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Vol. 10, No. 4 Summer 1992 121 demonstration of what went wrong f()r Palestinian Arabs. It a.lso exemplifies the best kind of scholarship on the Middle East. Donna Robinson Divine Departmcnt of Government Smith College Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash,' by H. 1. Strack and G. Sternberger, translatcd by Markus Bockmuehl. Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1991. 372 pp. n.p.1. The 1920 edition of Strack's Einleitung in Talmud und Midrascb was for many years the standard introduction to the literature of the classical rabbinic judaism; its updated successor, Strack-Sternberger, has in due course taken its place since its appearance in 1982, and rightly so. ]( is as thorough and comprehensive as an introduction to such a ramified subject can be without losing the reader, though it is nor as free of parochial biases as we might reasonably expect (see below). That is nor (0 say that it is equally authoritative and comprehensive in all areas. But when comparing it (0 its competitors, it must be borne in mind that it is an introduction rather than an review essay or survey. For example, the latc Baruch M. Bokser's magisterial review of every aspect of scholarship on the Palestinian Talmud was available to Sternberger; indeed, it is cited on the very first page of the chapter on thc Ycrushalmi. It is no criticism of Sternberger that his summary falls far short in tcrms of providing sheer quantity of information and analytiC pcnctration. An undated and unsigned prefacc notcs thc importance of updating thc matcrial included in the 1982 edition, which csscntially dates from 1980. There is no hint of this edition's cut-off date, but an examination of its contcnts suggests that the manuscript was completed in 1987; naturally, there are studies which date from somewhat before that that could nor be included. One important omission is American dissertations, though the book is fairly good in regard to Israeli ones. Thus, David Kracmer's 1984 JTS dissertation on stylistic characteristics of Babylonian Amoraic generations as reflected in the Bavli is nor listed, nor is that of his colleague Richard Kalmin's on late Babylonian Amoraim, nor judith Hauptman's work on tanya nami b(//~hi-all Seminary dissertations dating from before 1987. Nevertheless, though such examples could be multiplied, I would 122 SHOFAR think that the listing of any unpublished dissertations must be considered a bonus, and in that respect Sternberger's efforts are exemplary. More troublesome are indications that not everything listed in the bibliography has been fully digested in the summaries. For example, in the debate between Goodblatt and Gafni anent the existence of Geonic-type yeshivot in Amoraic B:lbylonia, Gafni, though cited in the bibliography, does not I1gure in the summary on pp. 12-14. In regard to the accuracy of the chronological data supplied by 19geret Rav Sherira Gaon, on which both Goodblatt and Gafni have written, both are listed, but only Goodblatt 's results are presented; as it happens, Gafni's article is considerably longer and more detailed than Goodblatt's discussion in his. book, and reaches contrary conclusions. But it receives no mention, though again, it is listed. In the chapter on methodology (pp. 50-61), form criticism receives the lion's share of attention, with Arnold Goldberg's work on citations coming in second. Halivni and his school receive no mention at all, though one article of his is listed, nor does his work on the starn or that of S. Y. Friedman receive any attention. In the case of I-1alivni this omission is rectified in part on p. 224, where his work on the anonymous portions of the Ihbylonian Talmud receives mention, but Friedman does not. In the matter of mid rash ancl especially literary readings of aggadic material, Yonah Fraenkel is nocable by his absence. All these are serious omissions, :lnd they tend in one direction. If Safrai's Literature of the Sages can be faulted for lack of balance and an Israelocentric bias, Stemberger's clearly has a Neusnerian one. It also seems to ignore work published in Hebrew, which is consistently slighted in the summaries even when listed (as it often is) in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 121-122
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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