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Chapter Summary

This chapter attends less to the cultural aspects of tannaitic exemplarity discourse than to its exegetical and rhetorical aspects. It examines, in particular, terminological and structural features of this discourse that both provide a framework for further study of the topic and, in particular, highlight aspects of its intersection with deontological elements in tannaitic normativity. It then surveys the terminology of exemplarity, and suggests that this terminology implicitly encodes a distinction between exemplarity proper and what the author calls imitation. The chapter also addresses the question of form and force: what kinds of normative force attach to the actions for which exempla advocate? Finally, it considers how tannaitic literature addresses a problem intrinsic to exemplarity discourse: the exemplum must be exalted enough so as to inspire imitators, but not too exalted so as to discourage its audience from trying to measure up.

Keywords: deontological elements; tannaitic exemplarity; tannaitic normativity



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