The Jerusalem Talmud contains numerous 'foreign bodies' (gufim zarim) — passages which seem to have no connection with their context. Previous scholarship has dealt with halakhic 'foreign bodies' at length, attributing them to ancient copyists' errors — specifically, faulty duplication of parallel pericopae from other parts of the Jerusalem Talmud. However, little attention has been paid to the numerous aggadic 'foreign bodies', whose existence cannot be ascribed to the faulty transfer of internal parallels. In this article, a number of 'aggadic foreign bodies' are analysed in detail. While the circumstances surrounding the formation of most of these 'foreign bodies' are unclear, it would appear that at least some of them stem from ancient copyists' errors, whether because the link between the 'foreign body' and its current context was omitted (e.g. through mechanical scribal error), or because of copyists' errors in transferring aggadic pericopae to their current contexts (e.g. copying from the wrong part of the 'source text' or joining to the wrong part of the 'target text'). The existence of such foreign bodies thus suggests that at least some of the aggadic material in the Jerusalem Talmud first entered the work at the hand of copyists, who sought to expand the Talmud by introducing extra-Talmudic material from a Talmud or aggadot which are no longer extant.
|Translated title of the contribution||On the Aggadic ‘Foreign Bodies' in the Yerushalmi|
|Journal||Tarbiz: a quarterly for Jewish studies|
|State||Published - 1995|