July 12, 2016

Friedman on Talmudic Arguments

Hershey H. Friedman, City University of New York (CUNY), Department of Business Management, has published Talmudic Arguments: The Use of Insults, Reprimands, Rebukes and Curses as Part of the Disputation Process. Here is the abstract.
In the Talmud, the colleague one argued with most in legal matters in the Talmud was known as “bar plugta”; this individual was typically one’s best friend. This was seen as the ideal study partnership since it involved constructive arguing; one might see it as form of adversarial collaboration. Unfortunately, arguing often results in insults being hurled and there is always the risk that an insult can be seen as harsh rather than playful or part of the disputation process. One example of an insult used fairly frequently is the term terada which either means scatterbrain or lunatic. “Vinegar son of wine” is an expression used to indicate that someone was inferior to his father. The following insult was said about Rabbah bar bar Chanah [bar means son]: “Every Abba is as stupid as a donkey; and every bar bar Chanah is a fool.” This paper examines and discusses many different insults, reprimand, rebukes and even curses used by the sages.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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