JST1260H: Schools of Aggadah
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The Babylonian Talmud, known simply as the Bavli, is the collaborative effort of generations of sages and it is the foundational legal and ethical document of rabbinic Judaism. Part of the magnetic pull of the Talmud is the fact that it not only contains legal discussions and rulings but rather it also encompasses theology, magic, rabbinic stories, medicine, and history. These non-legal narratives are an essential part of the Talmud, and their interpretation was always as varied as the schools of interpreters. It evolved creatively throughout the generations. This course will ex-amine in-depth several demonstrative Talmudic narratives (aggadah) through the lens of the evolution of the major critical schools of the past century and contrast them with the interpretative approach of the various traditional schools throughout the ages. The course will start with an analysis of the definition of aggadah and its distinction from the legal content of the Talmud, moving on to analyzing narratives and evaluating chronologically how the various interpretative schools dealt with the text. The course will further investigate how these various scholars dealt with the evolution of sugyot between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds. All Texts will be read in the original, but translations will be provided. Basic knowledge or previous study of Talmud is required.
Bergmann, Ari. (2022, Fall). Syllabus, JST1260H: Schools of Aggadah. Yeshiva College, Yeshiva University.