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Rabbinic Discourse about Samson: Continuity and Change between the Tannaitic Culture to the Amoraic

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Chapter Summary

The rabbinic culture, handed down through the ages, exhibit literary and cultural variety, which distinguish periods and geographical groups from each other. Such a variety is apparent in the dual heritage of priestly and Pharisaic cultures, and the shift from the Tannaitic to the Amoraic literary forms. This chapter presents a variety of narratives where Samson appears, and follows the changes occurring in the passage from the Tannaitic to the Amoraic period. The modest role Samson plays in the Tannaitic corpora is apparent in the fragmentary nature of the information about him found in context of other topics. The chapter discusses three motifs at some length and briefly mentions some others. The halakhic discourse exhibits various voices assessing Samson's nazariteship, starting with an almost straightforward rejection of it, through presenting it in a negative tone, and ending with including it as the less appealing variant of this religious conduct.

Keywords: Amoraic literary forms; halakhic discourse; rabbinic culture; Samson; Tannaitic corpora



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