Extra- and Non-Documentary Writing in the Canon of Formative Judaism, Volume 2

Paltry Parallels: The Negligible Proportion and Peripheral Role of Free-Standing Compositions in Rabbinic Documents

By Jacob Neusner

Subjects: Jewish Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, Religion
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781586841072, 373 pages, January 2001

Explores the canon of Rabbinic literature.


Rabbinic literature in its formative age, from the Mishnah through the Bavli, ca. 100–600 c. e., is comprised by documents that relate to one another in three ways. First, they are autonomous and self-contained; second, they are connected with one another; and third, they are continuous with one another. Some point to the connections, in the form of parallel versions of sayings or stories, as evidence against the theory that the documents possess integrity.

Volume Two samples the other-than-documentary components, compositions, and composites of the Bavli, Mishnah, Tosefta, Sifra, and Genesis Rabbah that do not exhibit the distinctive traits of those documents. It shows that, for the analyzed samples of Bavli, Mishnah, Tosefta, and Sifra, the extra- and non-documentary writing forms a paltry proportion of the whole. Free-standing compositions furthermore undertake no critical documentary task within the document(s) in which they occur.