Contextualizing Bread: An Analysis of Talmudic Discourse in Light of Christian and Islamic Counterparts

Freidenreich, David M.
June 2012
Journal of the American Academy of Religion;Jun2012, Vol. 80 Issue 2, p411
Academic Journal
Rabbinic Sages change the practical implications of received normative statements through the manipulation of context. The strategies of contextualization that these Rabbis employ when ascribing their own opinions to predecessors who espoused different ideas become evident through analysis of passages of the Babylonian Talmud that address the law prohibiting Jewish consumption of bread baked by gentiles. Analysis of these passages, moreover, sheds light on the way in which Rabbinic Sages think about gentiles. By placing Talmudic texts within an analytical context that includes texts from the New Testament, John Chrysostom, and various Muslim authorities, this article also demonstrates the value to academic scholars of comparing texts produced within multiple religious communities.


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