In this course, we will explore the history and substance of rabbinic writing on three levels. First, we will talk about the rabbinic literary enterprise within the broad cultural, historical and religious context of the Roman and Byzantine eras. Second, we will examine the many genres of rabbinic literature and literature and consider the sages — the elite group of Jewish intellectuals who created this corpus. Finally, we will trace the way in which subsequent generations have gradually shaped these texts to their current format and endowed them with their exalted status.
Grades will be based on participation, a short and long paper, midterm, and a final.
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The course will combine lectures and reading sessions of rabbinic texts (all material will be provided in English translation).