By Watts Belser, Julia

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Extra resources for Between the human and the holy: The construction of Talmudic theology in Massekhet Ta anit

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51 Folklorists themselves often contribute to this dichotomized vision. Dina Stein draws attention to the way in which identifying certain discrete textual narratives and cultural products as "folklore" tends to marginalize them and their presumed creators, separating them from the remainder of rabbinic culture. By identifying "folk" narratives within rabbinic literature and conceptualizing these as distinct "other" voices with which the rabbis were in conflict, folklore scholarship has often 51 Urbach, The Sages.

Proverbs, for example, are successful to the extent that they inject meaning into a situation and affect a rapprochement between past and present. Shorn of the features that link it to tradition 59 Charles Briggs, Competence in Performance: The Creativity of Tradition in Mexicano Verbal Art. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988), 6-7. , 81,96-97. 32 andto a contemporary interaction, a proverb has no rhetorical force. Outside of the situational context that calls it into being, a proverb is—as one of his informants remarks—"just words," and not a proverb at all.

Yet Segal argues that Talmud may be best examined using an anthological model. "72 Segal regards such anthological work as a creative process, emphasizing the dynamic and constructive elements of the redactors' role. He stresses the presence of large portions of material within the Talmud that did not originate through Mishnah study and suggests that much of this material—including much aggadic midrash—was originally developed and arranged elsewhere, only to be incorporated into the Talmud at a late stage of its development.

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