Martin S. Jaffee

in Torah in the Mouth

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195140675
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834334 | DOI:

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The epilogue briefly explores the ontological distinctions drawn in rabbinic culture between Torah in the Mouth as an oral performative reality and the written versions of rabbinic tradition. Rabbinic sages from the Byzantine period on recognized the written texts of the Bible as classical embodiments of the Torah by virtue of their being written records of revelation. They also believed that written texts found neither in the Bible nor in rabbinic tradition had no status as Torah at all. They were simply literature. But the written texts of Torah in the Mouth occupied a peculiar status: they were not Torah until they were absorbed in the memory and delivered in public performance. This public performance, in the midst of the discipleship community, represented a religious reenactment of the moment of Sinaitic revelation.

Keywords: Bible; rabbinic; Sinaitic revelation; Torah in the Mouth; written texts of the Bible; written texts of Torah in the Mouth; written versions of tradition

Chapter.  2036 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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