The Babylonian Talmud, known simply as the Bavli, is the collaborative effort of generations of sages and the foundational legal and ethical document of rabbinic Judaism. It is one of the best read works of world literature, and it is the most widely disseminated and revered rabbinic work. Part of the magnetic pull of this text is the fact that it not only contains legal discussions and rulings but rather it encompasses also theology, magic, rabbinic stories, medicine and history. These non-legal narratives are an essential part of the Talmud and its interpretation was always as varied as the schools of interpreters and it evolved creatively throughout the generations. In the past century, advances in theories of how to read these narratives have opened up new avenues for understanding what the text says and its meanings. This course will examine in-depth several demonstrative non legal narratives (aggadah) of the Talmud through the lens of the evolution of the major critical schools of the past century and contrast them with the interpretation approach of the various traditional schools throughout the ages. The course will start with an analysis of the definition of aggadah and its distinction from the legal content of the Talmud, moving on to analyzing narratives and evaluating chronologically how these various interpretative schools dealt with the text. The course will further investigate how these various schools dealt with the evolution of sugyot between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. All Texts will be read in the original but translations will be provided. Basic knowledge or previous study of Talmud is recommended.
Section 401 - SEM

R 0600PM-0900PM



Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
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