Nine at once: A study in the mutability of textual traditions: A study in the mutability of textual traditions

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The halakhah concerning one who heard a single shofar blast from each of nine persons, all at once, appears in three works - Tosefta, Babylonian Talmud, and Halakhot Pesuqot. These works report traditions that are contrary both with respect to their content and with respect to their stated source. Furthermore, for each of these compositions there are substantial variations among its own textual witnesses. From the reconstruction here proposed of the original readings respectively of the Talmud and of Hahkhot Pesuqot, there appear to have been two independent traditions - one of the talmudic manuscripts, the other of the Tosefta and Halakhot Pesuqot. Applying the analysis of Yaakov Sussmann - distinguishing between two recensions of the Talmud, that of the early geonim, and that of the talmudic manuscripts and rishonim - we can discern in the material concerning the nine shofar blasts two separate stages in the formation of the Talmud. The traditions of the Tosefta and Halakhot Pesuqot are accordingly the earlier ones; those of the talmudic manuscripts represent the efforts of later transmitters who collected disparate yet similar halakhot, examining the relationship between them as they combined them into single literary units. If correct, the reconstruction of this pericope sheds desired light on the early, obscure period in the literary development of the Talmud.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-62
Number of pages24
JournalHebrew Union College Annual
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


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