Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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p. vii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Contemporary books are familiar. A patron selecting a recently published volume in a bookstore instantly knows its kind. Bright cover colors and cheap construction indicate a beach or plane read. Footnotes and endnotes announce scholarly work. My three-year-old son identifies his books by their glossy dust jackets and large...

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Chapter 1. Privileging Legal Narrative: Resisting Code as the Image of Jewish Law

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pp. 9-30

Jewish history witnesses a long-standing tension over legal codes.1 Though there have been attempts to reduce Jewish law to a code of mandates and prohibitions, each such attempt has encountered resistance.2 The earliest codes of Jewish law are embedded...

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Chapter 2. Deconstructing Halakhah and Aggadah

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pp. 31-62

The dichotomy that divides rabbinic literature into “Halakhah” and “Aggadah” (meanings elaborated below) is extremely well entrenched both because it is seemingly self-evident and because it can be exceedingly helpful. When it comes to assigning talmudic legal...

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Chapter 3. A Touch of the Rabbinic Real: Rabbis and Outsiders

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pp. 63-95

The existence of the Babylonian Talmud, a massive anthological work attentive to periodization and scholarly citation, is an incredible boon for historiographers of late antiquity. And yet, scholars sometimes bemoan the absence of other data from the period. The imbalance between the Babylonian Talmud’s extensive source...

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Chapter 4. Social Dynamics of Pedagogy: Rabbis and Students

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pp. 96-121

No relationship is more central to the fabric of rabbinic culture and its law than that of teacher and student. The pedagogical scene of student before teacher is the implicit context of all talmudic text. Readers rightly presume such a setting when...

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Chapter 5. Torah as Cultural Capital: Rabbis and Rabbis

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pp. 122-146

In his book The Rules of Art, Pierre Bourdieu models a method of literary analysis that employs his own socioeconomic framework of analyzing culture to read Flaubert’s novel Sentimental Education.1 The novel is structured around the life of Frédéric...

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Chapter 6. Lengthy Bavli Narratives: A New Theory of Reading

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pp. 147-163

Much of this book has treated the brief legal episode and the tension between such stories and the nonnarrative legal sources among which they are ordinarily juxtaposed. A central feature of this dynamic is the relationship between the episode and its respective amoraic interpretation...

Conclusion

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pp. 164-168

Notes

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pp. 169-213

Bibliography

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pp. 214-228

Subject Index

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pp. 229-232

Source Index

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pp. 233-236

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 237-239

This book would not have appeared without the feedback, encouragement, and support of so many people, and the funding and research assistance offered by various institutions. I have had the good fortune of being mentored extensively by the two leading scholars of the Babylonian Talmud, David Weiss Halivni and Shamma Friedman. It was their respective...