Monday, November 20, 2006

The Talmudic Puzzle

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It (the view of David Weiss-Halivni) isn't more conservative. His view is that in general when "the Gemara says" something it is unnamed individuals who created the cement, as it were, for the words of the amoraim, that they took those words and reconstructed debates over the meaning of the mishna. When the Gemara says things like "peshita," for example.

Suppose you removed all the text of the Gemara that isn't a quote and you were left with lots and lots of quotes relating to the mishnayos and many other things and tried to place them into a logical context. That, according to this theory, is what these people did and that is why our Talmud looks the way it does. The logical conclusion of this view that it is not the amoraim who placed their words into proper context is that their words are not necessarily now found in their original context.

Interesting. All the words of the Amoraim are not found in the Talmud in their original context. I imagine this makes the Talmud like one giant deliberate jigsaw puzzle where none of the pieces are where they are "originally" meant to be. Clever.

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