"Form Criticism" of Rabbinic Literature

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  • "Form Criticism" of Rabbinic LiteratureAuthor(s): Anthony J. SaldariniSource: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 257-274Published by: The Society of Biblical LiteratureStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3265881 .Accessed: 17/12/2014 09:49

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  • JBL 96/2 (1977) 257-274

    "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE ANTHONY J. SALDARINI, S. J.

    BOSTON COLLEGE, CHESTNUT HILL, MA 02167

    ORM critical methods, with the attendant concern for tradition history and redactional stages, have compiled a long and fruitful record in OT

    and NT studies but they have only recently been seriously applied to rabbinic literature. I shall review several recent studies to see what has been accomplished, the major obstacles yet to be overcome and the most promising paths that lie ahead. I shall treat at length books by W. Sibley Towner and Henry A. Fischel, several by Jacob Neusner and a doctoral dissertation by Dan Ben-Amos. Much of modern Jewish scholarship, for example, work by Saul Lieberman, Louis Finkelstein, Judah Goldin, J. N. Epstein, Abraham Goldberg, Abraham Weiss and David Weiss Halivni is very useful to form criticism, but is not in method or scope form criticism itself.1

    I begin with W. Sibley Towner, The Rabbinic "Enumeration of Scriptural Examples": A Study of a Rabbinic Pattern of Discourse with Special Reference to Mekhilta D'R. Ishmael,2 because Towner consciously

    ' Saul Lieberman has written numerous articles and books, especially Hellenism in Jewish Palestine: Studies in the Literary Transmission of Beliefs and Manners of Palestine in the I Century B.C.E.-IV Century C.E. (2nd ed.; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1962); Tosefta Ki-Fshutah: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Tosefta (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1955-); Louis Finkelstein also has many works, especially "The Transmission of Early Rabbinic Traditions," HUCA 16 (1941) 115-135; "The Sources of the Tannaitic Midrashim," JQR 31 (1940-41) 211-43; Mabo' le-Massektot Abot we-Abot d'Rabbi Nathan [Introduction to the Treatises Abot and Abot of Rabbi Nathan] (New York: Jewish

    Theological Seminary, 1950); Judah Goldin has a number of articles on Abot and other subjects and a commentary The Song at the Sea (New Haven: Yale UP, 1971); J.N. Epstein, Mabo le Nusah Ha-Miinah [Introduction to the Text of the Mishnah] (2d ed.; Jerusalem: Magnes, 1964); Mebo ot le-Sifrut Ha- Tanna im [Introductions to the Literature of the Tannaim] (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1957); Abraham Goldberg "Dark6 sel Judah Ha-Nasi be-Siddur Ha-Misnah" [The Method of Judah the Patriarch in the Arrangement of the Mishnah] Tarbiz 28 (1959) 260-69; Abraham Weiss, Hithawtit H- Talmtd Bislemuto [The Babylonian Talmud as a Literary Unit: Its Place of Origin, Development and Final Redaction] (New York: Kohut, 1943) and other

    works; David Weiss Halivni, Meq6rot we-Mso6rot [Sources and Traditions] (Tel Aviv, 1968). These last two scholars are ably summarized and evaluated in J. Neusner (ed.), The Formation of the Bablylonian Talmud (SPB 17; Leiden: Brill, 1970). See also J. Neusner (ed.). The Modern Study of the Mishnah (SPB 23; Leiden: Brill, 1973).

    2 SPB 22; Leiden: Brill, 1973. See also "Form Criticism of Rabbinic Literature," JJS24 (1973) 101-18 which is an excerpt from his book dealing with methodology.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    works from OT form critical studies and adapts that method to rabbinic literature. Furthermore, Towner's study is the most tightly organized and methodologically vigorous that I have found. Towner studies numbered lists, that is, lists of items, verses, places, etc. which are introduced by a sentence which conveys two things: the number of items in the list and the general category which unites all the items. For example, "There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue. . ." (Prov 6:16-19) is a typical numbered list from the bible; "Four are called possessions: Israel is called a possession, as it is said. . ." is a typical rabbinic example.3 The rabbinic example is exegetical in that a biblical verse is provided for each of the four items on the list. Since numbered lists are found in the OT and in many other literatures, Towner is able to begin from a wide base. The enumeration pattern is one type of list and the exegetical form of the enumeration pattern appears only in rabbinic literature. Towner has culled 35 (or 36) examples of this form from the Mekilta de R. Ishmael and analyzed each in detail with its parallels according to their form and tradition history. Though the sample is small, it is varied and the work meticulously done. Towner has been able to show a development in the form by analyzing examples according to functional categories, a result he was not able to achieve using strictly formal categories in his 1965 Yale dissertation. Formal categories arise from differences in the literary patterns of lists, for example, the presence or absence of proof texts. The lists did not vary enough for Towner to trace an historical development among them. Functional categories arise from the purpose for which the lists seem to have been written. Some seem lexical in interest, others homiletical, etc. Towner's hypothesis of a development is based on analysis of a wide range of materials and also on application of several methodological principles which he developed during the course of his studies. Unfortunately, since these traditions are atemporal and ahistorical, no Sitz can be recovered beyond vague references to schools. Consequently, we are dealing with literary and rhetorical patterns, but not with Gattungen.4.

    Towner begins with enumerations (lists with a number indicating how many items are in the list and a description of what kind of items are in the list) which are proverbial and nonexegetical. Proverbial lists seek to preserve, to

    3 Mekilta de R. Ishmael, Shirata 9:118-126. 4 Towner, Enumeration, 33-36. Traditionally form criticism has demanded a repeated pattern

    and also a concrete setting in which that form developed, functioned and possibly changed. E. Gerstenberger, following H. Gunkel and A. Alt, defines a form (of speech) as "a characteristic pattern of language, style, and ideas which is necessitated by concrete and recurring human action in society. Social groups condition and sanction not only the behavior of their members but also their various ways of speaking under given circumstances." (JBL 81 [1962] 249, n. 1) More recently the tenuous nature of many reconstructed Sitzen, the large gaps in sure knowledge of ancient institutions and culture, and a renewed interest in literary and structural analyses have moved scholars away from Sitz and toward formal criteria and relationships among forms. See the recent emphasis on structuralism; also Burke O. Long, "Recent Field Studies in Oral Literature and their Bearing on OT Criticism," VT26 (1976) 187-98.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    render memorable and available, and to systematize diverse experiences and wisdom concerned with natural and human phenomena (three types of wine; four types of character), law or admonition (seven kinds of thieves) and historical experience (the three things Elijah will restore to Israel in the future). These lists are a widespread phenomenon and, as a form, seem to have been the basis for the later lists which contain scriptural warrants for each member of the list, or scriptural passages as the members of the list. These lists lead to the following generalizations:

    The interpretative rubric tends to be haggadic in character and invites entries which may be hyperbolic, apocryphal, even playful; traditions rendered in the 'proverbial' enumeration pattern are well suited for parenetic purposes, especially when the list exhibits climactic logic... ; the mnemonic function would appear to be marginal, for, as the tradition-histories show, the tradents expanded and altered the lists of data quite freely; the interpretative remark remains the most stable element in the course of transmission; the numerical element is the most stable part of the interpretive remark, but still cannot prevent some fluidity of detail in the recensions (weaker elements being always subject to alternation); this fluidity may have been enhanced in part by the absence of proof-texts.5

    Towner is aware that we cannot assume that prooftexts were later added to lists and he offers evidence of this shift. Several lists occur in both a nonexegetical form (that is, without proof texts) and in an exegetical form (that is, with proof texts). The collections in which the exegetical forms of the lists appear are later and so the texts seem to be an addition.6 The widespread use of proverbial, nonexegetical lists provides the strongest argument for the priority of that form and for the rabbinic development of a later and more specialized exegetical form to fulfill their needs. Towner also found a couple of lists which seem to have verses tacked on. Finally, and most interestingly, Towner has developed some rules of transmission based on the data he has assembled and on studies of the transmission of oral literature by K. Liestol and J. Vansina.7 These rules help give order to transmissional phenomena in rabbinic literature and prove to be a useful hypothesis for oral development. Rule A suggests that two similar patterns (the proverbial and the exegetical) will assimilate to one another; Rule B suggests that the stronger pattern (the exegetical form, in rabbinic circles) will dominate the weaker; the Rule C suggests that early loose traditions will be regularized according to the dominant pattern (biblical verses are often added to lists, thus expanding them). Towner is thus able to theorize that at Jamnia scriptural bases for teachings were sought and the exegetical enumeration form, which may have had an independent origin, began to influence the earlier proverbial forms which lacked scriptural prooftexts.

    5 Towner, Enumeration, 75-76. 6Towner, Enumeration, 79-84; 249. Towner notes that the Gemara often supplements

    Mishnaic lists with prooftexts (p. 82). 7 Liestol, The Origin of the Icelandic Family Sage (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1930); J.

    Vansina, Oral Tradition. A Study in Historical Methodology (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965); Towner, Enumeration, 86-95; see also his "Form Criticism."

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    The exegetical enumeration forms are divided into six categories: common-sense analysis of an individual text (four groups of Israelites at the Red Sea); hermeneutical analogy (in three places God warned Israel not to return to Egypt); lexical analogy (seven clouds: Stichwort); syntactical analogy (three things named after Moses because he devoted himself totally to them); legal analogy (three nonvoluntary "ifs" in Torah); and technical exegetical analogy (the five uncertain syntactical constructions in Torah). As we move through these six functions of the exegetical enumeration form, the form remains the same even though the functions become more technical and less haggadic, more mnemonic and more exhaustive in their listings. The haggadic functions (e.g., hermeneutical analogy) are closer to the earlier proverbial enumeration forms; the technical functions (e.g., legal analogy) are closely tied to the language of the text and to rabbinic concern with preserving and interpreting the sacred words. Surprisingly, even these technical, mnemonic functions, which we would expect to be precise and unchanging, exhibit as much modification and development in transmission as the more haggadic functions.8

    Towner surveyed nonrabbinic literature but could find no widespread use of the exegetical enumeration form in nonrabbinic literature contemporary with the Tannaitic period. He did, however, find one rabbinic tradition ("The four groups of Israelites at the Red Sea") in the same enumeration form both in Pseudo-Philo and in the Samaritan tradition. If Pseudo-Philo is correctly dated to the first century, A.D., then the exegetical enumeration form itself may be dated very early.

    In summary, the exegetical enumeration form is a learned device, very common in rabbinic literature. Towner has examined a limited but representative sample, elicited some functional categories and discerned the development of the tradition with at least some probability. The care with which his study is done inspires confidence, but its limited scope still leaves us without an overall framework.

    K.-G. Eckart in his dissertation Untersuchungen zur Traditionsgeschichte der Mechiltha9 examines the first tractate (B6 or Pisha') of the Mekilta de Rabbi Ishmael and of its parallel, the Mekilta de Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, in order to establish laws and tendencies by which variations came about. He treats a wide variety of forms under two general headings: narratives and expositions. Narratives include miracle stories, exempla, narrative paraphrases, parables and controversies. Expositions are divided into comparisons of biblical passages, expositions from the lemma, interpretations of words and Qal-wa-homer. None of these categories are carefully defined nor do they have any Sitz. Their variety militates against generalizations about form and the severely limited number of examples of each (only two for

    8 Towner, Enumeration, 213; 244-50. 9 Berlin: Horst Soyka, 1959. Eckart's text is 114 pages followed by the Hebrew texts he uses

    from both Mekiltas and a German translation of the Mekilta de Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai. Towner makes a lengthy critique of this book in Enumeration, 40-44.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    miracle story) cannot lead to well-based conclusions. Furthermore, Eckart, unlike Towner, fails to go outside the two Mekiltas for parallels. Thus his judgments and criteria for early and late are often shaky and subjective. Eckart has read the texts sensitively and makes many helpful observations, but he never does produce anything as nuanced as Towner's rules. Eckart makes observations on the transmission of all the forms taken as one body of literature, rather than on each form individually and thus assumes that laws of transmission will be identical for all rather than allowing for differences. He also assumes that the more simple or more unclear form is earlier than the more elaborate or clearer form of a pericope, an assumption easily challenged in many cases. Eckart's work is certainly useful for studying the text, but its method does not move us on toward valid form criticism.

    Henry A. Fischel in his Rabbinic Literature and Greco-Roman Philosophy: A Study of Epicurea and Rhetorica in Early Midrashic Writingslo examines forms of discourse which are common to Greco-Roman and Jewish thought. Fischel does not consciously try to develop form critical criteria, as Towner does, but his work could easily lead to valuable data concerned with development of forms, Sitz and dating. I Fischel concentrates on some very atypical stories and discussions in rabbinic literature which resemble Epicurean literary forms and which seem to refute or modify Epicurean teaching. Many of Fischel's parallels are suggestive rather than compelling and sometimes he presses details too far.12 In all, though, Fischel continues and expands the detailed work begun by Saul Lieberman.13

    Fischel is most convincing when he discusses the strange forms of discourse which occur in Ben Zoma's midrashic corpus. For example:

    Once Ben Zoma had been standing, deep in thought. R. Joshua passed by (and) greeted him once and twice, and he did not answer him. The third time he answered him confusedly (or hurriedly), (i.e.) when he said "What's this, Ben Zoma, whence do the feet (carry you)?" He said: "From Nothing Nothing (is born)" (Epicurus). He said to him: "I adjure you by Heaven and Earth I shall not stir from here until you let me know whence the feet (carry you)." Said he to him: ("I contemplated Creation and) there is between the Upper Waters and the Lower

    '0 SPB 21; Leiden: Brill, 1973. ' Fischel is engaged in a much larger project studying ancient intercultural contact through

    bureaucratic and academic figures and traditions. He has published several articles and announced a book on cynicism. "Studies in Cynicism and the Ancient Near East: The Transformation of a Chria," Religions in Antiquity: Essays in Memory of Erwin Ramsdell

    Goodenough (ed. J. Neusner; Numen Sup 14; Leiden: Brill, 1968) 372411; "Story and History: Observations on Greco-Roman Rhetoric and Pharisaism," American Oriental Society Middle West Branch Semi-Centennial Volume (ed. D. Sinor; Bloomington: Indiana University, 1969) 59-

    88; "The Uses of Sorites (Climax, Gradatio) in the Tannaitic Period," HUCA 44 (1973) 119-51. 12 See reviews by A. Saldarini, CBQ 37 (1975) 252-54 and A. Wasserstein, JJS 25(1974) 456-

    60. 13 See note 1 and also Greek in Jewish Palestine: Studies in the Life and Manners of Jewish

    Palestine in the II-IV Centuries C.E. (2d ed.; New York: Feldheim, 1965); "How Much Greek in Jewish Palestine," Biblical and Other Studies (ed. A. Altmann; Cambridge: Harvard University, 1963) 12-41.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    (Waters) only two to three fingers (breadth)." ["And 'God's Spirit blew' is not written here but 'hovered'; i.e., like a bird who flies and flaps with his wings over his nest and his wings do and don't touch."] R. Joshua turned and said to the students: "B. Zoma is (or has) gone." [And hardly had a few days passed and Ben Zoma (was) in the (Other) World.]14

    This strange exchange begins to make sense when connected to the Greco- Roman genre of chriae about the absentminded, impractical or otherworldly sage. The reference to feet is a contrast between everyday movement and measurement of the heavens (in feet in Greco-Roman texts; in hand breadths in the rabbinic version). The final comment is always by the adversary (Rabbi Joshua here) and is ambiguous. "He is gone" can refer to absentmindedness or insanity, as the final (added?) sentence suggests.

    Though Fischel is sometimes uncontrolled, he does give some attention to genres and begins investigating crosscultural phenomena which may help us to bring some order to the wealth of material in rabbinic literature.

    The major problem in form criticism of rabbinic literature has been the formidable size of the corpus which has thus far precluded results based on the whole corpus. Jacob Neusner, by the scope and sheer number of his studies, has made the greatest and most controversial contribution to form criticism of rabbinic literature. Neusner professes to be an historian, not a form critic. But his studies led him gradually to a deeper involvement in form criticism and then away from form criticism toward methods which offered him more historical results. His doctoral dissertation and first book was an historical study A Life of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai ca. 1-80 C.E.15 In an attempt to deal more sharply with the ambiguities inherent in the material, Neusner produced a second edition of the Life in 1970 and in the same year Development of a Legend: Studies on the Traditions Concerning Yohanan ben Zakkai.'6 Like the early Gospel critics, Neusner found that he lacked reliable historical sources to write a biography and turned to an evaluation of the traditions about Johanan, their forms and development. Neusner moves toward form criticism in this study, but actually he follows a simple method of cataloguing materials by content and by rabbinic sources (Mishnah, Tosefta, etc.). By comparing different accounts of the same story he is able to show that collections which were compiled relatively late tend to contain the later version of that story (a conclusion borne out by his subsequent studies). 7 He discerns some biases in the material and distinguishes more reliable second century traditions from later, more polished legends. Neusner asks the right questions and his analysis of the whole Johanan corpus is impressive and methodologically satisfying. His subsequent work has continued to have these advantages.

    '4 Fischel, Rabbinic Literature, 79. Parentheses indicate additions made in English for a better translation. Brackets enclose detail which may be of a later date, as discussed by Fischel.

    '5 SPB 6; Leiden: Brill, 1962. This study has been summarized in First-Century Judaism in Crisis: Yohanan ben Zakkai and the Renaissance of Torah (Nashville: Abingdon, 1975).

    16SPB 16; Leiden: Brill, 1970. See also "The Traditions Concerning Yohanan ben Zakkai: Reconsiderations" JJS 24 (1973) 65-73.

    17 Neusner, Development, 265.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    Neusner has revolutionized methodology and arrived at major positive results in three studies, the third of which is still in progress. Even if Neusner's results should be disproven or substantially improved by subsequent work they will have opened the way to a new approach to the rabbinic corpus. I shall first treat The Rabbinic Traditions About the Pharisees Before 70, a three- volume study of over 1200 pages.18 Neusner confronts the whole corpus of sayings attributed to and stories about the pre-70 Pharisees with a critical attitude which seeks to discern (rather than presume) the historical reliability of the materials.

    The first conclusion reached by Neusner is that repeated patterns, i.e., set forms of presenting sayings, first appear in materials associated with Hillel and the houses of Hillel and Shammai. According to the evidence we have,19 none of the other pre-70 sages taught in set forms, and teachings associated with Hillel and the schools may well have been redacted into set patterns only after 70 when such forms became prevalent. Many traditions are com- municated by the standard legal form (Authority X says, followed by the opinion in direct discourse) and its variants in dispute form. Also the "houses dispute form" (superscription stating the problem or issue: house of Shammai say unclean etc.; house of Hillel say clean etc.) was extensively used and seems to have carried the basic agenda of the rabbis at Jamnia after 70.

    The forms which first came into use shortly before or after Jamnia do not allow Neusner to date teachings exactly nor do they enable him to distinguish original teaching from possible later additions or modifications inserted into an earlier period by later editors. To provide himself with a tool for isolating historically "reliable" traditions Neusner turns away from form criticism to "attestations," a phenomenon on which all his subsequent work has been based.20 Neusner distinguishes attributions and attestations. Many rabbinic sayings are attributed to named sages, but scholars have long been troubled by conflicting attributions and by uncertainty about their reliability in general as a criterion for dating. Neusner shares this uncertainty and attempts to overcome it by concentrating on teachings attributed to a named rabbi which are then quoted in substance or wording, or modified or contradicted by a named sage of the same or the next generation. Neusner's reasoning is that the second sage attests to (and presumes the existence of) the teaching of the first sage and that the second sage is close enough in time to the first sage both to know what the first taught and to be prevented from falsifying it. Consequently, attested sayings can be reliably dated to the period in which

    18 Leiden: Brill, 1971. See also From Politics to Piety: The Emergence of Pharisaic Judaism (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973); "Types and Forms in Ancient Jewish Literature: Some Comparisons," HR 11 (1972) 354-90: "The Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees Before 70 A.D.: The Problem of Oral Tradition," Kairos 14 (1972) 57-70 and JJS 22 (1971) 1-18; " 'Pharisaic-Rabbinic' Judaism: A Clarification," HR 12 (1973) 250-70; "Pharisaic Law in New Testament Times," USQR 26 (1971) 331-40.

    19 Pirke Aboth has threefold sayings attributed to these sages, but evidence is not sufficient to draw conclusions about it and it may be a later form used for the early sages in Pirke Aboth.

    20 In Pharisees these citations are called "verifications" but on 3.1, Neusner notes that "attestations" would have been a better word and he has used it in subsequent writings.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    they are referrred to by a second sage or even to the previous generation. Such attestations begin at Jamnia or perhaps just before and it is on such attested sayings that Neusner constructs his historical results.21

    The major objection to Neusner's reliance on attestations flows from the fact that all our sources were edited after A.D. 200. Though attestations provide a kind of "double" testimony to the dating of a teaching, even attested

    teachings come from sources which were later edited and which may have been revised and harmonized to form a unified structure. We just do not have

    any rabbinic sources from the first and second centuries which are free of

    possible later revisions. Neusner finds Mishna and Tosepta materials most attested and reliable, but they also underwent the most intensive editing and, despite obvious redactional seams and differing views visible in the material, were edited into a relatively consistent whole.22

    Consideration of the development of rabbinic traditions brings up the problem of oral tradition and how the second century rabbis, and also if and how pre-70 Pharisees, passed on traditions. S. Lieberman has written

    convincingly of the oral publication of the Mishna, but his evidence all comes from sources later than A.D. 200 and so the picture drawn of the schools' use of oral learning can be applied to the second century and earlier only with great doubt.23 Neusner holds that the practice of oral transmission was greatly expanded at Jamnia so that the rabbis could claim that their traditions were

    passed on from ancient times. He points out that materials organized for memorization reveal the intention of their editors that they be memorized, but do not necessarily reveal the forms of the traditions which preceded them.24 Neusner argues that attested Jamnian materials show the use of oral tradition from that time on and not during the pre-70 pharisaic period.25 We may, of course, argue that the evidence for oral tradition dates most reliably only from 200 on when our Mishnaic sources were edited.26 Neusner argues in reply,

    21 Possibly matters discussed had been of interest at an earlier period but we have neither exact

    forms nor necessarily the precise issues at our disposal now. Cf. Pharisees, 3. 148; 168-69. 22 The names of sages in attributions and attestations often vary in manuscripts, a problem

    Neusner deals with briefly in his book on Eliezer. But this problem seems more serious. Of course, Mishna MSS are fairly consistent, but that is probably attributable to the close study of them and constant revision. Mekilta MSS are more confused. Cf. Eckart, Untersuchungen, 110-14.

    23 "The Publication of the Mishnah," in Hellenism, 83-99. 24Neusner, Pharisees, 105-06; 148; 168. 25 Neusner clearly has the better of the argument with Joseph Baumgarten concerning the use

    of oral tradition before 70. See Baumgarten, "The Unwritten Law in the Pre-Rabbinic Period," JSJ 3 (1972) 7-29; Neusner, "The Written Tradition in the Pre-Rabbinic Period," JSJ4 (1973) 56-

    65; Baumgarten, "Form Criticism and the Oral Law, JSJ5 (1974) 34-40; Neusner, "Exegesis and the Written Law," JSJ 5 (1974) 176-78.

    26 We are hindered in our ettorts to understand the Mishna and its relation to preceding traditions by our lack of evidence for exactly what Judah the Prince did with the earlier traditions and for what purpose. Albeck has claimed that he was writing a law code, others a textbook for

    study, others a suggestive summary of the law meant to lead the reader to other sources. See the outlines of theories in J. Neusner (ed.), Modern Study of the Mishnah.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    especially in his work on Kelim, that the rabbis at Jamnia (70-125), Usha (140- 170) and those around Judah the Prince (c. 200) each had distinctive ways of handling and developing Mishnaic law. We will return to this matter later. Generally, careful distinction must be made in Neusner's works between the sometimes startling data he has uncovered with the results which flow positively and directly from these data (i.e., the Jamnians passed on traditions orally), and the often provocative hypotheses which attempt to fill out the picture and explain why phenomena have occurred (i.e., the Jamnians were creating a basis for authority by using oral tradition). If we, with Neusner, should accept attested sayings as reliable for historical use, we must still distinguish between the data provided by them and the subsequent hypotheses used to fill out the historical picture or to explain surprising phenomena. For example, Neusner notes that Johanan ben Zakkai's teachings never refer to a pre-70 pharisee nor to materials contained in a pericope of the named sages or houses. Johanan seems by his teachings to be isolated from both houses and from all schools.27 Simeon ben Gamaliel and Gamaliel II seem by their teaching to have been closely associated with the Shammaites.28 These striking discoveries lead to the hypothesis that the relating of Hillel to the family of Gamaliel and the placing of Johanan within the house of Hillel are a late second century reconstruction to solidify the position of the patriarch. The pharisaic legal agenda in attested Jamnian material consists mainly of three classes of laws concerning agriculture, the Sabbath and purity.29 Few laws concern civil, family and temple matters, indicating that pharisees before 70 did not generate teachings on these subjects. Neusner sees in this pharisaic agenda (verified by the gospels) the marks of a table fellowship sect, rather than those of a powerful political party with a voice in the operations of the temple and actions of Jewish leaders. Finally, attested (and therefore reliable) historical stories stem from sages active at Usha after the Bar Kosiba War (140-170). Thus Neusner concludes that the Jamnians (70-125) felt no conscious break with the past and only at Usha did the rabbis begin to record (and rewrite) their history. For each of these figures or problems, Johanan, the house of Hillel, the pharisaic agenda, and pharisaic history, Neusner has assembled data which demand interpretation and has provided hypotheses for this interpretation. But in his coherent picture Neusner necessarily argues from silence and fills in the blanks with more or less probable conjectures. His

    27Neusner, Pharisees, 3.199, 276. 28 Neusner, Pharisees, 3.258. 29 Neusner, Pharisees, 3.227.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    effort is competent but probably not the last word.30 Work on first century sects and politics and attention to narrative forms may well open the way to new hypotheses about the pharisees.31 Many sayings which did not yield to Neusner's analyses may be analysable by other means. Compare Neusner's brief comments on numerical lists with Towner's subsequent sophisticated treatment using other form critical tools.32 The sayings of the pre-70 pharisees look more difficult, but something may still be done.

    When Neusner studied the traditions of Johanan ben Zakkai, he was confronted with a corpus of traditions too narrow and too late for a comprehensive and reliable analysis. In Eliezer Ben Hyrcanus: The Tradition

    30 Neusner's work has occasionally been subject to harsh and unfair criticism. See S. Zeitlin, "A Life of Yohanan ben Zakkai: A Specimen of Modern Jewish Scholarship," JQR 62 (1972) 145- 55; "Spurious Interpretations of Rabbinic Sources in the Studies of the Pharisees and Pharisaism," JQR 65 (1974) 122-35; B. Z. Wacholder's review of Development of a Legend, JBL 92 (1972) 123-24; a reply by Morton Smith, "On the Problem of Method in the Study of Rabbinic Literature," JBL 92 (1973) 112-13; and Wacholder, "A Reply," JBL92 (1973) 114-15. Neusner has broken with traditional Jewish scholarship by a critical questioning of the dates and reliability of rabbinic sources and by not accepting harmonization of the sources or some traditional interpretations offered by the commentaries. He has analyzed broad bodies of material and made a distinct methodological breakthrough.

    Valid criticisms can be made of Neusner's work but they do not invalidate his overall results. (1) In his earlier work, commentaries on individual passages are often too brief and do not give full discussion to complex development problems such as is given in Towner's work. Discussions are sometimes too concise and hard to follow. To be fair to Neusner, however, he has presented all the texts he used and the wide scope of his work explains to some extent lack of attention to minutiae. Recently in his study of the Mishnaic Order Purities he has turned to a thorough commentary on the substance of the law. (2) Neusner does not use the normal system of footnoting secondary literature and debating with other views as he goes along. He contrasts his method and results as a whole with those of others, rather than debating the interpretation of each text. His "Bibliographical Reflections" in Pharisees was too polemical a vehicle for consideration of others' views; his book The Idea of Purity in Ancient Judaism: The Haskell Lectures, 1972- 1973 (SJLA 1; Leiden: Brill, 1973) and his inclusion of the traditional commentaries in his discussion of Kelim are an improvement. (3) Neusner's studies often lack cross-references and later conclusions are not reintegrated into earlier discussions. An extreme example is his treatment of Kelim 2:1. Neusner first discussed this text in "The Written Tradition in the Pre- Rabbinic Period," JSJ4 (1973) 59. He then has an opposite interpretation in his study of Kelim. In the three volumes of Kelim his interpretation goes through three stages: 1. ad loc; 2. 271; 234; 238; and 3. 376-81. (4) In discussing and summarizing his conclusions Neusner's style is often diffuse or turgid though the extreme complexity of his evidence partly accounts for this (e.g., Pharisees, 3. 173-79; Kelim, 1. 23-31). In conclusion we must emphasize that these criticisms do not affect the substance of Neusner's arguments and his methodological breakthroughs.

    31 See the interesting method of E. Rivkin, "Defining the Pharisees: The Tannaitic Sources," HUCA 40-41 (1969-70) 205-49.

    32 Neusner, Pharisees, 3. 102-03. Rudolf Bultmann in his History of the Synoptic Tradition (New York: Harper, 1963) analysed virtually every pericope in the synoptics. Since this is impossible with the Talmud, repeated efforts will be required before all materials will have been thoroughly studied form critically. See other of Neusner's studies of individual pericopes such as "Shammai and Jonathan ben 'Uzziel,"' Kairos 12 (1970) 309-13; "The Development of the Merkavah Tradition," JSJ 2 (1971) 149-60; "From Exegesis to Fable in Rabbinic Traditions about the Pharisees," JJS 25 (1974) 263-69.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    and the Man,33 he refined his methods and produced a comprehensive analysis of the substantial and varied teachings of and traditions about one man. After studying each pericope source by source Neusner finds that the bulk of Eliezer's material is legal and appears in one basic form (with six variations) which is similar to the "houses dispute form."34 He then divides the materials into best traditions (attested to at Jamnia), better traditions (attested at Usha), fair traditions (attested in the Mishna and Tosepta), and poor traditions (first attested in Amoraic times). The best traditions get us as close to what Eliezer actually said as possible, the better traditions show us his legal agenda, the fair traditions reveal extensions of his traditions and what people close to him thought of him, and the poor traditions reflect what later sages thought important about Eliezer. Best and better traditions give us the Eliezer of history, the fair traditions the Eliezer of tradition, and the poor the Eliezer of legend.35 Of course, the same reservations voiced about "attestations" above apply to his use of attested materials here.

    Strikingly, the biographical stories linking Eliezer with Johanan ben Zakkai and Joshua, the stories of Shammaite tendencies and excom- munication, of extreme conservatism and conflict with the other rabbis are all among the poor traditions. Besides the agenda common to Jamnia, Eliezer manifests an interest in temple law and priestly duties. He seems to have been neither a pharisee (because he does not emphasize study of Torah) nor a member of either house. We do not know what authority he had, though he seems to rationalize and liberalize some pharisaic rules. Up through the formation of the Mishna, he is quoted as a respected authority with no hostility shown to him.

    Neusner's method relies on attested traditions which can be dated and the coherent picture he draws of Eliezer and of the traditions about him is impressive. Neusner does not assume the existence of a school or tendency on the basis of one or a few pericopes but examines the whole corpus for comprehensive patterns.36 However, some shortcomings and questions may be pointed out. The poor traditions, especially the exegetical and biographical, are judged unreliable because they are in sources later than Mishna and Tosepta. But this situation may have been caused by the nature of the materials themselves. Legal disputes lead naturally to the quoting of authorities and arguments. Mishna and Tosepta contain very little exegesis and biography, by conscious choice it seems. We do not know that these materials were not produced in abundance in the second century.37 We do

    33 Two volumes; Leiden: Brill, 1973. 34 The form is: Statement of a legal problem; Authority X says.....; Authority Y says.... In

    one of the variations a scriptural verse is cited, then two opinions given, etc. 35 Neusner, Eliezer, 2. 92-94. We probably do not have the exact words and forms of Eliezer's

    teachings but their substance. 36 Neusner, Eliezer, 2. 90-91. 37 Neusner (Eliezer, 2. 2) denies the force of the argument given here, but it does seem that the

    Mishna generally excludes exegesis and stories.

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    know that Neusner's criteria cannot show them reliable, but perhaps other methods of study will be more successful in evaluating narrative materials. The case on them is not closed.38

    With his three-part work on the Mishnaic tractate Kelim, part of a multi- volume History of the Mishnaic Law of Purities,39 Neusner turned to the anonymous sayings which make up the bulk of the Mishna and Tosepta, the source which he had found most reliable in his previous work. He discovered that literary forms and formulary patterns provide little help in recovering the history or dates of the laws in Kelim because no Sitz im Leben can be recovered for any of the forms (ladders,40 stories, disputes, debates, lists, etc.), except that as a late redactional feature certain chapters show a preference for one form or another.

    Neusner begins his critical evaluation with the laws whose dates are established by attestations. Then he turns to the laws attributed to named authorities, but unattested. He finds that no authority is ever assigned a teaching which depends upon or presumes the existence of a law which is itself assigned to a later authority. Consequently, if we date the laws according to the dates of the sages, the developments and interrelationships among the laws are consistent. Using these attributed laws as a framework Neusner integrates the anonymous teachings of the Mishna and is able to assign them to the period of Jamnia (70-125) or Usha (140-170) on the basis of their place within the structure of the dated laws. Neusner finds only the slightest evidence of pre-70 laws, usually in the form of a key problem or two. At Jamnia the rabbis developed the Mishnaic law as we know it by working out principles and rules for deciding fundamental cases. At Usha the rabbis refined distinctions and pursued many logical possibilities inherent in the fundamental principles. Each historical period has its characteristic concerns and methods.

    Neusner's case for dating various strands of the law to different periods rests on the coherent development he sees within the mass of legal material. The alternate explanation is that consistency was imposed on the material when it was edited (by Judah the Prince) later on. Neusner recognizes this possibility and argues against it, citing three examples of laws and opinions which show no awareness of each other and yet are chronologically consistent.4' He is not able to eliminate this possibility completely, however, since the Mishna was so thoroughly studied and highly organized by later editors. Neusner does not claim that attested or attributed laws were the creations of the sages associated with them, but only that they were taught

    38 The differences between the picture of Eliezer given by his legal traditions and that given by his biographical traditions is substantial and Neusner's hypothesis is reasonable. But the whole picture is not yet filled out and many arguments from silence remain. See the work of Ben-Amos below for another approach to narrative materials. The difficulty is in moving from possible to probable interpretations of the materials (see Neusner, Eliezer, 2. 233, 278-86).

    39 Leiden: Brill, 1974. See also his Idea of Purity in Ancient Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 1973). 40 A ladder is a list constructed of items in an ascending or descending order, e.g., Kelim 1:4

    "Above the Zab: The Zabah ... Above the Zabah, the leper ... etc." 41 Neusner, Kelim, 3. 241-43.

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  • SALDARINI: ' FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    during that sage's lifetime. Yet even the attributions (and consequently the dates of the laws) may have been readjusted by editors concerned to produce a unified whole. Neusner's historical reconstruction, based on the inner logic and structure of the Mishna, necessarily remains hypothetical.42

    Neusner has opened a major new appraoch to the Mishna in which the whole fabric and development of the law are laid bare from principles to refinements. He has established the important conclusion that practically none of the Mishnaic law as we have it dates from before 70 and by avoiding traditional harmonization of the law he has uncovered many redactional seams and conflicting tendencies in the Mishna. Though many disagreements in interpretation are inevitable, a new task has begun.

    One final point. In studying the relationship of the Mishna to scripture, Neusner has found that both Kelim and Ohalot immediately and decisively diverge from the interests of scriptural law and move in their own direction.43 In other words, the Mishna is not so much an interpretation of scriptural law as it is a whole new creation. Kelim takes the notion of vessel and impurity from scripture but develops these ideas in a totally new direction and Ohalot redefines a tent and thus pursues a wholly new set of issues. Furthermore, Sifra, the halakic commentary on Leviticus, is actually dependent on the Mishna and Tosepta rather than scripture, and Sifre on Numbers is either dependent on Mishna and Tosepta or completely autonomous from them and dependent on scripture. Neither midrash attempts to link the oral law to scripture.

    One final word on Neusner's programme.44 His work on the Mishnaic law of purities has convinced him that the characteristic teachings of various generations can be worked out for the Amoraic period and beyond. Likewise unities of conception and definitions of fundamental principles discerned within the halakah can probably be compared to parallel literature and to the history of the period to produce a history of major ideas and themes of a period. The mass of legal materials at our disposal should, when thoroughly understood, allow us to write a religious history of the rabbis and an adequate description of their worldview.

    Dan Ben-Amos in his Narrative Forms in the Haggadah: Structural Analysis45 determines narrative forms in haggadic folk literature through a formal analysis of their plot structure. He does not work with items which are fundamentally religious or literary but with materials that seem to be dated from the first to the third century A. D. and were originally oral, folk stories. He

    42 Neusner, Kelim, 3. 348. 43 For a summary of Neusner's conclusions concerning Kelim and Ohalot, see "The Meaning

    of Oral Torah," in J. Neusner, Early Rabbinic Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 1975) 3-33, esp. 26-28. 441 am indebted to Prof. Neusner for allowing me to consult a manuscript copy of his review of

    E.E. Urbach, The Sages (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1975) in which he sets out his own understanding of how rabbinic studies must proceed.

    45 Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1967, available from Xerox University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    uses techniques derived from the study of folk literature, though he notes that accepted folk genres must be modified in each literature and at different periods in the literature. Subject matter and motifs are not the basis for his classification nor are considerations such as the needs of ancient society, function, human nature producing the story, the history of its evolution etc.46 He prefers to establish the narrative forms through structural analysis so that all further discussions have a common reference point and subject of investigation.

    Ben-Amos defines genre as "a general framework which limits the possible patterns of the plot." However, within the general framework there are certain possibilities for changes within the plot. This analysis requires a certain level of abstraction:

    Since the plot rather than its verbalization is the level of constant similarity and differentiation between narratives, its formal pattern is the criterion for generic classification. An indeterminate number of tales, regardless of their subject matter, whose narrative form demonstrates substantial structural similarity, constitutes a folk narrative genre.47

    In his analysis, any narrative elements can be significant, as well as their relations and sequence. Not just the order but the necessity of each function is analyzed.48 Ben-Amos attempts to provide a stable analytic tool which responds to the variability of individual tales.49

    Ben-Amos treats five genres: legend, tall tale, fable, exemplum and riddling tale. I shall briefly examine legend, since much effort has been expended in trying to define legend and relate it to history. The Grimms classified legend in relation to history; a recent scholar described it as the poetry (fiction) of a people concerning its belief.50 But evaluation of the function and truth value of a narrative depends on criteria used by the reader/listener and must be preceded by an analysis of the narrative itself. Ben-Amos defines haggadic legend as follows:

    It is possible to distinguish within the plot of the Haggadic legend three narrative constituents: intrusion, mediation, and outcome. The basic purpose of the legend is to tell about the abolition of the boundary between the supernatural and the natural through the intrusion of one reality into the other. The contact between them is conceived of as falling

    46 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 9-19; 81-82. Chap. 2 (pp. 40-74) contains a review of many theories of structure and genre.

    47 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 66; cf. 59-60. 48 See Narrative Forms, 71-72. In this, he refines the enumeration of functions found in V.

    Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (2d ed.; Austin: University of Texas, 1968). For further literature of structuralism, see Semeia 1 (1974) 256-273.

    49 Narrative Forms, 74: "The stability of their patterns on the one hand, and the variability of the stories on the other hand, necessitates a formulation of structure which serves as a generic

    model, but at the same time provides a formal framework for the literary analysis of individual

    tales. Therefore the structure of the narrative genres is formulated in dynamic terms to accommodate the variability of each individual tale or group of tales in it."

    50 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 75-76, 84.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    within the range of real possiblities, yet it constitutes a major event which deserves a special narration.51

    The mediation is usually carried on by a human being and without the use of miraculous powers. Honi the Circle Drawer and Hanina ben Dosa are examples of such mediators. The natural world is the base. The supernatural world can be divine or demonic, the mediation benevolent or malevolent, and the outcome good or bad. Whether the values are positive or negative, the relationships among the constituents of legends remain the same, within four structural patterns of variations: 1) supernatural intrudes into natural reality through a mediator; 2) natural intrudes into supernatural reality through a mediator; 3) supernatural intrudes into natural reality through its agent (angels, demons, miraculous objects); 4) supernatural fails to intrude into natural reality.52

    The contents of legends may vary tremendously, but in plot structure "all these subjects fit into a definite system of relationships with a distinct scheme of variation which enables us to conceive of the legend as a literary narrative form."53 Ben-Amos's method allows us to focus intensely on the text before

    moving on to complex questions of the origin and function of legends. But the

    structural elements which he chooses as the framework of his genre "legend" can be attacked as arbitrary. They do hold a group of narratives together by common structures but the significance of those structures as worthy of note

    or determinative of meaning remains to be seen. Also, the supernatural and

    natural can be classed as motifs and we are back to defining legend by content.

    Granted that Ben-Amos's analysis is more sophisticated than to be simply based on content, he does demand the presence of at least general motifs for a

    narrative to be legend: The supernatural and natural must be interrelated. His

    work is challenging and helps bring order into a chaos of stories, but how

    really stable and significant are his genres must still be established. In his conclusion, Ben-Amos outlines the problem of relating his

    structural analysis to an evaluation of the historicity of legends and similar materials. He feels, I think correctly, that a formal analysis can help isolate

    and relate distinct groups of stories. Such analysis can also aid in the

    recognition of unstructured and non-recurrent information which may be

    more likely true, as well as help to determine the historical value which may be

    implicit in certain narrative forms.54 Hopefully his work has shown us how to

    begin to analyze narratives as Neusner's has shown us how to analyze the legal materials, and Towner's the exegetical formulae.

    Because it concerns a very special set of texts, I have not fully evaluated

    Joseph Heinemann, Prayer in the Period of the Tanna im and the

    51 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 87. 52 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 89. 53 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 111-12. 54 Ben-Amos, Narrative Forms, 197.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    Amora'im.55 Heinemann makes a sensitive study of prayer texts found in various early sources and also of phenomena surrounding the practice of prayer. He especially stresses the interaction of formal patterns and spontaneous embellishments in the originally oral development of prayers and prayer forms. Heinemann's work with that of Mirsky56 provides a solid basis for further work on Jewish prayer forms.

    The recent interest in the form criticism of rabbinic literature has produced some results and left us more to do. A formal analysis of the enumeration form by Towner, of certain legal forms by Neusner and of some folk narrative forms by Ben-Amos has given a foothold in the bewildering variety of discourse found in rabbinic literature. Towner is especially satisfying in thoroughly describing the variations and limits of the enumeration form, relating it to similar phenomena in other literatures and suggesting functions which the form may have fulfilled. Ben-Amos has relied on formal analysis alone. While this approach avoids the uncertainty which always surrounds hypotheses concerning Sitz im Leben and function, we may question the significance of the structures found and used by Ben-Amos, both for the tellers of the stories and for our understanding today. We presume at least that the plot structures were useful or attractive to the tellers and audiences, and thus were (unconsciously) adhered to and developed for some reason. Until we speculate on these matters we cannot arrive at the importance and meaning of various forms nor can we integrate them into the historical and thought world of the host culture.

    The discussions of genre in Ben-Amos remind us that forms and genres differ in various literatures and periods. Both Towner and Ben-Amos are very sensitive to definitions of and shifts in forms. Beyond this, the very concept of what a genre is, what constitutes sub-types, forms, patterns, etc., has been argued in many branches of scholarship with no consensus reached. Within NT scholarship, arguments over the definition of the task and the proper form critical method have perdured from differences between Dibelius and Bultmann to the present. Though a full definition of a form, its function, tradition history, Sitz im Leben, and relationship to culture and history in general is desirable, the "timelessness" of rabbinic forms and the long and complex editorial process to which they have been subjected, will often confine us to formal analysis and the often subjective hypothesis of early and later variations of a form. Towner was able to analyze functions and utilize the findings of students of other traditional and oral literature, but even such sophisticated procedures are fraught with unknowns and uncertainties which open the analysis to attack.

    55 Ha-tefilah bitequfat Ha-tanna'im we-ha-'am6ra'im: Tivdh audefusevhd (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1964). The book contains a 15 page English summary.

    56 Aaron Mirsky, "Mahsabtan sel Sturot Ha-Pivvut" [The Origins of the Forms of Liturgical Poetry] in Studies of the Research Institute for Hebrew Poetry in Jerusalem (Jerusalem, 1958) 3- 136.

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  • SALDARINI: "FORM CRITICISM" OF RABBINIC LITERATURE

    Jacob Neusner has examined several large groups of materials and has pointed out some of the many recurring patterns in rabbinic literature. He has not concentrated on form criticism but utilized other methods which are more fruitful for his major goal, the history of rabbinic thought. His work on the simple legal saying and the "houses dispute" has been broad and useful, but his definitions of form, genre, literary type, etc. seem confused and are not consistently and fruitfully employed.57 Further analysis of some of Neusner's materials will probably advance form critical work in rabbinic literature immensely, but the work will have to be as comprehensive as his has been.

    Neusner's historical results based on "attested" and therefore historically reliable traditions are both attractive and uncertain. Neusner has found a way to double-check the attributions that have long been considered doubtfully reliable in rabbinic literature. By relying on the attestation of a story or teaching, Neusner is able to date it at least to the time it is referred to, and then estimate how accurately it may reflect the life and teaching of the sage to whom the saying is attributed. If the sage is close in time to the person referring to his teaching, we probably have accurate data. If the speaker and "attestor" are separated by two or more generations, the data is probably unreliable. Using this method Neusner is building up a coherent picture of the development of rabbinic history and thought which is very attractive and powerful, though it remains thoroughly speculative.

    A radical critique can be made of Neusner's work, and NT scholars, especially, would question his presuppositions and results. All rabbinic traditions were edited after 200 A.D. and what can be learned from these even of the second century is highly questionable, especially when we do not really know how or with what Judah the Prince worked.58 Neusner's method presupposes that attestation and consistency argue for reliability, but a later editor(s) who subjected rabbinic traditions to close analysis may have imposed this consistency. Until we know why and for what purpose the rabbis valued attribution of a saying to a specific authority, we cannot be sure how

    57 Neusner distinguishes types and forms (Pharisees, 3. 66). Types refer to the varieties of materials extant. Neusner immediately says, "These come in two groups, legal and non-legal," then adds, "While forms vary, the type-legal tradition-uniformly applies throughout." Types seem synonymous with groups, but this is not completely clear. On p. 97, groups, forms and

    categories are used as terms in a confusing way. On p. 101, Neusner distinguishes small units of tradition as "those fixed, recurrent formulae, cliches, patterns or little phrases out of which whole

    pericopae, or large elements in pericopae, e.g., complete sayings, are constructed. Small units of

    tradition, while constitutive of pericopae, do not generate new sayings of legal problems, as do

    apophthegmatic formulae." On p. 102, he says that formulaic sayings are not small units of tradition because they are not sufficiently articulated to be seen as independent cliches of

    composition. This statement is followed by a list of cliches of tradition and then on p. 104 reference is made to cliches of construction which are not small units of tradition because they do exhibit the tendency to generate new sayings. Neusner's terminology and distinctions and functional analyses are not clearly worked out.

    58 NT scholars have an analogous problem in recovering the words or at least the basic

    teachings of Jesus, as distinguished from later redactions and revisions. Beyond extreme caution, no consensus has been reached.

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  • JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE

    these attributions were made and how reliable they are. What is needed, then, is further close study of texts and stories with

    attention to the relative date of different versions.59 From such studies, laws of development, such as Towner's, may emerge, and, in time, a broad picture of rabbinic thought and forms of expression such as Neusner draws. Form criticism will be furthered only if its methods are adapted to the peculiarities of rabbinic literature and aided by comparative studies such as those of Fischel and other methods such as the structuralism used by Ben-Amos.

    59See for example Robert Goldenberg, "The Deposition of Rabban Gamaliel II: An Examination of the Sources," JJS 23 (1972) 167-90.

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    Article Contentsp. 257p. 258p. 259p. 260p. 261p. 262p. 263p. 264p. 265p. 266p. 267p. 268p. 269p. 270p. 271p. 272p. 273p. 274

    Issue Table of ContentsJournal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 161-320Front MatterGenesis 2:4b-3:24: A Synchronic Approah [pp. 161-177]The Success Story of the Wise Courtier: A Formal Approach [pp. 179-193]Rebellion in Heaven, Azazel, and Euhemeristic Heroes in 1 Enoch 6-11 [pp. 195-233]The Rich Man from Arimathea (Matt 27:57-60) and 1QIsaa [pp. 235-239]The Political Perspective of the Revelation to John [pp. 241-256]"Form Criticism" of Rabbinic Literature [pp. 257-274]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [pp. 275-276]Review: untitled [pp. 276-278]Review: untitled [pp. 278-279]Review: untitled [pp. 279-281]Review: untitled [pp. 281-284]Review: untitled [pp. 284-286]Review: untitled [pp. 286-287]Review: untitled [pp. 287-288]Review: untitled [pp. 288-290]Review: untitled [p. 290]Review: untitled [pp. 291-292+294]Review: untitled [pp. 294-295]Review: untitled [pp. 295-297]Review: untitled [pp. 297-298]Review: untitled [pp. 298-299]Review: untitled [pp. 299-300]Review: untitled [pp. 300-301]Review: untitled [pp. 302+304]Review: untitled [pp. 304-305]Review: untitled [pp. 305-306]Review: untitled [pp. 307-308]Review: untitled [pp. 308-309]Review: untitled [pp. 310-311]Review: untitled [pp. 311+313-314]

    Books Received [pp. 315-319]Back Matter [pp. 293-320]