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Title: The Transmission of the Mishnah and the Spread of Rabbinic Judaism, 200 CE - 1200 CE
Authors: Landes, Isaac
Advisors: Vidas, Moulie
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: Book History
Jewish History
Rabbinic Literature
Reception Studies
Subjects: Judaic studies
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation traces the history of the transmission, reception, and study of the Mishnah, the central text of the Rabbinic corpus, from its inception in third-century Galilee until the publication of Maimonides’ commentary to the Mishnah in 12th c. Egypt. The first chapter looks at the evidence for the Mishnah’s creation and initial dissemination in Roman Palestine, arguing that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the Jewish Patriarchate was responsible for the creation and early dissemination of the Mishnah and of several related texts. The second chapter continues by analyzing evidence for Mishnah study in third- and fourth-century Palestine, and the third chapter discusses the reception of the Mishnah in late ancient Babylonia; both chapters deal with the “Scholastic Scripturalization” of the Mishnah by late ancient rabbis. The fourth chapter addresses the evidence for the study and perception of the Mishnah in Byzantine and Early Islamic Palestine, showing that in response to the rise of Christianity, the Mishnah achieved a place of increased importance for Jewish identity—a non-scholastic aspect of the Mishnah’s “Scripturalization.” Relying heavily on manuscript evidence, Chapter Five addresses Mishnah study in medieval Islamicate lands, and Chapter Six does the same for Christian Europe, focusing on Southern Italy. In both chapters, special attention is given to the continued intermedial nature of Mishnah study. The seventh chapter turns to the place of the Mishnah in various rites of theJewish prayerbook. In the final chapter, I analyze attitudes towards the Mishnah and its creation in the works of Medieval Jewish writers, looking at how these authors used the history of the Mishnah to articulate rabbinic identity. The conclusion of the dissertation frames several directions for further study and outlines a program for the “Critical Philology” of the classical rabbinic corpus. By centering on the dissemination of the Mishnah across the Near East and Europe in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, this dissertation demonstrates that avenues of textual production and transmission can shed light on the very spread of rabbinic knowledge and on the ways in which rabbinic Judaism itself became the hegemonic form of Judaism.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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