Jerusalem and Athens: The Congruity of Talmudic and by Jacob Neusner

By Jacob Neusner

The Talmud - the Mishnah, a philosophical legislation code, and the Gemara, a dialectical remark upon the Mishnah - works via translating imperative modes of Western philosophy and technological know-how into the research of the foundations of rationality governing the foundations of humble, daily truth. technology, particularly the strategy of hierarchical class attribute of typical historical past, offers the strategy of constructing connections and drawing conclusions to the Mishnah, the law-code that kinds the foundation-document of the Talmud, as Neusner tested in his "Judaism as Philosophy. the strategy and Message of the Mishnah," the following he proceeds to teach how philosophy, in particular dialectical research, defines the common sense of the Gemara and courses the writers of the Gemara's compositions and the compilers of its composites of their research and amplification of a few of the topical displays, or tractates, of the Mishnah.

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Additional info for Jerusalem and Athens: The Congruity of Talmudic and Classical Philosophy (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, V. 52)

Sample text

First, both disclaimed any supernatural authonty for their own ideas, and, secondly, both accepted the principles of free debate and of public access to the information on which a person or an idea should be judged. The essence of the Milesians' contribution was to introduce a new critical spirit into man's attitude to the world of nature, but this should be seen as a counterpart to, and offshoot of, the contemporary development of the practice of free debate and open discussion in the context of politics and law throughout the Greek world.

For the Gemara, oral recapitulation required not the wording but the gist; no hint of an expectation that the precise formUlations of argument would be repeatedly acted out is contained in the wording, which is too elliptical and abbreviated to make sense when merely repeated. Every translator has to supply the missing words, to convey the un articulated thoughts of the text, and every commentator imparts to the text his own construction of its sense and meaning. That makes commentary and translation an active player in the intellectual process of representation.

So these considerations will recur throughout. To begin with, some ancient writings exhibit marks of careful composition, and others do not. Some bear the marks of a single writer and attest to his idiosyncrasy, as in the ·case of Paul's letters. , are anonymous and laconic, avoiding marks of distinctive modes of personal expression. The Mishnah is a good example of that kind of public writing. Some adhere to a protocol of dignity and clarity and elegance of argument and expression, like the writings of Aphrahat.

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