Friday, August 07, 2009

A new wave of Talmudic commentary? AG's comments on Session 304

We should acknowledge our debt to the traditional commentators. The
basis for any new commentary is a new edition and the new commentary
is important for the creation of new editions. They are both equally
valuable and support each other.
The method is known as the "philological-historical-
literary (sic!)" method.
An acceptable commentary of an halakhic midrash should be succinct and
to the point. It should strive to reconstruct the original wording
(probably of the composition, not the homily), a literal commentary,
an exaplantion of the mode of exegesis, reveal the halakha in the
homily and the homily's relation to the pshat. Then you can go on to
find order and patterns in homilies (not always, but sometimes,
there), and locate places where traditions were transferred from one
(sometimes otherwise lost) source to another. Do not discuss general
subjects or tangential material at length.

Milikovsky: Seder Olam needs a different kind of commentary. We modern
westerns think everything needs commentary, in in the case of SO it
means to try and reconstruct his calculations and biblical

Brody: began studying Talmud thinking there was a whole shelf of
Talmud commentaries and discovered there was one vol. of Halivni and
one of Feldblum. Halivni has grown and Friedman and co. wrote more,
but the former is too short, the latter too long. His forthcoming (he
estimated 8 years) commentary on ketubot will be a middle ground
between the two and focus on PaRDeS: Philology, Ribud, Dimyonot (i.e.
parallels) and Sevara (yes, sevara, he believes in sevara, it is not
just for yeshivot) (for that matter he thinks what he's doing should
be acceptable in any yeshiva too, and would like his book to be used
in "traditional" settings as well). The use of older commentaries
should be mentioned only when they discuss the talmud (i.e. stop
focusing on them instead of the text). Do not write too much (they all
seem to say that - AG). Nusach discussions are limited and based on
the green set, and he has better things to do with his time than that,
since someone already did it for him. He is not fazed or deterred by
the tendency of his predecessors at the department not to write


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who published Midrash Shmuel?

11:28 PM  
Blogger manuscriptboy said...

Anonymous 2 - I assume you mean which publishing house - Machon Schechter's new Machon ha-Midrash. Barchiyahu Lifshitz prepared the edition on the basis of the unfinished work of his late wife Tirtsah.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Heidi Estrin said...

Hi! Since I don't see contact info on your site I figured I'd leave a comment. Just wanted to let you know that we gave Hagahot a shout-out on The Book of Life podcast's "Why Be Social?" series on Jewish literary social media resources. You're mentioned in Part 3 at

10:43 PM  

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