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464 pages
9 x 6 inches
Monographs of the Hebrew Union College, 28
Hebrew Union College Press
Hardback (July 2003)
ISBN-13 9780878204526
ISBN-10 0878204520
In stock
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PDF eBook (July 2003)
ISBN-13 9780878201754
ISBN-10 0878201750
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Biblical Studies
Jewish Studies
Sifra, Dibbura de Sinai
Rhetorical Formulae, Literary Structures, and Legal Traditions
by Howard L. Apothaker
Sifra is the earliest extant rabbinic commentary on the book of Leviticus. On a basic level, Sifra presents and validates rabbinic law, but this was done by creating a link between a proposition, halakhic or not, and a scriptural passage.

Scholars in the last few decades-including Neusner and Stemberger-have debated Sifra's relationship to Mishnah-Tosefta. Howard Apothaker demonstrates that the set of rules in Dibbura deSinai on topics shared with Mishnah-Tosefta can be understood as an independent body of law. They share a common ancestor but represent different expressions of a similar worldview and with variant purposes. The framers of Sifra sought as their main objective to validate the essentiality, or non-superfluity, of every word of Scripture.

Apothaker's analysis of the exegetical and rhetorical characteristics of Sifra in Sifra, Dibbura deSinai: Rhetorical Formulae, Literary Structures, and Legal Traditions builds on his translation of and commentary on the section of Dibbura deSinai which covers Leviticus 25-27. Analysis of Sifra's highly formalized rhetoric yields insight concerning the general purpose(s) for which the framers created the work.
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