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Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman PalestineDecoding the Literary Record$
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Richard Kalmin

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195306198.001.0001

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Jewish Sources of the Second Temple Period in Rabbinic Compilations of Late Antiquity

Jewish Sources of the Second Temple Period in Rabbinic Compilations of Late Antiquity

(p.61) 3 Jewish Sources of the Second Temple Period in Rabbinic Compilations of Late Antiquity
Jewish Babylonia between Persia and Roman Palestine

Richard Kalmin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter further exemplifies the claim regarding the Bavli's tendency to depict the most powerful groups and the major institutions of the distant past as controlled by rabbis, as opposed to the tendency of Palestinian rabbis to acknowledge the prominent role played by nonrabbis. It also supports the claim that the nonrabbinic Jewish world penetrated the walls of the Babylonian rabbinic study house in the form of literary traditions deriving from Roman Palestine, and perhaps from elsewhere in the Roman provincial world. It is shown that the rabbis domesticated these traditions by supplying them with a rabbinic veneer that transformed them into fit objects of Torah study. Several pre- and nonrabbinic traditions have been incorporated into the Tosefta, the Yerushalmi, and the Bavli, and all have been subjected to varying degrees of editorial revision and distortion. Palestinian rabbis emended these stories less radically than Babylonian rabbis, for reasons discussed in the previous chapter. This finding is significant, since it means that if we are able to correct for the distortions, rabbinic literature is a fruitful repository of nonrabbinic thought, belief, behavior, and gossip.

Keywords:   Bavli, rabbis, Judaism, Babylon, Torah, rabbinic literature

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