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Rabbinic Attitudes toward Rabbis as a Key to the Dating of Talmudic Sources

Richard Kalmin
The Jewish Quarterly Review
Vol. 84, No. 1 (Jul., 1993), pp. 1-27
DOI: 10.2307/1454697
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1454697
Page Count: 27
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Rabbinic Attitudes toward Rabbis as a Key to the Dating of Talmudic Sources
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Abstract

This study attempts to show that the Talmud depicts amoraic attitudes toward contemporaries and near-contemporaries differently than it depicts those toward noncontemporaries. The Talmud depicts amoraim reacting to the personalities of contemporaries and near-contemporaries, but almost exclusively to the content of statements by noncontemporaries. This distinction is best understood in light of the theory that the Talmud reliably records changing amoraic attitudes toward the personalities of rabbis. The Talmud's placing of decreasing emphasis on personality as the chronological gap between commentator and source increases is most likely an accurate reflection of historical reality. This study focuses on rabbinic praise and expressions of special respect. It complements an earlier study of rabbinic expressions of hostility and ambivalence toward other rabbis, which yielded similar results.

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