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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines certain types of narrative from rabbinical sources and how they relate both to forms of social life and to expectations of Greco-Roman narrative, genre, and normativity. It situates them within the context of the writings of Hellenistic Judaism and to the adoption of Greco-Roman models by what becomes the dominant religious authority of the Christians. It also explores the particularity of the textual world of the Talmud as an issue of the construction and performance of subjectivity and concludes by highlighting the importance of the connection between narrative and lived experience for rabbinical writing and for the construction of the subject’s positionality within it. It argues that the Talmud reveals a defeated national group reforming its community in interaction with—and often in fierce and fearful contention with and gestures of separation from—dominant Greco-Roman culture, and from other Jews, more assimilated to that dominant culture.

Keywords: lived experience, social life, narrative, Roman empire, Hellenistic Judaism, Christians, Talmud, subjectivity, rabbinical writing, Jews

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