Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Speech


September 1956





History and Development
Elementary Education
Philosophy of Education
Educational Procedure
The Scholar at the Academy
The Curriculum at the Academy

The Place of Rhetoric in the Academies
Speech Occasions in the Academy
Content and Form of the Lectures at the Academy
A Special Feature of the Talmudic Lecture - The Meturgeman
Form and Content of the Academic Debate
Resolution of Conflict in the Talmudic Disputation - Majority Rule


Style of the Academic Discourse
The Talmudic View on Delivery
The Art of Memory





The purposes of this project are to describe the place and use of rhetoric in the educational system of the Jewish culture from 70 C.E. to 500 C.E. and to determine what theory of rhetoric guided this practice. The project, thus, fills a gap in the study of the history of rhetoric, since this culture has not heretofore been studied.

The source for this work was the Soncino English translation of the Babylonian Talmud. Though recognizing that public speaking had extensive use in law and religious worship, this study is confined to the use of public speaking in education.


The talmud is the product of the discussions conducted at the Babylonian Academies by authorities known as Tannaim and Amoraim. It was begun shortly after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E., and completed roughly around 500 C.E.

The Talmud is divided into six general divisions known as sedarim and each of the general divisions is divided into tractates. The tractates are titled according to their subject matter, but the bulk of the material in the Talmud is disorderly, and virtually any subject can be found considered in any tractate.


The Jewish culture shows a significant preoccupation with education. There is evidence of fairly universal literacy among the population during this period. The emphasis on education derives its sanction from the Bible.

The education preliminary to that of the Academy was provided by the elementary education system. There were schools throughout Babylon and Judea, and when the Jews had their own national state, education was compulsory, at least in theory. Elementary education was basically concerned with the teaching of reading and writing as it applied to the Bible. All other matter was studied only as it related to Bible study. The pedagogical theory of the elementary school was based on memory training. The student was required to memorize all of the basic works of the religion.

Following the elementary education system, came a sort of high school, which trained students in Mishnah in much the same fashion as the elementary school trained them in Bible. Together these served as a prelude to the Academy, where the student took the material of Bible and mishnah and learned its applications to everyday problems.

Through the Academy, study was elevated to one of the highest religious precepts. The procedure at the Academies was relatively informal, and varied from place to place and time to time. The bulk of the material studied was religious in nature, although other material came in for consideration when it related to a religious problem. Because of the material with which the Academies dealt, they gradually became the governing bodies of the Jewish community after the destruction of the national state.


The rabbis of the Academies derived Divine sanction for the practice of rhetoric. Oral communication was the only way in which education could come about, since there was a ban on writing anything other than the Bible. Public speaking was used to convey information and to reason out solutions to problems. It took the form of individual lectures, group discussions and debates.

The students at the Academies frequently had opportunities to speak presented to them. Although the regular daily lectures were usually given by the head of the Academy, the student had an obligation to interrupt this speaker to ask questions, dispute with him, and present his own point of view.

In addition to the regular academic sessions, the students were provided with an opportunity to speak on special occasions like holidays and festivals, where they were charged with the responsibility of explaining the law to the uneducated masses. Semi-annual assemblies, known as kalloth were held, to which all Jews were invited. At these assemblies, the students and faculty of the Academies lectured on the prevailing religious law.

Lectures at the Academies dealt with one of four topics; (1) new laws or statutes; (2) revision of old laws or statutes; (3) instruction in the tradition; (4) indulging the creative fancy of the speaker. All of these were subject to disputation. In disputation, conflict was usually resolved by majority vote. Minorities, however, had strong rights and privileges. An unusual feature of Talmudic speaking was the meturgeman. His function was to serve as interpreter to the audience. the meturgeman sprang from the fact that Hebrew was no longer the language of the people, and in the synagogue, Bible portions had to be translated into the vernacular. In the Academy the meturgeman received the heads of the discourse from the lecturing rabbi and amplified them for the students. On occasion, even debates were conducted through the meturgeman.


There was no explicit theory of rhetoric stated anywhere in the Talmud. The rabbis were probably not aware of an art of rhetoric, although in practical life they were constantly employing it. Study of their speeches indicates that the bulk of the speaking was in the extempore mode. In the realm of proof, logical proof was most widely used. The rabbis made use of testimony, observed facts and logical induction and deduction. Of these, testimony of recognized authorities was most important. From this feature grew a sort of ethical proof, where certain authorities were always held to be correct. The model of the good rabbi was Hillel, and rabbis were evaluated on how closely they approximated the stature of Hillel. Emotional material came either as an unplanned outburst in a regular speech or it was used as an attention getting device.

Because of the extempore nature of public speaking in the Academy, there was little need for a doctrine of arrangement. Some of the authorities formulated a rudimentary theory of introductions. Material on the body and the conclusion of the speech is virtually non-existent. There is little evidence that the rabbis rehearsed their speeches.

The style of the Talmudic discourse was governed to a large extent by the mode of interpretation of the Bible used by the speaker. The Rabbis appeared to favor a simple, direct, informative style for use in the Academies. Because of the religious precept which required a source to be cited in its own language, there was extensive use made by the rabbis of Hebrew, Eastern and Western Aramaic and Greek. This tended to complicate the style, and reinforced the need for the meturgeman. In synagogue speaking the rabbis had an opportunity to use a more florid style.

The material on delivery is scant. The optimum appears to be loud voice and clear diction. Again, in the synagogue, a complex doctrine of chanted delivery was growing up, which was not considered appropriate for use in the Academy.

The whole use of public speaking in the Academies depended on memory. Memory was trained either through repetition or through the provision of memory jogs. Three types of memory jogs were widely used; (1) listing of key words in a passage as a heading to the passage; (2) provision of a Biblical verse illustrative of the material in the passage; (3) provision of a notarikon, or work formed from the initial letters of key words as a reminder. Material used in lectures and disputations was drawn from the memory of the speaker, and consequently a good memory was essential to a speaker.


Basically, the following conclusions can be drawn about the theory and practice of rhetoric at the Babylonian Talmudic Academies;

  1. The rabbis lived in a rhetorical civilization and because of that, they developed an implicit, truncated rhetorical theory. There was an extensive, though rudimentary doctrine of invention and style, an extensive doctrine of memory with little concern for style of delivery or arrangement.

  2. The whole structure of Jewish education during this period depended on public speaking, which led to a widespread use of the public speaking arts.

  3. Extensive use was made of rhetoric in law and religious worship, which differed, somewhat, from the use in the Academies.

  4. There is a fertile field for future research in the history of rhetoric in studying the relation of other cultures and the Jewish culture and their effect on each other, as well as other facets of the Jewish culture itself.

Back to TOC


Purpose of the Project

The purpose of this project are twofold: (1) to describe the place of public speaking in the educational procedures of the Babylonian Talmudic Academies during the period from 70 C.E. to 500 C.E. and, (2) to discover what theory of rhetoric, if any, guided this use of public speaking.

For the purposes of this study, rhetoric shall be considered as the art of oral discourse of primarily utilitarian value as distinguished from discourse of primarily aesthetic value. It is essentially this utilitarian aspect, according to Baldwin, which differentiates rhetoric from poetic. This study regards the art of rhetoric as composed of five major divisions: invention, disposition, style, delivery, and memory. These divisions appear explicitly in the works of Cicero and Quintilian, and implicitly in Aristotle.

Invention deals essentially with the "investigation, analysis, and grasp of the subject-matter". Cicero, for example, includes such material as determination of the type of speech, analysis or determination of the status of the speech, and methods of selection of appropriate logical, ethical, and emotional proofs. Disposition includes organization of the speech as a whole. Style refers to selection of words and composition of sentences. Delivery considers two major factors, voice and action. Memory refers to mnemonic systems and other devices which a speaker may use to help himself to recall major ideas, as distinguished from words alone, and to recall these ideas in a predetermined order.

By the term, "Babylonian Academies", this study refers to those schools mentioned in the Talmud as sources for Talmudic material. This includes both schools which were located in Babylon and the schools of Palestine which preceded the Babylonian schools. According to Professor Moore:

The relation of these [Babylonian] schools to those in Palestine tended to bring Jews in the Diaspora into line with those of the home land. Not only was the traditional law as formulated and codified in these schools accepted as final authority, but their principles and methods were perpetuated and their work carried on by succeeding generations in the same spirit. In time, the Babylonian schools outshone those of Palestine and were aware of it, but they remained true to the type which had been impressed on them at the beginning.

Significance of the Project

In general, most of the currently available studies in the history of rhetoric place their emphasis upon the development of the art in western culture. Studies if rhetoric customarily consider its beginnings in ancient Greece, its development in the classical doctrines of Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian, and then trace these influences upon subsequent theories current in Western Europe, Britain and American.

So far as this author knows, however, no attempt has been made to describe what practices of public speaking were followed in early Jewish culture, or what theories of rhetoric, if any, were developed by that culture. And yet, that culture is at least as old as the Greek and Roman cultures; it shows unbroken continuity from earliest times to the present day, and in addition, is generally regarded as having had an important influence upon Western thought. the significance of this study, then, is that it represents a preliminary examination of Jewish sources in an attempt to ascertain what rhetorical theory and practice may have been developed in the Academies of this early Jewish culture. It is, thus, the hope of this author that this study may open a whole new field for further examination by students of rhetoric.


In attempting to describe and analyze the rhetorical practices of the Babylonian Academies, the writer has relied primarily upon the English translation of the Babylonian Talmud. This Talmud is the whole Talmud and consists of Mishnah, the Oral Law redacted in the Palestinian Academies, and Gemara, the commentary which was redacted in the Babylonian schools. It is also differentiated from the Palestinian Talmud, which was an abbreviated version used in the Palestinian Academies, and from the midrash, which was a collection of homilies and sermons.

The Talmud is one of the most important works in the Jewish culture, and even today provides the core of religious education for many Jews. According to a leading historian:

The Talmud forms a turning point in Jewish history, and...constitutes an essential factor therein... It is of less consequence what the Talmud is in itself, than was its influence on history, that is to say on the succeeding generations, whose education it chiefly controlled.

According to Louis Finklestein;

It is impossible to understand Judaism without an appreciation of the place it assigns to the study and practice of Talmudic law. therefore, to this day, he [the Jew] must devote considerable time not merely to the mastery of Talmud, but also to training in its method of reasoning. The study of Bible and itself a means of communion with God.

The Babylonian Talmud was selected as a primary source for this project since it is considered authoritative wherever it differs with any other contemporary source, and it is a complete collection of the work done in this area. The Soncino English translation is used since it is considered a highly reliable translation and valid for research in areas other than religious minutiae.

The Talmud, itself, is a valid source for this project, since it is representative of the literature of the period. It is likely, therefore, that it provides a clear picture of the process of education at the Academies in which it was redacted. The Talmud, in the standard Hebrew-Aramaic editions, consists of twelve folio volumes, totaling nearly ten thousand pages. The English translation consists of thirty-five volumes (19,457 quarto pages) of text and commentary. All of these editions carry a standard pagination, so that references may be carried either to the Hebrew or English editions.

Because of the special nature of this work, certain peculiarities in style will be observed throughout:

  1. All footnotes to Talmudic tracts will cite the folio page number and the reference to the English translation. The number appearing first is the folio page, while the second number refers to the Soncino translation. In cases where Mishnah alone appears, the reference will be to the chapter and paragraph of the Mishnah.

  2. In Hebrew-English transliteration, the system used by the Soncino translation was employed. In direct quotations from other sources, the transliterations of the authors are used.

  3. The frequently recurring abbreviation, "R," refers to "rabbi" and "B." means "son of." B.C.E. stand for, "Before the Common Era," and corresponds to the more popular "B.C." C.E. stands for "the Common Era," and corresponds to "A.D." This system was used since the bulk of the source materials use this method of abbreviation.


The method of research used by the author in this project was to examine the Babylonian Talmud to ascertain (1) whether it contains any advice to speakers which might be construed as a complete or a fragmentary theory of rhetoric, and (2) to determine whether the lectures, disputations and discussions recorded in the Talmud show any consistent patterns of organization, common forms of proof, or follow any discernible form from which one might infer an implicit theory of rhetoric.


This study is limited, first, to a study of Academic speaking. There is ample evidence of a widespread use of forensic and homiletic oratory, but these are beyond the scope of this study.

A second limitation is that of time. This study is confined to the period generally agreed upon as that during which the Babylonian Talmud was redacted. Its opening date, 70 C.E., is the year when the Jewish Temple was destroyed and Judaism was forced to reorganize as an intellectual, rather than a sacrificial religion. 500 C.E. is generally regarded as the date when the talmud was complete, and no further material could be added.

A third limitation is geographical in that only the Babylonian and Palestinian Academies are to be studied. Actually this limitation is enforced by circumstances due to the fact that no other such academies are known to have existed during the time period of this study. Further, these Academies are generally recognized as forming a definable group and, therefore, can be studied as a unit.

Back to TOC


In order to understand subsequent discussions of the Talmudic education and rhetoric, it is necessary that the reader have an idea of the general character and contents of the Talmud. The Talmud is divided into two distinct sections, Mishnah and Gemara. Mishnah refers to the Oral Law and tradition taught by the Pharisees and continued in the Palestinian Academies as the written law of the Pentateuch. Gemara refers to the discussions about the Mishnah carried on in the Babylonian and Palestinian Academies, which were given official sanction in the final compilation of Talmud. In the standard editions of the Talmud, Mishnah is the product of the discussions on religious tradition carried on by a group of teachers after the destruction of the Temple. One of these teachers is referred to as a Tanna and collectively they are known as the Tannaim. The Gemara is the product of similar discussions carried on by other authorities after the Mishnah had been made into a code. One of these authorities was known as an Amora amd collectively they were known as Amoraim. Most of the Tannaim and Amoraim are generally referred to as, "Rabbi."

The Mishnah is divided into six units, each one of which is called a seder. Each seder has a title designation which refers generally to its contents, but the seder is not confined to specific subjects of the title. The sedarim are, in turn, divided into tractates one of which is called masechta and collectively, masechtoth. These are also generally classified according to subject matter and are titled accordingly. All masechtoth contain Mishnah but in some cases, Gemara was omitted. Where there is no Gemara, the Mishnayoth are numbered consecutively. Where there is Gemara, the text is divided into chapters called perakim. The chapters are not titled, but they are grouped generally according to subject matter. Despite these divisions according to subject matter, each section of the Talmud contains much material not related to the title.

The first seder of Talmud is titled Zeraim, or "Seeds" and deals with the ritual laws of cultivation of the land and its produce. the first masechta is concerned with prayers and benedictions. It is the only one in this seder that has Gemara. There are eleven masechtoth in the seder.

Seder Mo'ed is the second division. It deals with observance of holidays and festivals. There are twelve masechtoth, and only the fourth is without Gemara.

The third seder is called "Nashim" meaning, "women" and deals with the laws of betrothal, marriage, divorce and family life. It has seven masechtoth and they all have Gemara.

Civil and criminal law, courtroom procedure, punishments and idolatry are the subjects of seder Nezikin, the fourth division. Of its ten subdivisions, the two dealing with the ethical mexims of the Tannaim have no Gemara.

The fifth seder is titled Kodashim. It deals with the sacrificial law, the Temple service and the dietary laws. It has eleven masechtoth, the last two of which have no Gemara.

The last, Seder Tohoroth, deals with the laws of clean and unclean as they pertain to the Levites and their service to the Temple. Only one of its twelve Masechtoth dealing with purity in women has Gemara.

The first three Sedarim Zeraim, Mo'ed and Nashim are still considered valid to some extent by Orthodox Jews. The laws of daily religious routine, holidays, and marriage regulations are valid for Jews wherever they do not conflict with the law of the land. The legal material in Seder Nezikin is valid in areas where the Jews have an autonomous government and it provides the basis for the law of the modern State of Israel. The two ethical tractates in Nezikin, Aboth and Edduyoth, are the core of Jewish ethics. The last two sedarim never had general acceptance. the material on the Temple service was written after the Temple had been destroyed, and was probably never in use, in the form in which it appears. While certain masechta in these last two are still valid like those which deal with the dietary laws, ritual of the first born and menstrual purity in women, some are applicable only in part like those dealing with ritual baths, vows and oaths.

A good description of the relationship of the Babylonian Talmud to Judaism is give by Graetz:

...Judaism, ever since its foundation has based itself on the experiences of actual life, so that the Talmud was obliged to concern itself with concrete phenomena, with the things of this world...The Babylonian Amora created that dialectic, close-reasoning Jewish spirit, which in the darkest days preserved the dispersed nation from stagnation and stupidity... In a word, the Talmud was the education of the Jewish nation.

The basic function of the Talmud was according to Cohen, " provide the Jewish people with a body of teaching, which should be more than a creed, but, also a guide of life in every phase. It created the world in which the Jew moved and had his being." This comprehensive nature of the Talmud presents great difficulties to the non-professional student. Solomon Schechter states three obstacles to study of Talmud:

  1. The Jumble of material makes indexing virtually impossible. The groupings under subject matter are misleading on many occasions.

  2. A great number of authorities, estimated at 500, appear in the Talmudic text.

  3. The minute detail of the discussions complicates them for the student who is untrained in Judaism.

The mass of material in the Talmud is presented uncritically. The men who took part in the redaction of the Talmud were also the Talmudic authorities, whose opinions appear in Talmud. According to Bacher;

Although the Talmud is an academic product and may be characterized in the main as a report (frequently with the accuracy of minutes) of the discussions of the schools...neither teachers nor pupils stood aloof from that life, but took part in it as judges, instructors and expounders of the Law, caused the Talmud to represent even non-scholastic affairs with an abundance of minute details, and made it an important source for the history of civilization. Talmud discussed the most varied branches of human knowledge - astronomy and medicine, mathematics and law, anatomy and botany.

In order to extract any sort of uniform philosophy from Talmud, individual expressions of view must be compared with the actual customs followed by the group. The Talmud is not the work of one man, or even one school. It is the work of many differing authorities, covering a great span of time. The Talmud then is actuarially a report of development rather than a code of law, and any conclusions drawn concerning the Talmudic view on anything must bear this fact in mind.

In addition to the formal division of Talmud into Mishnah and Gemara, there is a further division according to type of material. the bulk of the material in the Talmud is halachah, which is defined as;

...a specific declaration of the Divine will applicable to a given case; and as such, it was binding on all who accepted the Torah as their supreme authority.

The imaginative material in the Talmud is called haggadah. These passages are designed for instruction in morality, and they are largely in the province of the synagogue. They are inserted in Talmud for the purpose of providing variety and making the subject matter more interesting to the listener.

The Talmud, then, represents the most significant production in the Jewish religion since the Bible. It is highly authoritative, and its contents present a good picture of conditions and practices in the academies under study. The practice and theory ascertained from a study of the Talmud is likely to be the common practice of the whole Jewish culture during this period.

Back to TOC


History and Development

The exceedingly high level of knowledge shown by the participants in the debates at the Talmudic Academies indicate that there must have been some way of training children in the material of these discussions. However, there is little specific information found in the Bible or the Talmud on the history of Jewish education. This is partly because both the Bible and Talmud are primarily concerned with religion, and references to the educational system, therefore, are scattered throughout the text and occur only in relation to some religious topic. Further, the constant shifting of the Jewish people from one area to another precluded any territorial unity from the progression of education. Finally the most significant reason for the scarcity of material on education is because the Jews themselves showed little interest in writing or theorizing about it. According to one authority, the Jews were so pre-occupied with educating that, "...They found no time to write about it."

It is probably that few, if any, schools existed during the Biblical period. In Biblical days, the responsibility for education rested on the head of the family, for the Bible said, "thou shalt teach them [the commandments given by God to Moses] diligently unto thy children." In practice, this responsibility was sometimes delegated to tutors, and sometimes fulfilled by the family, but, according to Grossman, "the ability to read and write was general with the ancient Hebrews."

The formal system of education probably had its beginnings with the Pharassic Scribes known as , "The Men of the Great Assembly" who established academies in early Hasmonean days. This was followed by the work of Simeon b. Shetah and Joshua b. Gamala in the area of primary education. Certainly conditions were conductive to a system of popular education during this period. According to Morris;

There was the potential school-centre, the synagogue. From early times... children attended the services, of which instruction, in the form of popular lectures, was the central feature. There was the teaching body, the 'scribes' engaged in the actual work of teaching since the time of Ezra...There was also the subject matter for literary education - those parts of the Scriptures, such as the Pentateuch, which later formed the staple content of instruction; and at least the beginning of the liturgy...There was even the method of study which may be regarded as characteristic of Jewish education throughout the ages - the reading and interpretation of the Scriptural text.

Simeon b. Shetah is regarded as the founder of the elementary school system. During the reign of Queen Salome Alexandra (70 B.C.E. - 67 B.C.E.) he established charity schools throughout Judea, under the general supervision of the Scribes and the immediate direction of synagogue officials. Just before the destruction of the Temple the educational program was completed by Joshua b. Gamala, who set up a system of compulsory education including an elementary school and a rudimentary form of high school.

The bulk of the history of Jewish education in Talmudic days concerns itself with the history of the Talmudic Academies. Aside from the brief mention in the Talmud of Simeon b. Shetah and Joshua b. Gamala, there are few direct statements about the development of the Academies. The Talmud give some Idea of the extent of this education;

Did not R Phinehas state on the authority of R. Oshaia that there were three hundred and ninety four courts of law in Jerusalem, and an equal number of Synagogues, of Houses of study and of schools.

While probably an exaggeration, this passage illustrates the pride which the rabbis took in their school system.

The Talmud also describes the compulsory nature of education and fixes the responsibility for education by pointing out that if a father did not educate his son, he had the duty of turning his son over to a tutor. Fathers frequently failed their duty, however, and therefore compulsory schools were set up. Graetz feels that these schools later developed into the community elementary and high schools.

Although the first Academy is considered to be that of Johanan b. Zakkai, founded in 70 C.E., the Academies did not spring into existence suddenly. Some form of higher education existed during the pre-exilic period, since many of the early authorities cited in Talmud were educated at such institutions. The organized schools emerged from the periodic meetings held by the Scribes some time before the beginning of the Christian era. The schools were quite closely connected to the informal legislative bodies organized by the Pharisees during this period and the recurring phrase, "Great Assembly", probably refers to these predecessors of the academies.

According to a Midrashic legend, the first academy was founded by Johanan b. Zakkai in 70 C.E. He was the leader of the Pharisees in Jerusalem, and tiring of the war with Rome, he had his followers carry him out of the city in a coffin, and smuggle him to Jabneh where he opened his school. It is more likely that Johanan ben Zakkai reached some agreement with the Roman generals which gave him and his supporters permission to leave the city and establish their school.

The first problem confronting the founders of the new school was the re- organization of the religion. With the Temple destroyed, it was necessary to group the religion around another central core. This required that some legislative body decide on the many questions that arose, such as fixing of the calendar, regulation of ritual law and the role of the sacrifice. With the establishment of this legislative body at the academy, the beginnings of the aristocracy of education which was to arise, were made.

The Academy of Jabneh attempted to meet the needs of the time by educating a new generation of scholars, and by attempting to replace the former aristocracy of priesthood and landed nobility with an aristocracy based on the Pharisaic ideas of scholarship. This task was successfully accomplished at Jabneh. According to Moore;

What is certain is that at Jamnia under the lead of Johanan b. Zakkai in the years immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem, the work of conservation and adaptation was accomplished with such wisdom that Judaism was not only tided over the crisis but entered upon a period of progress which it may well count among the most notable chapters in its history.

The work begun by Johanan b. Zakkai was completed by Gamaliel II, who took over as head of Jabneh at the death of Johanan. Despite his authoritarian personality, Gamaliel managed to get the remnant of the Jews in Palestine to recognize this academy as the central authority in all political and religious matters. Several other academies had sprung up, and all of these were brought under the control of Jabneh.

After Gamaliel, the site of the main academy shifted several times. Despite continuing warfare and recurring persecutions, there was always at least one Academy in Palestine which maintained itself as the center of the religion. After an ill-fated revolt in 132 C.E., rabbinical synod was held at Usha, which led to the final redaction of the Mishnah. This was the work of R. Judah Ha-Nasi, known simply as Rabbi.

Up to the time of Rabbi, Babylon, which was by far the larger Jewish community, had remained subordinate to Palestine. With the intensification of Roman persecution after the death of Rabbi, the Babylonian Academies became the more important than the Palestinian. In Babylon the Jewish religion was not only tolerated, but was even allowed an autonomous government under the Babylonian rulers. This shift of authority from Babylon to Palestine represented a sort of continuum, for two pupils of Rabbi, Samuel and Rab, elevated the stature of the Academy in Babylon. The Babylonian Academies were organized on the same lines as the Palestinian. They had essentially the same heritage and were confronted with similar problems. Consequently, though the Talmudic Academies existed in two geographical areas, they shared a common development, and represent one complete unit.

With the elevation of the Babylonian Academies to first rank, the educational system of the Jewish culture became as universal as any that had existed until then in the World. While there were still many illiterates, the bulk of the community had some education, and, at any event, they recognized the leadership of the scholars who headed the community.

Elementary Education

The elementary schools which provided the education preliminary to that of the Academies were under the control of the communal government of the town in which they were located. This local government set up a board to appoint teachers and control the curriculum.

Any individual was eligible to set up a school for children, but generally, only one school was allowed in any locality. The teacher was paid a fee by the parents of the children, but this fee was technically for care of the children while they were at school, since no one was allowed to profit from learning. Teachers were not allowed to solicit students, but had to wait until a father turned his child over for education. Teaching of children was held to be a strict religious obligation, and theoretically nothing was allowed to interfere with a child's education.

According to the Talmud;

Five years is the age for the study of Scripture. Ten for the study of Mishnah, thirteen for becoming subject to commandments, fifteen for the study of Talmud...

Draizin holds that these age limits were generally followed and only upon completion of this study, or its equivalent, was a student allowed to enter the Academy. Because of the lack of central control, however, depending on the community the child would begin his schooling anywhere from three to six, and move on to the next level after he had completed the subject matter of the preceding level. Another Talmudic dictum allows leeway in starting ages;

Do not accept a pupil under the age of six; a pupil of the age of six, you shall accept and stuff him like an ox...Nurse told me that a child of six is ripe for Scripture; one of ten for Mishnah...

Apparently, the actual divisions in the curricula were the elementary school which dealt with mikra, or the simple reading of the Bible; the high school, which taught Mishnah and the Academy which dealt with Talmud and mastery of subject, rather than age was the criterion of promotion.

Respect for the teacher was a keynote of the whole Talmudic educational system. However, the respect existed in varying degrees, and there was a sharp distinction between the privileges accorded a teacher at the Academy, and the lesser figure, the teacher at the elementary school. In order to qualify as an elementary school teacher, a man had to be married and over forty. Women were not eligible to serve as teachers. The teacher was allowed to have an assistant if he had more than forty pupils and two assistants if there were more than fifty. Non-Jews were not allowed to serve as teachers. Teachers could be suspended for maltreating their students, and both the parents and officials of the Academy had the right to examine the elementary teacher's ability at any time.

The Bible was the sole subject of study in the elementary school. Training in the Bible consisted of learning of the Hebrew text and not with the meaning of the text. The reading that was taught was complicated by the fact that Hebrew was no longer the language of everyday speech. The text of the Bible had no vowels, and the children were required to commit to memory the traditional pronunciation of the entire Bible. Writing was prohibited since all writing was done by the community Scribes, and the art was handed down in guild fashion. The elementary school also taught the child how to participate in the synagogue service. No secular subjects were taught in the elementary schools.

Sessions were held in the schools from morning to evening from ten to twelve hours without a break. The children were excused on Friday afternoon, and on the days before holidays. special sessions were held on the Sabbath and on holidays, so that parents could visit the schools and hear the children recite. Children were also obligated to attend the daily synagogue services. In addition, the father of the child had the responsibility of teaching him a trade or craft, and this instruction usually took place after regular school hours.

The pedagogical base of the whole elementary school system was training of the memory. All of the material taught had to be retained in the memory of the student. This compelled the teachers to base their teaching on a system of memory jogs. In teaching the alphabet, for example, the students were taught to use the shapes of the Hebrew letters as mnemonic aids. One particularly characteristic Talmud passage describes an exhibition lesson one of the elementary schools;

The rabbis told R. Joshua b. Levi: Children have come to the Beth Hamidrash and said things the like of which was not said even in the days of Joshua the son of Nun. Thus: Alef Beth means 'learn wisdom' [alef binah]; Gimmel Daleth, 'show kindness to the poor' [Gemol Dallia]. Why is the foot of the Gimmel stretched toward the Daleth? Because it is fitting for the benevolent to run after [seek out] the poor. And why is the top of the Daleth stretched out toward the Gimmel? Because he [the poor] must make himself available to him. And why is the face of the Daleth turned away from the Gimmel? Because he must give him help in secret, lest he be ashamed of him. He Waw That is the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He [These letters in combination form the Tetragrammaton, which is the unpronounceable name of God.] Zayyin, Heth, Yod, Kaf, Lamed, this sequence teaches that if thou doest [Zan] thee, be gracious [Hen]unto thee, show goodness [meTib] to thee, give thee a heritage [Yerushah], and bind a crown [Kether] on thee in the world to come [oLam habah]. The open Mem and the closed Mem denote open teaching [Ma'amar] and esoteric teaching. the bent Nun and the straight Nun: the faithful [Ne'eman] if humble, will ultimately be the faithful, straightened. Samek, Ayyin: support [Semok] the poor [Aniyyim]. Another interpretation: devise [Aseh] mnemonics [Simanim] in the Torah and thus memorize it. The bent Pe intimate an open mouth [peh] and a closed mouth. A bent Zadde and a straight Zadde: the righteous [Zaddik] is bent in the world: the righteous is straightened in the next world... Kuf stands for holy [Kadosh]; Resh for wicked [rasha]. Why is the face of the Kuf averted from the Resh? The Holy One, Blessed be He said: I cannot look at the wicked. And why is the crown of the Kuf turned toward the Resh? The Holy One, Blessed be He, saith: If he repents, I will bind a crown on him like Mine... SHIN stands for falsehood [SHeker]; Taw for truth [emeTH...

The object of the elementary training was to transmit the whole Bible without any attempt to understand it. Therefore, mnemonics were used, and usually the memorization was based on "...mechanical associations, arbitrary, ingenious aids...endless repetitions." Where understanding was important, learning took place through observation or participation, like the learning of the rules pertaining to holiday observances and the Sabbath. These were learned by actual participation in the synagogue service and observation of the ritual. The child learned the entire liturgy, ritual and daily observance through this method. Because of the necessity of teaching religious observances to children, many of the holiday observances were geared specifically to do this. The Passover ritual, for example, was designed to answer the questions of children arising from their observation of the ritual. The liturgy was taught by association between the chants learned in the elementary school and the chants in the synagogue. The weekly Bible portion which was read in the synagogue coincided with the portion taught in the school. According to Morris, "...the history of education knows no parallel to this collective feat of memory."

There is some conflict in the philosophy of elementary pedagogy. One Talmudic disputation concerns the relative merits of the elementary teacher who encourages through rewards as opposed to the one who forces through threat, but no conclusion is reached. This is one of the few places in Talmud where education is actually discussed.

This elementary education provided the basis for all further education. The same process was carried on in the High School with Mishnah. By the time the student reached the high school, he was about thirteen, and therefore had the obligation of manhood as far as religious observance was concerned. Consequently, when and if he reached the Academy, he had committed to memory the entire Scripture and Oral Law. He had a thorough knowledge of the ritual and liturgy of his faith. He was then ready to begin the work of understanding and interpreting the material he knew so well.

Philosophy of Education in the Talmudic Academy

Education in the Academy was based on Scripture and Oral Law. This developed into a form of education which was the basic element in the culture. Education was religion, religion was life, and life was education. Moore relates this process to the fundamentals of Judaism;

The foundation of Judaism is the belief that religion is revealed. What man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man he has made known in one form or another by revelation. Specific commandments had been given to Adam, Noah, Abraham and Jacob; to Moses the complete revelation was given once for all. The prophets who came after hem repeated, explained, emphasized, applied what was revealed to Moses; they added nothing to it. The revelation to Moses was in part embodied in writing in the Pentateuch, in part transmitted orally from generation to generation in unbroken succession down to the schools of the Law in which the tradition was defined, formulated and systematized.

This broad definition of Torah or Law as consisting of both the Oral and Written Law was specifically stated in Talmud and became, for the Orthodox Jew, an article of faith. The relations between the Oral and Written Law is described by Moore;

Between the written and the unwritten Law there could be no conflict. It was one of the principal works of the schools to exhibit and establish the complete accord between Scripture and Tradition; not as though the authority of the unwritten law as such depended on the written, but because the agreement was a criterion of the soundness of the particular tradition or interpretation.

Talmud attributes great antiquity to this process of learning the Oral and Written Law. Abraham is designated as the first to teach this, and the description of his method is similar to a description of the method of instruction in the Academy.

The underlying philosophy of education was clear cut. Study was encouraged because study was the highest religious precept. The actual motive of the student is immaterial, according to the Talmud, since study, regardless of the original motive will lead to study for its own sake. Study of precepts was regarded as superior even to practice of precepts since it was felt that practice could not come about without study, and, "...Study is greater for it leads to action." This emphasis on study kept the religion alive during periods of persecution. When observances were prohibited, the Rabbis held that study of the observances would be a valid substitute.

The precept of study was a universal obligation. No man was exempt from the obligation of study. It is likely, however, that this universal obligation was not universally observed. Through most Jews were probably familiar with Bible and had some knowledge of Mishnah, only a few of them ever attended the Academy. Certainly, the frequent mention of am-haarez, in the Talmud, referring to the non- observer, indicates that there were many people who did not fulfill the religious obligation.

In order to encourage study, therapeutic powers were attributed to it. One of the rabbinic clans, the House of Eli, had exceedingly short lives. It was pointed out that if they had studied harder, they would have lived longer. The Rabbis, generally, felt that study would lengthen life, and that death could not come to a man while he was engaged in study. Further, study was an essential element of life, and salvation could not be achieved by the man who did not study. The element of study in salvation appears to outclass all other elements. One passage states;

Raba said; When a man is led in for judgment he is asked, Did you deal faithfully, did you fix time for learning, did you engage in procreation, did you hope for salvation, did you engage in the dialectics of wisdom, did you understand one thing from another?

Another story tells of how R. Hisda struggled with the Angel of Death, and kept him away from his family by continuing to study. When he fell asleep, he was seized. Elsewhere, study is compared to an "elixir of life" while lack of study is called a "deadly poison." A more practical reward is given to the student, for he is told that when he finishes studying Mishnah, he is rewarded with Gemara. An inducement for everyone to study was the idea that if man studied only one day out of the year, the Scripture proves that it is considered that he studied all year.

With the great importance of study firmly fixed, the teacher at the Academy occupied a high place in the Talmudic Educational system. One passage states that the teacher will, " privileged to sit in the Heavenly Academy." The person who teaches the illiterate will be so powerful, that God will annul His decrees for him. Since no one was allowed to take a fee for teaching, it was felt that God would make miraculous provision for the teacher.

Study and learning were highly regarded by the Rabbi. Study was an all- pervasive element in their lives. They felt the obligation to study while young and old; age was not an excuse for ending study. The Talmud states that, " may meditate on learning everywhere, except at the baths or in a privy." Even though the precept of study is not mentioned in the Bible, through interpretations, the Rabbis elevated it over many of the Biblical precepts. One Rabbi presented proof that study superseded the daily offering at the Temple. Even the rebuilding of the Temple took second place to study, and the Rabbis were told that study takes precedence over the precept of honoring father and mother. Study is held to be equal to the practice of charity and peace-making. A Talmudic proverb indicated that the man who studied had everything in the world. A basic ethical passage indicates that the only good man is the man who studies constantly, and all evil results from failure to study.

Philosophically, then, education was the most important element in life according to the Rabbis. Since they held that study and learning were important for everyone they attempted to disperse learning throughout all the people. The existence of the elementary education system indicates that they succeeded in spreading literacy to some extent. The higher education of the Academy was restricted, however, since it required intense dedication on the part of the student.

Educational Procedure at the Academies

There appeared to be no formalized physical plant for the Academies. They were not colleges in the modern sense of the word. Usually, one room in the synagogue or some other communal building was set aside for their use. Generally, there were no seats, and in the few cases where seats were provided, they were wooden benches. The pupils sat in front of the instructor in a semi-circle, either on the ground or on benches. The instructor had a seat which raised him above the student. The first Academy at Jabneh was referred to as "The Vineyard" because the students were seated on the ground in rows like vines planted in a vineyard.

The Academies were usually located a reasonable distance away from the commercial areas of the town to prevent distraction of the students, or the hearing of the lecture and possible mis-interpretation by casual passers by. Some of the instruction was probably given out of doors. R. Shesheth used to hold his sessions outside on the Sabbath days.

The academies had close association with the synagogue. One axiom of the period was that any synagogue could be turned into an Academy, but the Academy could not be turned into a synagogue. As the Academies evolved some were equipped with small discussion rooms attached to a main lecture hall. In general, however, lack of physical facilities was a characteristic of the Academies.

Academic sessions were held all year round. In early spring and fall special sessions were held for those who could not attend the regular sessions and for the public at large. There were both day and night sessions. Usually lectures were given in the afternoon, and mornings and evenings were reserved for private study and discussion. Although there were some authorities who felt that night should be used for "...naught by sleep," others held that, "...there is plenty of time to sleep in the grave." What is likely is that in working class communities where attendance during the day was impossible, lectures were given at night, while elsewhere only private study took place at night. The academies, however, were always open, and any student could come in at any time to study or converse.

Regular attendance at the lecture sessions was compulsory. This rule was not relaxed for any of the holidays. There is a reference to a "scholar's holiday", but this is a derogatory reference, and the passage goes on to indicate that it was not regular practice to give students time off for any reason.

There was a limited formal directorship of the Academy. The director obtained his position by virtue of a vote of the ordained rabbis. In Babylon, the national official known as the "Chief of the Exile" passed on the appointment of the heads of Academies. There was a vice-head and another official whose specific function has not been determined. Each of the rabbis also served as an instructor. From the ranks of the instructors the judicial offices in the community were filled.

An elaborate protocol was in use in the Academy. The official statement was;

Our Rabbis taught; When the Nasi [the head of the Academy] enters, all the people rise and do not resume their seats until he requests them to sit. When the Ab-beth-din [The vice-head] enters, one row rises on one side and another row on the other, and they remain standing until he has sat down in his place. When the Hakam [third in command: his specific function has not been determined] enters, everyone whom he passes rises and sits down as soon as he passed until the Sage has sat down in his place.

An elaborate ceremony took place when rabbis were ordained. Ordination was decreed by the Nasi, sustained by a vote of the members of the Academy. There were different levels of ordination, which gave the rabbi different privileges in judgment. The lowest level conferred the right to decide religious questions; the second to decide both religious and civil questions; the third, religious civil and criminal questions; the fourth gave privilege in all questions, plus the honorary right to inspect firstlings and sacrifices if the Temple was ever rebuilt. There appeared to be no formal requirements for the selection of candidates for ordination. When the Nasi, or another member of the Academy felt that a student was worthy, he could be nominated for ordination and the members would either approve or reject the decree of the Nasi. The rabbi receiving ordination was put through the ritual of laying on of hands, which dated back to the anointment of Joshua as successor to Moses. The laying on of hands was sometimes accompanied by a chanting of the virtues of the candidate by the members. In some cases the newly ordained rabbi was asked to defend a difficult point in a disputation.

There were a number of minor rules of etiquette that had to be observed. The students were told never to expectorate in front of their teacher. They were also not allowed to sit in front of their teacher unless they were given permission. I was considered a gross insult to the teacher if the student remained outside the Academy while a lecture was in progress. Students were expected to visit their teachers after the sessions on festival days, and frequently were asked to recite before their teachers on these occasions. Despite some trivial rules, the respect which existed between teacher and student was genuine. Modesty and politeness were virtues which were encouraged in students and teachers. Students and teachers were both admonished to listen politely and respect each other's ideas. To punish violations of the accepted code of ethics or protocol, the Academies had the power to expel a student, which they used on rare occasions.

Many different pedagogical devices were used by the teachers at the Academies. One authority describes the method of instruction as, "...a protracted conversation into which the Rabbis decoyed their disciples, and from which they...profited as much as the latter." According to Goldin there was general agreement among the rabbis that the teaching methods used by Hillel should be used. This method followed a pattern of lecture followed by question, discussion and debate, with the order frequently becoming jumbled. The teaching methods of Hillel were based on the ideas that though fame was not the end of study, a man should be proud of his learning; that study is an essential element of life and cannot be postponed or abandoned; and that study must serve a moral end and should not be used for the personal advancement of the student.

The teachers in the Academies felt that they had Divine sanction for their teaching, based on the Divine revelation of Moses.

Moses received the Torah at Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua; Joshua to the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets to the Men of the Great Assembly. The latter used to say three things: Be patient in the administration of Justice, rear many disciples and make a fence around the Torah. They felt that the whole law had been revealed to Moses, but because of human frailty, much of it was lost. The means of recovering the lost laws were in the hands of the rabbis. Therefore, their responsibility in education was threefold; to be careful in justice, since the law might not be exactly correct; to obtain many pupils, for the more pupils the more likely that the laws would be restored; and to make each law that they had just a little more strict to prevent even an unconscious violation. Independent study was vigorously condemned for it was feared that the student who studied alone might fall into error. The student had the right to select his own teacher, and he was told that if one man's methods did not appeal to him, he was to attend another Academy until he found someone whose teaching he respected. By the same token, the teacher was admonished to send away the student that he could not help. In addition, since the students had to learn by memory, exactly as in the lower schools, the authorities insisted on regular attendance and much repetition. The idea of repetition combined with regularity was a basic concept of the educational philosophy. Since a student could not study alone, the students were advised to study in groups; to repeat halachoth and to discuss them. There was a special merit given to this group study.

There is some evidence that students were tested. Some of the rabbis held special sessions prior to the public sessions of the Academy and quizzed their students. Others authorities tested their students orally, and without warning.

Although corporal punishment was widely used in the lower schools, the method of encouragement was widely used in the Academy. One authority said, "If you see a student who finds his studies hard as iron, it is because his teacher does not encourage him." Some authorities made it a practice to declare a festive day when a student had finished a tractate.

Despite some modern ideas, there was a great deal of superstition attached to education in the Academy. One passage describes what foods can be eaten, tells the students to avoid passing under a camel, and advises them to beware of women. By and large, however, the education at the Academy followed a fairly modern format. It was based on lecture and discussion, and this coupled with the lack of books made it an excellent place for the exercise of speaking skills.

The Scholar at the Academy

There is no statement in the Talmud of formal requirements for the admission of a student to an Academy. Though an occasional woman is mentioned in the Talmud as having had some Talmudic knowledge, it appears that the education of women was confined to Scripture and knowledge of ritual in the home and they were excluded from the Academy. Most of the rabbis felt that women were not worth educating. There is some evidence that a few non-Jewish students studied at Academies. One Tanna feels that a gentile who is educated in Torah is equal to the Jewish High Priest. A story is told of a group of Roman commissioners who studied at the Academy in order to determine whether the Jews sought to undermine the Roman government. Many authorities, however, stated flatly that no gentiles should be allowed to study at the Academies since their knowledge could be turned against the Jews later on, and it is likely that this injunction was generally followed.

Although gentile students were rare, proselytes were accepted willingly. The teachers of Hillel were supposedly children of proselyte parents, and since they produced a scholar like Hillel, proselytes in general were desirable.

A student who enrolled at an Academy was assumed to have a certain amount of knowledge. This knowledge included Scripture, Mishnah, the liturgy, and religious observances. Since students at the Academy had different backgrounds the scholars had different degrees of knowledge. The students were called haber or "associate". One passage set down the qualifications for admission as a haber as follows;

  1. The applicant must practice religious ritual in his home. If he does not, he must be instructed in this practice before admission to the Academy.

  2. He must take an oath to observe ritual purity, particularly the precept of washing the hands.

  3. He must serve a thirty day probationary period.

  4. He must know the Bible and Mishnah.

Qualifications for admission were not based on social status. It was presumed that the children of rabbis would be better trained in ritual and basic knowledge than others, and they were not as rigidly examined. In general, however, the Academies admitted anyone who could meet the basic qualifications, regardless of economic or social status.

The student was expected to be of high moral character. He had to be willing to declare his own animals unclean, if they were unclean. This would indicate a high degree of objectivity, since scholars generally lived in great poverty. The scholar was expected to be meek in the presence of other scholars, and display sufficient pride in the presence of the community in order to give weight to his decisions. The Academy in general, and his instructor in particular, were responsible for the behavior of the student in and out of the Academy. they felt that any misdeed on the part of the scholar was reflected on the Academy, and the rabbis took great care to maintain their good reputations.

The scholar had many privileges in the community because of his learning and because of the high regard in which learning was held. It was generally felt that a scholar was superior to a king of Israel, since kings ere hereditary, while if a scholar died, he could not be replaced. Some authorities felt that the scholar should be ranked next to God. In the event that a scholar was captured and put up for ransom, the community had the obligation of ransoming him, and the scholar took precedence over any relative, including father or mother. The Mishnah states, "...In captivity for ransom...the learned bastard takes precedence over the ignorant high priest." This respect had practical aspects as well. Any citizen who publicly insulted a scholar was subject to excommunication, nor could the scholar be publicly reprimanded. the scholar had the right to collect priestly dues on behalf of any priestly family, since, because the Temple was no longer in existence, the scholar had more prestige than the priest. In business transactions, the scholar had the right to demand to be served first. The scholars served as judges in the community, and had full privilege in judgment. In court cases to which he was a party, he needed no corroborative witnesses for his testimony and he had the privilege of prompting witnesses about their testimony or using notes for his own testimony. The scholar was exempted from all oaths, in or out of court. The most important privilege of all was exemption from taxation. All taxes levied against the scholars were assumed by the community.

The community felt that it was a blessing for a woman to marry a scholar, and as a result, fathers in the community offered board and room for a specified period of time to the scholar in return for marrying their daughters. The scholar was not obligated to live with his wife and could leave home for "...two to three years" in order to further his study. Though scholars were told to earn a living through engaging in a trade, they were exempted from all non-paying community labor. The scholar also had the privilege of demanding the best food and drink when he was a guest in anyone's home.

In order to earn the privileges given him, the scholar had many obligations to the community. His major obligation was to continue his study all the days of his life. He was expected to be scrupulous in his religious observance, thereby setting a good example for the community. Further, certain vestigial ritual practices still existed which demanded the services of someone of a priestly family. These included inspection for leprosy, determining the tax for a first-born son, and inspection of foods for ritual cleanliness. Since the priests were no longer instructed in these things, the scholar served as guide to the priests, and actually decided these matters.

The scholar's major obligation was teaching. The scholar who did not teach was called, "...myrtle in the wilderness." He taught in community schools if he was not too far advanced or in the Academy if he was ordained. Scholars were not allowed to take fees for any service which they rendered to the community, including judging or teaching. It was also considered essential that the scholar marry and have children, since it was felt that the child of a scholar would be a scholar himself.

There is a great deal of advice given to scholars about their personal behavior. he was to be neatly dressed and avoid ignorant people. He was to be courteous to his colleagues. One leading authority told scholars to "...provoke the anger of a Syrian woman."

Generally, the scholar at the Academy did not live the kind of life normally expected of a student. he was the ruling force in his community and was expected to live up to the privileges accorded him.

The Curriculum at the Academy

Basically the education given at the Academy was a continuation of the study of Bible, designed to lead to an exhaustive knowledge of every detail of Scripture and its application. Major emphasis was on halachah and the student was expected to know how to apply exegesis through hermeneutics to deduce halachah. He was also expected to know literal applications of Biblical laws, religious, civil and criminal law, the moral codes, narratives of history and homiletics and apologetics. The curriculum of the first Academy at Jabneh included;

...Scriptures, Mishnah, Gemara, Halachoth, Aggadoth; the subtle points of the Torah [quasi-mishnaic works] and the minutiae of the Scribes [correct reading of non-vowel texts]; the inferences from minor to major and the verbal analogies [the hermeneutics of Hillel]; astronomy [in order to intercalate the year] and geometry [ to determine Sabbath limits]; washers proverbs and fox fables [homiletics through parables]; the language of the demons, the whisper of the palms, the language of the ministering angels [mysticism] and the great matter [the mysterious references in Daniel and Ezekiel] and the small matter [understanding of the details of disputation.]

The curricula of the Academies presupposed a thorough reading knowledge of the Bible and Mishnah on the part of the student. The lower schools provided mastery and memory of the subject matter while the Academy worked to provide understanding and application of this material. In the Academies, as in the elementary schools, the emphasis was on religious material. Other studies were considered extraneous and entered the curriculum only as they related to religious matters. One authority stated;

Kinnim [the ritual use of bird's nests in the sacrificial law of the Temple] and Pithethe Niddah [the calculation of periods of menstruation in women for religious purposes] are essential ordinances; The study of the revolutions of the heavenly bodies [astronomy] and arithmetic are aftercourses of wisdom. However, much of the more complex and archaic religious material was ignored in many of the Academies. Tohoroth and Kodashim were generally neglected, since the bulk of their material was only pertinent to the land of Palestine. Certain Academies studied these books on the premise that study about the Temple service was a valid substitute for the Temple service. One authority defended the teaching of these obsolete laws on the grounds that it was good mental exercise for the students. Since the curriculum was not formally established, some authorities felt that the students should be allowed to select what they wanted the teachers to teach. They held that allowing the student to follow his own inclination would make for better learning. The bulk of the authorities gave the student the right to select his teacher, but once he had selected a teacher, he was obligated to learn according to that teacher's system. All of the Academies taught some form of hermeneutics, dialectic, and disputation and other matters as they saw fit.

Subjects such as history, literature, art, and others which are common in a modern curriculum enter the Talmudic curriculum only as they relate to religious matters. Some training in grammar and spelling was essential to the comprehension of the Bible. Much of this training was given in the elementary school, but since the Talmud includes many debates about grammar and spelling, we can assume that these were not taught according to any universal plan. Spelling was a frequent topic for disputation. These were largely concerned with the use of the two silent letters, which caused a great deal of confusion in meaning.

The study of literature took the form of criticism and explanation of the historical portions of the Bible. The vernacular translations of the Bible were also discussed and criticized, and evaluated as to reliability.

Government and civics were probably not studied, for the Talmud is almost devoid of references to these subjects. One authority remarked about the study of government;

...If all seas were ink, all reeds, pens; the heavens all parchment, and all men writers, they would not suffice to write down the intricacies of government.

History was not studied in any chronological order. Some history was gained through study of the Bible. The bulk of the historical material existed in the form of hero stories and legends which grew up around Biblical characters and Talmudic authorities.

There was a great deal of teaching of science and medicine. The Rabbis were concerned with the human body and its functions for religious reasons, and from this, a great medical lore grew. It appeared that the Academy served as medical center for the community, and sick people were brought there for treatment.

The formal study of philosophy did not exist. Though various Academies worked out different modes of religious behavior, these codes were worked out on the basis of determining what God wanted man to do. There was no concern with Who God was, or where He was.

Certain other subjects were studied in a few Academies. Some of the rabbis taught comparative religion, by urging their students to attend the houses of worship of gentiles. Astronomy and geometry were studied as they applied to calculation of the year and determination of Sabbath limits. Art was studied through an examination of the architecture of the Temple and analysis of the murals on its walls. Study of music existed through a study of the Psalms, the historical study of the music used in the Temple service, and the determination of the chants in the liturgical service in the synagogue. Some authorities taught mysticism and magic though this was condemned by most of the rabbis. The scholars were also taught ritual slaughtering, circumcision, writing of scrolls and preparation of religious objects.

Certain areas of study were strictly forbidden. Greek philosophy was interdicted;

Ben Deman...asked R. Ishmael, May one such as I who have studied the whole of the Torah learn Greek wisdom? He thereupon read to him the following verse, This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night. Go then and find a time that is neither day nor night, and learn the Greek wisdom.

Even the most liberal of the rabbis, R. Ishmael, flatly outlawed the study of anything other than Jewish material. Historically, the ban on Greek studies came from the time of the Hasmonean kings, when the Greeks were invited in to settle a civil war. The rabbis feared that Greek philosophy and Greek military power would destroy their state, and from that point forward, the rule was, "...cursed be the man who rears pigs, and cursed be the man who teaches his son Greek wisdom."

The writings of Christians and other sectarians were also forbidden, except to the heads of Academies. The heads made some attempt at teaching apologetics, and provided some information to the students about the practices of Christians. The horrible example held up to the students was that of Elisha b. Abuyah, a great rabbi, who studied the writings of other peoples and became an atheist. To avoid becoming like him, students were told to avoid this sort of study.

The necessity of banning non-Jewish writings implied that these writing were having some circulation among the rabbis at the Academies. It is probably for this reason that Greek words and ideas frequently appear in the Talmud, with no specific references to Greek authorities.

The curriculum of the Academies was firmly based, then, on Jewish subject matter. The whole curriculum had a religious base.

Back to TOC


The Place of Rhetoric in The Academies

The first emergence of an art of oral discourse was with the Scribes. According to one authority;

The only possible way of reaching the people, whether as a whole or in groups or individually, was by oral address. There was no question of writing books and circulating them. The people to be taught were just those who would be least able to read and least likely to read if there had been any books. ...When the work of the teachers in later times is studied in the is found to be exclusively oral, by way of debate in the schools or discourse in the Synagogue; and there is not the faintest trace of any earlier written instruction afterward superseded by oral teaching. We may be quite sure that the Soferim had no other means of instruction than the spoken word.

The purpose of oral discourse or disputation was always related in some way to Torah in general, and Oral Law in particular. In one statement, R. Johanan stated bluntly that, "God made a covenant with Israel only for the sake of that which was transmitted orally." The object of oral discourse was to determine the law orally, and then explain this law.

The Talmud makes no explicit mention of an art of public speaking. Based on Deuteronomic dictum to teach the law diligently to the children, the Scribes began to interpret the Pentateuch in public. This took the form of a lecture interpreting the meaning of a Scriptural verse. This same method was used by the rabbis later on in the Synagogue. From this interpretation of Scripture grew the interpretation of Oral Law and the determination by the rabbis of new law from the Oral Law.

The ribbis disagreed on the actual importance of oral communication. It should be noted here that their comments on oral communication were not made during the course of a study of rhetoric but were interpolations into a religious discussion. One authority commented on the use of the word, "persuasion" in scripture stating that, "persuasion is Scripture never means with words." According to his view, persuasion comes about through, "eating and drinking." Another authority advocated silence, except when it was necessary to give judgment. Hillel's counter-part, Shammai, told his students to, "...speak little but do much."

The majority of the authorities however, hold that public speaking is exceedingly important. Rabbah for example interpreted the Biblical passage in Numbers dealing with the speech of Caleb as meaning that, "...he won the people with words."

There was a general scarcity of written materials in the Academies which enhanced the importance of oral communication. Most of the rabbinic authorities agreed that those things which existed in writing should not be reported orally, and conversely, those things which were originally oral should not be put in writing. These things must be committed to memory and recited orally. The only written material which existed officially was the Bible, all other material was oral for the vast majority of the rabbis. There appeared to be a general prohibition on writing down anything other than the Bible. The task of writing was considered to be so exacting that those who knew how to write were told to confine their writing to Scripture. The leading authorities were quite explicit about this prohibition. R. Johanan stated flatly that as far as the Academy was concerned, the Oral Law superseded the Bible. According to George Foot Moore, this expressed a fundamental principle of Judaism. The belief was that all religion is revealed; that the whole revelation was given to Moses, and there fore, man was in possession of the whole law. According to this view, the Bible is only a small portion of that law. The bulk of it was oral, and means for discovering the law was also oral. Thus the extensive use of oral communication came about to fill the gap caused by the lack of valid texts.

The work of the Academies was directly related to the traditional unbroken succession of the revelation. There was a Divine sanction given to revelation or explanation of the law, and since the whole content of revelation was religion, and since religion pervaded every phase of life, the Talmudic discourse had Divine sanction for its existence, and was free to deal with any phase of life. Tradition held that the law was given to Moses orally, and he was enjoined not to reduce this law to writing, but to transmit it to future generations, orally. Moses did not receive a law for every detail of life, but he received a framework form which the law could be deduced. Because of this, in many situations, Mishnah took precedence over the Bible. The Bible was understandable only as it was explained and applied by Mishnah. Thus the rabbis generally followed a pattern of concentration on oral matters.

The rabbis, themselves, deduced Divine sanction to justify oral communication. One authority cited a legend which described the reaction of Moses who was allowed by God to visit the Academies. Moses was bewildered by the complexity of the discussions there, but God comforted him by explaining that this came directly from His revelation on Mount Sinai. Thus Moses understood that the law was not given to him in its final form, but was given by an omnipotent God, Who recognized that His words would become the subject of speculation. Therefore the discussions and disputations at the Academies served a Divine end. Many of the great figures in the Bible were cited as having taught in the same fashion as the rabbis at the Academies. Thus the sanction for public speaking was reinforced by Divine will and by historical tradition. The rabbis engaged in a continual process of deriving sanction for their method of oral teaching. Frequent references were made to Biblical figures participating in oral discourse and disputation. The Academic lecture was raised almost to the status of religious worship by the rabbis, when they pointed out that since the Temple had been destroyed, God had halachah alone as a form of religious worship. The ability to discourse well was granted by Divine decree to the rabbis who fulfilled the religious precepts. God, Himself, according to the rabbis, used the same teaching methods as the rabbis. God, according to this view, took no action without consulting his heavenly Academy. God frequently intervened into the disputations at the Academy, thus showing His interest in the discussions held there. In a powerful, rhetorical passage the rabbis give Divine sanction to their practice of rhetoric;

It has been taught: On that day R. Eliezer brought forward every imaginable argument, but they did not accept them. [R. Eliezer was disputing with his colleagues and could not get a vote in his favor.] Said he to them: 'If the halachah agrees with me, let this carob-tree prove it.' Thereupon the carob-tree was torn a hundred cubits out of its place... 'No proof can be brought from a carob-tree,' they retorted. [The majority of the rabbis held that human reason was superior to miraculous proof.] Again he said to them: 'If the halachah agrees with me, let this stream of water prove it.' Whereupon the stream of water flowed backwards. 'No proof can be brought from a stream of water,' they rejoined. Again he urged: 'If the halachah agrees with me, let the walls of the schoolhouse prove it.' whereupon the walls inclined to fall. But R. Joshua rebuked the schoolhouse walls saying; 'When scholars are engaged in a halachic dispute, what have ye to interfere?' ...Again he said to them: 'If the halachah agrees with me, let it be proved from Heaven.' Whereupon a heavenly voice cried out: 'Why do ye dispute with R. Eliezer seeing that in all matters the halachah agrees with him?' But R. Joshua arose and exclaimed: 'It is not in heaven' What did he mean by this? Said R. Jeremiah: 'That the Torah had already been given at Mount Sinai; we pay no attention to a Heavenly voice, because thou hast long since written in the Torah at Mount Sinai, After the majority must one incline.

...The Holy One...laughed with joy...saying, My sons have defeated me.

This remarkable passage makes it clear, in the minds of the rabbis, God approved of their practice of rhetoric. It indicates that the rabbis reserved for themselves the right to dispute, without outside interference and subject to majority rule, any detail of human life. God's laughter at the conclusion approves that doctrine that man is in possession of God's whole law, and it is up to man to determine how to discover, how to use it, and how to follow it. The discovery of the halachah would correspond to the classical concept of invention, while the communication of halachah involved disposition, style and delivery, the whole process resting on a body of knowledge mastered through memory. Thus, while it was not explicitly stated in the Talmud, the elements of a rhetorical system existed in the very nature of the purpose and process of oral communication at the Academies. The teaching methods used at the Academies made rhetoric the most important element in the whole process.

Speech Occasions in the Academy

The educational system at the Talmudic Academy provided many occasions for public speaking. One description of Talmud states, "...the Gemara almost throughout takes on the nature of a lecture hall or a collection of minutes of the discussions..." The daily procedure was for the rabbis and their students to meet for a lecture on a question of practical application of law, or hypothetical behavior, while the students had the privilege of interrupting to ask questions or to dispute. The lectures and disputations frequently did not arrive at any clear-cut decision, but through the discussion a great deal of information was exchanged.

Participation in the lectures and discussions was not technically confined to students and staff of the Academy. Anyone who accepted the doctrines of Pharasaic Judaism was eligible, although in practice, the participation was confined to the well- educated.

Lectures and discussions began in many ways. The most frequent speech occasion was the regular Academic session. These sessions were held daily, through most of the year.

Frequent references to the regular academic session are found in the Talmud. One passage describes a non-Jew passing an Academy and hearing the voice of the teacher giving the daily lecture. References indicate that, on occasion, the subject matter of the lecture was determined by the student's request and in some cases, the lecturer did not begin until he was asked a specific question by one of his students. The only general conclusion that can be drawn is that seven days of the week and every day of the year, some type of lecture was given at the Academy.

In addition to the regular lectures, the rabbis were provided speech occasions by special events in which the Academy was involved. The deposition or retirement of a head of an Academy occasioned a service of orations from the students. These orations, and their accompanying disputations were apparently designed to codify orally the decisions previously reached at the Academy. The most famous of these codifications was the tractate Edduyoth, an authoritative book of decisions collected at the time of the deposition of Gamaliel II as head of the Academy of Jabnah. Other formal occasions called for special speeches from the members of the Academy. Other formal occasions called for special speeches from the members of the Academy. These included ordination ceremonies, funerals, weddings, and the first Academic session after New Year. These speeches, although occasioned by a formal event were subject to the same question and disputation as the regular Academic lecture.

The Head of the Academy had a particular responsibility for public address. His function was to open the daily session, either by beginning the lecture himself, by inviting another rabbi to speak, or by signifying that the floor was open for questions. Once the session was open, speech occasions rose spontaneously from the disputation. Since the speaker could be interrupted at any time for question or disputation, any student who wished to raise an issue had the opportunity to speak. The right to interrupt also provided the student with occasions for the practice of rhetoric. Certain of the higher-ranking rabbis had the right not only to interrupt, but to change the subject if anything else seemed more interesting or more important to them. The usual session opened with the lecturer speaking on the application of some Mishnah to practical circumstances. As students interrupted for questions, the lecturer usually retired temporarily, to let students hold their discussion. He then interrupted, and generally brought the lecture to a conclusion. Because of the nature of the speaking situation, it must be concluded that the bulk of the speaking during the regular academic session was extempore, but based on a disciplined art of memory.

Students were also provided with an opportunity for private discussion. A short period after each daily session was devoted to review, where latecomers and absentees could get a briefing on what had occurred at the session. These reviews gave the students an opportunity to discuss the proceedings, without interference from a lecturer.

Annually, a session was held which was devoted to a series of lectures reviewing the material discussed during the year. These lectures were given by students, with the rabbis in attendance to correct any errors. Though these sessions were referred to as lectures, they were similar to a group discussion with five or six students participating.

Frequently, the lecturers challenged the wits of their students by raising obscure, hypothetical, or impossible questions, or by use of aposiopesis or suggestio falsi. These were designed to stimulate the students to speak by challenging them to discover the errors or impossibilities in the lectures and proving their case.

Many opportunities for speaking were provided by the Academy's function as a court. Although many of these dealt with civil, criminal, and religious law, and are not within the scope of this study, many others involved simple matters of human behavior, and as such were valid material for discussion at regular Academic sessions. Such questions as, "who shall be served first in a butcher shop," how to avoid visitors, ethical practices for merchants, how to silence gossips, length of fringes on garments, and the proper method of assembly for a weaver's frame. Frequently, to stimulate discussions, questions arising at other Academies were introduced, so that the hypothetical conclusion could be compared with the actual decision of the case.

The Academies stressed the idea that classwork should be carried on outside of the Academy. Conversations and discussions among students were encouraged. The authorities felt that study was enhanced by group activity, and they also held that an oral exchange of views was the best way to, "...sharpen the wits." One authority indicated that this mutual study would enable the students to correct each others mistakes. Another authority, giving no reasons, stated that studying alone was a sin, while studying in groups was a blessing. Private study was held to be so important that students were told to stop only for the reciting of the most important prayer in the Hebrew liturgy. These private conversations dealt with the same material as was discussed in the Academy. Frequently, they were reported back to the Academy in lecture form, and became topica for discussion in that day's session of the Academy.

It is possible that the Academy encouraged some disputation between its better students and non-Jews. It cannot be determined whether many of these disputations which are reported in Talmud actually took place, or were merely haggadic material designed to stimulate the students. It is probable that the disputes between rabbis and great historical figures like those between Bamaliel and the Greeks and the scholars against the philosophers, are fictional. Because of his known historical contact with the Persians, it is probable that the debates between Raba and Persian priests actually took place. A good deal of advice was given to the rabbis and students about this type of disputation. One authority stated, "...know what answer thou shouldst give to the Epicurean." Several authorities lectured about points of Christian theology and recommended refutations to their students. Students were cautions not to dispute with non-Jews unless they were sure that they could win, since failure to win might result in their death and persecution of the community. It is likely that if these debates took place at all, they did not take place in the Academy, but occurred as private conversations and were then reported back to the Academy.

Many of the rabbis lectured in public to the community at large. Frequently, these lectures dealt with serious community problems, for example the lecture of Samuel to the hardware merchants on their business malpractice. Others, like Ben Azzai, lectured for sport. Ben Azzai stationed himself in the market place and challenged all comers to debate with him on any subject. Public lectures were necessitated by the need for information in the community. Such problems as proper observance of holidays, wedding ritual and general business practices served as topics for these lectures. Like the lectures in the Academy, these lectures were open to question and discussion.

The rabbis also spoke in the Synagogue. It was their responsibility to impart moral instruction in the form of Sabbath sermons. This homiletic speaking led to the development of a body of literature apart from Talmud. The homilies of many of the Talmudic rabbis are collected in the Midrash. The preaching of the rabbis differed distinctly from the academic speaking. they dealt either with interpretation of Bible, or moralizing for the community.

The most unusual speech occasion for the rabbis had its origins in the Babylonian schools. This was the semi-annual assembly of the entire community, called kallah. there is some question of the derivation of the word, 'kallah'. Literally, it means 'bride', and some authorities hold that it is an allegorical expression for the, "wooing and winning of learning." Others derive it from the Greek, scholia, or from the Hebrew kol, meaning, 'all.' The most modern view is that it is derived from the Hebrew hekhal meaning, 'to assemble', taking sanction from the Deuteronomic verse, assemble the people, the men and the women. These assemblies were held in the months of Adar and Elul corresponding to March and September. Bacher describes these meetings as follows;

The Kallah...was a characteristic feature of Babylonian Judaism altogether unknown in Palestine. Owing to the great extent of Babylonia, opportunities had to be furnished for those living far from the academies to take part in their deliberations. These meetings of outside students, at which, of course, the most varying ages and degrees of knowledge were represented, took place twice a year...

In the Kallah the close of the summer the close of the winter, the disciples the meeting, after having prepared...the treatise announced at the close of the preceding Kallah month by the head of the Academy... They present themselves before the head...

They that sit aloud in the first row recite aloud the subject matter, while the members of the remaining rows listen in silence. When they reach a passage that requires discussion, they debate it among themselves, the head silently taking note of the subject of discussion. Then the head himself lectures upon the treatise...and adds an exposition of those passages that have given rise to the discussion.

In addition to a discussion of an assigned topic, the members of the Academy lectured to the visitors on problems which had arisen during the year. During these lectures, they reviewed the decisions reached in the Academy on these community problems.

Aside from the size of the audience, the kallah lectures followed essentially the same pattern as the lectures in the Academy. Out of courtesy to the lecturer, the members of the Academy refrained from questioning the speaker, but the floor was still open for question on the part of the visitors.

The Kalloth were set after the harvest so that the maximum number of people could attend. There is no accurate estimate of the size of these audiences, but one Talmudic passage, which may be hyperbolic, estimates the audience at 10,000. One rabbi indicated that demons attended these sessions because they could lose themselves in the crowd and push and crush the rabbis. Some authorities held that simple attendance at these gatherings fulfilled religious precept, since the crowds were so large, most people could not hear the speakers.

The rabbis did a great deal of speaking during these sessions. All judicial and homiletic functions of the rabbis were abandoned during the kallah periods, since, in order to reach the maximum number of people, the rabbis conducted lectures day and night. The Kallah lectures were basically explanatory, the idea of the rabbis being to make as much of their knowledge available to people in outlying communities, so that disputes arising in those communities could be speedily and equitably settled.

Thus, the speaking opportunities provided at the Academy occurred day and night, all year round. The rabbis and students had ample opportunity for self expression, both in the form of lecture and disputation.

Content and Form of the Lectures at the Academy

The basic purpose of the Talmudic lecture was revelation of the law, as it pertained to human behavior. There was little or no mention of eschatology or metaphysics. The concern of the lecture was not with "Who is God," but with, "What does He want us to do?"

According to Kohler, the lectures were generally about one of four topics;

  1. Amplification of the Oral Law to lead to prohibitory statutes, mandatory statutes or new rites and customs.
  2. Application of hermeneutics to devise new laws or new applications of old laws to fit specific situations.
  3. Imparting instruction in tradition, including history, astronomy, science and other arts, as they applied to the religion.
  4. Indulging the creative fancy of the speaker through and interpretation of Biblical verses.

The head of the Academy did the bulk of the lecturing. He opened the meetings of the Academy with a prepared lecture, by asking someone else to lecture, by stating a topic for discussion or by simply stating, "ask", indicating that the students should select the topic.

The speaker began his lecture while standing, but usually, he sat down after beginning. The other officials of the Academy sat on a bench at the front of the audience, with the head of the Academy in the center. The students were grouped around in a semi-circle, either seated on lower benches or on the ground. The speaker was always raised above the students, sometimes with cushions. The students were crowded closely around the speaker and if there was room at the rear, people from the community were allowed to stand and listen. For important lectures the sessions were sometimes moved outdoors so that more people could attend them.

When a prepared lecture was delivered, it was usually concerned with a complex matter of halachah stemming from a situation which had arisen in the community which the lecturer felt was important to the students. This type of lecture contained very little haggadic material, since the rabbis felt that the synagogue was the proper place for this and further, because later on in the session, it might be necessary to use haggadah to break the monotony and regain attention of the students. Prepared Halachic lectures were held to be so important that if an important member of the academy came in late, the speaker would go back to the beginning for his benefit. These lectures were always subject to interruption for questions, but it appeared that in many cases, the students allowed the lecturer to finish the prepared portion before questioning.

When the formula, "ask", was used, this served as a signal for open discussion. The students could conceivably ask the lecturer to explain something they could not understand. They might ask for a statement on a controversial issue, on which they disagreed with the view of the lecturer, so that they might have a chance to dispute with him. The students had the right to ask the lecturer to lecture on either halachah or haggadah. Sometimes these requests taxed the ingenuity of the lecturer;

When R. Ammi and R. Assi were sitting before R. Isaac the Smith, one of them said to him; 'Will the Master please tell us some legal points?' while the other said: 'Will the Master please give us some homiletical instruction?' When he commenced a homiletical discourse he was prevented by the one, and when he commenced a legal discourse, he was prevented by the other. He therefore said to them, 'I will tell you a parable: to what is this like? To a man who has two wives, one young and one old. the young one used to pluck out his white hairs, whereas the old one used to pluck out his black hair. He thus finally remained bald on both sides. I will accordingly tell you something which will be equally interesting to both of you.'

R. Isaac then proceeds to discuss the law on lighting of fires on the Sabbath, using homiletics, the interpretation of Biblical verses to present his point of view.

Halachah always took precedence in the Academy, and normally in a request for both halachah and haggadah, and lecturer would speak on halachah. In some cases, however, the lecturer was not ready to speak on the topic requested. In these cases the lecturer would use this request as the basis for the next day's lecture, thus giving himself time to prepare.

The audience was brought into direct relation with the speech by allowing free questioning and discussion during the lecture. Some of the rabbis selected prize students and charged them with the responsibility of interrupting the lecture to ask questions. These questions were prepared by the students, and were designed to catch lagging interest, or to change the pattern from lecture to disputation. Some of the rabbis objected to these interruptions and called down curses on the students that interrupted them. These curses did not stop the interruptions, since the right to interrupt was very highly prized in the academies.

This privilege of interruption maintained student interest, and provided the format for the academic disputation. A typical Talmudic passage describing a academic session presents an anonymous lecture discussing the time of day when the morning prayer should be recited. After the lecturer responds by showing that these authorities expressed their views in different countries and under different conditions. The lecturer then cites support for his view from Scripture and cites authorities which agree with him. A vote is then taken, and the majority of the academy votes for the point of view of the lecturer. This appears to be the general pattern of the daily academic session. At the review session, the vice-head officiated, and he was not usually interrupted during his discourse since the students could carry on their discussion after he had completed his review.

The subject matter of most of the lectures was halachah. Some examples are the lecture of R. Tanhum on extinguishing fires; R. Nahman on determining ownership in land disputes; R. Johanan on how to get along with non-Jews; Raba on methods of taxation; R. Joshua on determination of the holidays; and R. Hanian on the proper size of dowries. Even the lectures which dealt with haggadah were not comparable to the inspirational lectures delivered in the synagogues, and dealt with such topics as, how to calm down an angry man or what precautions to observe when lending money. A number of the lectures dealt in full or in part with the justification of the scholar as the leading figure in the community. Some of the lectures were on theoretical matters of behavior such as "the frequent practice of sexual intercourse is desirable", "charity must be given to maintain the community", "the Israelite is intellectually superior to his neighbor", or "the advantages of being rich and intelligent". There was little mention of anything that might be construed as eschatology or metaphysics.

Unreal topics came in for their share of discussion. The Temple service, which had been abandoned long before, was frequently discussed as were other archaic laws. Stories and fables were also included. These were usually hero stories about great intellectuals like Hillel and Nahum of Gimzo; the vanquishing of the scholars of Athens or the defeat in a disputation of Alexander of Macedon.

On rare occasions, visiting lecturers were allowed to speak in the Academy. Sometimes these were itinerant preachers who were invited in so that the students could dispute with their strange views. It is possible that some of the preaching of St. Paul came about in this way. The itinerant preachers usually dealt with material that the rabbis considered mysticism or esoterica. They were compelled to submit to question and disputation from the heads of the academy as well as the students.

Frequently the heads of other Academies visited. On these occasions they were allowed to participate in the sessions and were frequently called upon to speak extempore upon their specialties. On these occasions they were given the same courtesies and subject to the same interruptions as the heads of the home Academy.

A fundamental principle of public speaking at the academies was the doctrine of free speech. According to Graetz:

Freedom of speech...became so firmly established a right that no one could be attacked for expressing...opinions, unless he controverted any received dogma or rejected the conception of the Divinity peculiar to Judaism.

The Talmudic passage describing the deposition of R. Gamaliel as the head of the Academy of Jabneh reveals this spirit of free speech. Gamaliel frequently insulted the highly respected R. Joshua. The members of the Academy were so concerned about these insults that they voted Gamaliel out of office, and as an insult to him, replaced him as head with an eighteen year old. After his restoration to office, he confirmed the principle of free speech which guided later Talmudic speaking. The Talmud holds that difference of opinion is natural, necessary and to be encouraged. One significant passage points out that it is expected that two rabbis would differ in opinion, but the only type of dispute that was wrong is when two rabbis differed about what a third rabbi said. Students were told that they were expected to speak out when they detected an error made by their teachers, or when they felt that the conclusion was wrong. Students were told that the Bible says, From a false matter keep far and therefore they had an obligation to see that truth resulted from every disputation.

Because of the frequent clash of opinion, students were advised to show tolerance toward the views of others. They were told to respect another scholar's decisions, unless they could prove them wrong. Raba indicated that if scholars were intolerant of each other, it provoked the anger of God, while Resh Lakish held that if scholars were tolerant it would multiply peace in the world.

The concept of free speech and respect for other opinions is one of the factors that makes the Talmud the jumble that it is. there are few absolute decisions reached. A majority view and a minority view are recorded in almost every case, and the minority is not absolutely obligated to bow to the will of the majority. In many cases where the halachah is not firmly established, each individual was allowed to follow and to express his own view. In many cases, even when agreement is reached, and a decision made, the minority view is recorded, so that later generations might understand the reasons and conceivably decide to follow that view. It was held by the leading authorities that any decision might be overthrown if time and circumstances demanded it. It must be remembered, however, that the discipline of the academy was strong, and individuals rarely differed from the view of the majority unless their feeling was exceedingly strong.

Generally, then, the characteristics of the Talmudic discourse were that it was largely extemporized, it was subject to interruption for discussion and question, it usually dealt with halachah, using haggadah sparingly. Its dominant feature was freedom of speech.

It is likely that the lecturers used a meturgeman part of the time. There are several instances mentioned of rabbis appointing a meturgeman for a special discourse. This was probably an honor bestowed upon an important member of the Academy, and possibly indicated that the Rabbi did not have an regular meturgeman.

Several references indicate that some of the rabbis used the meturgeman in disputation, to debate on his behalf. Usually the head of an Academy was reluctant to involve himself in debate with some of the younger students. Some of the rabbis had the practice of appointing a meturgeman to answer the question raised during their lectures. With each of these appointments the lecture turns immediately into a disputation. On occasion, the meturgeman was appointed for the purpose of testing or quizzing a student. This test took the form of oral cross-examination on a point of view expressed during a disputation. Probably the meturgeman was employed by all of the lecturers at one time or another, even though it cannot be determined how frequently they were used.

Most of the special lectures given at the Academy were given through a meturgeman. In these cases, the meturgeman was paid for his services. He was also widely used at the kallah lectures. At these times, the head of the Academy would appoint several men to act as meturgeman to smaller groups. The head would then deliver his lecture and each meturgeman would move to another group and repeat it. The meturgeman would also serve as prayer leader and counselor for these small groups, which were called mihyan and consisted of ten or more adult males.

The meturgeman also served as a regular lecturer when the head of the Academy was incapacitated. He had several other functions also. Resh Lakish, on one occasion, took his meturgeman with him to a house of mourning to deliver funeral laments. Legal business was also transacted through a meturgeman, with the meturgeman serving as attorney for the parties to the dispute. Legal business could not be transacted without a meturgeman. On several occasions, rabbis would not appoint a meturgeman on festival days for fear of drunkenness, and for that reason, no legal business could be transacted.

The debate at which R. Gamaliel was deposed indicated that the meturgeman was an essential officer of the Academy. Before the head of the Academy could be deposed, his meturgeman had to be deposed. When the head of the Academy retired or died, the meturgeman also retired.

Apparently some of the meturgemim also gave lectures on their own, and on one occasion Rab expressed his dissatisfaction with the institution, since at the kallah sessions, the meturgeman would draw more attention than the officiating rabbi.

Graetz indicates that in later times the institution of the meturgeman fell into disrepute because the meturgeman, who "...had formerly invested the discussions with so much solemnity and merit...introduced their own views into the expositions." He went on to point out that the interpreters accepted their office out of vanity, and because of this, the lectures degenerated into " empty word jingle."

The meturgeman is a distinctive feature of the Talmudic discourse, and is characteristic of the Talmudic speaking situation.

Form and Content of the Academic Debate

Debate pervaded almost all of the activities of the Academy. some authorities maintain that the Babylonian Talmud in its entirety is made up of the records of disputations which took place in the Academies. An anonymous statement in the Talmud describes the Academies as:

...consisting of disciples of the wise, who sit in manifold assemblies and occupy themselves with Torah, some pronouncing unclean and other pronouncing clean, some prohibiting and some permitting, some disqualifying and others declaring fit.

This continual clash of opinion at the Academies was called, shekla v't'ri'a or literally, "taking up and throwing back."

Disputations in the Academies usually arose spontaneously. Sometimes the lecturer would throw out a challenge to the whole assembly to dispute with him. Exuberant phrases like, "...Behold, I am like Ben Azzai in the streets of Tiberias," made clear the willingness of the lecturer to dispute with his students. Usually the disputations arose from the subject matter of the lecture. A question from a student would lead to an answer form another student, and the issue would then be disputed until it was settled by vote, or it was agreed that the issue could not be settled. Some of the students interrupted the lecturer to heckle, to challenge their authorities or their reasoning. R. Ammi and R. Assi did this heckling silently, by rudely turning their faces away from the lecturer when they disagreed with him. Because of the insult the lecturer was forced to question them about their point of view, and the disputation would begin. The frequency of occurrence of words like "argument" and "disputation" leads to the conclusion that virtually every speech delivered inside the Academy led to some sort of disputation.

Though many of the disputations in the Talmud are anonymous, there are several pairs of consistent opponents whose controversies are reported in great detail. some of the most frequent are R. Johanan vs. Resh Lakish, Raba vs. Abaye, and Rab vs. Samuel. No set of rules was laid down for these disputations, and since there appears to be no consistent form followed in the debates, it is likely that no rules existed. They were apparently extempore based on a quick use of the knowledge possessed by the disputants. Sometimes courtesy prevailed, and the disputant would wait until the lecturer had finished but on other occasions, when tempers were flaring, the disputant would interrupt. One of the rabbis is said to have, "cried like a crane" in order to get his point of view expressed.

Some of the disputations were quite heated. One account states that two disputing rabbis grew so excited that they committed the major sin of tearing a Torah scroll in their excitement. Though displays of this sort are rare, many of the disputations did descend to name-calling and personal vilification.

Some of the rabbis attempted to maintain decorum during debates. One authority, while confirming the right of the student to interrupt the lecturer to dispute, expressed concern over the name-calling that sometimes resulted and asked that it be stopped. R. Jannai made it a practice to expel any student that he felt was indecorous in disputation, and who disputed out of a sense of competitiveness rather than a sincere belief in his point of view.

Some of the debates may have been partially prepared. One passage indicates that students were sometimes asked to gather information, generally, on a certain subject. The lecturer would then question them about it, using this to stimulate a debate.

Debates may have been carried on through a meturgeman. When the meturgeman was used, he was used only by the lecturer, unless the disputant was of equal rank. In disputes of this type, all questions and arguments were addressed to the meturgeman, who would then ask his rabbi for the answers.

No time limits were placed on the debates. Some were exceedingly long and, on occasion, lasted all day. The length of the disputation was determined by the importance of the topic, the number of participants, and the leniency of the lecturer in allowing the students to dispute with him. No set pattern was used for an opening. In addition to the privilege that the student had of interrupting the lecturer, the lecturer had the right to ask any student to rise and defend his opinions. When visitors from another Academy came to a session, they were usually invited to match their wits through disputation with the students. When the visitor was distinguished, he was invited to dispute with the head of the Academy. In a few cases debate was carried on between two heads of Academies by messenger. The statement of one disputant was delivered to the other. He and his students would work out an answer and send it back. The first Academy would then prepare an answer and return it. These debates would sometimes continue over a period of years.

The subject matter of the debates covered every field of life. Many of them dealt with matters of applying general law to specific occurrences. Some of these were:

  1. R. Huna vs. Rabbah on the inheritance of estates by women.

  2. Rab vs. Samuel on size of legacies of brothers.

  3. Raba vs. R. Aha on payment of damages caused by cattle.

  4. R. Abba vs. 'Ulla on responsibilities of finders of lost property.

  5. R. Nahman vs. R. Shesheth on the legal form of a business contract.

Since the Academy was the authority for the religious behavior of the community, many of the debates were about religious matters. some good examples are;

  1. R. Abba b. Ahabah vs. R. Eleazar b. Zadok on the proper method of intercalating the year to determine the date of holidays.

  2. Rabina vs. R. Nahman b. Isaac on the proper time of the day to recite the prayer of sanctification for the Sabbath.

  3. Abaye vs Rabbah on the application of the ban on writing on the Sabbath.

  4. R. Johanan vs. Resh Lakish on purification after handling an article that was ritually unclean.

Frequently, debates occurred over matters of procedure and interpretation, like;

  1. R. Abba vs Rabina on the right of the Academy to discuss personal disputes that were not specifically referred to it.

  2. R. Johanan vs. R. Eleazar on the proper method of quoting authorities.

  3. R. Joseph vs. R. Abba and R. Huna on the proper method of closing a debate in an Academy.

Debates also took place about highly personal matters of human behavior. Some examples are;

  1. R. Judah vs his students on the ethicality of therapeutic abortion.

  2. R. Bibi vs Raba on the permissibility of spitting on the floor of a synagogue.

  3. R. Eliezer vs. his students on the length of quarantine of a house when its occupant has been stricken with leprosy.

Disputes were sometimes hypothetical, and concerned outdated rituals. The temple service and agricultural laws of Palestine were debated long after the Temple had been destroyed and Palestine lost. This was done since some authorities felt that talking about these laws which could not be performed, was a substitute for the performance of the laws. Other authorities held that discussions of this type sharpened the wits of the students. Some examples are;

  1. R. Eleazar vs R. Johanan on thanks-offerings in the Temple.

  2. Resh Lakish vs. R. Eleazar on sin-offerings in childbirth.

  3. Resh Lakish vs. R. Johanan on slaughtering of animal sacrifices.

Several of the debates concern the interpretation of other debates. These deal with the debates of earlier authorities, and attempt to ascertain who won. This type of debate usually occurred during the course of another debate, and usually began when one disputant attempted to use the statements of an earlier authority in order to prove his view. This led directly to the debate about the debate of the earlier authorities.

Several of the debates were actually what we, today, would call group discussion in the sense in which the word was used by McBurney and Hance. During these, many rabbis presented their views in an attempt to resolve a difficulty. These discussions covered problems of misunderstanding and misinterpretation, like the proper method of reading a word or phrase, the definition of a word, the reason for the existence of a certain law, the principles underlying differences of opinion, and reasons for inconsistencies in the view of different authorities. These discussions usually took place during the review sessions at the close of a lecture or were held privately outside the Academy, and were generally reported back at the next day's session in order to get an answer from the lecturer. Sometimes these discussions interrupted the lecture. Several passages record these discussions being conducted while the lecturer dozed in his chair. Usually, the lecturer awoke in time to settle the issue.

Several disputations are recorded that appear to be fictional. These debates involve a member of the Academy and one or more non-Jews. Frequently, these non- Jews are great historical figures and probably the disputes were included to very the monotony of halachah. They were usually reported in the course of a lecture. For example, one dispute reports the debate of Rabban Gamaliel with the Emperor of Rome. Another reports the debate between the rabbis and Alexander of Macedon. A Third concerns Joshua b. Hananiah vs. the Scholars of Athens. Debates of this type, reported in the course of a lecture, also provided a format in which philosophical material could be discussed. Apparently, two rabbis would not philosophize, but if a gentile brought up a question, it must be answered.

Some casuisty and hair-splitting arose from the fictitious debates. This was not tolerated in the regular halachic disputation, and students were expelled from the Academy for indulging in casuistry. Pelemo was expelled by Judah Ha-Nasi when he asked how a man with two heads could put on phylacteries. The students had the privilege of asking any serious question, no matter how foolish it sounded, since this was how learning came about, but he could not raise issues merely to display his wit, or to embarrass the lecturer. Skill at dialectic was distinguished from casuistry. The good rabbi was supposed to have, "keen dialectics," which was defined as the ability to give many reasons for declaring a thing clean or unclean. These reasons must be valid, and the rabbi must believe in his point of view, and not present the reasons simply out of a spirit of competition. The only use of casuistry that was considered justifiable was on the part of the lecturer to gain attention from the students, or to provide humor, or to test the skill of the student in recognizing faulty argument.

The rabbis held debate in very high esteem. They agreed that one of the qualifications of a students, before he could be ordained is that he should know how to dispute, and be skilled in, "...the warfare of the Torah." Disputation penetrated into every activity of the Academy, and was another characteristic of public address in the Talmudic Academy.

Resolution of Conflict in Talmudic Disputation - Majority Rule

There were four methods used to resolve conflict in the Academy; (1) majority vote, (2) compromise, (3) presentation of fact or conclusive evidence, (4) no agreement. Of these, majority vote was most widely used. There was also a large category of unresolved conflict, questions which came to no conclusion and were consequently left unsettled for each individual to solve as best he could.

The rabbis attributed great antiquity to the practice of decision by majority rule. The practice was traced back to the words, follow the majority used in Exodus 23:2. A lecture on the life of Moses describes his followers, after his death, voting to determine what Moses would have done were he still alive, thus giving themselves the right of majority decisions. According to the rabbis, the Sanhedrin used this method to determine legal decisions in all the cases brought before it. There are many passages in the Talmud which indicate that disputations were resolved by majority vote.

The procedure used in voting at the Academy was to plant a sword at the door of the Academy. The head of the Academy then announced, "He who would enter, let him enter, but he who would depart, let him not depart." All members of the Academy were obligated to cast a vote. The head of the Academy called the role of the rabbis who were ordained and were associates of the Academy. Usually, the oldest were called to vote first, but in the interest of fairness, sometimes this procedure was reversed.

One passage states explicitly that a simple majority is sufficient to determine halachah. R. Akiba said, "...where an individual joins issue with the majority, the halachah is determined by the majority." R. Hanina felt that majority vote holds over any other method of resolving conflict, including presentation of undeniable fact. These opinions were concurred in by Rab Judah, R. Joshua and Rab.

Some restrictions are placed on majority rule by a few of the rabbis. Rab holds that majority rule can only be used when the contesting sides are equally matched in intellect. Thus, according to him, the opinion of a great sage would have more weight than the opinion of a majority of his students. When an individual held himself to be the follower of a great sage, he was required to follow all of his decisions, and not select only his lenient decisions to follow. Because of the stress on free speech and the individual right to an opinion, any ordained rabbi could hold to his views, even if they contradicted the majority vote. He was only to do this, however, if it was a matter of strong conviction, and he was not to do it merely to be an obstructionist. One passage praises a man who held to his views on his deathbed, despite the objection of many authorities and another passage condemns the man who abandons his point of view to curry favor or gain power. The reason for allowing the individual to hold his view despite the vote of the majority was the recognition of the fallibility of man. It was inconceivable to the rabbis that they could be infallible, and so both majority and minority views were presented as guide to later generations.

Another restriction on majority rule is that of fact. Several authorities maintained that a majority vote could not reverse fact. R. Meir stated, "Where it is possible to ascertain the facts, one must do so, and only where it is impossible to ascertain the facts does one follow the majority." The principle was even applied to the determination of halachah, for in determining it the rabbis were governed by the principle that if the majority of the community could not abide by the rulings of the Academy, then the rulings were invalid, no matter how great a majority passed the ruling. Further, certain things were not debatable. Whether the sun had risen or set could only be determined by observation.

Once a ruling had been passed by majority vote, however, it could be reversed only by majority vote. The repealing body must be equal or superior to the passing body, both in intellect and numbers.

Compromise was rarely used to settle a dispute. In the few cases where it was used, it had great validity. the prevailing view was that if two differing views were reconciled by a third view, the third view must be accepted. This method was frequently applied to the Bible in exegesis, but was rarely used to resolve halachic conflict.

Many disputations and conflicts were left unsettled. Each individual was then free to determine his own solution. These unresolved conflicts were either those that were so unimportant that it did not warrant a vote, or were so important that a vote would be unfair. The formula indicating unresolved conflict was, "...this is really a difficulty" or, "this is undecided." The feeling of the rabbis was that Elijah the Prophet would come at the end of time and settle all of the unresolved conflict.

Back to TOC



Classical views on rhetorical invention imply that the speaker prepared consciously for his speech occasion. The planning and selecting of materials was a conscious process and involved the speaker in determination of status and burden of proof for each specific speech. Invention further involved the speaker in investigating persuasive appeals and in the area of audience analysis. In the Talmudic Academies, however, this process was of necessity modified, for, as the bulk of the speaking was extempore, the speaker usually had to draw on his "storehouse of materials" on the spur of the moment. Still, rhetorical invention was an important feature of Talmudic rhetorical theory. The so-called "storehouse of materials" implies that the lecturer in the Academy was involved in a constant process of invention. Furthermore, the Talmudic rabbis, while probably not aware of it, did agree on certain fundamentals in the area of invention, namely sources, proofs and audience analysis.

Sources of Material for the Talmudic Discourse

Since the lectures of the rabbis and the resulting disputations were predominantly halachic in character and therefore an extension of the Divine will, these speech occasions were approached by the rabbis with extreme care. When they spoke on matters of haggadah the rabbis allowed themselves wide latitude, since haggadah was not binding, did not lead to any course of action, and was not debatable.

The basic source of material for both types of speaking was Scripture. Following the tradition of the Scribes, the rabbis took as their obligation, the explanation of the Torah. The Oral Law, or mishnah, was direct outgrowth of Scripture, and consequently, it was necessary to go back to Scripture for the documentation of Mishnah. An injunction in Aboth prescribed the Bible as the basic source of halachah by stating, "Turn it over, and again turn it over, for all is therein, and look into it and become old and grey therein; neither move thou away therefrom..."

Since halachah was a "specific declaration of the Divine will applicable to a given case," the subject matter for the speeches and disputations had to be drawn both from religious and secular sources. The secular sources were problems presented to the Academy for settlement or any other problem, real or hypothetical, which arose. R. Johanan held that the religious sources which were valid as sources were Scripture, Mishnah and Baraita. He advised his students that, "there was no substitute for a good knowledge of sources." Strack indicates that some of the rabbis had written collections of Mishnah in spite of the ban on writing, and since Baraita did not have official sanction, almost all of the rabbis had collections of them. These collections were not official codes, but were actually notes which the rabbis who had some official status in an Academy had these written collections; the students were probably compelled to carry their information in their memories.

The Tannaim based most of their lectures on Scripture, since their function was to explain and present proof of the Mishnah which was, in turn, drawn from Scripture. By the time of the Amoraim, Mishnah was codified, and the Amoraim had Mishnah available for source material, as well as all of the extraneous materials and Midrashic works.

Several of the rabbis held that "common terms of speech" were valid sources for lectures. These were common sense explanations of the words and phrases in the Bible and Mishnah. The Talmud cites Hillel, R. Meir, Judah Ha- Nasi, R. Joshua b. Korha, R. Johanan and R. Jose as delivering lectures based on this source. Some of these authorities felt that a different language was used in Scripture and Mishnah, than in ordinary speech. The language was different in the sense that in Scripture each word had a special significance, and these words served as sources for lectures. Others went still farther holding that words of Scripture were Divine, and consequently every mark on the page had a special meaning and interpretation. Mar 'Ukba taught his students that it was "...possible to pile up mounds of expositions on every single stroke of the letters of the Torah." R. Akiba was renowned for his ability to expound on "...each jot and tittle, heaps and heaps of laws." Though this source was later held to be invalid, many of the rabbis built strained and complex interpretations and lectures upon this source.

Other sources for lectures were the lectures of previous authorities. Lectures were built explaining what someone had said previously. R. Shesheth used as a source for many of his lectures the Baraita, or collections of laws rejected by the compilers of Mishnah, or demonstrated why they were considered extraneous.

For purposes of lecture and disputation in the Academy, the generally accepted sources were Scripture and Mishnah, and the use of other sources depended upon the inclination of the individual.

Logical Proof in the Talmudic Discourse

One of the divisions of invention is the discovery of the modes of persuasion, which Aristotle lists as logical, emotional and ethical. logical proof refers to the persuasion brought about through reasoned argument; emotional to the persuasion brought about by the appeals of the speaker to the emotions of the audience; ethical to the persuasion brought about through the personal character of the speaker. Evidences of all three of these modes of persuasion are found in the Talmudic discourse.

According to Professor Moore, the task of the rabbi was " discover, elucidate and apply what God...teaches." The use of the Talmudic lecture as a means of communicating halachah involved the rabbis in proving their conclusions to their students. The logical proofs involved were both inductive and deductive, and were based on (1) observed facts, (2) testimony of inexpert witnesses, (3) statements from recognized authorities or authoritative works and (4) analogies drawn from similar circumstances, similar sentences, phrases, words, letters and marks in the Bible text.

The proofs presented in the lectures vary in quality. According to the Mishnah certain laws set down by the rabbis have little justification, and are termed "...mountains hanging by a hair," while other laws were accompanied by sound proof and were called "essentials of Torah."

The absence of direct statements in Scripture about many human problems gave the rabbis considerable leeway in working out solutions. Many of their solutions to problems were based on a form of logical reasoning and the logical reasoning was carried into the Talmudic lecture as a form of proof.

There seems to be general agreement that logical proof must accompany the statement of a halachah in a lecture or disputation. The rabbis accorded themselves the authority to reason out solutions to problems by proving from the Bible that proofs based on human reason have the same weight in the eyes of God as statements taken directly from the Bible. The rabbis were, in general, agreed that the Bible could not be understood and applied to human problems without putting some logical system to it.

Many of the rabbinic authorities made clear-cut, direct statements demanding the presentation of logical proof in Academic lectures. R. Tarfon criticized one lecture by asking, "...How long will you rake words together and bring them up against us?" Rabina advised his students to "...follow your own reason," in order to present a clear statement of halachah. Many authorities agreed that when two stated opinion conflicted in a disputation, the proofs of the opinions were to determine the solution. Resh Lakish placed direct responsibility on the rabbi to present for any statement which he made. He further gave the listener to a lecture the right to demand proof from a speaker, when the speaker had offered none. R. Joseph went as far as questioning the general use of majority decision, since he felt that majority decision frequently represented opinion only, with no proof, and was, therefore, not a valid conclusion. Abaye held that without the presentation of proof, the study of Gemara would be reduced to a "...mere sing-song," and demanded that his students present either quotations from authoritative sources or proofs for any statements which they made. R. Jose was criticized by one of his colleagues because "...he did not give grounds for his rulings." It can be concluded that logical proof was considered to be an essential feature of the Talmud lecture and disputation.

The source of general principles from which deductive reasoning proceeded in logical proof was Scripture and authoritative material relating to Scripture. This material included (1) Baraita, a collection of unimportant Mishnah left out of the official redacted code; (2) Midrash, the collections of synagogue sermons; (3) Mishnah, the authoritative oral law; and (4) the statements of past and present authorities. The citing of a conclusion drawn from the general statements of a valid authority appeared to be the form of proof most frequently used by the rabbis. It was considered essential, however, that the reasoning process of the authority be presented along with his general statement in all cases where the authority did not qualify as an unquestionable source. The simple use of the name of an authority, in most cases, was not considered sufficient proof for a conclusion. One of the basic ethical maxims of the Talmud states;

Rabban Gamliel used to say: Appoint a teacher for thyself and avoid doubt [select an authority who is respected who can be consulted in cases of difficulty], and make not a habit of tithing by guesswork [know the facts and reasons for a decision before giving a decision.]

This statement indicates that, although the rabbis held authorities in high regard, it was still considered necessary to present the reasons for the conclusion drawn by the authority. In practice, however, many of the authoritative sources like the Bible, the Mishnah, and certain of the individual rabbis were accepted at face value by their listeners, without the necessity of presenting proof.

Scripture, of course, was considered the highest authority. Even when a recognized scholar presented an opinion, it was necessarily related to Scripture, so that the listener could recognize the authoritative religious basis for the statement. Since the purpose of the Talmudic lecture was to apply Scripture to everyday situations to determine the halachah, it was necessary that logical proofs for the conclusion as to what was halachah have some relation to Scripture. Many rabbis considered a simple Scriptural exegesis made by a recognized authority as a superior, irrefutable proof, and in fact, R. Akiba once side, "...if this is an authentic tradition we shall accept it, but if it is only a logical deduction, there is a rebuttal." The implication here is that the association of the name of a recognized authority with his proof makes a statement irrefutable. Since Scripture was held to be Divine, statements relating to Scripture, if made by humans recognized as authorities, were also held to be Divine.

There was also established a clear cut hierarchy of authority which determined the exact degree of authority a given individual could wield. For example, a Scribe could not dispute Scripture, directly; a Tanna could not dispute the direct word of a Scribe; an Amora could not reverse the direct statement of a Tanna, and within each category, certain individuals ranked above others. This ranking of authorities was determined by the following generally accepted criteria: (1) determination of whether the authority was a teacher or student, since the authority of the teacher was superior; and (2) the size and reputation of the Academy with which the authority was associated. Further tests of an authority were his familiarity, or lack thereof, with the material under discussion, and the field in which the authority was held to be an expert. R. Ashi, for example, was considered the final Talmudic authority, since he was the head of the last Academy, and was popularly believed to be the redactor of the Talmud. R. Eliezer, who only quoted the opinions of others was considered a highly valid authority, since, in the few cases where he did render a decision, his views were regarded as "...thoroughly sifted," and in the few cases where his opinion clashes with that of another authority, his opinion is regarded as correct. R. Zera cautioned his scholars to reject any statement of Baraita that was not traceable back to R. Hiyya and R. Oshaiah, since he held that these were the men who made the original collection of Baraita and were, therefore, the recognized authorities in that field. R. Abiathar was considered to be poor authority, since he had been caught in many mis-statements. Rabbah b. Bar Hana was regarded as the champion liar of the Talmud, and his opinions were invalid in all matters of halachah, but he was regarded as worthy of listening to since his tall tales were interesting.

Authorities were also qualified on the basis of their personal reputations. R. Hiyya was regarded as "...accurate in reporting the statements of his teacher." R. Eleazar was known as "...a great man," and therefore, a worth authority. R. Johanan b. Zakkai was an accepted authority because "...during his whole life he never uttered profane talk nor walked four cubits without studying the Torah." R. Zera pointed out that a valid authority engaged in frequent reviews with his teacher, and was constantly checking the validity of his opinions. It was generally accepted that the opinion of the head of an Academy would have more weight than that of any of his associates, while the direct statement of an authority had more weight than a reported statement of an authority.

If an individual qualified as an authority, it was usually mandatory that his views be accepted, provided he presented some sort of proof for his opinion. Actually it was immaterial what proof was presented, since there are several examples of discussions in the Talmud of alternate proofs that an authority could have presented to arrive at the same conclusion. Thus, conclusions drawn from the statements of an authority were superior to conclusions drawn through pure reasoning not based on any recognized authority. No matter how sound the reasoning, individual argument could be refuted by citing the documented opinion of a recognized authority. Failure to present valid authorities for a view obligated the speaker to present some sort of proof for his opinion, and if no authority could be found to take the opposite view, then the question could be debated on its logical merits.

The doctrine of majority also applied to the use of authorities in proof. It was agreed that when several authoritative statements could be found which agreed on the halachah, these statements determined the halachah. Throughout the Talmud, when the opinion of an individual is presented along with an anonymous opinion, the anonymous opinion represented the view of the majority and was, therefore, the valid one. Though the opinions of individuals in conflict with the majority are sometimes cited, they are cited in accordance with the doctrine of minority freedom, and are not considered to be valid halachah.

A great deal of respect was paid to the opinions of living authorities. In any practical debate, the opinion of one authority could not reverse the opinion of a contemporary authority who had ruled on the question previously. This was based on the traditional theory that no assembly could annul the decision of another assembly unless it was superior in both wisdom and numbers. If two equal authorities clashed, they were presumed to be equal in wisdom and since neither was superior in numbers, the view of one could not overrule the view of another. When two contemporary authorities clashed directly, the process of majority vote was used to determine the halachah. If no vote was taken, the problem was left unsolved.

The actual use made of authorities as a form of proof appeared to conform to a generally accepted methodology. Phrases like:

R. Simeon b. Zebid said in the name of R. Isaac b. Tabla in the name of R. Hiyya Areka of the school of R. Aha in the name of R. Zera in the name of R. Eleazar in the name of R. Hanania in the name of R. Mi'asha on the authority of R. Judah b. Ilai...

are characteristic of the method used to cite authorities in proof. The rabbis took pains to report the sources of their authoritative statements accurately. The long list of names in the example indicates that the opinion presented was a view of long standing, and the names trace it back to its origin, while the name of each authority who previously cited it, gives the opinion added weight. The rabbis were required to repeat statements of authorities as they were made. If they did not hear the statement directly from the authority, they had to cite the names of the persons from whom they heard it, so that if an inaccuracy was discovered, it could be traced back to its source. It was not considered sufficient to capture the spirit of the statement of an authority, for, "...a man must the exact language of his master." There is a case recorded in the Talmud where a lecturer made an error in pronunciation, which was reported in his name later, exactly as he made it. The quoted error then became acceptable as a basis for proof.

The meturgeman, in particular, was cautioned to be exact in his language, since he was the mouth of an authority and could hold no opinions of his own. R. Eliezer was one of the most highly regarded Talmudic authorities. His claim to fame was that he was absolutely unoriginal. R. Eliezer boasted that he never said a word in presenting proofs unless it was an exact quote from a previous authority, and he never held an opinion unless another authority had held the opinion before him.

The rabbis were quite jealous of their statements. They expressed great concern when other persons reported their statements and did not give them credit for them. There appeared to be a generally accepted method of oral footnotes, and in cases where these footnotes were not given, severe criticism was leveled against the speaker. Two notorious critics were R. Ammi and R. Assi, who attended lectures in order to catch errors in reporting authorities. On the positive side, rabbis were praised when they discovered the author of an anonymous statement. When two conflicting statements about the same topic were reported in the name of one authority, neither could be accepted until the correct statement had been discovered.

A few of the rabbis were directly concerned with the qualifications of an authority in whose name a statement was made. R. Dosa b. Harkinas was concerned with speakers reporting his decisions correctly in his name, since he had a brother who was unreliable. Raba cautioned his disciples to examine quotations in his name very carefully, since he frequently made statements for teaching purposes only, and did not wish these to be used in presenting a proof. A number of authorities stressed the idea of checking quotations to make sure that the person to whom it was attributed had really said it.

In order to follow the clash of authorities, particularly in disputation, authority identifications are found in the Talmud. Some of the major ones are;

'It was argued before the sages' refers to Simeon b. Azzai, Simeon b. Zoma, Hanan the Egyptian and Hanania b. Hakinai who were not ordained but were permitted because of scholastic achievment to be considered as authorities...'Our Rabbis in Babylon' refers to Rab and Samuel. 'Our Rabbis in Eretz Israel' refers to R. Abba. 'The Judges of the Exile' to Karna; 'The Judges of Eretz Israel' to R. Ammi and R. Assi; 'The Judges of Pumbeditha' to R. Papa and Samuel; 'The Judges of Nehardes' to R. Adda bar Minyoni; 'The Elders of Sura' to R. Huna and R. Hisda; 'The Elders of Pumbeditha' to Rab Judah and R. 'Aina; 'The Keen Intellects of Pumbeditha' to Efa and Abimi...'The Amoraim of Pumbeditha' to Rabbah and R. Joseph; 'The Amoraim of Nehardea' to R. Hama; where we read, 'Those of Nehardea taught,' it refers to Rammi b. Berabi; 'They said in the West' refers to R. Jeremiah; 'A message was sent from Palestine' to R. Jose b. Hanina; 'They taught at it in the West' to R. Eleazar.

In Addition;

R. Meir was designated, 'other,' and R. Nathan, 'some say.'

The author of an anonymous Mishnah is R. Meir, of an anonymous Tosefta, R. Nehemiah; of an anonymous dictum in the Sifra, R. Judah; in the Sifre, R. Simeon.

Wherever you find the expression, 'A disciples, in the name of R. Ishmael, stated in the presence of R. Akiba,' the reference is to...R. Meir.

Several citations in the Talmud qualify certain authorities as superior in every case in which they clash. There is no place in the Talmud where this entire table of authority is mentioned, but throughout the Talmud are statements, placing authorities in superior position.

Following is a partial listing;

  1. Because the material in Edduyoth was formulated on the day when R. Gamaliel was deposed, it is considered the most authoritative tractate of the Talmud, and opinions expressed there have more validity than opinions expressed elsewhere.

  2. The material in a Mishnah is more authoritative than the material in a Baraita, Tosefta or any others of the commentaries. The opinions of Tannaim are more authoritative than opinions of Amoraim.

  3. The statement of a commandment or prohibition in Scripture is more valid than a statement of a commandment or prohibition by a rabbi.

  4. Where Rab and Samuel differ in regard to civil or criminal law, the halachah agrees with Samuel; in matters of ritual law, the halachah is with Rab.

  5. The opinion of R. Johanan b. Zakkai takes precedence over the opinions of Rab and Samuel.

  6. The opinion of R. Judah takes precedence over that of R. Simeon.

  7. The opinion of R. Judah takes precedence over that of R. Meir.

  8. The opinion of R. Jose takes precedence over that of R. Judah.

  9. The opinion of R. Jose takes precedence over that of R. Meir.

  10. The opinion of R. Jose takes precedence over that of a majority of his contemporaries.

  11. The opinion of R. Johanan takes precedence over that of Samuel.

  12. The opinion of R. Johanan takes precedence over that of Rab.

  13. The opinion of R. Johanan takes precedence over that of R. Jeremiah.

  14. The opinion of R. Johanan takes precedence over that of Resh Lakish except in three specific cases.

  15. The opinion of R. Meir takes precedence over that of R. Simeon.

  16. The opinion of R. Judah Ha-Nasi takes precedence over the opinion of any of his contemporaries or followers.

The qualification of Hillel as the authority par excellence provides the model for the whole scale of authority. Hillel is the prototype of the ideal rabbi. Shammai, his counterpart, reveals over strictness, impatience, and over- zealousness on minor matters. Virtually every Talmudic debate brings in some of the difference between Hillel and Shammai. Hillel was always victorious, and the rule was established that the view of Hillel was supreme. This was reinforced by an alleged declaration from Heaven that, "...the halachah is with...Hillel." The elevation of Hillel to highest authority provided the precedent for the later elevation of other rabbis to more authoritative roles.

The Talmudic concept of the use of authority as a superior source for the derivation of rhetorical deduction derived its sanction form one of the legends about Hillel. According to this legend, when Hillel arrived in Jerusalem, the Elders were engaged in a dispute about a difficult point of law. Hillel settled the dispute. The Elders demanded that he provide authority along with his logical reasoning, and Hillel cited the Scriptural chapter and verse to support his view, pointing out that the Elders were justified in asking for this authority, since questions of such importance must be settled by proof and authority, and not by only one of them. It is a frequent occurrence in the Talmud, for a rabbi who has just presented a logical proof, to be asked for a concurring authority, and the rabbi who presents authority alone is generally asked to cite the proof. The principle appears to be that authority without proof is frequently weak; proof without authority is always weak. Many of the rabbis felt that statements from great authorities of the past, together with the original proofs, were irrefutable, but any logical deduction without an authority allowed for a rebuttal. The scholar who based his decisions on reports of accepted authorities is held to be superior to the original thinker or the mere quoter of opinions. Rabina pointed to himself as typifying what is desirable in proof by saying;

I am neither a self-pretended scholar[speaking on my own authority] nor a visionary [telling stories] nor unique, but I am a teacher [who reports correctly the statements of others] and a systemtizer of traditions [who provides reasons for the views of the authorities.]

Observed fact and testimony of witnesses was used only incidentally in presentation of proof. When it was used, it was carried over from the legal system. The concept of burden of proof, for example, is explicitly stated in the legal code;

The Sages...say that it is a fundamental principle in law that the onus probandi falls on the claimant. Why was it necessary to state, 'this is a fundamental principle in law?' It was necessary to imply that even where the plaintiff is positive and defendant dubious, it is still the plaintiff on whom falls onus probandi.

This is reinforced by the idea that, "it is the plaintiff who has the onus of proving his case by evidence." The carryover into the Academy is explicitly stated by R. Ishmael, "...the onus is upon the person who expresses the stricter view to produce the proof." This was agreed to by the entire Academy on the day of the deposition of Rabban Gamaliel, and , therefore, it holds a special validity. The milder view on a halachah is held to prevail until those holding the stricter view can prove their point to a majority of the Academy.

Although there is no stated doctrine of probabilities, the idea of probabilities occurred to many of the individual rabbis. Much of this material, also, arose from law cases, but there is some carryover into the Academic lecture and disputation. An anonymous statement reads, "...determine every matter by its status." This means that unless there is specific evidence to the contrary, all things are regarded as being in the same state as they were usually known to have. The example given is that a man cannot be presumed to have left his house walking backwards unless he were observed to have walked backwards, since men do not usually leave their home walking backwards. this had its parallel in the legal maxim, that, if it is usual for a man to have presented his tithes, he is presumed to have presented them, unless contrary evidence is offered, while a man is presumed not to have paid a debt in advance, since "...the presumption is that a man does not pay a debt before it falls due."

The spirit of the law of damages provides a further basis for the use of probabilities. If an ox gores once, goring is not presumed to be a usual act for the ox. If the ox gores twice, then it is deemed likely to gore again, and if it gores a third time, then goring is presumed to be a usual act and the ox is destroyed. For use in proof in the Academy, the principle was stated, "...if a thing has happened twice, presumption is established." The legal system goes on to explain that a man's statements are accepted as true whenever a more credible and advantageous statement could have been made but was not made. The parallel in the Academy is;

R. papa said: This is borne out by the common saying, 'If you hear that your neighbor has died, believe it: if you hear that he has become rich, do not believe it.'

Any apparent exceptions to the law of probabilities are explained by the dictum that no proofs can be drawn from exceptional or unusual circumstances; and probabilities for normal times cannot be derived from abnormal times. Some of the authorities even denied the idea of probabilities entirely, like Hanan the Egyptian, "...who does not consider anything as absolutely rejected."

Although it was not widely used, there is evidence that reasoning from observed facts was held in high regard by many of the rabbis. R. Kahana, for example, state, "...where it is possible to ascertain the facts, we must do so; it is only where it is impossible...that we follow the majority." R. Meir agreed with this view, as did R. Isaac the Smith, who rejected a statement which represented the majority view by stating, "...even so, an actual incident is weightier."

Actual observation of an occurrence takes precedence over circumstantial evidence, no matter how strong the circumstantial evidence;

Our Rabbis taught: What is meant by 'Based on Conjecture?' The Judge says to him: Perhaps ye saw him running after his fellow into a ruin, ye pursued him and found him, sword in hand with blood dripping from it, whilst the murdered man was writhing in agony; If this is what ye saw, ye saw nothing.

Many of the rabbis conducted experiments based on observation in order to derive inductive proofs. R. Simeon b. Halafta was considered the foremost of these experimenters. Two stories about him are cited;

It was said of R. Simeon b. Halafta that he was an experimenter in all things. Indeed he once made an experiment to disprove R. Judah's view [that if a hen had no down, the hen was ritually unclean and could not be eaten.]...Now R. Simeon b. Halafta once had a hen whose down was gone entirely. He put it in the oven, having first wrapped it in the warm leather apron used by bronze workers, and it grew feathers even larger than the original ones [thus rendering it clean.]...Why was he called an experimenter? R. Mesharsheya said, it is written: Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise: which having no chief, overseer or ruler provideth her bread in the summer. (prov. 6:6) R. Simeon b. Halafta said, I shall go and find out if it is true that they have no king. He went out at the summer solstice, and spread his coat over an ant-hill. When one ant came out, he marked it, and it immediately entered and informed the others that shadow had fallen, whereupon they all came forth. He then removed his coat and the sun beat down upon them. Thereupon they set upon this ant and killed it. He then said, It is clear that they have no king, for otherwise they would surely have required to obtain royal sanction.

R. Simeon, in this passage, uses the technique of drawing inferences from observed facts, which is typical of Talmudic logic.

A number of other rabbis used facts gained through observation in their proofs. R. Huna Mar b. Hiyya was confronted with tubes found inside a certain animal and was asked to declare the animal unclean. R. Huna examined other animals of this same breed and discovered that they all had the tubes and, therefore, concluded that this was normal and declared the animal clean. Rab, on one occasion, ruled that all animals must be inspected internally before they were declared clean or unclean. R. Johanan held a disputation with Hezekiah, who declared, "...a bird has no lungs." R. Johanan dissected a bird and concluded that they had lungs, which looked like rose petals, and were "...situated immediately beneath the wings." A number of the rabbis attempted to ascertain whether hair grew from the roots or the tips. they marked their beards, but unfortunately could come to no agreement. One of the best examples of the use of fact through observation is the story of R. Eleazar b. Simeon, who served as a detective for the Romans, aiding them to capture Jewish brigands. He stated his method for catching thieves;

...Go into a tavern at the fourth hour of the day [10 A.M.] If you see a man dozing with a cup of wine in his hand, ask what he is. If he is a learned man, you may assume that he has risen early to pursue his studies; if he is a day laborer, he must have been up early to do his work; if his work is the kind that is done at night, he must have been rolling thin metal. If he is none of these, he is a thief; arrest him.

Inference from observed fact, where used, took precedence over testimony of an authority as far as the Academy was concerned. Unless the authority was of the highest rank, it had to be tested against facts, if facts were available. R. Dosa b. Harkinas stated, "...How can men testify that a woman has born a child when on the next day we see her belly still swollen." Even old adages were put to the test of observation. R. Joseph said, "...We hold as a tradition that a rabbinical student will not suffer poverty. But we see that he does suffer poverty." R. Jannai said, "...A man should never stand in a place of danger and say that a miracle will be wrought for him. lest it is not." R. Papa indicated that the reason two high ranking authorities sometimes differ in their opinions is that they were considering two different sets of facts. He advised his students to check the facts upon which opinions are based before accepting the opinions. Conclusions which were drawn from hypothetical situations were held to be invalid, since anything hypothetical was conceivably impossible, and no conclusions could be drawn from impossible circumstances. Observations of one single case were generally invalid for an inductive conclusion. Only when observation led to an obvious general conclusion was it held to be valid for inductive proof.

The Academic attitude toward the presentation of evidence also had its roots in the legal system, where six basic rules for the presentation of evidence prevailed. These rules were;

  1. Testimony of all witnesses to a given occurrence must agree or all testimony is invalid.

  2. Only persons who actually observed an occurrence can give testimony about it.

  3. Testimony based on circumstantial evidence or hearsay is invalid.

  4. Witnesses were allowed to use written notes to refresh their memories as to the details of an occurrence.

  5. In any conflict of testimony, the burden of proof falls on the side that seeks to derive a gain in civil law, and on the side that seeks to inflict a penalty in criminal law.

  6. Witnesses must be competent. They must be male, over thirteen years of age, of sound mind and body, with no relation to any party in the case and no direct interest in its outcome.

Some of these ideas were applied to problems discussed in the Academy. R. Papa, for example, decided on the validity of documents written in the Persian language by submitting them to two Persian natives. If their views as to the contents of the document agreed, then R. Papa based his decision on this agreement.

Witnesses were not used in either the Academic lecture or disputation. The rabbis recognized the difficulty they would have in qualifying witnesses according to the legal code and, therefore, avoided their use. Though there is no explicit theory which deals with the use of observed fact and evidence in logical proof, the Talmudic discourse reveals that a great deal of weight was given to this sort of proof when used. A Talmudic legend serves as an excellent summary of the attitude of the rabbis toward drawing conclusions from observed fact;

Our rabbis taught: When Adam, on the day of his creation, saw the setting of the sun, he said, 'Alas, it is because I have sinned that the world around me is becoming dark: the universe will become again void and without form - this, then, is the death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven.' So he sat up all night, fasting and weeping, and Eve was weeping opposite him. When, however, dawn broke, he said, 'this is the usual course of the world.'

Fact, authority and evidence, when used a s proof in a speech generally followed some logical system. There is, however, no mention of a logical system in Jewish literature until the Judaeo-Arabic period (c 1100 C.E.). The work of the Arab philosophers led the Jews to a study of the logical works of Aristotle and others, but prior to this time, there is doubt whether any definite logical system had been evolved. The rabbis did devise a series of rules for the understanding and drawing of conclusions from the Bible, the so-called hermeneutic rules. According to Mielziner, the rabbis had a long tradition of application of rules of exegesis to Scriptures for the purpose of drawing conclusions. The original statement of the accepted hermeneutic rules was attributed to Jose b. Joezer (c 190 B.C.E.). As the Pharisees became the dominant group in Judaism, these rules gained wide acceptance, and served the purpose of bringing about a more liberal interpretation of the religious law.

The results of exegesis were reported orally by the rabbis to the people. The bulk of these reports were made in the synagogue, however, for exegesis was the main element of the haggadic and Midrashic lectures. Certain of the rules of hermeneutics were carried over into the Academy, and were applied to the lecturing there. Although most of the rules were used on rare occasions, certain hermeneutic rules emerged as more applicable to halachah, while others were held invalid for use in determining halachah.

The hermeneutic system which was valid in the Academy was the system set down by Hillel, based on that of Jose b. Joezer and later modified by R. Ishmael. One historian explains the principles of Hillel as follows;

By the introduction of seven rules...the oral law could be imbued with the same weight and authority as that actually contained in the Scriptures. Through these...rules, the oral law assumed quite a different aspect; it lost its apparently arbitrary character...These explanatory rules were...intended not only to justify the oral law, but also to lay down instructions on how unforeseen cases.

Hermeneutic systems were also offered by R. Akiba and R. Eliezer Ha- Galili. Their rules, however, were valid only for preaching, and allowed in teaching only as incidental material which did not affect the decision, but which served to vary the pattern of halachah. Since haggadah is neither binding, nor in the province of the Academy, the rules of R. Akiba and R. Eliezer will not be discussed here.

The rules of Hillel, as expanded by R. Ishmael served as logical systems for most of the halachic expositions in the academy. While in the realm of exegesis, these rules were universally accepted, in lecturing in the Academy and in the disputation, only a few of the rules are widely used as a method of proof. Several, however, are used on an individual basis. Recognizing that the two salient features of logical proof in the Academic lecture were the use of authorities and the presentation of evidence, it must be concluded that while some of the hermeneutic rules were used as forms of logic, the bulk of their use in lectures was to report the exegesis of earlier authorities. Many of the Tannaim used the hermeneutic rules to interpret Scripture and Mishnah. These interpretations were frequently included in lectures. The Amoraim were greatly restricted in the new laws and principles they could deduce by using these laws.

The thirteen hermeneutic rules of R. Ishmael are as follows;

  1. Kal Vechomer (lit. light and heavy). A conclusion can be drawn from reasoning a specific instance from a general conclusion or a general conclusion from a specific instance included in it.

  2. Gezerah Shawah and Hekkesh (lit. equal cut). Conclusions may be drawn from the existence of similar marks in two or more Biblical passages, provided that the bases of the analogy are extraneous in both.

  3. Binyan Ab (lit. building). A conclusion may be drawn from similar circumstances in several instances cited in the Bible.

  4. When a general term in Scripture is followed by an enumeration of particulars, that which is true of one of the particulars is also true of the others.

  5. When an enumeration of particulars in Scripture is followed by the statement of a general law, only that which is included in the general law is included in any of the particulars.

  6. When a particular statement lies between two general statements in the Bible, only that which is included in the particular term can be true of both general terms.

  7. Conclusions cannot be drawn from statements in Scripture which are essential to each other in order to be meaningful.

  8. When a general statement is accompanied by a specific statement, only that which is included in the specific statement can be true of other specific statements included in the general statement.

  9. When provisions are added to a specific statement in the Bible, laws drawn from this statement are made more lenient.

  10. When provisions are added to a specific statement in the Bible, which make it different from a general statement in which it was included, laws drawn from this statement are made more severe.

  11. When specific statements are added to a general statement, which add new provisions to it, laws drawn from the general statement are limited to that included in the specific statements.

  12. Ambiguous words and phrases in Scripture are to be understood from their context.

  13. When two passages in Scripture conflict, they are invalid for conclusions until the conflict is resolved from a third passage.

The first three of the hermeneutic rules seem to indicate a form of logical system. The first, that of kal vechomer deals with the drawing of a conclusion about a particular instance from a general statement in which it is included, or about a general statement from a detail of a particular included in it. For example, if work is prohibited on a minor holiday, it is even more strongly prohibited on the Sabbath, which is considered a major holiday. In reverse, if walking for a certain distance is permitted on the Sabbath, then it is likely that walking for an even longer distance would be permitted on a holiday.

The second of the hermeneutic rules deals with analogies drawn from Scripture. The analogy of gezerah shawah is that drawn between two passages in the Bible, both of which have a term, word or letter which is superfluous in both passages. If this is the case, then what is true of one passage is also true of the other. For example, R. Habibi based a conclusion that a burnt offering brought to the Temple is rendered unclean by the existence of the extraneous word, "inside" in two sentences in Lev. 11:33. The word, "inside," is also extraneous to the passage dealing with the sin offering (Lev. 11:27) and, therefore, he concludes that what is true of one passage is also true of the other. The rabbis, apparently, recognized the weakness of this type of analogy, and agreed that no one could offer this type of proof on his own authority; it was only valid when reported in the name of a recognized previous authority, which had the effect of precluding gezerah shawah for most of the Amoraim. The hekkesh was a form of analogy drawn from two similar passages, usually connected with the conjunction, "and." For example, one authority draws the conclusion that all sacrificial animals should be slain on the north side of the alter. He bases this conclusion on the fact that Lev. 1:10 which deals with the sacrificial slaughter of cattle and is connected to the following passage, does not state which side of the altar cattle should be slain on. Since the two passages are about similar things, then, by hekkesh, he draws his conclusion.

The binyan ab appears to be a rudimentary form of induction. It is rarely used in the Talmud. A conclusion drawn from binyan ab, for example, would isolate all of the passages dealing with the high priest, taking out the specific duties of the high priest, and would then draw the conclusion that all of these are the duty of the high priest.

Rules four through eleven appear to be more concerned with literary understanding of the meaning of Bible passages, specifically, to determine when a law is to be made more general or more specific, more lenient or more severe. Conclusions based on these rules are usually the result of one of the group discussions carried on in the Academy, and these are rarely, if ever, used as a form of proof.

The last two rules are generally referred to as, "commonsense," reasoning. They tend to deny conclusions drawn through some of the more strained and arbitrary rules.

Examination of these hermeneutic rules reinforces the conclusion that their basic purpose was to provide a method of literary understanding; of determining the meaning of a given Bible passage. Through the use of these rules, the interpreter of the Bible was held closely to common sense; the basic axiom of their use was that the Bible speaks "in the language of men." Though knowledge of these rules is important in understanding the liberty of application used in the Talmud, only segments of them were ever applied to actual lecturing, and the bulk of their mention occurs in the disputation, when two authorities debated which exegesis of an authority was more valid.

A few of the rules appeared to be generally used as a form of logical proof. Kal vechomer and reasoning from proximity of texts were frequently used by the rabbis. Kal vechomer was used to reinforce a truim in this fashion;

...Now that you have concluded that execution does not supersede the Sabbath, it necessarily follows that execution does not suspend the Temple service...If the Sabbath, which is abrogated in favour of the Temple service is not set aside for execution, then the Temple service, which supersedes the Sabbath is surely not suspended.

Another example cites an anonymous lecturer who points out that by kal vechomer it can be deduced that since a Mishnah states that a man should not interrupt his prayer even if he is greeted by a king, it follows that he should not interrupt his prayer if he is greeted by a commoner. Kal vechomer thus appears as a very rudimentary form of syllogism.

Semukim, or the principle of reasoning from texts in the Bible which lie in close proximity, emerges in the form of a strained analogy. R. Meir, for example, states that controversies in the Academy should be conducted during the day, since a Scriptural verse stated, according to their word shall every controversy and leprosy be. Since it was proved that leprosies must be examined by day, and since Scripture puts these passages in close proximity, it is concluded that controversies should also be examined, or conducted, by day.

Many of the authorities felt that strained interpretations of this sort had no place in the Academic lecture, and deductions should be drawn on the basis of the context and sense of the Scriptural statement. Rab Judah advised his students not to be fooled by apparent similarities between scriptural passages, but to examine the contexts of the statements.

Despite the fact that many of the authorities advocated this simple usage in their speaking, many of the rabbis used gezerah shawah and hekkesh in their lectures. The use was rigidly controlled, and it was generally held that no rabbi could use a gezerah shawah or hekkesh of his own invention, but could only report these analogies in the name of the Scribes or Tannaim. Hence, the bulk of the appearances of the hermeneutic rules in the Talmud did not come as intrinsic parts of the lecture. Lecturers rarely based their proofs on them. Their appearances were in the form of quotations from earlier authorities.

Although the hermeneutic rules show sings of being a rudimentary logical system, the proofs in lectures and disputations in the Academy depended on the opinions of authorities, presentation of facts and evidence, and each lecturer appeared to be free to use whatever most of logical deduction he chose.

Ethical Proof

The extensive use of, and the high regard for, authorities in logical proof leads to the Talmudic concept of ethical proof. While there was no concept of the 'good' orator, the prestige of certain of the individual authorities leads to an understanding of what was considered personally desirable in a lecturer. The head of the Academy held immense prestige in the Jewish community. He was regarded as the leader of the community while alive, and as a sage when dead. Frequently, because of his prestige, his views and opinions went unchallenged. The views which he presented were regarded as valid because it was understood that as head of an Academy he was learned, and because of this, that his conclusions would be correct. Although many heads of Academies were meticulous about presenting proofs for their conclusions in order to set an example for their students, some of them succeeded in having their opinions accepted simply on the strength of their position as head of the Academy.

The implication appears to be that there were certain qualities in a man which would make his word acceptable at all times. There is no statement as to the personal qualifications of a good orator, but there are numerous references to the qualities desirable in a rabbinic authority. All of these statements appear to be related in some way to learning and scholarship. Since the rabbis displayed their learning in the Academy, it appeared that his acceptance as a lecturer was based to a large extent upon his acceptance as a scholar.

One authority points out that a rabbi must have good breeding, but without knowledge of Torah, good breeding is impossible; that a good rabbi must have fear of God, but without wisdom, fear of God is impossible; that a good rabbi must have understanding, but without knowledge, understanding is impossible. This statement appears to be typical of the many statements about the attributes of a rabbi. Though many of the authorities disagree on the minor attributes, they all appear to agree that the essential attribute is learning, scholarship, knowledge. R. Johanan, who considered himself to be the most handsome of rabbis pointed out that a rabbi must have knowledge, and a good appearance. Several of the authorities who were descended from good families felt that a rabbi must be learned and come from a good family. A large group of rabbis set up Nahum of Gimzu, who was noted for the fact that he was horribly ugly and a complete cripple, as their ideal of a rabbi. They held that it was his ugliness that forced him to acquire his great learning. Most authorities agreed that both meekness and pride were desirable to some degree, but these also, were dependent upon learning.

There was some variation in the views on what was included in the learning that a rabbi must possess. R. Dimi stated that a rabbi must be a master of Bible and Mishnah; he must be an expert in civil, criminal and religious law and be able to pass judgment in, "...strictest accord with the truth." Raba felt that learning meant the ability to understand the subject matter of Bible and Mishnah plus the ability to teach it to others. Some authorities held that a rabbi must have memorized the whole Mishnah and be able to draw conclusions from it through the use of "keen dialectics." There was general agreement that if a rabbi used his knowledge for personal gain, then he was not really wise.

Reading of the Talmud indicates that one authority was set up as a model to which other authorities should conform. This authority was Hillel, and virtually every other authority was compared to him in some way.

Hillel was a poor Babylonian of the first century before the destruction of the Temple. According to the legend, he underwent great privation in order to come to Jerusalem and study at the Academy of the Scribes. His first appearance before this Academy immediately elevated him to the position of Head of the Academy, because he solved a problem which up to that time had been considered insoluble. Hillel was placed in juxtaposition, as an authority, with Shammai, who displayed all of the qualities of character and temperament which were considered undesirable. Through almost every conflict between the two, Hillel came out as winner, and finally, a voice from Heaven declared that Hillel was generally right. However, the voice also pointed out that in four cases, Shammai was right, probably to reinforce the idea of human fallibility.

Hillel displayed the characteristics of mastery of subject matter, great wisdom in judgment, humility and patience. One of the many legends about Hillel reveals the traits of character which he displayed, which were considered the ideal by the rabbis;

Our rabbis taught: A man should always be gentle like Hillel and not impatient like Shammai. It once happened that two men made a wager with each other saying, He who goes and makes Hillel angry shall receive four hundred zuz. Said one, 'I will go and incense him.' That day was the Sabbath eve, and Hillel was washing his head. He went, passed by the door of his house and called out, 'Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?' Thereupon he robed and went out to him saying, 'My son, what do you require?' 'I have a question to ask,' said he. 'Why are the heads of the Babylonian round?' [This was a gross insult since Hillel was a Babylonian and further since he addressed Hillel without a title and disturbed him while he was preparing for the Sabbath.] 'My son, you have asked a great question,' replied he: 'because they have no skilful midwives.' He departed, tarried awhile and returned, and called out, 'Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?' He robed and went out to him saying, 'My son, what do you require?' 'I have a question to ask' said he. 'Ask, my son,' he prompted. Thereupon he asked: 'Why are the eyes of the Palmyreans bleared?' 'My son, you have asked a great question,' replied he. 'because they live in sandy places.' He departed, tarried awhile, returned and called out, 'Is Hillel here; is Hillel here?' He robed and went out to him, saying, 'My son, what do you require?' 'I have a question to ask,' said he. 'Ask, my son,' he prompted. He asked, 'Why are the feet of the Africans wide?' 'My son, you have asked a great question,' said he, 'because they live in watery marshes.' 'I have many questions to ask,' said he, 'but fear that you may become angry.' Thereupon he robed and sat before him and said, 'Ask all the questions you have to ask.' 'Are you the Hillel who is called Nasi [prince] of Israel?' 'Yes,' replied he. 'If that is so,' he retorted, 'may there not be many like you in Israel.' 'Why, my son,' queried he. 'Because I have lost four hundred zuz and yet another four hundred zuz through him, yet Hillel shall not lose his temper.'

The qualities shown by Hillel in this legend were the qualities that the other rabbis tried to emulate. His teaching methods were assiduously followed and they represented the model for all Talmudic teaching. His ethics became the core of Talmudic ethics.

Thus, a good proportion of the proof presented in the Talmudic lecture and disputation was based upon the personal character of the speaker. Scholarship and learning were the essentials in the character of a rabbi, and qualification of an authority in these gave him great weight in presenting opinions. In most cases, ethical proof was a major factor in winning belief in academic lectures and disputation.

The Use of Emotional Material in the Talmudic Lecture and Disputation

There is nothing in the Talmud to indicate that there was any idea of a theory of emotional proof, nor even of the role which appeals to the emotions might play in influencing an audience. In practice, however, speakers did use at least two types of emotional material: (1) displays of spontaneous emotion on the part of a speaker involved in a disputation; and (2) conscious use of exaggeration, humor and dramatic material to gain attention from the students.

There are several emotional outbursts recorded in the Talmud. These usually took the form of epithets and insults thrown against an opponent in a disputation. These attacks are not detailed attacks on personal character, and were probably not prepared in advance. The bulk of them are quick epithets, sarcastic statements or irony. For example, R. Hanina, attacking what he felt was a false statement of R. Shesheth remarked, "...the following was told to me by the suckling that perverted the way of his mother." R. Johanan, on one occasion, criticized a statement made by R. Hiyya by pointing out that R. Hiyya was "...indulging in worldly pleasures in Babylon," while he was studying in Palestine. R. Jeremiah used an expression of sarcasm as he sighed and deplored the fact that "...a great man like R. Joseph should say such a thing." Raba, on several occasions, sarcastically attacked former teachers of his students when they made statements with which he disagreed. R. Shesheth, in criticizing a statement by Rab, said, " occurs to me that Rab made this...statement having been sleepy and about to doze off," and thus he could not really be held responsible for it.

Sometimes an opponent was attacked through his teacher. One authority exclaimed, "...may R. Tarfon's master forgive him for this absurd statement." R. Nahman attacked one of his students with the statement "...your teacher must have been a reed-cutter in a marsh."

The emotional outbursts took several forms. A frequently used expression was, "...Torah, Torah," meaning, in essence, "shame on you for forgetting something so basic," and had the effect of a parent chastising a small child for an error in something elementary. R. Nahman, in a disputation with 'Ena Saba attacked him by comparing his appearance to a "black pot." R. Papi frequently attacked members of the House of Eli by stating, "...because you are...frail beings, you speak frail words." Bar Kappara disposed of R. Hiyya by poking fun at his speech defect, and his inability to pronounce guttural sounds.

Attacks on the country of origin were frequently used. When the leadership of Judaism was passing from Palestine to Babylon, many of the Palestinian lecturers lost their tempers in disputes with Babylonians. A frequently used phrase was, "...foolish Babylonians, because they dwell in a dark country, they must say dark sayings."

There is no evidence that the rabbis knew or utilized any method of stirring the emotions with speech. Planned ad populum or ad hominem were rarely used, but they frequently arose spontaneously through the extempore character of the Talmudic disputation.

Many of the rabbis were concerned with inattention on the part of their students. Many of them chose to use the direct approach and criticize the students, themselves. Students were admonished to pay attention to the lecturer and failure to do so was given as a reason for failure to learn. The student was cautioned to pay close attention to his teacher and look directly at this teacher's mouth while he hears his words.

In spite of these admonitions, inattention during lectures appeared to be prevalent. Students were frequently described as sleeping during the lecture. Some lecturers used the direct method of snapping their fingers, making noise, or poking the student in order to wake him. According to Chajes, the occurrence of haggadic material in the Academic lecture was for the purpose of stimulating attention;

...if, at times, he [the lecturer] noticed that his...utterances made no impression upon the audience, he sought to find another method for his purpose, by telling them stories, which...went beyond the limits of the natural and so won the attention of his audience.

Chajes holds that the use of hyperbole, frequently found in the Talmudic lectures, was to arouse the students from sleep. Since homiletic speaking had as its function, "...impressing the people and arousing their minds," its use in the Talmudic lecture was for the same purpose. It was not necessary to give direct preaching to the students at the Academy, as it was with members of the community, and so haggadic material was used only for this purpose.

A frequent method of gaining attention was to digress to an haggadic exposition of Song of Songs, which was on of the favorite Biblical books of the rabbis. Frequently, riddles, puns, etc. were used to stimulate attention. An anonymous lecturer presented some difficult riddles in order to catch attention during a very dull lecture on the levirate marriage. These puns dealt with reasoning our complex family relationships, and the students were asked to determine which relationship was valid for a Jew, and how the other relationships could come about.

...My paternal, but not my maternal brother; and he is the husband of my mother, and I am the daughter of his wife?

...He whom I carry on my shoulder is my brother and my son and I am his sister?

...Greetings to you my son; I am the daughter of your sisters?

...Woe, Woe, for my brother, who is my father, he is my husband and the son of my husband; he is the husband of my mother and I am the daughter of his wife; children of his daughter?

...I and you are brother and sister, and I and your father are the children of brothers and I and your mother are the children of brothers.

Hyperbole was frequently used. R. Ammi and Raba pointed out that exaggeration was frequently used in the Bible, and therefore it was all right to use it in the Academy. Huge numbers were frequently used, like, "one million, two hundred thousand destroying angels."

The story of R. Eleazar the detective is a good example of the use of haggadah in the Talmudic lecture in order to gain attention. The lecture opens with an exaggeration about the health of R. Eleazer. Next, a verse from Proverbs is explained. The story of the adventures of R. Eleazar follows, and the passage finally moves on to explain the halachah on the method of answering questions raised during disputations.

Many of the lecturers used visual material and demonstrations to obtain attention. Sanction for this was derived from Hillel, who used this method in one of his most frequently quoted teachings;

A certain man once stood before Shammai and said to him, 'Master, how many Torahs have you?' "Two,' Shammai replied, 'one written and one oral.' Said the man, 'the written one I am prepared to accept, the oral one I am not prepared to accept.' Shammai rebuked him and dismissed him in a huff. He came before Hillel and said, 'Master, how many Torahs were given?' "Two,' Hillel replied, 'one written and one oral.' Said the man, 'the written one I am prepared to accept, the oral one I am not prepared to accept.' 'My son,' Hillel said to him, 'sit down.' He wrote out the alphabet for him, and pointing to one of the letters asked him, 'What is this?' 'It is Aleph,' the man replied. Said Hillel, 'This is not aleph but beth. What is that?' he continued. The man answered, 'It is beth.' 'It is not beth,; said Hillel, 'but gimmel.' In the end, Hillel said to him: 'How dost thou know that this is aleph and this beth and this gimmel? Only because our ancestors of old handed it down to us...Even as thou hast taken this in good faith, so take the other in good faith.

Not only does this passage show Hillel's reliance on authority, but the use of the written letters indicated a demonstration. This principle of instruction survives in the Jewish school, and during Talmudic days was the predominant method of instruction when teaching the alphabet in the elementary school.

Many of the rabbis used demonstrations before their students. R. Johanan during a lecture bit off his fingernails and threw them away in order to demonstrate that nail cutting was forbidden but nail biting was permitted during a festival week. R. Akiba, on a Friday fast-day had a roasted egg brought to him in the afternoon and ate the egg in front of his students, to demonstrate that a fast before the Sabbath must ended before the Sabbath begins.

The demonstrations indicate that a few of the rabbis were aware of the value of demonstration material as a means of stimulating attention, but nowhere was this stated as a halachah for all lecturers to follow.

Humor was frequently used as an attention-getter, although it was severely criticized by a few authorities. R. Zera held that laughter was prohibited. R. Akiba pronounced a curse on one of his students for stimulating laughter during a disputation. On the other hand, many of the important authorities advocated the use of humor. Judah Ha-Nasi, who suffered from melancholia, had one of his students juggle before him to stimulate the audience before he began his lectures. Rab Judah held that serious study must be preceded by "light hearted conversation." Rab and Rabbah both were described as "...saying something humorous to his students before he commenced his discourse, in order to amuse them; after that he sat in awe and commenced the lecture." Rab poked fun at himself in another example of a humorous introduction. He told how, whenever he told his wife to prepare lentils, she made peas, and when he asked for peas, he got lentils. Rab's son, Hiyya, began to convey the orders in reverse, and Rab got the right food. he remarked to his son, "your mother has improved," and concludes the story with a beginning for the lecture, "thine own offspring teaches thee reason." Other rabbis, following the example of Rab, told humorous stories before beginning their lectures. R. Joshua related the story of his disputation in puns with various persons. R. Johanan related the story of how he bested a female doctor in an exchange of wits. R. Johanan was also fond of poking fun at the institution of marriage, expressing amazement at how a married scholar could study "...with a millstone around the neck." The story of 'Ulla in Babylon is frequently used to commence a lecture;

'Ulla chanced to be in Babylon, and observing that a basketful of dates was being sold for a zuz, he exclaimed, 'A basketful of honey for a zuz and yet the Babylonians do not occupy themselves with the study of the Torah.' [The cost was so low that the Babylonians don't have to worry about working, and can devote all their time to the study of Torah.] During the night, he was in agony [due to overeating the inexpensive dates] and he then exclaimed, 'A basketful of knives for a zuz and yet the Babylonians occupy themselves with the study of Torah.'

It appears that free license was allowed in these humorous stories. Although it is not characteristic of Talmudic humor, even the "bedroom" story is used as humor;

It has been taught: R. Akiba said: 'Once I went in after R. Joshua to a privy and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not sit east and west, but north and south. I learnt that one evacuates not standing but sitting, and I learnt that it is proper to wipe with the left hand, not the right...' Said Ben Azzai to him: 'Did you take such liberties with your Master?' He replied: 'It was a matter of Torah and I required to learn.' R. Kahana once went in and hid under Rab's bed. he heard him chatting with his wife and joking and doing what he required. He said to him: 'One would think that Abba's [Rab's real name] mouth had never sipped the dish before.' He said to him; 'Kahana, are you here? Go out, because it is rude.' He replied: 'It is a matter of Torah and I require to learn.'

In disputations, many of the rabbis used reductio ad absurdum to stimulate attention. R. Twiya ended a debate on the law of damages which had become very detailed, by asking what the law would be if a cow with a toothache uncovered the beer and drank it and it then caused damage. R. Eleazar asked if it was all right to stab an ignoramus on the day of atonement, and was told that it was not, since it would necessitate ritual slaughter which was prohibited on that day.

A typical example of Talmudic humor was the anonymous introduction used by an Amora;

Ten kabs of wisdom descended to the world; nine were taken by Palestine and one by the rest of the world. Ten kabs of beauty descended to the world; nine were taken by Jerusalem and one by the rest of the world. Ten kabs of wealth descended to the world; nine were taken by the Romans and one by the rest of the world. ...Ten kabs of gossip descended to the world; nine were taken by the women and one by the rest of the world. ...Ten kabs of sleep descended on the world; nine were taken by slaves and one by the rest of the world.

Although there was no concept of the use of emotions in proof presented in the Talmud, much emotional material appeared in the lectures and debates. Some of this resulted from spontaneous emotion. The bulk of the use of emotional material was conscious and designed to catch the lagging attention of the listeners at the Academy.

The Rabbinic Concept of the Audience

Modern public speaking texts devote a great amount of space to discussions of audience analysis. The little material in this area to be found in the Talmud might be included in rhetorical invention.

The views held by the rabbis on audiences were simple and rudimentary. The minimum audience was defined as ten persons. A person was defined as an adult male - women did not count.

The Rabbis appeared to have a cynical attitude toward audiences. In their speaking in the synagogues, many of the rabbis saw fit to capitalize on the fact that a captive audience existed, and commenced their lectures before the synagogue service had ended, thus guaranteeing that their audiences would stay. Certain of the rabbis felt that the only benefit a member of an audience got from the lecture was the benefit of having performed a religious act by running to the lecture and getting crushed in the crowd.

R. Johanan b. Zakkai at the first Academy at Jabneh showed some concern about the physical comfort of his students. Many of the sessions at Jabneh were held outside, and R. Johanan held his lectures at a cool time of the day and in a shady place. He allowed enough space so that his listeners could sit on the ground in comfort.

As to an analysis of audience reaction to various appeals, there is no specific material in the Talmud. There are a few analyses of human character, which, when applied to the listeners at a lecture, may be construed as a form of audience analysis. R. Simeon b. Akashiah indicated that uneducated people are harder to speak to as they grow older, since their intellect gets distracted, while with aged scholars "...the older they get, the more their mind becomes composed." R. Nathan pointed out that certain persons appear to listen attentively and take part in the discussions because of the personal prestige that might accrue to them through their association with learning.

Persons who attend rabbinic lectures are described as follows;

There are four types of character in regard to regular attendance at the House-of-Study; He who attends but practises not...He who practises but attends not...He who attends and practises He who attends not and practises not.

Those who attend regularly are classified into four categories typified by "...a sponge, a funnel, a strainer and a sieve." The sponge is the man who absorbs everything he hears without discrimination; the funnel is the man who takes in knowledge and lets it escape as soon as he gets it; the strainer is the man who retains the least useful information and lets the best get away; the sieve is the man who retains the best information and discards the inferior. No advice is given to the speaker on how to appeal to them.

Another passage gives a description of the good student as a speaker and as a listener;

There are seven things characteristic in a man of imperfectly developed mind, and seven in a wise man. A wise man speaks not before one whose wisdom is greater, and enters not into the midst of the words of his fellows; and is not hasty to answer: He asks in accordance with the subject matter, and he answers in accordance with the accepted decisions; And he speaks of the first point first and the last point last; And he acknowledges the truth; And concerning that which he has not heard, he says, 'I have not heard it:' And the reverse of these are characteristic in a man of imperfectly developed mind.

Another passage classified types of character in men;

There are four types of character in men: He that says: 'Mine is mine and thine is thine:' This is neutral type...of character. He that says, 'Mine is thine and thine is mine.' is an unlearned person: He that says, 'Mine is thine and thine is thine,' is a pious man: He that says, 'Mine is mine and thine is mine,' is a wicked man.

There are four types of character in respect of temperaments: Easy to become angry and easy to be pacified...Hard to become angry and hard to be pacified...Hard to become angry and easy to be pacified: He is a pious man: Easy to become angry and hard to be pacified: He is a wicked man.

These statements indicate some general analysis of character. There is no evidence that any attempt was made to apply these analyses to their speaking. Their concept of the audience apparently makes the audience responsible for listening, and thus relieves much of the burden of the speaker. The member of the audience is given advice on how to become a good listener, while little advice is given to the speaker on how to make the audience attentive.

A few of the lecturing rabbis made rudimentary analyses of specific speaking situations. Raba, for example, made the assumption that a person who attends the Academy consistently and jeopardizes his personal gain in so doing, is an interested person and entitled to good lectures. Rabbah analyzed the speech given by Joshua after the death of Moses and pointed out that the reason that the Israelites did not listen to him was because he had no children and would, therefore, have no stake in the new land. An anonymous lecturer indicated that in speaking to repentant sinners, no mention should be made of their past deeds for fear of insulting them; when speaking to proselytes, no reference should be made to their ancestors for fear of angering them; and, in general, to avoid the use of epithets when speaking to anyone. Raba described his experiences in lecturing to proselytes, indicating that when he spoke of the prohibitions applying to proselytes, they did not listen, but when he spoke of the privileges, they listened attentively.

Samuel preferred the direct approach. He recognized that, on occasion, the students at the Academy did not listen, and he gave the lecturer the privilege of rebuking that type of student. The teacher of Hillel, Abtalion, pointed out that rabbis who spoke to audiences of non-Hebrews should, "be careful with your words," for fear of saying anything which could be misconstrued. Rab simplified the reasons for his laws when he spoke at the kallah, so that the uninstructed members of the audience could understand him. Rab also chose his meturgeman with care, since he felt that the meturgeman had more appeal to the listeners than the lecturing rabbi. Johanan b. Zakkai displayed some concern about audiences when he discussed a lecture which he had to give to the tradesmen of town about alleged sharp practices, indicating how he was caught on the horns of a dilemma;

...Concerning all these [sharp practices]...Woe to me if I should speak of them: woe to me if I should not speak. Should I speak of them, Knaves might learn them: and should I not speak, the knaves might say, 'the scholars are unacquainted with our practices,' and will deceive us still more.
Some of the rabbis were highly critical of their audience, but made no attempt to modify their speaking to suit the audience. R. Eliezer was confronted by this problem; and found himself cursing his listeners, because other listeners had become bored and had left his lecture. R. Dosethai went to the opposite extreme, and apparently over-reacted. When asked why he spoke so mildly to a certain group of people, he said;

...Those people are like posts, and their hats are as long as themselves. Their voice comes from their boots, and their names are outlandish...If they give the order to arrest, you are arrested; to kill and you are killed..' have these men,' asked R. Jose, 'Influence with the government?' 'Yes,' he replied. 'Have they a retinue mounted on horses and mules?' 'Yes,' 'If that is so,' he said, 'you acted rightly.'

One of the haggadic disputations between R. Joshua b. Hanania and the sages of Athens has R. Joshua musing about his greeting to the sages. He felt that if he greeted the old men, the young men would kill him, and if he greeted the young men, the old men would kill him. He finally opened his speech by saying, "peace to you." The session at which R. Gamaliel was deposed also shows a form of analysis. One of the reasons given for his deposition was his failure to understand the monetary problems of his generation, and his failure of recognize, in his lectures, the poverty of his listeners.

While there are many scattered references to audience analysis in the Talmud, there is no explicit theory of audience analysis which is applicable over- all. Some of the authorities apparently took note of the audience situation and attempted to adapt to it. Whether the others did so cannot be determined, for they said nothing about it, and the reactions of their listeners are not recorded.

Arrangement of the Speech

According to Thonssen and Baird, "Disposition covers the concept of arrangement, of orderly planning and movement of the whole idea." Material in the Talmud tends to indicate that the rabbis felt the need only for the most rudimentary methods of arrangement of their materials. The only reference made by the rabbis to Scripture on this subject indicates that they were not too concerned with arrangement. Rab, for example, pointed out that there was no order, chronological or otherwise, in the Torah.

However, a few isolated statements might be construed as dealing with arrangement. An anonymous lecture on teaching methods states, "the Tanna teaches and then explains." The statement implies that the halachah is stated first, followed by specific applications and reasons. Another teaching points out that one of the characteristics of a wise man is that he "...speaks of the first point first and the last point last." There is no further explanation given, however, as to what the "first point" and the "last point" should be. Another passage which seems to indicate some thought about arrangement says;

...R. Johanan said: When R. Meir used to deliver his public discourses, a third was halachah, a third haggadah and a third consisted in parables. The use of the word, "public," in this passage indicates that the ideas would be more applicable to the synagogue sermon. The passage, further, does not explain whether the speaker should divide his speech into the three portions each consisting of one of the things mentioned, or whether each of the three could be scattered throughout the speech.

The rabbis seem to stress the idea that teaching and lecturing should be done in an orderly fashion, but no methodology for achieving order is given. Four separate passage speak of arrangement of learning, or indicate that the teaching followed "...a certain order," but no further details are given. An examination of the lectures given in the Academies indicates that the lecture probably began with a statement of the halachah, followed by the Biblical reference for it. this was followed by specific examples, or some sort of proof and justification for the halachah. It appears that the lectures rarely had conclusions because of the intervening disputation.

There was some order in disputation. Disputants avoided asking questions about material not under discussion, and in cases where questions of this type were asked, the questioner was severely criticized. Certain of the authorities reserved the right to finish the explanation of the halachah before allowing disputation, and their students accorded to their wishes. In debates between equals, it was considered good form to allow each participant to finish his statement before answering. It was also considered proper to allow the speaker to answer a question completely, before asking another. Several admonitions were given to students to be moderate in their disagreements. They were told not to argue for the sake of argument, but to consider before speaking and to ask for reasons for conclusions before questioning conclusions.

The order followed in disputation seemed to arise from politeness or protocol, rather than from a conscious desire for order in a speech. The few rules of order which were applied to disputation seem to arise from the awareness of the disputants that a certain amount of time was needed by each speaker, and simple decency required that the opponent allow this time.

Some specific views are presented about introductions to lectures. It has already been indicated that a number of the rabbis began their lectures by saying something humorous. R. Hanina indicated that is was considered impolite to begin to speak until the audience had been called to attention and a formal announcement was made that the lecture was about to begin. Raba felt that the actual beginning of the speech should be serious, but that humor was effective first, since it put the students in the mood to become serious. It is possible that some of the rabbis followed the example of Hillel, who began his lectures by "...rebuking them with words."

One talmudic passage presents the introductions by various rabbis to discourses on a Bible passage. These introductions suggest that after the preliminaries to the speech, the rabbis began by stating either a Mishnah or a Biblical verse as an introduction. In some cases, both Bible and Mishnah were used, the Mishnah being used to illustrate the law stated in the Bible.

The function of the meturgeman indicates that some order was used in the speech proper. The Meturgeman was provided with the "heads of the discourse" by the lecturing rabbi, which implies that the lecturer had given some thought to the arrangement of these heads. No further indication is given as to the specific method of arrangement in the body of the speech.

Only one passage can be found in the Talmud which may be construed as dealing with conclusions to a speech. R. Mari stated that since the prophets closed their speeches with, "words of praise and comfort," the rabbis ought to use this method in closing their lectures.

In general, the rabbis were apparently aware of the need for an introduction and a body and a conclusion of some sort, but there was no general agreement on the principles for organizing the speech as a whole, nor any of the parts of the speech.

Preparation and Rehearsal

Preparation and rehearsal of speeches frequently provide a clue to the theory of arrangement. There is little evidence that lectures and disputations at the Academies had much specific preparation. The speakers appeared to be prepared on a general topic and major heads of the discourse, and possibly prepared the introduction.

Only a few of the lecturers, apparently, prepared their entire speeches in advance. A reference to R. Abbahu indicates that he had a starting point and a concluding point for each day's lecture. Probably the mode, most widely used was for the lecturer to gather information on a question raised by a student during the course of a session, and use that as the basis for his lecture on the next day. Evidence that such a practice existed are the phrases which occur throughout the Talmud which indicate that one authority told another that his students had asked a specific question, and the lecturer asked permission to quote the other authority during his answer. Though this does not indicate the method of preparation, it does indicate that some advance planning was given to the lectures.

Disputation shows the same lack of direct preparation. Since it arose spontaneously, the only possible method of preparation for disputation was general knowledge of the subject and the ability to extemporize.

There is evidence which indicates that some of the teachers used a method of assignment which forced their students to prepare in advance for the day's sessions. These passages, however, do not give the specific assignment or the resulting speeches. It is possible that some of the disputations cited in the Talmud are really oral examinations. One reference, for example, states, "...I went to R. Eleazar b. Shammu'a to have my learning examined." Following this statement is a recorded disputation between R. Eleazar and the student. Apparently this was the oral examination for which the student prepared. Two references to R. Huna state that he gave specific assignments to students and set specific times for oral examinations. Samuel tested students who came late to sessions by forcing them to dispute with him on the topic of the lecture. Obviously, if the student knew he was going to be late, he had the opportunity to prepare part of his disputation. R. Ashi, on occasion, told the students the topic of the next day's lecture and asked them to be ready to ask and answer questions about it. Students who came from other Academies, on occasion, were asked to speak to their new associates on halachah as they had learned it elsewhere. No evidence is available as to whether they were given an opportunity to prepare. Even as formal an occasion as ordination ceremonies appeared to originate spontaneously, and the speeches delivered at these ceremonies have the same extemporaneous quality as those given in the regular Academic session. Some of the rabbis followed the practice of requiring their better students to ask questions during the lecture. Sometimes specific questions were provided by the lecturer and in this case, the student acted as straight man for the lecturer. These assigned questions were designed to bring out significant points in the lecture, and indicate some planning and preparation on the part of the lecturer. The bulk of the questioning was left to the discretion of the student, and the questions he asked were evaluated as to their quality as a test of his knowledge. R. Johanan held that halachah could best be explained through questions and answers, and this was the reason why students were assigned to ask questions.

During festival lectures and kallah sessions, lecture topics were assigned to speakers far in advance. The lecturer was given a specific halachah and asked to prepare an exposition on it. Some rehearsal probably took place before these lectures were given. R. Nahman frequently rehearsed his kallah lectures with R. Adda b. Abba who criticized, disputed and recommended changes. Preparation for the kalloth reveal the only real instances of rehearsal cited in the Talmud, and no comparison is available between the original lecture and the lecture in its final form. Some of the rabbis made preparation to protect themselves from stage fright at the kallah lectures, and had themselves carried to the platform, blindfolded, by their associates.

No clear cut theory of rhetorical arrangement emerges from the Talmud. Aside from some isolated statements about introductions and scattered references to rehearsal, there is little material to be construed as arrangement.

Style of the Academic Discourse

Style, as it applies to rhetoric, deals with "...the concept of expression in language, resulting, basically, from the choice of words and their arrangement and composition." For example, Cicero, in The Orator deals with the plain, moderate and grand style and analyzes each of them.

An examination of the lectures delivered by the Talmudic rabbis leads to the conclusion that an exceedingly plain style was used in practically all of their speaking. The rabbis felt that speech should be approached with great care, since speech was the method used to communicate what they felt were highly important thoughts.

Brevity and succinctness in speaking were stressed by a number of rabbinic authorities. Rab said, "...a teacher should always teach his pupils succinctly." R. Huna was severely criticized because of the length of his speeches, which many rabbis felt to be the cause of impotence among his listeners. The rabbis felt that the only time exceptions to the rule of brevity and succinctness were allowed was to avoid offensive language or words. R. Joshua b. Levi said, " should not utter a gross expression from his mouth," and proceeded to point out how Scripture frequently uses more words than necessary to avoid grossness. Digressions, however, were not considered good form. Many rabbis were criticized because of their excessive digressions, for it was felt that such hedging arose from an unworthy desire to display one's knowledge.

The rabbis were not to copy Scriptural style in their speaking. They felt that language used in Scripture and in the Academy ought to be different. The difference, according to the rabbis, lay in the fact that Scripture is an extension of the Divine will, while the Academy was the place in which the will was carried out. Therefore, the language of Scripture was lofty, befitting its Divine nature, while the language used in the Academies was to be simple, fit to deal with the realities of life.

The style of the individual rabbi was influenced to some degree by the hermeneutic system which he chose to accept. The majority of the rabbis followed the system of R. Ishmael, and since this was based on the precept that the Bible speaks "in the language of men," their language tended to be direct and simple, while those who accepted the more complex grammatical methods tended to be obscure.

The use of authorities was one of the factors which affected style, and it was complicated somewhat by this. It was considered essential that an authority quoted should be quoted in his own words. This meant that Scripture must be cited in Hebrew, Mishnah in Western Aramaic, Gemara in Eastern Aramaic, the Septuagine in Greek, and any other works in the language in which they originally appeared. This provided the rabbinic lecturer with a rich vocabulary, and automatically provided variety in language in the lecture, although many of the listeners could not understand it until it was translated for them by the meturgeman.

Good taste and preciseness in language were considered essential to the rabbi. Following Hillel's dictum, "...say not a thing that cannot be understood at once," and Ablation's, "...sages, be careful with your words," exactness in language was held to be a quality to be praised and was essential to the retention of learning. The only person who was allowed to misquote was the meturgeman, who, on occasion, had to change words from the first person to the third person in order to express the idea that the words were not his own. Speakers were also allowed to modify quotations slightly if they would sound like a curse if not modified.

Honesty on the part of the speaker is also a feature of the style. R. Eleazar said, "...whoever dissembles in his speech, it is as though he had engaged in idolatry." Speakers are advised to keep their temper since "...whoever is short tempered in his speech forgets what he has to say." It was felt that severe wrongs could be done by words, and injury through words must be avoided;

Just as there is overreaching in buying and selling, as there is wrong done by words...If a man was a repentant sinner, one must not say to him, 'Remember your former deeds.' If he was a son of proselytes, one must not taunt him, 'Remember the deeds of your ancestors.'

...R. Johanan said...Verbal wrong is more heinous than monetary wrong.

...Abaye asked R. Dimi: 'What do people most carefully avoid in the West?' He replied, 'Putting others to shame.'

...Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Johanan's name: 'Better it is for a man to cohabit with a doubtful married woman rather than that he should publicly shame his neighbour.

These passages imply that not only profanity, but insult and slander, intentional or unintentional, must be eliminated from speech. One of the criticisms leveled against the Babylonians by the Palestinians was they injured each other's feelings in disputation. Abaye, himself a Babylonian, stated that a rabbi should never answer back more than his colleague has spoken. In other words, he should neither take excess time, nor indulge in insult.

Some figures and tropes were used in the Academic lectures and disputations. Several authorities advocated the frequent use of metaphor. Raba praised the book of Ecclesiastics for its excellent use of simile. Hyperbole is justified on the basis that Scripture uses it frequently. It has already been indicated that various types of humor were used by many of the rabbis. Many other examples of figures and tropes could be cited, but actually, in Academic speaking, their use is limited, while Midrash abounds in their use. Some authorities made use of parables and fables. R. Meir was praised because of the number of fables he knew and the way he used them in his lectures. Some authorities invented their own fables, but this was condemned on the grounds that hypothetical cases were invalid in reasoning. The rabbis frequently indulged their wit in what was known as enigmatic speech. This consisted of breaking long words into their components and inventing puns based on the components.

There is no explicit statement of the optimum style of an Academic lecture. From the isolated statements in the Talmud pertaining to style and from the lectures, themselves, it is possible to extract the picture of the ideal rabbinic lecturer. The Ideal speaker had to have memorized the Bible, Mishnah, Midrash and Gemara, and it was desirable for him to know Baraita and the other related works. He had to be able to quote exactly from his sources. The ideal speaker had to be able to discuss halachah and express his views without obscurity and be able to counter any arguments raised against his point of view as soon as they were raised. He was to be able to speak any time, to anyone and be able to express his point of view, directly, without specious issues or digressions. The knowledge possessed by the speaker was the basis of his style. His effectiveness was based on his knowledge, and consequently, simplicity and directness were better suited to his speech occasions which were largely devoted to communicating his knowledge. The rabbis had ample opportunity to indulge in more florid speaking in the synagogue, but restraint was the keynote of speech in the Academy.

The Talmudic View on Delivery

The constituent elements of delivery, according to one authority, are vocal utterance and bodily action. There appeared to be a general agreement among the rabbis that the speaker's voice should be loud, and that his words must be uttered with perfect diction. Aside from that, there is little said on delivery, and no methodology of voice training is given.

One of the early teacher's of Hillel, Abtralion, stated that the speaker should, "be careful" with his words, since, if they were not pronounced correctly, a non-Jew might hear them and misinterpret them. The Tannaim of Palestine were praised for their precise diction, and it was pointed out that their wisdom came from their ability to pronounce words correctly.

R. Judah Ha-Nasi advised lecturers to "...make your ear hear what your mouth utters." R. Eliezer told one of his students who spoke in a low voice that the student who did not speak loudly would forget his learning. R. Simeon b. Yohai modified this view slightly when he stated that "...a man should recount what is to his credit in a low voice," and everything else in a loud voice. R. Judah b. Bathyra advised his students that words should be spoken loud and clear, since words of Torah "are not susceptible of uncleanness." Students were advised to answer questions quickly and forcefully when they were asked.

A few specific instructions are given to the meturgeman in regard to his voice. In an Academic lecture, the rabbi is to speak softly, while the meturgeman is charged to speak loudly enough for all the students to hear. R. Levi advised the meturgeman to speak louder by day than at night, since words carry farther at night.

Scattered references in the Talmud indicate that little attention was paid to delivery as it was involved in the Academic lecture. Loudness, clarity, and preciseness, following the simple style of the lecture, was probably the contents of their total concept of delivery. In the synagogue, however, a strong doctrine of delivery was growing. This doctrine was based on the elementary education system, in which the students chanted their lessons in order to commit them to memory. There appeared to be a method of chanting which was used during the synagogue service, which carried over into the homiletic speeches in the synagogue. Chanting, however, was considered inappropriate for the Academy, and on frequent occasions, lecturers are criticized for making the Academic session into a "...mere sing-song."

The complex chanted delivery of the synagogue provides a fertile field for future research. In the Academy, however, there was no real doctrine of delivery. Each speaker in the Academy followed his own ideas of delivery, provided that he could be heard and understood

The Art of Memory

The art of memory was essential to the existence of the Talmud. A leading authority states that the Talmud could not have been reduced to writing, completely, at the times which were given by the tradition. He feels that, though many of the rabbis had written collections of material in their possession, the bulk of the material of the Talmud was carried in the memory of the rabbis over several generations.

The Talmud demands that the rabbis use their memories. An authoritative Mishnah states that that which is received orally must be communicated orally, which means anything other than Bible could not be written down. Only the greatest authorities, who had already memorized the Talmud, were allowed to have written reference books. Schechter maintains that the few discrepancies in the Talmudic text trace their origin from the fact that the Talmud was carried in the memory of the rabbis, and that the human memory is fallible. Morris states that training in memory was a key element in the school system of the Talmudic period.

A good memory was so highly regarded by the rabbis that they felt that it could only come through the assistance of God. The rabbis felt that their students should devise methods of improving their memories. R. Hisda said, "The Torah canonly be acquired with the aid of mnemonic signs." R. Eleazar told his students to "devise mnemonic signs for the Torah." According to a legend, R. Pereda taught according to this method; he repeated each lesson eight hundred times until it was mastered. Because of his patience and his willingness to work with mnemonic symbols, God gave him a choice between an additional one hundred years of life or a share of his whole generation in the "World to Come."

The procedure of training memory through repetition is traced back to Moses;

Our rabbis learned: What was the procedure of the instructor in the Oral Law? Moses learned from the mouth of the Omnipotent. Then Aaron entered and Moses taught him his lesson. Aaron then moved aside and sat down on Moses' left. Thereupon Aaron's sons entered and Moses taught them their lesson. His sons then moved aside, Eleazar taking his seat on Moses' right and Ithamar on Aaron's left...Thereupon the Elders entered and Moses taught them their lesson, and when the Elders moved aside, all the people entered and Moses taught them their lesson. It thus followed that Aaron heard the lesson four times, his sons heard it three times, the Elders, twice, and all the people, once. At this stage, Moses departed and Aaron taught them his lesson. Then Aaron departed and the Elders taught them their lesson. It thus followed that everybody heard the lesson four times. From here R. Eliezer inferred; It is a man's duty to teach his pupil his lesson four times.

R. Akiba felt that even more repetition should be used if the pupil did not master the lesson in four tries. The repetition was to be in small doses, and the material was to be thoroughly memorized before new material was introduced. According to Raba, "If a man studies much at a time, his learning decreases." A group of authorities held that material was not fully memorized until it had been repeated at least 400 times. In addition, the student must have the assistance of God. R. Eleazar held that the student must be of good character, pleasant, conciliatory, and out of the public eye, if he was to memorize effectively through repetition. Resh Lakish held that the repetition must be organized; the teacher should present material according to a system, and the student should frequently systematize his material. R. Johanan felt that the material to be memorized should be repeated by chanting to a tune, so that the tune would serve as a memory prop. There appeared to be universal agreement that repetition was essential to memorization.

In addition to memorization, mnemotechnical aids were provided to help the student acquire material. These aids existed in one of three forms. One method selected the key words of a passage and cited them as memory jogs to the whole passage. For example;

[mnemonic] Hekkesh and gezerah shawah; Kal washomer. It is agreed that which is learnt through a hekkesh does it not in turn teach through a hekkesh.

The passage goes on to explain the use of the three hermeneutic principles in exegesis. The mnemonic aids were added to early material by later authorities in order to aid in memorization.

The second method of mnemonics is samakta. This involves the citing of a short Scriptural passage following an involved statement. The Scriptural passage was to serve as a guide to the material preceding as it was an illustrative example of the conclusion reached.

The most frequent mnemonic method was that of notarikon. This was a combination of letters taken from key-words in a passage and formed into another word which served as a memory jog. For example;

...It may be respect of MiKDaSH [holiness.] [The word MiKDaSH is made up of the initial letters of Mahshabeth - intention; Karath - a part or portion; Dam - blood; Shelish - third.
i. When a sacrifice is made out of bounds or after time, it is invalidated by INTENTION.
ii. In both cases, the illegitimate intention, even in respect of a PART or PORTION...disqualifies it.
iii. Both disqualify only if expressed during the service in connection with the sprinkling of BLOOD...
iv. The THIRD day is mentioned in connection with both in order to provide an analogy between the two cases.]

Thus, the statement of the key-word, MiKDaSH, should recall the whole passage to the mind of the student.

There is nothing to the Talmud to indicate that the rabbis were required to memorize their lectures, and nothing seems to indicate that they did. The extempore character of most Academic speaking would tend to preclude this. However, all of the material upon which lectures and disputations were based was committed to memory, and thus a strong memory was of critical importance to the lecturer. The theory of memory is probably the only explicit statement in the Talmud on any division of rhetoric.

Back to TOC


The purposes of this project, as stated in the introduction were to discover the role of public speaking in the Talmudic educational system, and to discover what theory, if any, guided this speech activity.

The project was limited to a study of rhetoric in the educational system of the period. The sources were limited to the Babylonian Talmud and its appendix. Other works such as Midrash Rabbah, Sifra, Sifre, Tanhum and Baraita are basically homiletic, and provide the basis for a parallel study covering the field of homiletics and synagogue preaching.

The Talmud is a record of the discussions and debates in the Academies. It does not represent one unified opinion, but presents the opinions of many authorities of varying degrees of validity. Since many of these debates of the authorities came to no conclusion, there is little explicit theory of rhetoric to be found in the Talmud. There appears to be no awareness on the part of the rabbis that rhetoric would form a field of study in itself. Conclusions had to be drawn form two areas; (1) from some of the authorities who made statements which could be construed as pertaining to public speaking; (2) from the use of public speaking as presented in the Talmud. For this reason, any theory of rhetoric which existed in the Talmud had to be implicit. There were certain common practices in public speaking which could be considered as an implicit theory.

The Talmudic concept of education makes it clear that education and learning were the highest achievements of man. The responsibility for education was fixed squarely on the Jewish community and led the Jewish community in the Babylonian Captivity to develop along the lines of an intellectual oligarchy.

Historically, the educational system developed from the Biblical injunction which made each man individually responsible for the education of his own son. Delegation of this responsibility to the community led to the development of elementary and high schools, and finally to the Talmudic Academy. The Academy, as the highest educational body, also developed into the legislature, and executive and judicial arm of the community.

The central core of education in the Academy was religious. All other matters were considered only as they related to religion. The legal system grew from religious precepts. Community behavior came from the same source, as did the ritual and the liturgy. The written source for the educational system was the massoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. This included Pentateuch, Prophets and Writings. To this, the rabbis added the Oral Law or Mishnah, which had developed alongside the written law. The educational system did not teach reading and writing as such, but only reading and writing of the Bible. Arithmetic, geometry and other subjects were considered only as they affected the performance of a religious precept. Many divisions of curriculum existed in the Talmudic educational system, but all of them were subordinate to religion, and could not exist without religion.

Elementary education was based entirely on the Bible. The elementary student learned the alphabet so that he could memorize the traditional pronunciations in the Bible. His obligation was to learn the words, but not necessarily the meaning. The high school presented the Mishnah in much the same fashion, except that it had to be memorized in its entirety since it was not written. To the Academy went the task of teaching the interpretation and application of the Bible and Mishnah.

This education was neither compulsory nor universal. Though there was a Biblical injunction on education, it is likely that the greater portion of the community was only barely literate. A great number of people had been exposed to elementary education, but few went on to high school, and still fewer to the Academy. Those that did go on were selected in democratic fashion. Any child was eligible for education at the Academy, provided that he had the ability and willingness to learn. The educational system was originally established by the Jewish government of the Roman province of Judea. With the destruction of the Jewish state, the school system developed into a state in itself.

The student in the Academy had three obligations; (1) to study and learn the meaning of the law; (2) to interpret and apply the law to the practical necessities of the community; and (3) to teach the applications and interpretations to new students. Generally, he lived in great poverty, since it was a belief that no man should use learning to earn a living. Many of the adult students at the Academy did manual labor in order to support themselves while others were supported by their fathers-in- law.

The curriculum at the Academy was Gemara in its developmental state. The process of study at the Academy involved interpretation and application of Bible and Mishnah. The discussions of these matters became Gemara in the redacted Talmud. Extraneous studies were strictly prohibited.

Three types of public speaking situations existed at the Academy; (1) speech occasions connected with legal cases; (2) speech occasions arising from the synagogue service; (3) speech occasions arising from the educational process at the Academy. The third type of speaking in the subject of this study.

Public Speaking played a prominent role in the Academy. The need for oral communication grew out of the fact that writing anything other than Scripture was strictly forbidden to most people. Other written works existed because many of the leading rabbis made their own collections of notes on the proceedings at the Academy. Further, impending danger generally motivated the leaders of the Academy to write down all of their knowledge up to that date, in order to preserve it. The bulk of the rabbis and students did not have this written material, however; and all of the teaching was oral. The rabbis derived sanction for oral communication from the Bible and Mishnah and through this raised it almost to the status of a religious precept.

The prime use of public speaking in the Academy was to elucidate halachah. This consisted of applying a statement of law given in Bible or Mishnah to a real life situation, and covered the whole range of human affairs. The process of discovering halachah involved the rabbis and their students in lecture, disputation and discussion situations.

Though there was a strong emphasis on majority rule, free speech gave a great deal of leeway to dissenting minorities. Consequently, Academic discussions resulted in generally qualified conclusions. In later days, after the break-up of the Academy (c 600 C.E.), commentators attempted to codify the decisions of the Talmud; but these codifications did not exist at the time of the Academies were in existence, and the men who lived at this time never regarded their work as being the establishment of a law code.

Despite the fact that the society in which the Talmud developed was a society which made a wide use of public speaking, there was no explicit statement of a theory of rhetoric. This is explainable since, like any other non-religious element in the educational system, rhetoric could have its existence only in relation to religion. Certain of the rabbis had views on public speaking, which they resented during the course of lectures and disputations. The views, however, were designed to clarify some discussion of a religious problem, and not to train students in the art of public speaking.

Since the Talmud consists of the differing views of many authorities over a long period of time, there is probably no implicit theory of rhetoric which applied to the whole period. There are certain practices which appeared to be uniformly used in all educational speaking. These may be construed as a fragmentary and limited theory of rhetoric.

The bulk of the speaking in the Academy related directly to teaching and interpretation of the Bible and Mishnah. There were regular lectures given daily. These daily lectures were usually followed by debates and discussions. In addition, the rabbis of the Academies gave public lectures, where they explained the law to the people of the community. Prominent among the public lectures was the semi-annual assembly known as the kallah. At the kallah, all of the adults of the community assembled to receive oral instruction in the law from the rabbis.

The lectures had one or more of four general topics: (1) the application of the statutes in the Bible or Mishnah to real situations; (2) application of deduction to traditional material to deduce new laws; (3) imparting instruction in tradition; (4) indulging the fancy of the speaker through exposition of the Bible. Most speeches given in the Academy were subject to interruption for question and disputation. Although the head of the Academy did the bulk of the speaking, the remaining members of the Academy had an opportunity to speak during the discussion and disputation periods. The rabbis and students of the Academy had an obligation to question and dispute with the lecturer.

Disputations involved two or more rabbis and students. They followed no set of rules in debating. In addition, students were expected to carry on their own study through discussion outside of the Academy, and the rabbis frequently carried on their own private discussions and disputations. It was generally felt that through an oral exchange of views, sound, though limited, decisions could be reached. Even the public lectures were subject to interruption for question and disputation. Probably the most characteristic element of the Academic speaking was the prominent role which disputation played. The prominence of disputation was probably the reason for the apparent lack of form in the Talmudic discourses.

Conflicts in disputation were usually resolved through the application of majority rule. Other methods used to resolve conflict were compromise and presentation of fact or observed evidence. Although presentation of fact was considered the most authoritative way of resolving conflict, it was not frequently used. Compromise was used very rarely. In many cases, conflict was left unresolved, and this left the individual free to determine his own solution to whatever problem had been presented. When conflict was resolved through majority rule, the dissenting minority had its opinion recorded and was given wide leeway in regard to its observance of the agreed solution.

One of the highly distinctive features of Talmudic public speaking was the meturgeman. this was the speaker who served as intermediary between the lecturing rabbi and the students. The lecturing rabbi repeated the basic outline of the lecture to the meturgeman, who then elaborated on it as he delivered it to the students. Many disputations were carried on in this fashion, through intermediaries. The study of Talmudic public speaking is complicated by the fact that it is difficult to distinguish when the lecturer or the meturgeman was speaking.

It is clear, then, that the practice of public speaking was a prominent feature of the Academic educational system. Many opportunities for speaking were presented, and they were universally used, but there was no explicit theory of rhetoric. For convenience, this work is divided into the standard divisions of classical rhetoric; invention, disposition, style, delivery and memory. This should not imply any influence of the classical rhetoricians upon this civilization. The dispositions are arbitrary and imposed upon the subject to simplify the organization of material.

Rhetorical invention played a prominent role in Talmudic speaking. No theory was stated, but the nature of the speaking situation implied a comprehensive process of invention. The lectures were largely drawn from common sources. Either they were a positive development of material in Scripture or Mishnah, or the application of laws drawn from the same sources. The materials used in the presentations were statements from authorities, or authoritative works, and presentation of fact. In the field of homiletics, the rabbis were allowed to draw upon their imaginations, but this was not accepted in Academic speaking.

In the area of proof, individual authority or ethical proof was the strongest form. The personal qualities of Hillel were models for an authority. These qualities were knowledge, patience, mildness, humility and poverty. Eventually, a scale of authorities was established, and the statements of certain authorities were held to be more valid, always, than others. It was agreed that the speaker had the obligation of presenting proof for his views. The bulk of this proof was the statements of other authorities, but factual evidence, when used, had a tendency to overturn the opinion of an authority. Limited use was made of factual material in the educational speaking, although it appears that it was widely used in legal speaking.

There was some awareness on the part of a few of the rabbis of a doctrine of probabilities. The views on probabilities were not universally held, even though they were presented by individuals usually considered authoritative.

In many cases, the presentation of logical proof appeared to be closely attached to the hermeneutic rules. The hermeneutic rules were widely used in a dialectic fashion to ascertain the meaning of Scripture. If we were to consider them a logical system, they would bear the same relationship to Talmudic speaking as Aristotle's Organon bore to classical rhetoric. Even when they were used as proof, they were used in a drastically modified form, and it is hard to determine whether the hermeneutic rules were consciously used as a mode of proof, or whether, because of their familiarity to the rabbis, they unconsciously crept into the oral presentations. It appears that many of the hermeneutic rules were condemned as far as proofs were concerned, and only a few of the Thirteen Rules of R. Ishmael ever appeared as actual proofs.

There is some attention paid to emotion in discourse, but emotion was never conceived as a form of proof. Certain emotional material entered the lecture and disputation, because of spontaneous feeling on the part of the speaker. The only real application of emotional material to public speaking was in the realm of gaining attention, where many of the authorities agreed that exaggeration, humor, dramatic stories, and the like, were usable to gain the attention were the direct approach of demanding it, or using visual material.

In the area of awareness of the audience, it appeared that a rudimentary audience analysis was used by a few of the rabbis. The analysis was negative, largely consisting of things not to do. Some of the lecturers were concerned about the comfort of their audience. A few statements of lecturers might be construed as a general analysis of human character for speaking purposes. These statements attempt to classify students as to their ability to learn and retain their learning. No positive methods for using these classifications are presented.

There is very little material in the Talmud on arrangement of a discourse. Since most of the speeches were not prepared, it is likely that little attention was paid to arrangement. The lecturer did not expect to give a complete discourse, in most cases. There was probably little need felt for an theory of arrangement.

A few authorities are recorded as preparing their lectures in advance. The bulk of the speaking, however, appears to be extempore. The lecturer apparently knew, generally, what material he wanted to cover, and he began his lecture, expecting to be interrupted by questions and argument. Because of the freedom of interruption which the audience had, it was probably necessary for the lecturer to extemporize his speeches.

In the area of style, the hermeneutic rules appear again, this time applicable to homiletics and only in a limited sense, to the Academic lecture. The best style was the clear, logical presentation of correctly quoted statements of previous authorities, with an ability to draw conclusions from them. There is limited use made of figures and tropes, but generally, displays of rhetorical skill to impress the audience are condemned.

The material on delivery is also limited. Although a complex form of chanted delivery was growing up in the synagogue, this was generally held invalid for Academic speaking. There was agreement among the rabbis that the speaker should have a loud voice, and be precise in the pronunciation of his words.

Memory provides the basis for the whole process of speaking at the Academy. Because of the ban on writing, the material of the lectures and disputations had to be memorized. There is no record of a rabbi having memorized his lecture, but all of them were required to memorize Mishnah and its related works. Two basic methods of memorization were universally used. The first was the process of memorizing through repetition. The second was the provision of memory jogs, either through the citing of key words, the provision of a related Scriptural text, or the use of notarikon.

The conclusions which can be drawn from a survey of the Babylonian Talmud regarding the theory and practice of rhetoric at the Talmudic academies are as follows;

  1. Through probably not conscious of it, the rabbis of Talmudic period lived in a rhetorical civilization, and developed and built an implicit rhetorical theory to govern their use of public speaking.

  2. Public speaking was an essential feature of life in the Talmudic period. The whole structure of education depended on it.

  3. The public speaking the educational system shows indications that in other areas of speaking, law and religious preaching, other facets of rhetoric are covered.

  4. The speaking in the academy showed signs of having a rudimentary doctrine of rhetorical invention, including theory on modes of proof. Arrangement, style, delivery and memory are also covered by individual authorities.

A number of questions raised by this study provide a fertile field for future research;

  1. Was there any contact between the Greek and Roman system of rhetoric and the Talmudic education system? If so, what influence did this contact have, and on whom?

  2. What influence did the later development of the hermeneutic rules into a logical system have upon Jewish rhetoric?

  3. What are the essential features of the legal and homiletic speaking of this period? Was there any theory, implicit or explicit that applied to these that differed from that applied to educational speaking?

These questions seem to indicate that the Jewish culture provides a field for future research in the history of rhetoric. With the new translations of source material and the general availability of good courses in Hebrew, the challenge is presented to investigate this field with an eye toward ascertaining its effect upon the development of western rhetorical theory.

Back to TOC


Primary Sources

THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD. Dr. I. Epstein, general editor. (35 vols.). London: The Soncino Press, 1936 - 1952.

The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan (Aboth de Rabbi Nathan). Translated by Judah Goldin. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955.

Secondary Sources

Albright, William Foxwell. "The Biblical Period," The Jews, ed. Louis Finklestein. New York: Harper & Bros., 1949.

Auerbach, Charles. "The Talmud - A Gateway to the Common Law," Western Reserve Law Review, III, (June, 1951), 5-50.

Bacher, Wilhelm, "Abaye," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

________. "Aba Arika," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

________. "Academies in Babylonia," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

________. "Academies in Palestine," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

________. "Ashi," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. II, 1909.

________. "Bible Exegesis," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. III, 1909.

________. "Gamaliel I," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Gamaliel II," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "The Great Synagogue," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

________. "Hillel," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Johanan b. Zakkai," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, 1909.

________. "Judah I," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, 1909.

________. "Talmud," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, 1909.

Baldwin, Charles Sears. Ancient Rhetoric and Poetic. New York: Macmillan Co., 1924.

Baron, Salo Wittmayer. A Social and Religious History of THE Jews. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1952.

Bickerman, Elias J. "The Historical Foundations of Post Biblical Judaism," The Jews. Editor Louis Finklestein. New York: Harper & Bros. 1949. pp. 70-114.

Bokser, Ben Zion. The Wisdom of the Talmud. New York: Philosophical Library, 1951.

Broyde, Isaac. "Hiyya bar Abba - Rabbah," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Logic," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, 1909.

________. "Meir (Meir Ba'al Ha-Nes)," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, 1909.

Chajes, Zevi Hirsch. The Student's Guide Through the Talmud. Translated by Jacob Schachter. London: East and West Library, 1952.

Cicero, De Orators. Translated by E. W. Sutton and H. Rackham. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948.

Cohen, Rev. Dr. A. Everyman's Talmud. London: J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1937.

Cooper, Lane (ed.) The Rhetoric of Aristotle. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1932.

Darmesteter, Arsene. The Talmud. Translated by Henrietta Szold. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication society of America, 1897.

Dembitz, Lewis N. "Evidence," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Organization of Community," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, 1909.

Deutsch, Emanuel. The Talmud. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1895.

Draizin, Nathan. History of Jewish Education From 515 B.C.E. to 220 B.C.E. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1940.

Eisenstein, Judah David and Seligsohn, Max. "Scribes," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

Finklestein, Louis. The Pharisees. 2 Vols. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1938.

Freehof, Solomon. The Responsa Literature. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955.

Gesenius, William A. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Translated byEdward Robinson. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1955.

Ginzberg, Louis. "Akiba ben Joseph," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

Ginzberg, Louis. "Baraita of the Thirty-two Rules," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. II, 1909.

________. "Codification of Law," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, 1909.

________. "Elisha b. Abuyah," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. On Jewish Law and Lore. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955.

Goldin, Judah. "The Period of the Talmud," The Jews. Edited by Louis Finklestein. New York: Harper and Bros., 1949. pp. 115-215.

Graetz, Heinrich. History of the Jews. 8 vols. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1891.

Grayzel, Solomon. A History of the Jews. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947.

Greenstone, Julius. "Conflict of Opinion" Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, 1909.

________. "Funeral Oration," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

Grossman Louis. "Pedagogics," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, 1909.

Gudemann, M. "Education in Talmudical Times," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

Hahn, Aaron. The Rabbinical Dialectics. Cincinnati: Bloch and Co., 1879.

Herford, R. Travers. The Pharisees. New York: The MacMillan Co., 1924.

________. Talmud and Apocrypha. London: The Soncino Press, 1933.

Holy Scriptures: Sefer Torah N'vi'im V'C'Subim. New York: Hebrew Publishing Co.

Holy Scriptures: An English Translation. New York: Hebrew Publishing Co.

Horowitz, George. The Spirit of Jewish Law. New York: Central Book Co., 1953.

Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whitson and Samuel Burder. New York: American Book Exchange, 1880.

Kaplan, Julius. The Redaction of the Babylonian Talmud. New York: Myold Printing Co., 1932.

Kohler, Kauffman and Mendelsohn, S. "Abbahu," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

Kohler, Kauffman. "Bet Ha-Midrash," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. III, 1909.

________. "Disputations," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, 1909.

________. "Essenes," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Pharisees," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, 1909.

________. "Rabbinical Authority," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

________. "Sudduccees," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

________. "Zealots," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, 1909.

Krauss, Sameul. "Synod of Usha," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

Lauterbach, Jacob Zallel. "Judah b. Ezekiel, Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, 1909.

________. "Misbnah," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, 1909.

________. "Oral Law," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, 1909.

________. "Ordination," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, 1909.

________. Midrash and Mishnah. New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1916.

________. "Pilpul," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

________. "Raba (b. Josheph b. Hama)," Jewish Encyclopedia,Vol. X, 1909.

________. "Rabbah b. Bar Hana," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

________. "Rabbah b. Nahmani," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

________. Rabbinic Essays. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1951.

________. "Samuel Yarhina'ah," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

________. "Sanhedrin," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

________. "The Seven Rules of Rules of Hillel," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

________. "Sheshet," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

________. "Simeon b. Eleazar," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

Lauterbach, Jacob Zallel. "Simeon (b. Gamaliel II)," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

________. "Simeon b. Lakish," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, 1909.

________. "Talmud Hermeneutics," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, 1909.

________. "The Thirteen Rules of Eliezer b. Jose Ha-Galili," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. X, 1909.

Levias, Caspar, "Gematria," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Hebrew Language," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

Liber, Maurice. Rashi. Translated by Adele Szold. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1906.

Margolis, Max L. and Marx, Alexander. A History of the Jewish People. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publications Society of America, 1953.

Mendelsohn, S. The Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews. Baltimore: M. Curlander, 1891.

________. "Eleazar b. Azariah," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Eliczer b. Hyrcanus," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Eliezer b. Jose Ha-Galili," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. V, 1909.

________. "Haber," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Hananiah (Hanina)," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Hanina b. Dosa," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Hanina b. Hama," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Ishmael b. Elisha," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Johanan b. Nappaha," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, 1909.

Mielziner, Moses, "Amora," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. I, 1909.

________. Introduction to the Talmud. New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1925.

Moore, George Foot. Judaism. 3 Vols. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1944.

Morris, Nathan. The Jewish School. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1937.

Philipson, David. "Homiletics," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. 8 Vols. Translated by H. E. Butler. London: William Heinemann, 1920-22.

Raisin, Jacob S. Gentile Reactions to Jewish Ideals. New York: Philosophical Library, 1953.

Roth, Cecil. A Short History of the Jewish People. London: East and West Library, 1940.

Sachar, Abraham. A History of the Jews. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1940.

Schechter, Solomon. "On the Study of the Talmud," Studies in Judaism. Third Series. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1924.

________. "The Talmud," Studies in Judaism. Third Series. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1924.

Seligsohn, Max, "Huna," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

________. "Simeon b. Yohai," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

Stern, Nathan. "Hiyya bar Abba," Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 1909.

Strack, Hermann L. Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1931.

Thonssen, Lester and Baird, A. Craig. Speech Criticism. New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948.

Unterman, Isaac. The Talmud. New York: Record Press, 1952.

Weingreen, J. A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1952.

Zeitlin, Solomon. "The Origin of the Synagogue," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 1930-1931. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1931.

Charles Sears Baldwin, Ancient Rhetoric and Poetic (New York: MacMillan company, 1924), pp. 1-5.

See Cicero, de Oratore; Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory; Aristotle, Rhetoric.

Baldwin, op. cit., p. 43.
De Oratore, II, xxiv-1xxi.
See Baldwin, op. cit., ch. 1, 2, 3.
George Foot Moore, Judaism, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1944), I, 107.
See Baldwin, op. cit.; Lester Thonssen and A. Craig Baird, Speech Criticism (New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1948); Mabel Platz, The History of Public Speaking (New York: Noble and Noble, 1935) to mention only a few well-known works.
Zevi Hirsch Chajes, The Students Guide Through the Talmud (London: East and West Library, 1952), p. 262.
Julius Kaplan, The Redaction of the Babylonian Talmud (New York: Myold Printing Co., 1932) p. 28.
H. Graetz, A history of the Jews (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1891), II, 632
Louis Finklestein, "The Jewish Religion." The Jews (New York: Harper and Bros., 1949), II, 1331.
Chajes, op. cit., p. 266.
Rabbi Gerson Cohen, librarian of the Jewish theological Seminary of America indicated to the author in a letter dated September 14, 1955, "...use of the Soncino translation of the Talmud is an excellent idea. It is a very reliable translation done by eminent rabbinical scholars."
Strack, op. cit., pp. 3-5
Moses Mielziner, Introduction to the Talmud (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., Inc. 1925), p. 5.
Wilhelm Bacher, "Talmud", Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1909), Vol. XII, p. 24. Hereafter the Jewish Encyclopedia is abbreviated JE.
Graetz, op. cit., p. 635.
Cohen, op. cit., p. 157
Solomon Schechter, "On The Study of the Talmud", Studies in Judaism, third series (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1924), pp. 145-151.
Bacher, op. cit., p. 24.
Schechter, op. cit., p. 151.
R. Travers Herford, The Pharisees (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1924), p. 75. Chajes, op. cit., p. 139.
Nathan Morris, The Jewish School (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1937), p. xxv.
Deut. 6:7
Louis Grossman, "Pedagogics," JE IX, 570
Morris, op. cit., pp. 40-41.
Max Margolis and Alexander Marx, A History of the Jewish People (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1953), p. 160.
M. Gudemann, "Education in Talmudical Times", JE, V, 43-8.
Kethuboth 105a, 673.
Kiddushin 66a, 334.
Babe Bathra 20b-21b, 105-8.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 50-51.
Judah Goldin, "The Period of the Talmud:, The Jews Vol. I, p. 130.
More, op. cit., p. 311.
R. Travers Herford, Talmud and Apocrypha (London: The Soncino Press, 1933), p. 106-7.
W. Bacher, "Academies in Palestine, JE I, 148.
Moore, op. cit., pp. 84-5.
Moore, op. cit., pp. 83-4
Goldin, op. cit., pp. 150-151.
Moore, op. cit., pp. 93-94.
Goldin, op. cit., p. 170.
Moore, op cit., p. 107.
Morris, op. cit., p. 20.
Lewis Dembitz, "Organization of the Community," JE IV, 197.
Baba Bathra 20b, 105.
Morris, op. cit., p. 44.
Shabbath 12a-b, 47.
Kethuboth 111b, 723.
Aboth, V, 21.
Nathan Draizin, History of Jewish Education (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. 1940), p. 14.
Morris, op. cit., p. 60.
Kethuboth 50a, 286-9.
Kiddushin 30a, 143-4.
Morris, op. cit., p. 67.
Kiddushin 82a, 421-2.
Baba Bathra 30b-21b, 105-8.
Abodah Zorah 15b, 78.
Bekeroth 46a, 313.
Hullin 107h, 595-6.
Morris, op. cit., 154-5.
Morris, op. cit., p. 87.
Ibid., p.73
Draizin, op. cit., p. 63.
Kiddushin 30b, 148.
Shabbath 104a, 500-501.
Morris, op. cit., p. 117.
Sukkah 28b, 126.
Yoma 82a, 402.
Pesahim 115b, 592.
Morris, op. cit., p. 141.
Ibid., p. 124.
Baba Bathra 20b-21b, 105-108.
Morris, op. cit., p. 119.
Graetz, op. cit., I, 396.
Moore, op. cit., p. 112.
Sanhedrin 99a-b, 671-3.
Michael Friedlander, The Jewish Religion (New York: Pardes Publishing House, Inc., 1946), p. 134.
Moore, op. cit., p. 254.
Yoma 28b, 133.
Nazir 23b, 84.
Kiddushin 40b, 202.
Sanhedrin 51b, 346.
Yoma 35b, 163-4.
Morris, op. cit., p. 20.
Yebamoth 105a, 724-5.
Baba Bathra 121b, 500.
Shabbath 119b, 590.
Ibid., 31a,141-2.
Makkoth 10a, 62-3.
Ta'anith 7a, 25-6.
Hagigah 5b, 25.
Bab Mezi'a 85a., 488-9.
Aboth IX, 5.
Yebamoth 62b, 417-8.
Sanhedrin 44b, 290.
Megillah 16b, 100-1.
Peah I, 1.
Nedarim 41a, 129-30.
Aboth VI, 1-2.
Draizin, op. cit., p. 58.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan VI, 40.
Yebamoth 75a, 508.
Mo'ed Katan 16a, 99.
Shabbath 117a, 587.
Megillah 26b, 160.
Shabbath 66a, 313.
Goldin, op. cit., p. 177.
Erubin 65a, 453.
Draizin, op. cit., p. 63.
Bezah 24b, 126.
Sukkah 28b, 128.
Shabbath 129b, 647.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 547.
Horayoth 13b, 101.
J. Z. Lauterback, "Ordination," JE IX, 428-430.
Kethuboth 17a, 93.
Nedarim 49b, 153.
Megillah 21a, 129.
Hullin 86b, 485.
Rosh Hashanah 16b, 62.
Erubin 94a, 648.
Hagigah 3a, 8-9.
Pesahim 51b-52a, 251-2.
Arsene Darmesteter, The Talmud, trans. Henrietta Szold (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication ociety of America, 1897), p. 28.
Goldin, op. cit., p. 130.
Aboth I, 13-14.
Ibid., I, 1.
Aboth, I, 16.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan, I, 15.
Aboth, I, 15.
Ta'anith 7a, 25.
Erubin 53a, 369.
Erubin 65b, 455.
Menahoth 92a, 560.
Ta'anith 7b, 84.
Shabbath 188b, 584.
Horayoth 13b, 100.
Pesahim 62b, 313.
Sotah 20a, 101.
Baba Kamma 38a, 214.
Ibid., 38a, 215.
Sanhedrin 59a, 400.
Yoma 71b, 339.
Bekoroth 30b-31a, 192-7
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan III, 26.
Sanhedrin 96a, 647.
Hullin 44b, 240.
Sotah 5a, 20.
Yoma 86a, 427.
Horayoth 13a, 97.
Kerithoth 28a, 218.
Bab Mezi'a 33a, 204.; Horayoth 13a, 99.
Bekoroth 19a, 114.
Menahoth 99a, 606.
Hullin 133a, 753.
Nedarim 62a, 198.
Shabbath 139a, 701.
Ibid., 114a, 558.
Kethuboth 20a, 110.
Shebu'oth 41a, 251.
Baba Bathra 8a, 32.
Kethuboth 11b, 720.
Ibid., 62b, 375.
Menahoth 71a, 419.
Tamid 27b, 9.
Shabbath 152a, 776. Berakoth 11b, 64.
Nega'im III, 12.
Rosh Hashanah 23a, 99.
Makkoth 5b, 25.
Bekoroth 29a, 185.
Kethuboth 105b, 676.
Berakoth 43b, 266.
Megillah 27b, 167.
Pesahim 113a, 580.
Moore, op. cit., p. 319.
Nedarim 35b, 106.
Baba Bathra 134a, 563.
Moore, op. cit., III, p. 77.
Aboth III, 18.
Baba Kamma 30a, 161.
Menahoth 110a, 679.
Shabbath 31a, 141.
Abodah Zarah 19a, 97.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan VIII, 49.
Ta'anith 24a, 125.
Megillah 2b, 8.
Sabbath 77a, 365.
Megillah 3a, 9.
Shabbath 11a, 40.
Pesahim 50a, 239.
Erubin 26a, 179.
Erubin 13b, 85.
Abodah Zarah 43b, 216.
Aboth III, 8.
Rosh Hashanah 24a, 103.
Sukkah 51b, 242.
Hagigah 11b, 61.
Hullin 9a, 37.
Josh. 1:8.
Menahoth 99b, 609.
Sotah 49b, 268.
Shabbath 116a, 569.
Hagigah 14a, 83.
Herford, Talmud and Apocrypha, p. 56-7.
Gittin 60b, 284.
Bab Mezi'a 84a, 479; Erubin 53a, 371.
Kiddushin 30a, 144.
Hullin 4b, 15.
Ibid., 89a, 498.
Aboth I, 15.
Sotah 35a, 171.
Temurah 14a, 97.
Sotah 20a, 102.
Strack, op. cit., p. 13.
Sotah 20a, 102.
Gittin 60a, 281.
Moore, op. cit., I, 112.
Lauterbach, "Oral Law," JE, IX, 423.
Temurah 15b, 107.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan, VIII, 50.
Sanhedrin 106b, 727.
Baba Bathra 9b, 44.
Sanhedrin 38b, 245.
Hullin 43b, 234.
Deut. 30:12.
Exod. 23:2.
Baba Mezi'a 59b, 352-6.
Strack, op. cit., p. 89.
Darmesteter, op. cit., p. 29.
Strack, op. cit., p. 89.
Herford, Talmud and Apocrypha, 109.
Draizin, op. cit., p. 58.
Shabbath 31a, 140-41.
Ta'anith 7a, 25.
Baba Kamma 60b, 350.
Berakoth 27b-28a, 166-170.
Gittin 82a, 397; Berakoth 63b, 399.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 361.
Yebamoth 96b, 660.
Ta'anith 20a, 100.
Baba Mezi'a 84b, 482.
Baba Kamma 20a, 99; Kiddushin 44a, 221; 25a, 119.
Baba Mezi'a 64a, 379; Berakoth 28b 240; Baba Kamma 117a, 698.
Nazir 59b, 222; Zebahim 13a, 64.
Kiddushin 70a, 354-7.
Gittin 73a, 347.
Pesahim 30a, 137.
Baba Kamma 116b, 695.
Menahoth 42a, 252.
Shabbath 47a, 214.
Baba Bathra 152b, 661.
Berakoth 63b, 400.
Ibid., 47b, 289.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan, VIII, 50.
Aboth I, 6.
Shabbath 11a, 40.
Hagigah 12a, 67; Kerithoth 8a, 58.
Abodah Zarah 44b, 220; 54b, 279.
Sabbath 88a, 419.
Sanhedrin 38b, 244. Epicurean was the term applied to all non-Jewish philosophers.
Sanhedrin 38b, 244; Baba Bathra 10a, 45.
Sanhedrin 38b, 245.
Pesahim 30a, 137.
Erubin 29a, 198.
Sanhedrin 38b, 246; Hullin 100a, 555; Shabbath 126b, 627; Kiddushin 31a, 150.
Chajes, op. cit., p. 166. For a good example of rabinnic homiletics see David Philipson, JE, VI, 454-457.
Bacher, "Academies in Babylon", op. cit., p. 35.
Erubin 27a, 184-5.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 514.
Bacher, "Academies in Babylon," op. cit., p. 146.
Yebamoth 122a, 862.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 514.
Ta'anith 6b, 23.
Berakoth 49a, 300.
Berakoth 6a, 23.
Ibid., 6b, 27.
Sukkah 26a, 113; Baba Kamma 113a, 662.
Nedarim 23b, 68.; Menahoth 40a, 241.
Moore, op. cit., I, 112.
Kauffman Kohler, "Rabbinical Authority", JE, II, 338.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 574.
Baba Mezi'a 84b, 482.
Erubin 53a, 369.
Abodah Zarah 6b, 16; 16b, 83; Sukkah 11a, 43.
Yoma 87a, 436.
Shabbath 3a, 5.
Baba Kamma 60b, 350.
Ta'anith 7a, 25.
Shabbath 38a, 175.
Moe'ed Katan 5a, 24; me'ilah 5a, 12.
Pesahim 110a, 566.
Baba Bathra 8b, 36.
Berakoth 2a, 35.
Baba Kamma 117a, 698.
Shabbath 30a, 131.
Baba Bathra 51a, 210.
Sanhedrin 38b, 244.
Shabbath 154a, 787.
Rosh Hashanah 19b, 80.
Kethubooh 53a, 312.
Berakoth 7a, 31.
Rosh Hashanah 17b, 70.
Erubin 21b, 150.
Ibid., 100b, 696.
Baba Bathra 10a, 47.
Shabbath 88a, 417.
Yoma 35b, 163.
Megillah 3b, 3.
Abodah Zarah 54b, 279.
Hullin 27b, 141.
I Cor., 14:16, 23-24.
Shabbath 80b, 383.
Niddah 36a, 250.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 162.
Berakoth 27b, 166.
Kethuboth 57a, 336.
Sanhedrin 6b, 23.
Exod. 23:7.
Shebu'oth 31a, 171.
Megillah 32a, 194.
Ta'anith 8a, 32.
Shabbath 63a, 296.
Yebamoth 40a, 258.
Gittin 606, 285.
Edduyoth I, 5-6.
Mo'ed Katan 36, 13.
Pesahim 70b, 360.
Moses Mielziner, "Amora," JE I, 527.
Chajes, op. cit., p. 85.
Pesahim 117a, 599.
Kiddushin 39b, 195, Hullin 142a, 824.
Hagigah 14a, 84.
Yoma 20b, 89.
Hagigah 96a, 103.
Gittin 60a, 281.
Shabbath 88a, 416.
Baba Bathra 73a, 303.
Mo'ed Katan 24b, 153.
Erubin 16b, 113.
Hullin 100a, 555; Ta'anith 8a, 32; Gittin 43a, 186; Sanhedrin 44a, 288; Zebahim 94b, 456.
Yoma 48b, 228.
Pesahim 50b, 256.
Berakoth 30z, 183.
Ta'anith 4b, 12.
Mo'ed Katan 21a, 133.
Kethuboth 8b, 38.
Sanhedrin 34a, 214.
Bezah 4a, 13; Kerithoth 13b, 102.
Berakoth 27b, 166.
Hullin 15a, 71.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 540-41.
Schechter, op. cit., p. 145.
Hagigah 3b, 9.
Mielziner, op. cit., p. 261.
Baba Kamma 40a, 225.
Kiddushin 20a, 92. Ben Azzai was a scholar of the Tannaitic period who used to challenge all comers to open debate.
Erubin 29a, 198.
Baba Mezi'a 84a, 479.
Ta'anith 9a, 39.
Yoma 73a, 350.
Kethuboth 90b, 577; Erubin 92a, 639.
Mielziner, op. cit., p. 262.
Hullin 75b, 416.
Kiddushin 44a, 221.
Yebamoth 96b, 660.
Ibid., 105b, 726.
Berakoth 39b, 240.
Baba Bathra 111a, 460.
Baba Mezi'a 20a, 125.
Yoma 48b, 228.
Erubin 43a, 497.
Berakoth 27b, 167.
Hullin 51a, 275.
Niddah 14b, 95.
Kethuboth 69a, 426.
Baba Bathra 115b, 475.
Ibid., 52a, 214.
Baba Kamma 40a, 225.
Baba Mezi'a 11,a, 62.
Gittin 32b, 133.
Shabbath 11a, 40.
Pesahim 105a, 552.
Shabbath 60a, 281.
Baba Mezi'a 84a, 479.
Ibid., 16a, 95.
Yebamoth 96b, 660.
Abodah Zarah 6b, 29.
Niddah 22b, 151.
Berakoth 62b, 394.
Gittin 82a, 394.
Niddah 4b, 20.
Kerithoth 27a, 205.
Zebahim 5a, 18.
Me'ilah 7a, 20.
Zebahim 41b, 207; 52b, 263; 65b, 323.
James H. McBurney and Kenneth Hance, discussion in Human Affairs (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950). See also Russell H. Wagner and Carroll C. Arnold, Handbook of Group Discussion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1950).
Mielziner, op. cit., pp. 233-6.
Erubin 65b, 455.
Erubin 32b, 224; Pesahim 35a, 162; Sabbath 145b, 736.
Yebamoth 102b, 706.
Tamid 32a, 26.
Bekototh 8b, 51.
Baba Bathra 23b, 188.
Menahoth 37a, 228.
Berakoth 63b, 402.
Erubin 67a, 466.
Erubin 13b, 85.
Niddah 45a, 311.
Hagigah 14a, 84; Kiddushin 30a, 144.
Hullin 11a, 47.
Temurah 15b, 107.
Sanhedrin 88b, 585.
Temurah 7a, 40; Yebamoth 92b, 631; Yadayim IV, 1.
Shabbath 17a, 70.
Sanhedrin 36a, 226.
Berakoth 37a, 233.
Baba Bathra 23b, 117.
Kethboth 21a, 116.
Bezah 11a, 53.
Bekoroth 37a, 236.
Yebamoth 14a, 72.
Rosh Hashanah 14a, 52.
Gittin 41a, 175.
Edduyoth V, 7.
Ibid., V, 6.
Ibid., I, 5.
Hullin 11b, 52.
Abodah Zarah 36a, 175.
Aboth IV, 8.
Sanhedrin 59b, 402.
Edduyoth I, 6.
Shabbath 39b, 184.
Pesahim 21a, 92.
Baba Bathra 52a, 214.
Gittin 15b, 57.
Berakoth 35b, 222.
See Thonssen and Baird, op. cit., p. 79. See also Quintilian, institutes of Oratory, x, xi, where he is concerned with appropriateness of material for the audience.
Schechter, op. cit., p. 154.
Kiddushin 30a, 144.
Aboth V, 22.
Herford, The Pharisees, p. 73.
Baba Bathra 12a, 59.
Sanhedrin 42a, 272.
Strack, op. cit., p. 21. Compare also Quintilian's collect notebooks of ideas and words (copia rerum and copia verborm) as side in invention.
Louis Ginzberg, "Codification of Law," JE, VII, 639.
Baba Mezi'a 104a, 594.
Erubin 22a, 150.
Menahoth 29b, 190.
Sanhedrin 106b, 727.
Abodah Zarah 42b, 211.
Aristotle, Rhetoric, 1,2. See also Thonssen and Baird, op. cit., p. 61.
Moore, op. cit., I, 248.
Hagigah 10a, 50.
Baba Bathra 111b, 462.
Niddah 25a, 170.
Sotah 16a, 83.
Yoma 76a, 369.
Gittin 73a, 347.
Shabbath 60b, 284.
Zebahim 5a, 18.
Hullin 76b, 427.
Yebamoth 45a, 292.
Erubin 60a, 421.
Niddah 24b, 167.
Nedarim 81a, 253.
Aboth I, 13.
Kethuboth 83b, 528.
Zebahim 48a, 239.
Kerithoth 15b, 118.
Yadayim III, 2.
Niddah 7b, 45.
Rosh Hashanah 31b, 151.
Chajes, op. cit., p. 79.
Kethuboth 40a, 223.
Hullin 141a, 818.
Gittin 6b, 20.
Yebamoth 55b, 373.
Berakoth 33b, 208.
Kethuboth 53a, 312.
Sukkah 28a, 122.
Berakoth 38b, 240.
Niddah 14b, 95.
Sanhedrin 36a, 228.
Zebahim 96b, 461.
Sanhedrin 30b, 187.
Yebamoth 40b, 276; Niddah 49a, 340.
Yebamoth 40b, 276.
Edduyoth I, 5.
Hullin 44b, 238.
Megillah 2a, 2.
Nedarim 8b, 19.
Abodah Zarah 16b, 83.
Hullin 7a, 27.
Bekoroth 5a, 23.
Shabbath 15a, 61.
Kiddushin 31b, 154.
Sukkah 27b, 121.
Yoma 73a, 350.
Sukkah 11a, 43.
Kethuboth 57a, 336.
Yebamoth 16a, 85.
Baba Bathra 130b, 544.
Yebamoth 58a, 389; Erubin 46a, 318.
Sanhedrin 17b, 88.
Horayoth 13b, 102.
Sanhedrin 86a, 566.
Erubin 13a, 80.
Berakoth 26b, 161.
Kethuboth 100a, 634.
Yadayim IV, 3.
Kiddushin 39a, 189.
Bezah 5a, 17.
Ibid., 27a, 137.
Erubin 46b, 323.
Ibid., 47b, 327.
Ibid., 46b, 323.
Ibid., 47b, 332.
Ibid., 47a, 326.
Shabbath 21b, 91.
Hullin 77a, 427.
Erubin 46b, 324.
Sanhedrin 36a, 337.
Berakoth 51b, 311.
Yebamoth 9a, 43.
Erubin 13b, 85.
Pesahim 66a, 333.
Erubin 46a, 318.
Kerithoth 15b, 118.
Horayoth 13b, 102; Gittin 67a, 317.
Pesahim 105a, 550.
Baba Bathra 52a, 214.
Baba Kamma 6b, 21.
Yadayim IV, 3.
Hullin 10b, 46.
Baba Bathra 5a, 18.
Baba Kamma 37a, 209.
Kethuboth 43b, 246.
Kerithoth 11b, 88.
Gittin 30a, 125.
Erubin 91a, 630.
Menahoth 59b, 353.
Hullin 11b, 52.
Shabbath 126b, 627.
Sanhedrin 40a, 255.
Hullin 57b, 315.
Ibid., 58b, 320.
Ibid., 54a, 294.
Ibid., 57a, 312.
Nazir 39a, 142.
Baba Mezi'a 83a, 477.
Rosh Hashanah 24b, 107.
Shabbath 151b, 773.
Ibid., 32a, 146.
Menahoth 55a, 328.
Sanhedrin 71a, 483.
Baba Kamma 116b, 695; Baba Bathra 130b, 544.
Lewis Dembitz, "Evidence," JE V, 277.
Gittin 19b, 73.
Sanhedrin 40a, 255.
Abodah Zarah 8a, 37.
Isaac Broyde, "Logic," JE VIII, 151.
Mielziner, op. cit., p. 118.
Jacob Lauterbach, Midrash and Mishnah (New York: Bloch Publishing Company, 1916), p. 61.
Bacher, "Talmud," op. cit., p. 2.
Mielziner, op. cit., p. 118.
Graetz, op. cit., II, 98.
Jacob Lauterbach, "Sadduccees and Pharisees," Rabbinic Essays, (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1951), p. 31.
Louis Ginzberg, "Baraita of the Thirty-Two Rules," JE, II, 251.
Darmesteter, op. cit., p. 32.
Mielziner, op. cit., p. 177. Mielziner does not regard these rules as a logical system. He feels their function is to provide understanding of the Bible text.
Zebahim 3b, 10.
Zebahim 17b, 89.
Zebahim 48a, 240.
Mielziner, op. cit., p. 183.
See Sukkah 50b, 236; Nazir 34b, 129 for good examples of this type of reasoning. These passages also illustrate the dispute between those who believe in reasoning based on arbitrary rules, and those who uphold logic.
Erubin 51a, 353.
Baba Mezi'a 94b, 545.
Sanhedrin 35b, 225.
Berakoth 32b, 202.
Deut. 21:5.
Niddah 50a, 344.
Sanhedrin 86a, 569; Hullin 63a, 342; 115b, 633.
Kerithoth 4b, 24.
Kiddushin 7a, 76.
Zebahim 41a, 205; Menahoth 78a, 465; Nedarim 3a, 4.
Erubin 41a, 282.
Erubin 54a, 377.
Aboth III, 17.
Baba Mezi'a 84a, 479.
Hullin 92a, 514.
Ta'anith 21a, 104.
Ibid., 7a, 26.
Yoma 22b, 102.
Hagigah 14a, 84.
Shabbath 63a, 296.
Erubin 67a, 466.
Baba Mezi'a 23b, 28.
Berakoth 51b, 311.
Ibid., 11a, 62; Yebamoth 9a, 43.
Erubin 13b, 85.
Shabbath 30b, 138.
Shabbath 31a, 139.
See Aboth I, 13 for an example of Hillel ethical maxims.
Baba Bathra 9a, 42.
Ibid., 107b, 447.
Zebahim 44a, 223.
Ibid., 70b, 345.
Yebamoth 91a, 619.
Sukkah 32b, 142.
Shabbath 95a, 454.
Zebahim 77a, 368.
Pesahim 88a, 467.
Yebamoth 75b, 511.
Kerithoth 8a, 58.
Menahoth 52a, 314; Yoma 57a, 267.
Erubin 54b, 383.
Ta'anith 7b, 30; Pesahim 117a, 600.
Kerithoth 6a, 38; Horayoth 12a, 87.
Shabbath 145b, 736; Pesahim 35a, 162.
Yoma 18b, 80.
Chajes, op. cit., p. 195.
Ibid., p.175.
Erubin 21b, 150.
Kiddushin 70a, 354.
Yebamoth 97b, 666. In attempting to reason out how these could come about, it must be remembered that multiple marriage was permitted in Talmudic days. Only the last situation was possible without committing incest.
Tamid 29a, 14.
Shabbath 88a, 417.
Baba Mezi'a 84b, 482.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan XV, 80; Shabbath 31a, 139.
Shabbath 104a, 500.
Mo'ed Katan 18a, 113.
Erubin 41a, 282.
Menahoth 68b, 403.
Niddah 23a, 157.
Sukkah 53a, 254.
Shabbath 37b, 136.
Pesahim 117a, 600; Shabbath 129b, 647.
Yebamoth 63a, 402.
Shabbath 152a, 775.
Yoma 84a, 413.
Kiddushin 29b, 140.
Ta'anith 6b, 40; Pesahim 88a, 465.
Berakoth 62a, 388.
Baba Kamma 34b, 193.
Pesahim 49a, 234.
Kiddushin 49b, 248.
Sanhedrin 74b, 505.
See I Cor. 14:34 which describes Paul speaking in the synagogue according to this formula.
Berakoth 30a, 183.
Ibid., 6b, 27.
Pesahim 26b, 117.
Kinnim III, 6.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan 40, 165.
Aboth V, 14.
Aboth V, 15.
Aboth V, 7.
Aboth V, 10-11.
Makkoth 10a, 63.
Sotah 35a, 171.
Baba Mezi'a 58b, 347.
Kiddushin 73a, 373.
Baba Kamma 99b, 580.
Aboth I, 11.
Hullin 15a, 71.
Baba Bathra 89a, 368.
Bezah 15b, 78.
Gittin 14a, 51.
Bekoroth 8a, 51.
Berakoth 27b, 166.
Thonssen & Baird, op. cit., p. 79.
Pesahim 6b, 24.
Aboth II, 4.
Aboth V, 7.
Sanhedrin 38b, 246.
Erubin 21b, 148; 54b, 383; Ta'anith 7b, 30; Berakoth 10a, 53.
Shabbath 3a, 15.
Yoma 87a, 436.
Hullin 75b, 416.
Menahoth 108b, 416.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan X, 58.
Yoma 4b, 15.
Shabbath 30b, 136.
Pesahim 66a, 333.
Megillah 10b, 58.
Hagigah 3b, 9.
Hullin 100a, 555.
Berakoth 31a, 189.
Sanhedrin 102a, 694.
Shabbath 38a, 175.
Bezah 28a, 145.
Menahoth 18a, 116.
Yebamoth 61b, 408; Baba Mezi'a 18b, 112.
Makkoth 3b, 12.
Sanhedrin 102a, 694.
Sanhedrin 30b, 187.
Mo'ed Katan 5a, 24; Me'ilah 5a, 12.
Baba Bathra 22a, 110.
Bezah 25b, 132.
Thonssen & Baird, op. cit., P. 79.
Shabbath 150a, 764.
Hullin 63b, 346.
Yebamoth 62b, 416; passim. It was felt by the rabbis that failure to perform bodily functions caused impotence. It was impolite to leave the lecture hall during a speech. Since the students of R. Huna had to suppress their bodily functions, it was felt that many of them became impotent due to the length of his lectures.
Sanhedrin 92a, 617.
Kiddushin 58a, 290.
Kiddushin 2a, 1.
Hullin 137a, 790.
Ginzberg, "Baraita of the Thirty-two," op. cit., p. 521.
Megillah 9a, 49; Sukkah 27b, 121.
Aboth II, 4.
Aboth II, 7.
Erubin 53a, 370.
Kiddushin 31b, 154.
Shebu'oth 36a, 212.
Sanhedrin 92a, 617.
Aboth de Rabbi Wathan I, 6.
Baba Mezi'a 58b, 347.
Sanhedrin 24a, 136.
Kethuboth 5a, 17.
Shabbath 63a, 296.
Erubin 21b, 150.
Tamid 29a, 141.
Sotah 49a, 265; Sanhedrin 38b, 246.
Menahoth 82a, 498.
Erubin 53b, 372.
Horayoth 13b, 102.
Aboth de Rabbi Nathan XVIII, 91.
Baba Mezi'a 104a, 594.
Niddah 26b, 182.
Kethuboth 8b, 38.
Nazir 49b, 185.
Baba Bathra 145b, 627.
Thonssen & Baird, op. cit., p. 81.
Aboth I, 11.
Erubin 53a, 370.
Berakoth 13a, 76; Sotah 32b, 161.
Erubin 54a, 374.
Sotah 32b, 160.
Berakoth 22a, 131.
Kiddushin 30a, 144.
Berakoth 45a, 275.
Yoma 20b, 89.
Megillah 24b, 147; 32a, 194; Erubin 54a, 377.
Erubin 60a, 421.
Strack, op. cit., p. 20.
Temurah 14a, 97.
Schechter, op. cit., p. 148.
Morris, op. cit., p. 124.
Megillah 6b, 30.
Erubin 54b, 383.
Erubin 54b, 383.
Erubin 54b, 381.
Ibid., 54b, 383.
Megillah 6b, 30.
Erubin 54a, 377.
Ta'anith 7b, 30.
Megillah 32a, 194.
Morris, op. cit., p. 123.
Zebahim 49b, 249.
Baba Bathra 160a, 700.
Zebahim 28b, 141.

Back to TOC