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Chapter Summary

The origins of a center of rabbinic activity in Nehardea have been obscure and in dispute since the very beginning of the writing of rabbinic history. This is introductory chapter of the book, which examines literature ascribed to late Nehardean amoraim to determine whether early halakhic traditions from Nehardea served as the basis for their halakhic rulings and interpretations. Is there evidence, direct or indirect, that indicate the existence of local halakhic traditions in Nehardea throughout the talmudic period? Author first explains what he means by local halakhic traditions. Babylonian amoraim tend to distinguish between two types of early halakhic traditions that exist outside of the Mishnah and are used as a source for halakhah: matnita—tannaitic halakhic traditions found in baraitot, and shma'ata/shma'ateta—early amoraic traditions found in amoraic statements. Furthermore, amoraim tend to clearly distinguish between these types of sources when it comes to the level of their halakhic authority.

Keywords:amoraic traditions; Babylonian amoraim; halakhic traditions; matnita; Mishnah; Nehardea; shma'ata; talmudic period; tannaitic halakhic traditions



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