Recent work on the history of Middle (Mishnaic) Hebrew and the mechanics of oral transmission have allowed scholars to reach a new understanding of the transmission of early rabbinic (tannaic) traditions within Babylonian rabbinic circles of the fourth through the sixth centuries. While this study focuses on the question of whether the Babylonian Talmud reflects a knowledge of the Tosefta in the from in which it now appears, it attempts to show that Toseftan texts, such as they were, were transmitted orally, and to detail the ways in which such transmission affected those texts. Conversely, it illustrates how an orally transmitted text may appear after it has been recorded in written form.
by Yaakov Elman
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