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Talmudic Stories

Past Sessions
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 13 Kislev 5780 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 6 Kislev 5780 - 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


7 Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30PM

October 23 and 30, November 6. 13 and 20 and December 4 and 11

In this course we will explore “sages-stories,” the stories of the lives and deeds of the sages that are found throughout the Talmud and rabbinic literature. The scholarly understanding of these stories has shifted from a historical-biographical approach that sought to write history and biography (e.g. “The Life of Rabbi Akiva”) on the basis of rabbinic stories to a literary approach that sees stories as didactic fictions. We will analyze the stories with tools of literary criticism, attempting to appreciate their narrative art and the meanings the storytellers tried to convey, as well as to understand their relationship to Talmudic law and functions within the Talmudic context.

Jeffrey L. Rubenstein is the Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies of New York University. He received his B.A. in Religion from Oberlin College, his M.A. in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he also received rabbinic ordination, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Religion of Columbia University. His scholarship focuses on Talmudic stories, Jewish ethics and the history of rabbinic law. His books include, The History of Sukkot in the Second Temple and Rabbinic Periods (1995); Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition and Culture (1999), The Culture of the Babylonian Talmud (2003), Stories of the Babylonian Talmud (2010), and The Land of Truth: Talmud Tales, Timeless Teachings (2018).

*Counts as one (1) class towards our Adult Bar or Bat Mitzvah requirements

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Mon, September 28 2020 10 Tishrei 5781