Abstract and Keywords
This chapter argues, perhaps paradoxically, that a literary text produced outside of the Roman empire should be understood as one of the literatures of the Roman empire. The Babylonia Talmud is a wild collection, one might say, of the law and lore of the Babylonian Jews from about the third until the sixth or seventh centuries, a congeries of law, lore, and laughter too. Material brought from the Roman world, Palestine, has been altered, expanded, reworked, and combined with ‘native’ materials, including heavily marked Iranian culture, in the formation of the text we have as the Babylonian Talmud. The Palestinian material in the Talmud should not be understood as sources for the Bavli but as part and parcel of a living diasporic cultural, textual formation. The Talmud is as much a product of the Roman empire as of the Sasanian one.
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