Rhetorical features in talmudic literature

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7 Scopus citations


The stylistic and structural patterns in rabbinic literature have not yet received the proper treatment that has been applied to the literatures of the ancient Near East in general and biblical literature in particular. Granted, one may find here and there discussions of stylistic features and literary genres in monographs and articles dealing with other aspects of rabbinic literature. Frequently, the observation that a particular dictum constitutes an aphorism or a poem appears in the course of a detailed discussion of some other aspect or aspects of a rabbinic text. Nevertheless, there has been no comprehensive discussion of the stylistic features of the rabbinic saying comparable to the discussions of the stylistic features of biblical poetry produced by Avishur, Berlin, Kugel, O'Connor, Watson, and others. The purpose of this article is to delineate the major patterns of repetition and aural and graphic devices that the authors of rabbinic dicta employed to give greater impact to their messages. The approach to literature known as poetics, pioneered by Hruschovski and now taken for granted in all serious studies of biblical verse and narrative, stresses the interaction of form and content to achieve especially powerful messages. The present study delineates and explicates twenty-six among the scores of stylistic and structural devices that rabbinic literature shares with the other literatures of the ancient Semitic world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-101
Number of pages35
JournalHebrew Union College Annual
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Religious studies


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