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Believing Is Seeing: A Reading of Baba Batra 73a-75b / דברים שרואים משם לא רואים מכאן: עיון בבבא בתרא עג ע"א — עה ע"ב

דינה שטיין and Dina Stein
Jerusalem Studies in Hebrew Literature / מחקרי ירושלים בספרות עברית
כרך יז‎ (תשנ"ט), pp. 9-32
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23361881
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Believing Is Seeing: A Reading of Baba Batra 73a-75b / דברים שרואים משם לא רואים מכאן: עיון בבבא בתרא עג ע"א — עה ע"ב
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Abstract

This paper focuses on an extensive aggadic text in the Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 73a-75b), in which a discursive multi-system is at play. The first part of the text is predominantly comprised of tall tales and mini-travelogues, whereas Midrash, i.e., interpretation of scripture, is the (almost) exclusive discourse in the second part. This aggadic text as a whole suggests a certain thematic coherence owing to the recurrence of motifs/themes which appear in both its parts. However, the generic or discursive spectrum through which these themes are addressed underlines the importance of specific genres (or, discourses) through which the themes are reflected and constructed. Thus, the text is seen as a cultural arena in which Midrash — the axis of intellectual activity — is challenged by other discursive forms, e.g., tall tales and travelogues, which in turn comment on its power and validity.

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