Chapter

Torah in the Mouth in Galilean Discipleship Communities

Martin S. Jaffee

in Torah in the Mouth

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140675
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834334 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195140672.003.0008
 Torah in the Mouth in Galilean Discipleship Communities

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Explores the connection between the presence of written versions of rabbinic tradition and the emergence among Galilean sages of the third century c.e. of an explicit ideological claim that the entire rabbinic tradition originated in Sinaitic revelation to Moses as unwritten Torah in the Mouth. Of great comparative interest is the Greco‐Roman tradition of rhetorical education, represented in the tradition of rhetorical textbooks (Progymnasmata), which prized memorization of written texts for exclusively oral performances that included rule‐governed transformations and revisions of texts in the performative setting. The chapter examines Amoraic traditions of Byzantine Galilee (the Palestinian Talmud, Midrash Tanhuma, Midrash Pesiqta Rabbati) for evidence that they were mastered from written versions and intentionally revised in performative settings. From this comparative perspective, the chapter concludes that the rabbinic conception of Torah in the Mouth is designed to legitimate the authority of the sage in the setting of discipleship training.

Keywords: Amoraic traditions; authority of the rabbinic sage; Byzantine Galilee; discipleship training; Greco‐Roman rhetoric; Midrash Pesiqta Rabbati; Midrash Tanhuma; Palestinian Talmud; Progymnasmata; rabbinic

Chapter.  15125 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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