Simon Goldhill

Lived Experience, History, and Narrative Form in the Rabbinical Writings

Jahrgang 1 () / Heft 3, S. 343-377 (35)

This paper considers rabbinical writing, one of the largest and most complex corpus of material from late antiquity that discusses religious experience. It explores how the generic form of rabbinical writing is unique and how such form must be considered as a conscious and polemical stance against the dominant tradition of Greco-Roman writing on the one hand, and the growing importance of Christian writing on the other. It argues that the stance adopted by the rabbis constructs a specific vision of the world – a hermetic religious world where experience is represented not as a comprehensive or continuous narrative but as fragmented and pointed questions of religious law or religious understanding. This has an impact on how the self is perceived, along with historiography, chronology, ethics.

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