Was There Really a Rava II?: (A Re-Examination of the Talmudic Evidence)


This article reevaluates the claim that thirty statements attributed to a sage named Rava in the Bavli originated with a Babylonian sage later than the prevalent Rava. We have not found any evidence to support such a claim, making superfluous the attempt to identify whether this purported Rava II is an amora, Sabora or Gaon. I argue that the key to identifying Rava in these passages is to be found in close analysis of the interpretive and legal/halakhic methodologies exhibited by the sage whose statements are found in these places. Indeed, the collections of material that scholars have attributed to Rava II exhibit a methodology which is entirely characteristic of the known Rava (from the fourth generation), both in terms of halakhic rulings and in terms of interpretive strategy. Beyond the importance of this conclusion as to the proper ascription of this talmudic material, there are more general consequences to these findings, specifically with regard to the general relationship between amoraic statements and the anonymous strata of the Bavli.