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Transmitting Mishnah
The Shaping Influence of Oral Tradition

$46.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521104623

$ 46.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Departing from the conventional view of mishnaic transmission as mindless rote memorisation, Transmitting Mishnah, first published in 2006, reveals how multifaceted the process of passing on oral tradition was in antiquity. Taking advantage of the burgeoning field of orality studies, Elizabeth Shanks Alexander has developed a model of transmission that is both active and constructive. Proceeding by means of intensive readings of passages from tractate Shevuot and its Talmudic commentaries, Alexander alerts us to the fact that transmitters and handlers of mishnaic text crafted both the vagaries of expression and its received meanings. She illustrates how the authority of the Mishnah grew as the result of the sustained attention of a devoted community of readers and students. She also identifies the study practices and habits of analysis that were cultivated by oral performance and shows how they were passed on in tandem with the verbal contents of the Mishnah, thereby influencing how the text was received and understood.

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This text belongs in every Judaica library and its methodologies belong in the repertoire of every scholar of this literature."
    -Carl Kinbar, University of South Africa, Shofar

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521104623
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Mishnaic Textuality
    Part II. The Spiritualisation of Mishnah
    Part III. Modes of legal analysis in the Mishnah
    Part IV. The Cultivation of an analytic habit and it impact on Mishnaic Exegesis

  • Author

    Elizabeth Shanks Alexander, University of Virginia
    Elizabeth Shanks Alexander received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1998. She has taught at Haverford College, Smith College and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. She received an NEH summer grant to work on this book.

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