The Literature of the Jewish People in the Period of the Second Temple and the Talmud, Volume 3: The Literature of the Sages

Second Part: Midrash and Targum; Liturgy, Poetry, Mysticism; Contracts, Inscriptions, Ancient Science; and the Languages of Rabbinic Literature

Series:

This long-awaited companion volume to The Literature of the Sages, First Part (Fortress Press, 1987) brings to completion Section II of the renowned Compendia series.

The Literature of the Sages, Second Part, explores the literary creation of thousands of ancient Jewish teachers, the often- anonymous Sages of late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Essays by premier scholars provide a careful and succinct analysis of the content and character of various documents, their textual and literary forms, with particular attention to the ongoing discovery and publication of new textual material.

Incorporating groundbreaking developments in research, these essays give a comprehensive presentation published here for the first time. This volume will prove an important reference work for all students of ancient Judaism, the origins of Jewish tradition, and the Jewish background of Christianity.

The literary creation of the ancient Jewish teachers or Sages – also ­called rabbinic literature – consists of the teachings of thousands of Sages, many of them anonymous. For a long period, their teachings existed orally, which implied a great deal of flexibility in arrangement and form. Only gradually, as parts of this amorphous oral tradition became fixed, was the literature written down, a process that began in the third century C.E. and continued into the Middle Ages. Thus the documents of ­rabbinic literature are the result of a remarkably long and complex process of creation and editing.

This long-awaited companion volume to 'The Literature of the Sages, First Part' (1987) gives a careful and succinct analysis both of the content and specific nature of the various documents, and of their textual and literary forms, paying special attention to the continuing discovery and publication of new textual material. Incorporating ground-breaking developments in research, these essays give a comprehensive presentation published here for the first time. 'The Literature of the Sages, Second Part' is an important reference work for all students of ancient Judaism, as well as for those interested in the origins of Jewish tradition and the Jewish background of Christianity.
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Review Quotes

"an essential guide to scholars concerned both with the interrelationships between ancient Judaism and early Christianity as well as to those concerned with ancient Judaism in and of itself ... very useful and much-needed volume" – Marvin Sweeney, in: RBL, June 2008

Table of contents

Section One: Midrash and Targum
CHAPTER 1: THE HALAKHIC MIDRASHIM
by Menahem I. Kahana
CHAPTER 2: AGGADIC MIDRASH
by Marc Hirshman
CHAPTER 3: THE WORKS OF AGGADIC MIDRASH AND THE ESTHER MIDRASHIM
by Myron B. Lerner
CHAPTER 4: SEDER OLAM
by Chaim Milikowsky
Appendix: The Scroll of Antiochos and the Scroll of Fasts
(by Zeev Safrai)
CHAPTER 5: THE TARGUMS AS PART OF RABBINIC LITERATURE
by Zeev Safrai

Section Two: Liturgy, Poetry, Mysticism
CHAPTER 6: PRAYERS AND BERAKHOT
by Joseph Tabory
CHAPTER 7: THE PASSOVER HAGGADA
by Joseph Tabory
CHAPTER 8: MEGILLAT TAANIT – THE SCROLL OF FASTING
by Vered Noam
CHAPTER 9: PIYYUT
by Ezra Fleischer
CHAPTER 10: ‘SYRIAC FOR DIRGES, HEBREW FOR SPEECH’
– ANCIENT JEWISH POETRY IN ARAMAIC AND HEBREW
by Joseph Yahalom
CHAPTER 11: MYSTICAL TEXTS
by Michael D. Swartz

Section Three: Contracts, Inscriptions, Ancient Science
CHAPTER 12: CONTRACTS: RABBINIC LITERATURE AND ANCIENT JEWISH DOCUMENTS
by Mordechai A. Friedman
CHAPTER 13: JEWISH INSCRIPTIONS AND THEIR USE
by Jonathan J. Price and Haggai Misgav
CHAPTER 14: MEDICAL INTEREST IN ANCIENT RABBINIC
LITERATURE
by Samuel S. Kottek
CHAPTER 15: GEOGRAPHY AND COSMOGRAPHY IN TALMUDIC
LITERATURE
by Zeev Safrai
CHAPTER 16: BIOLOGY IN RABBINIC LITERATURE:
FACT AND FOLKLORE
by Abraham Ofir Shemesh
CHAPTER 17: THE SAGES AND THE OCCULT
by Yuval Harari

Section Four: The Languages of Rabbinic Literature
CHAPTER 18: MISHNAIC HEBREW: AN INTRODUCTORY SURVEY
by Moshe Bar-Asher
CHAPTER 19: THE ARAMAIC OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD
by Yohanan Breuer
CHAPTER 20: RABBINIC KNOWLEDGE OF GREEK
by Daniel Sperber

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