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Listing and enlisting : the rhetoric and social meaning of Tractate Avot

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Listing and enlisting : the rhetoric and social meaning of Tractate Avot

Bernard, Daniel (2008) Listing and enlisting : the rhetoric and social meaning of Tractate Avot. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The Mishnah's tractate Avot ( c . 250-300 CE) is very popular in the Jewish tradition, however its origins, as well as its intended purpose, have yet to be specifically identified. Using a "socio-rhetorical" approach, this study aims to relocate the social context for the composition of Avot. The study begins by analyzing Avot's rhetoric, focusing especially on its rhetoric of "listing," demonstrating that the document's structure is determined by its authors' use of listed or list-like language. This language is observed to be arranged in a transitional manner, moving the reader from the authors' listing of sages--who themselves are shown to favour the use of list-like speech--into, finally, exercises in listing. Following a comparison of Avot with Mishnah and other Greco-Roman literature, the conclusion emerges that Avot's progressive structure is meant to mirror a social transition between the status of a (non-rabbinic) Jewish scribe, to that of a disciple within the nascent rabbinic guild. Avot was created in order to facilitate the recruitment and initial training of rabbinic neophytes

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bernard, Daniel
Pagination:vii, 232 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Religion
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Lightstone, J
ID Code:975968
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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