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"In Nehardea There Are No Heretics": The Purported Jewish Response To Christianity In Nehardea (A Re-Examination Of The Talmudic Evidence)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that a combination of talmudic analysis and historical research is essential for constructing a coherent intellectual history of the Amoraim and their interaction with others. Before the chapter analyzes these talmudic texts, it is necessary to address directly some problematic assumptions broadly shared by historians who posited the existence of a Jewish Christian debate in Nehardea during the talmudic period. It turns attention to the talmudic passages most commonly used by scholars as proof of Christian-Jewish contact and even debate in Nehardea during the amoraic period. The chapter focuses on Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 25a has been frequently used by scholars as a basis for the conclusion that Rav Sheshet, who headed a local academy in Nehardea during the third century, had personal contact with Christians and reacted to one of their daily practices.

Keywords: Christian-Jewish contact; Nehardea; talmudic texts



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