What Six Very Short Stories in the Babylonian Talmud Tell Us About Jewish Law and Life

Date: Aug 01, 2022

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Sponsor: Online Learning

Location: Online

Category: Livestream Public Lectures & Events

What Six Very Short Stories in the Babylonian Talmud Tell Us About Jewish Law and Life

Part of our summer learning series: Stories and Storytelling

Monday, August 1, 2022, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET

With Dr. Judith Hauptman, E. Billi Ivry Professor Emerita of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture 

By reading six very short stories in the Babylonian Talmud, we will discover that not just rabbinic pronouncements established Jewish law, but so did reports of rabbinic performance of the law. We will see Rabbis complying with, and sometime rebelling against, earlier stated rules. As we read these texts, we will tease out details of everyday life and relations between the sexes. Whether these anecdotes actually took place or not makes no difference. They are an invaluable source for understanding how the Rabbis viewed and modified transmitted traditions.

Please register for the Stories and Storytelling series in order to receive the Zoom link for this series. Once you register for the Stories and Storytelling series, your registration admits you to all sessions in this series, and you may attend as many sessions as you’d like. 

About Dr. Judith Hauptman

Dr. Judith Hauptman is the E. Billi Ivry Professor Emerita of Talmud and Rabbinic Culture at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Dr. Hauptman’s scholarly research focuses on two areas. 

The first is unraveling the mystery of how the Talmud came into being—i.e., how the many strands of rabbinic teachings coalesced into one coherent document. Her work may be classified as synoptic studies—a specialized area of Talmudic research in which related texts are examined for their implications about the history of the texts themselves and of Jewish law. Her first book in this area is titled Development of the Talmudic Sugya: Relationship Between Tannaitic and Amoraic Sources (University Press of America, 1987). Her most recent book, Rereading the Mishnah: A New Approach to Ancient Jewish Texts (Mohr Siebeck, 2005), examines the relationship of the Mishnah and the Tosefta, two early rabbinic works. 

Her second area of research involves investigating women’s roles in Judaic thought, bringing an evaluation of the social and ethical norms of the rabbinic period into dialogue with contemporary issues. In Rereading the Rabbis, A Woman’s Voice (Westview, 1998), she traces the development of women’s legal status over time, from chattel in the Bible to second-class citizen at the end of the Talmudic period. 

A popular lecturer and writer, Dr. Hauptman has authored many influential articles. Among them are “Women and Prayer: An Attempt to Dispel Some Fallacies” (Judaism, Winter 1993); “A Time to Mourn, a Time to Heal” (Celebration and Renewal, Jewish Publication Society, 1993); “Judaism and a Just Economy” (Tikkun, January/February 1994); “Mishnah as a Response to Tosefta” (The Synoptic Problem in Rabbinic Literature, Brown Judaic Series, 2000); “How Old Is the Haggadah?” (Judaism, Winter 2002); “The Challenge Facing the Conservative Movement” (The Jewish Week, July 8, 2005); and “Ordaining Gay Men and Women” (The Forward, April 13, 2007). 


Stories and Storytelling 

Join JTS scholars to explore a selection of stories drawn from ancient, rabbinic, medieval, and modern Jewish literature. We will consider the power of shared stories and how they transmit values, norms, culture, and information, bringing Jews together across time and space.