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The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud


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Table of Contents

Biography of David Weiss Halivni Translation Conventions Abbreviations Introduction by Jeffrey L. Rubenstein Preface I: The Stammaim II: The Editing of the Talmud III: Apodictic Transmission and Dialectical Argumentation IV: Compilers and Transposers V: Postscript Notes Annotations Selected Bibliography General Index Source Index

About the Author

David Weiss Halivni was ordained in 1943 as rabbi at the yeshivah of Sighet, Romania, at the age of fifteen. When his town was seized by the Germans in March 1944, he was sent first to Auschwitz, and then to the Wolfsberg and Ebensee (Mauthausen) concentration camps. He was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. Professor Halivni became a naturalized US citizen in 1952. He received his doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1958. He has taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Columbia University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, and Harvard Law School. Jeffrey L. Rubenstein is the Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies of New York University. He received his Ph. D. from the Department of Religion of Columbia University. His books include The History of Sukkot in the Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods (1995); Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition and Culture (1999), The Culture of the Babylonian Talmud (2003), and most recently, Stories of the Babylonian Talmud (2010). Dr. Rubenstein has written numerous articles on the Jewish festivals, Talmudic stories, the development of Jewish law, and topics in Jewish liturgy and ethics.


"Halivni provides a new timetable of the writing, editing and redaction of the Talmud and certainly affects our understanding of the formation of the Talmudic canon...This book will be of great interest to any student of the Talmud."--Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews A lucid, helpful, and altogether gripping translation and condensation of Halivni s multi-volume Hebrew work, The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud...Editor Jeffrey Rubenstein is a master explainer, and as with his own important and crystalline books on the Talmud, ensures Halivni s thought is clear and well footnoted. This is not a breezy read. It is better, a challenging one. --Tablet One cannot underestimate the scale of what Halivni has accomplished...The sheer magnitude of the material that one must master before attempting a grand theory of the Talmud is mindboggling [Rubenstein] formulates Halivni s highly complex theory in a manner that can be understood even by someone who has never read a page of Talmud. It is worthwhile for anyone even peripherally interested in the field of Rabbincs to read this introduction. --The Talmud Blog "Jeffrey Rubenstein's new English translation of David Weiss Halivni's Formation of the Babylonian Talmud is a tremendous step forward in advancing the accessibility of critical Talmudic study. Professor Halivni's dedicated efforts toward rethinking our understanding of the composition of rabbinic texts, and the Babylonian Talmud in particular, has helped to revolutionize the field... Rubenstein's expert translation not only navigates the precision of the original Hebrew but presents a flowing style that is easy to follow." --The Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization "David Weiss Halivni is one of the world's preeminent Talmudists, and Jeffrey Rubenstein has done a real service in making Halivni's pioneering analyses accessible to a new audience. For anyone interested in the formation of the Talmud, this is the book." --Shaye J.D. Cohen, Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy, Harvard University "This volume brings to the reader a systematic statement of the results of more than a half-century of pioneering Talmudic research by Professor David Weiss Halivni. His work has literally changed our understanding of the evolution of the Talmud in Late Antiquity. This volume will open the eyes of scholars and students to the complex inner literary-historical dialectic that produced this classic of Jewish and world civilization." --Lawrence H. Schiffman, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Yeshiva University; Ethel and Irvin A. Edelman Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University "David Weiss Halivni's revolutionary theories on the formation of the Babylonian Talmud and his critical methodology for distinguishing early and late sources have profoundly shaped the course of academic Talmudic studies in America and abroad. In this clear and elegant English translation, readers encounter a consummate Talmudist whose views on the crucial role of the Stammaim, based on detailed analysis of vast swaths of text, transformed a field and continue to occupy a central place in the critical study of the Bavli." --Christine Hayes, Weis Professor of Classical Judaica, Yale University "A must read [for advanced students of rabbinics]. It will be indispensable for academic and religious libraries that cater to such students... Highly recommended." --CHOICE

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