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Positing a "Cultural Relationship" between Plato and the Babylonian Talmud

Positing a "Cultural Relationship" between Plato and the Babylonian Talmud T H E J E W I S H Q U A R T E R LY R E V I E W , Vol. 101, No. 2 (Spring 2011) 255­269 ADAM H. BECKER New York University DANIEL BOYARIN. Socrates and the Fat Rabbis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Pp. xiv 388. Daniel Boyarin's most recent book, Socrates and the Fat Rabbis, focuses on the ``Hellenism'' of the Babylonian Talmud.1 Part of a growing body of work that compares rabbinic culture with other religious cultures of Sasanian Mesopotamia, the book argues that the Babylonian rabbis had some kind of contact with certain Greek sources.2 By reading Plato, Lucian, and the Talmud through the lens of Bakhtinian analysis, Boyarin seeks to elucidate the parallel presence in these authors of ``seriocomic'' tropes. These literary parallels interest Boyarin not only for purposes of structural comparison but for what he believes to be a likely historical relationship. He proposes that the Babylonian rabbis had access to the Platonic corpus and other Greek texts via the Syriac Christian community, even if by an oral or ``folkloric'' means of transmission. Although Boyarin employs no Syriac sources, he cites a variety of secondary literature http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Jewish Quarterly Review University of Pennsylvania Press

Positing a "Cultural Relationship" between Plato and the Babylonian Talmud

Jewish Quarterly Review , Volume 101 (2) – May 26, 2011

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University of Pennsylvania Press
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Copyright © University of Pennsylvania Press
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1553-0604
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Abstract

T H E J E W I S H Q U A R T E R LY R E V I E W , Vol. 101, No. 2 (Spring 2011) 255­269 ADAM H. BECKER New York University DANIEL BOYARIN. Socrates and the Fat Rabbis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Pp. xiv 388. Daniel Boyarin's most recent book, Socrates and the Fat Rabbis, focuses on the ``Hellenism'' of the Babylonian Talmud.1 Part of a growing body of work that compares rabbinic culture with other religious cultures of Sasanian Mesopotamia, the book argues that the Babylonian rabbis had some kind of contact with certain Greek sources.2 By reading Plato, Lucian, and the Talmud through the lens of Bakhtinian analysis, Boyarin seeks to elucidate the parallel presence in these authors of ``seriocomic'' tropes. These literary parallels interest Boyarin not only for purposes of structural comparison but for what he believes to be a likely historical relationship. He proposes that the Babylonian rabbis had access to the Platonic corpus and other Greek texts via the Syriac Christian community, even if by an oral or ``folkloric'' means of transmission. Although Boyarin employs no Syriac sources, he cites a variety of secondary literature

Journal

Jewish Quarterly ReviewUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 26, 2011

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