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From The Best Text To The Pragmatic Edition: On Editing Rabbinic Texts

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Chapter Summary

Editing a text belongs to the oldest of scholarly activities, since scholarship functions not only through the modality of transmission by memorization, but also by writing down and publishing ideas, traditions and useful texts. This chapter provides some outlines of this field of research, offering some general considerations gleaned from modern editing activity as status quaestionis. The editing of rabbinic texts is much more complicated. The documents which have come down to us in the multifarious forms of mishnayot, midrashim, halakhot, aggadot, targums and talmuds cannot be considered to be authored literature. The chapter addresses three questions raised by way of commenting on the following three propositions such as ancient editions are the product of time and authority, editing a text is nothing but interpreting it and an edition should be pragmatically heuristic without pretending to answer the difficult questions on the text's transmission.

Keywords: editing; rabbinic texts



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