Although the Babylonian Talmud, or Bavli, has been a text
central and vital to the Jewish canon since the Middle Ages, the
context in which it was produced has been poorly understood.
Delving deep into Sasanian material culture and literary remains,
Shai Secunda pieces together the dynamic world of late antique
Iran, providing an unprecedented and accessible overview of the
world that shaped the Bavli.
Secunda unites the fields of Talmudic scholarship with Old Iranian
studies to enable a fresh look at the heterogeneous religious and
ethnic communities of pre-Islamic Iran. He analyzes the
intercultural dynamics between the Jews and their Persian
Zoroastrian neighbors, exploring the complex processes and modes of
discourse through which these groups came into contact and
considering the ways in which rabbis and Zoroastrian priests
perceived one another. Placing the Bavli and examples of Middle
Persian literature side by side, the Zoroastrian traces in the
former and the discursive and Talmudic qualities of the latter
become evident. The Iranian Talmud introduces a
substantial and essential shift in the field, setting the stage for
further Irano-Talmudic research.
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