Citation formulae in the Babylonian Talmud: From transmission to authoritative traditions

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Scholars have generally viewed the citation formula 'thus R. X said' (over 200 appearances) as identical to the more typical formulae used to quote Amoraic statements. In contrast I argue that this particular citation formula differs from the more typical formula in that it is used only when there is an attempt to establish a Halakhic norm, especially when it contradicts alternative traditions. I will further argue that late Babylonian Amoraim use this formula to quote an earlier authoritative source whereas earlier Amoraim use it to quote a sage with whom they had contact. These findings testify to a trend among later Amoraim to issue Halakhic rulings based on the authority of dominant figures from earlier generations and contribute to our understanding of how Halakhic decisions were formulated to accord with particularly prominent rabbis in talmudic Babylonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-44
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, 2019.


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