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Collected Essays: v. 2$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113980

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113980.001.0001

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(p.202) A Response to David Berger

(p.202) A Response to David Berger

(p.202) A Response to David Berger
Collected Essays: v. 2

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents a response to Professor David Berger's queries and questions regarding the author's argument both for the existence of a Third Yeshivah in Bavel and its role in the founding of the halakhic culture of Ashkenaz. The response is divided into three sections: interpretation, language and curriculum, and finally, the founders' attitude towards the Geonim. What struck the author most in the so-called Perush Rabbenu Gershom was both its unique curriculum and the radical, new, and sweeping conception of what talmudic interpretation entails. Professor Berger and the author are in agreement that the Talmud is far too abrupt and telegraphic a text to be comprehended by simply grasping the words alone. Professor Berger also suggests that the founding fathers need not have been native Babylonians; they could well have come from elsewhere and attained the necessary knowledge of Aramaic both from studying the Targum of the Tanakh and from studying Talmud with some oral tradition.

Keywords:   David Berger, Third Yeshivah, Bavel, halakhic culture, Ashkenaz, Geonim, talmudic interpretation, Talmud, Aramaic

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