“We Read Thus”: On Hachi Garsinan and Learning Talmud in the 21st century


The Talmud Blog

Since its creation, the text of the Talmud has been the object of critical inquiry. Amoraim inquired after the exact wording of Tannaitic texts, Geonim struggled to establish the correct version of the Oral Talmud, as did the Rishonim with their written copies. The advent of philology, from the renaissance on, prompted the collection and collation of manuscript copies of the Talmud as well as scholarly emendations and corrections. The Vilna Shas is the product of many centuries of scholarly work, pious and less-so, presented to the discerning student in what was the best technology available.

Attempts at creating a “critical edition” of the Bavli have, however, floundered, though not for lack of trying. Off the cuff I counted eight different attempts at an edition which would establish a text and present variants, but none of them have managed to become the new standard in the field. They are indispensable…

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