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Re: orion-list halakhah & method

>   My question pertains not to philology, but method.
> Can anyone explain the following: the resounding
> silence by popular Talmudists (e.g., Steinsaltz, the
> Artscroll team, the Daf Yomi Online Forum) towards
> the history of halakhah as revealed by the DSS?

The explication of the babylonian Talmud requires the following of the 
keen analysis of the talmudic editors who present dalectical arguments and
retorts to reconcile various problems in the talmud. Quite often these
arguments or their solutions do not seem to follow smoothely or else
appear to contravene established principles of the talmud/ a long list of
authoritative teachers stretch over the centuries to explain the unstated
assumptions of the talmudic editors and their which remove the obstacles
of the student and show with precision the various approaches of how
talmudic rabbis reconciled various contradictions in the materials they
inherited. the dss contribute nothing at all to the unravelling of the
talmudic passage. From a historical point of view, DSS help us understand
the antiquity of some laws but by and large it is the talmud that may shed
light on a passage in the DSS and not the other way around. an knowledge
of the history of mathematics will be of no use to someone struggling to
follow a specific proof in a textbook of differential calculus.

>   Joseph Baumgarten has published on this topic
> for over 40 years, with Lawrence Schiffman a close
> second. Ya'akov Sussman's 1989/90 article in Tarbiz
> (59:11-76; ET in DJD X, Appendix 1) is masterful.
> Study of the the daf yomi is a hot item now, aided by
> the internet and CD-roms -- yet invariably fails to
> incorporate that higher viewpoint which is, I think,
> part of the exciting legacy of Qumran. 

without passing judgment on these people's writings, I will simply state
that there is absolutely nothing in these peoples writings that sheds any
light on a single passage of talmud. these people have not offered to the
best of my knowledge a single refinement to the dialectic arguments of any
talmudic passage.

This is not to say that work on DSS is of no value to the history of
Jewish law but the term halacha used by schifman in his first book has
done enormous damage. as much as the term midrash in new testament studies
has done/

It's a puzzlement.---  the terminology is-- I agree"

aka hbasser
Queen's University
For private reply, e-mail to Herbert Basser <basserh@post.queensu.ca>
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