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Topics in Rabbinic Judaism Introduction to Early Rabbinic Hermeneutics

The goals of this course are to familiarize students with: 1.) the basic contours of the corpus of early rabbinic writings (e.g., the Mishna, Tosefta, early halakhic midrashim, etc., up to the Babylonian Talmud) – this will necessitate wide reading in these texts to gain a feel for their character, and; 2.) the styles and types of early rabbinic interpretation utilized by these texts (i.e., how they work) – this will necessitate more detailed readings of shorter passages together in class; 3.) some of the current issues raised by scholars for properly assessing these texts in their historical context and in modern study (e.g., their historical value, or their usefulness for studying other ancient Jewish literature such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and/or New Testament) – this will be achieved through reading secondary articles and book chapters by scholars working in the field of rabbinic literature. Ultimately, this seminar is intended to be an induction into the world of ancient rabbinic literature, thought, and life.


Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): Graduate Term(s): Fall Offered?: No Language?: No

Daniel Machiela

Associate Professor | Chair of the Department of Religious Studies