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Talmudic Stories

Narrative Art, Composition, and Culture

Jeffrey L. Rubenstein

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Winner of the National Jewish Book Award from the Jewish Book Council

How should we understand the stories of the Babylonian Talmud? Where do they come from? Why are they in the Talmud? How do they relate to Talmudic law? In Talmudic Stories, Jeffrey Rubenstein deepens our appreciation for the complexity of these texts by drawing attention to the literary aspects and cultural contexts that are essential to understanding their narrative art, meanings, and importance. Focusing on six famous stories of the Babylonian Talmud and discussing many others in relation to these, Rubenstein's analysis...

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award from the Jewish Book Council

How should we understand the stories of the Babylonian Talmud? Where do they come from? Why are they in the Talmud? How do they relate to Talmudic law? In Talmudic Stories, Jeffrey Rubenstein deepens our appreciation for the complexity of these texts by drawing attention to the literary aspects and cultural contexts that are essential to understanding their narrative art, meanings, and importance. Focusing on six famous stories of the Babylonian Talmud and discussing many others in relation to these, Rubenstein's analysis illuminates the ways in which the rabbis used narratives to grapple with fundamental tensions of their culture. The book also features an appendix including the original Hebrew/Aramaic texts for the reader's reference.

Reviews

Reviews

This book offers the best set of literary readings of Talmudic materials in English, and the best English introduction to the issues such readings entail, that this reviewer has seen.

This book goes well beyond the explanation of difficult Talmudic stories. It presents, indeed, an entirely innovative theory. Rubenstein's argument is not only important, but also, I think, persuasive. This book should not be allowed to go unnoticed: in a well-trodden field like Talmudic studies one rarely gets the feeling that a major breakthrough has been achieved.

Rubenstein has produced a fascinating volume... Anyone who reads this book will find important new insights.

This is a mature work, in which the author invested much labor and thought. The thoroughness, methodical diversity, and scholarly discretion can serve as a model of the demanding standards that are to be expected from serious research into rabbinic literature.

It analyzes several notable rabbinic stories in a fresh and detailed manner.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
456
ISBN
9780801877544
Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Torah, Shame, and "The Oven of Akhnai" (Bava Mesia 59a-59b)
2. Elisha ben Abuya: Torah and the Sinful Sage (Hagiga 15a-15b)
3. Torah and the Mundane Life: The Education of R. Shimon

Introduction
1. Torah, Shame, and "The Oven of Akhnai" (Bava Mesia 59a-59b)
2. Elisha ben Abuya: Torah and the Sinful Sage (Hagiga 15a-15b)
3. Torah and the Mundane Life: The Education of R. Shimon bar Yohai (Shabbat 33b-34a)
4. Rabbinic Authority and the Destruction of Jerusalem (Gittin 55b-56b)
5. Torah, Lineage, and the Academic Hierarchy (Horayot 13b-14a)
6. Torah, Gentiles, and Eschatology (Avoda Zara 2a-3b)
Conclusion

Author Bio
Jeffrey L. Rubenstein
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Jeffrey L. Rubenstein

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.