Talmudic Studies / Shamma Friedman
This volume collects 22 studies (20 in Hebrew and two in English) composed over the last four decades, by Shamma Friedman, well-known scholar of talmudic literature and languages. The studies are divided into five "gates", four comprising Hebrew studies, and the fifth English. Most of the articles deal with broad methodological issues, while some investigate specific questions, which also have general methodological implications. In the nine page Preface the author provides a new review of the subjects presented in the volume's five "gates". The first gate, devoted to investigation of the sugya (the basic talmudic literary unit), includes such established studies as “General Introduction to the Investigation of the Sugya”, and “Some Structural Patterns of Talmudic Sugyot” alongside current update on the subject and reactions to recent ideas voiced on this pivotal issue. The content of the second gate on textual variants can be exemplified by the studies “On the Origin of Textual Variants in the Babylonian Talmud”, “The Stemma for Textual Witnesses of TB Bava Metzia” and “A Typology of the Manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud Based upon Orthographic and Linguistic Features”. The third gate, devoted to aggada, contains two methodological and programmatic studies, “Literary Development and History in the Aggadic Narrative of the Babylonian Talmud”, and “History and Aggada: The Enigma of Dama Ben Netina”. Studies on specific sugyot can be found in the fourth gate, among them uncovering transfer and reworking of sugyot with evidence of the lost original found in geonic literature, and the phenomenon of the proem sugya: “The First Sugya TB Bava Metzia III”. Two Encyclopedia entries in English comprise the fifth gate, one dealing with the nature of talmudic baraytot ("Barayta"), and one attempting to define the genre talmud and describe its Babylonian representative:"Talmud (Introduction), Talmud Bavli". The studies have been reset in type, with internal references to the volume added, some updating, and detailed passage and subject indices. The geniza fragment on the cover of the volume symbolizes the survival and continuation of the Talmud over the ages.
Shamma Friedman is the Benjamin and Minna Reeves Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Professor in the Talmud Department at Bar Ilan University (adjunct).