The Epistle of Sherira Gaon


in Rabbinic Texts and the History of Late-Roman Palestine

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264744
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734663 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Epistle of Sherira Gaon

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This chapter comments on the epistle of Sherira Gaon, which is considered an extraordinary instance of the genre of Geonic responsa written in 986 or 987. Sherira's Epistle is exceptional both in terms of its length and subject matter and it addresses a number of questions formulated by Rabbi Nissim b. Jacob ibn Shahin on behalf of the scholars of Qayrawan. This chapter questions Sherira's use of talmudic sources and oral traditions in the responsa and suggests that Sherira's statements are almost inversely proportional to the extent to which they are supported by the Talmud itself.

Keywords: epistle; Sherira Gaon; Geonic responsa; Rabbi Nissim b. Jacob ibn Shahin; Qayrawan; talmudic sources; oral traditions

Chapter.  5540 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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