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The Scholion to the "Megilat Taʿanit": Towards an Understanding of its Stemma / לנוסחיו של ה'סכוליון' למגילת תענית

ורד נעם and Vered Noam
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ
כרך סב‎, חוברת א‎ (תשרי-כסלו תשנ"ג), pp. 55-99
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23598665
Page Count: 45
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The Scholion to the "Megilat Taʿanit": Towards an Understanding of its Stemma / לנוסחיו של ה'סכוליון' למגילת תענית
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Abstract

Megillat Taʿanit is accompanied in all printed and manuscript versions by a Hebrew commentary known as the Scholion. From the days of the Wissenschaft des Judentums down to our own times scholarly opinion has been sharply divided over the nature, date and reliability of this commentary. Some scholars, discerning elements of antiquity and authenticity, deemed it a collection of beraitot redacted close to the Talmudic period. Other scholars pointed to signs of lateness and regarded it as a late and composite work of rabbinic citations and independent formulation, born of the late Middle Ages. The editor of the critical edition of the Meggila and Scholion, Hans Lichtenstein, distinguished two versions amongst the various manuscripts. The first of these versions, original and earlier in date, is represented by MS Parma. The second version, of a more comprehensive and composite nature, is represented by a cluster of other manuscripts, amongst them the printed version. Lichtenstein regarded this latter redaction as a separate branch, one that evolved over a later period. In his opinion, the short text of MS Oxford constitutes a fragmented abridgement of this expanded version. The basic text of Lichtenstein's edition is an eclectic version culled from the various manuscripts. A re-examination of the manuscripts reveals that MS Oxford and MS Parma reflect two highly disparate texts more different than alike, which would not seem to bear textual witness to a single long version. The expanded version reflected in the other manuscripts is a late compilation alone, a crudely reworked hybrid of the two basic versions, augmented by lengthy citations from rabbinic literature, especially the Babylonian Talmud. Presumably, the early and authentic elements that surface in the printed version of the Scholion and in the Lichtenstein edition have their source in one of the two basic versions. The signs of lateness almost always derive from the later, composite work. Rabbi Judah ben Kalonymos, a sage of twelfth century Ashkenaz, quotes in his Yiḥusei Tannaim we-Amoraim from an early variant of the expanded version of the Scholion. Combining this testimony together with that of an Ashkenazi manuscript from the thirteenth century, we learn that the secondary, hybridized version evolved gradually in twelfth- and thirteenth century Ashkenaz. Such a work fits in well with the other eclectic works so prevalent in this milieu. Any discussion of the nature of the Scholion must distinguish between the two basic and diverging traditions. We must concentrate on them alone and not be led astray by the 'expanded version' of the thirteenth century, or by the Lichtenstein edition of our own century.

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