Self-evident questions and their role in talmudic dialectic

Shira Shmidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Questions and question asking play a central role in talmudic dialectic. While some questions seek to determine the practical Halakhah in a given case, others lead to a theoretical discussion of the principles behind the laws. Scholars have noted that these theoretical questions are often introduced by a tannaitic ruling that is then further examined by the subsequent question. This article will explore a unique rhetorical style with which these tannaitic rulings are introduced, whereby an Amora asks a self-evident question whose answer can be found in a tannaitic source, in order to adduce that source for further inquiry. This style can be found in the questions of Rava and Rami bar Ḥama, who were among the third to fourth generations of Babylonian Amoraim. This article will demonstrate how this questioning style reflects developments in the curriculum of the Babylonian academy during this period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-148
Number of pages22
JournalAJS Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Rami bar Hama
  • Talmud Bavli -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Talmud Bavli -- Shabbat -- 79a -- Commentaries
  • Talmud Bavli -- Zevahim -- 75 -- Commentaries
  • Talmud Bavli -- Eruvin -- 73 -- Commentaries


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