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The Fable of "the Middle-Aged Man with Two Wives": From the Aesopian Motif to the Babylonian Talmud Version in b. B. Qam. 60b

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Some motifs of the Aesopian tradition were adapted by rabbinic literature. One of them was the case of a man who had two wives, one young and the other old, who plucked out his grey and black hairs respectively, until he became bald. The current tale had several versions until the rabbis included it with the mashal form in a passage of the Tractate Baba Qamma of the Babylonian Talmud. In this article I collect the passages where it appears prior to the Talmudic text (the Augustana recension of the Aesopian fables and the works of Diodorus Siculus, Babrius, and Phaedrus), in order to determine, as far as possible, to which version of the tale the rabbinic tradition could have access.

Affiliations: 1: University of Vienna, Institut für Judaistik, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 7.3, 1090 Vienna, Austria


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