Case Stories: Repetition and Renewal

Moshe Simon-Shoshan

in Stories of the Law

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199773732
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933129 | DOI:
Case Stories: Repetition and Renewal

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This chapter deals with a second genre of mishnaic story, the case stories. In particular it deals with a sub-genre of case story known as the double-ended case story. These stories present two opposing rulings regarding the case at hand as opposed a single authoritative ruling. The chapter consists of an extended analysis of Rosh Hashannah 1-2, which contains numerous double-ended case stories. The Mishnah’s presentation of the ritual of the fixing of the new moon is shown to contain with in it an extended discourse on the nature and function of rabbinic authority. Double ended case stories serve in these chapters to capture the tension between the need for centralized authority and the variety of opinions generated by different scholars’s search for the truth.

Keywords: case story; rosh hashannah; new moon; centralized authority

Chapter.  12167 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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