the juxtaposition of individual statements are illustrated, and the unreliability of rabbinic general principles is emphasized. An account is given of the role which the assumption of an oral tradition might play in accounting for the aggregate nature of the texts.

Keywords:   rabbinic literature, unity, diversity, hermeneutic assumption, oral prehistory

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