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Rabbinic narrative

Volume two, Forms, types, and distribution of narratives in Sifra, Sifré to Numbers, and Sifré to Deuteronomy

Rabbinic narrative by J. Neusner
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Each Rabbinic document, from the Mishnah through to the Bavli, defines itself by a unique combination of indicative traits of rhetoric, topic and particular logic that governs its coherent discourse. But narratives in the same canonical compilations do not conform to the documentary indicators that govern in these compilations, respectively. They form an anomaly for the documentary reading of the rabbinic canon of the formative age.

To remove that anomaly, this project classifies the types and forms of narratives and shows that particular documents exhibit distinctive preferences among those types. This detailed, systematic classification of rabbinic narrative supplies these facts concerning the classification of narratives and their regularities: what are the types and forms of narrative in a given document?; how are these distinctive types and forms of narrative distributed across the canonical documents of the formative age, the first six centuries CE?

The answers for the documentary preferences are in Volumes One to Three, for the Mishnah-Tosefta, the Tannaite Midrash-compilations, and Rabbah-Midrash-compilations, respectively. Volume Four then sets forth the documentary history of each of the types of rabbinic narrative, including the authentic narrative, the maOEaseh and the mashal. How the traits of the several types of narratives shift as the respective types move from document is spelled out in complete detail. This project opens a road towards the documentary analysis of rabbinic narrative. It fills out an important chapter in the documentary hypothesis of the rabbinic canon in the formative age.

BRILL; January 2003
266 pages; ISBN 9789047402237
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Title: Rabbinic narrative
Author: J. Neusner