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Nomos And Narrative Before “Nomos And Narrative”

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that what we might think of as a particularly modern tendency to separate law from narrative, if only for the economies of specialization, has itself an ancient history, and shows how that tendency, while recurrent, was as recurrently resisted from within Jewish tradition. In particular, at those cultural turning points in which laws are extracted or codified from previous narrative settings, the chapter shows that they are also renarrativized so as to address, both ideologically and rhetorically, changed socio-historical settings. The Mishnah constructs a nomian world of "words of Torah" which is both legal and narrative in mutually authorizing ways.

Keywords: Mishnah; narrative; nomos



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