Composing the Tannaitic Oral‐Literary Tradition

Martin S. Jaffee

in Torah in the Mouth

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140675
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834334 | DOI:
 Composing the Tannaitic Oral‐Literary Tradition

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While rabbinic texts represent halakhic tradition as a tradition transmitted by word of mouth, the surviving texts show many signs of having been composed in their extant form with the use of writing. The present chapter offers some examples of the interpenetration of oral traditional elements and written compositional elements in the shaping of early rabbinic texts, such as the Mishnah in particular. The focus is on materials that employ classic oral genres such as narrative and song (in Mishnah Tamid), complex lists (Mishnah Eruvin), and sophisticated mnemonic codes (Mishnah Pesahim). The chapter concludes with an attempt to reconstruct an oral‐performative narrative that informs parallel written accounts of the red heifer ritual as described in Mishnah Parah and Tosefta Parah.

Keywords: interpenetration of oral and written tradition; lists; Mishnah Eruvin; Mishnah Parah; Mishnah Pesahim; Mishnah Tamid; Mnemonic codes; narrative; song; Tosefta Parah

Chapter.  13039 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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