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“But Me No Buts”: The Theological Debate Between the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim in Light of the Discourse-Markers Theory

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The linguistic theory of discourse markers may often help us to decipher the roots of theological controversies in traditional cultures, where both of the parties declare loyalty to the same doctrines. According to this theory, if two sentences are coupled by “but,” the conjunction bears the implicature that the statement that comes after the “but” is the one that the speaker wishes to emphasize, or grant salience over the statement that comes before it. Examined on the theological texts of the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim, the theory is proved useful: for the Hasidim, statements on the Simple Unity of God are placed after “but,” while the Mitnagdim place statements on the multiplicity in which it appears in our world.

Affiliations: 1: The Hebrew University of JerusalemMount Scopus,


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