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Abstract

There are many phenomena in the Bible connected to the idea of the random, generally in a positive light, but sometimes in a negative one. Both in the Talmudic literature and in the Halakhah texts, the ḥazal (the Sages) also relate to random processes. As we will see here, for them every chance event has a clear meaning, usually even a holy one. In fact, every culture in the world relates to randomness. However, from the Greek philosophers until the rationalism of the 19th century, a process of denuding randomness of its holiness has been taking place. In Judaism, a lottery is not a blind process; moreover the randomness has a clear and profound theological meaning.

, halakhah, Judaic laws, kelal uferaṭ ukelal, heqqeš, qal wa-ḥomer. The purpose of the workshop Philosophy and History of Talmudic Logic held on October 27, 2016, in Krakow, Poland, was to examine the meaning of Talmudic hermeneutics in the contemporary epistemology and logic. One of the main features of Judaism is that Jewish religious laws are not dogmatic but based on specific legal reasoning. This reasoning was developed by the first Judaic commentators of the Bible (Tann’ayim) for inferring Judaic laws (halakah) from the Pentateuch. Our workshop was aimed

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to show that the logical content of a Tann’ayitic hermeneutic changed and developed as it passed into the hands of the ’Amor’ayim, the Tann’ayim’s successors, and then into the anonymous stratum of the Babylonian Talmud. This hermeneutic was based on a very specific syntactical order in a biblical verse, which was formed by an initial inclusive clause, followed by a list of specifics, and then followed by a second inclusive clause. This hermeneutic is called in Hebrew kelal uferaṭ ukelal. In the Tann’ayitic period the hermeneutic required that the second inclusive clause had to be more extensive than the first one. It appears that this new degree of extensiveness suggested that the list of specifics was not definitive of the initial inclusive clause and that other things might be implied by the second one. The way that the rabbinic interpreter determined what these things might be was by seeking the common characteristics that the items in the specifics clause shared. By the time of the late Tann’ayim and early ’Amor’ayim the requirement for the two inclusive clauses had changed. The formal syntax of the hermeneutic remained, but inclusive clauses had to be equal in their degree of inclusivity. The change in logic seems to be the result of viewing a second, more inclusive clause as a distinct element that could be disconnected from the first inclusive clause and the specifics that follow it. If the two inclusive clauses were, however, the same or similar, the rabbinic interpreter could argue that they belonged to the same categories and thus formed a legitimate kelal uferaṭ ukelal. In the final period of the Talmud’s creation neither the syntactic nor logical requirements were any longer needed to form a kelal uferaṭ ukelal. Two artificially constructed inclusive clauses and some specifics could appear in almost any order within a biblical verse and be considered a kelal uferaṭ ukelal. It appears that the desire of the rabbinic interpreters of each era to connect their halakot to the Torah was the force behind the changes we have described.

Halakhah, Views from Within: Three Medieval Approaches to Tradition and Controversy ’, http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/Gruss/halbert.html 6. Hidary, R. Dispute for the Sake of Heaven: Legal Pluralism in the Talmud , Providence, Brown Judaic Studies-2010. 7. Kramer, D. The Mind of the Talmud: An Intellectual History of the Babylonian Talmud , Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990. 8. Rosensweig, R. M. Elu V'elu Divrei Elokim Hayyim : Halakhic Pluralism and Theories of Controversies, Tradition , 26/3, 1992), pp. 4-23. 9. Sagi, A. Both are the Words of the Living

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