Between Law and Narrative in the Talmud

Date: Feb 27, 2023

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Sponsor: Online Learning | Public Lectures and Events

Location: Online

Category: Online Learning Public Lectures & Events

Between Law and Narrative in the Talmud

Part of our spring learning series, The Space In Between: Thresholds and Borders in Jewish Life and Thought

Monday, February 27, 2023
1:00–2:30 p.m. ET

With Dr. Sarah Wolf, Assistant Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS 

The Talmud has classically been thought of as containing two genres: halakhah, or law, meaning the often complex, technical, even arcane back-and-forth arguments about various legal scenarios and rulings; and aggadah, or narrative, meaning the stories about Rabbis and their adventures with each other, Romans, supernatural beings, and other characters. This session will present the history of the law vs. narrative distinction in reference to the Talmud, and will show how this categorization became central to how Jews think about Jewish texts and Jewish learning more generally. We will then consider the limits of this binary by looking at some texts from the Talmud that seem to defy categorization, raising the question of what possibilities open up when we read Jewish legal texts as literature.

If you have previously registered for another session in this series, your registration admits you to all sessions in the series, and you may attend as many as you’d like. 

Note: The Zoom link for this session will be in the confirmation email that you will receive after you register. 


The Space In Between: Thresholds and Borders in Jewish Life and Thought 

We are living in an undefined time: our daily existence is no longer dominated by the pandemic, yet neither have we settled into a new normal. This sense of being in transition—neither here nor there—  can feel destabilizing; but is the time in between really temporary, or are we always living in between moments, identities, and phases of life?  

In this series, JTS scholars will delve into the idea of liminality—the time or space in between—which we encounter often in Jewish ritual, identity, law, and life. Join us to consider what these many manifestations of “in-between-ness” can teach us about ourselves and about Judaism, and to explore how we might find strength and meaning in an orientation not of “either/or” but of “both/and.”