A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1

By Franz Kobler | Go to book overview

20
The Geonim Sherira and Hai write the last classic Responsa of the Geonic Period

ALTHOUGH after the time of Saadia the Gaonate began to be eclipsed by the distinguished scholars of Spain, who were wresting the primacy from the East, Babylonia remained the centre of Jewish and especially Talmudic learning till well into the eleventh century. Even during this period of incipient decline the glories of the Gaonate were revived by two great scholars, the fathers and teachers of Israel as they were called afterwards, Sherira ben Hananiah and his son Hai, both of whom attained patriarchal age and between them held the office for a long period of years. While nominally Geonim of Pumbedita, they actually functioned in Baghdad. Hither questions came to them from all parts of the Jewish world, from Spain to India, and the Geonim displayed an immense activity in composing answers. There was practically no subject of Jewish interest that was not dealt with in the thousands of Responsa which Sherira and Hai drew up and signed either jointly or separately.


1 The Letter on the History of Oral Tradition

The most famous of all Geonic Responsa is linked with the name of Sherira. It was written in answer to a letter from Jacob bar Nissim ben Josiah, the head of the Talmudic school in Kairuan in North Africa, containing the following questions:

(1) How was the Mishnah written? (2) Is there any reason for the existing arrangement of the tractates in each Order? (3) What is the purpose of the Tosefta (supplement, independent Mishnah collection), and how were the Baraitot (continuation of the Mishnah) written? (4) How was the Talmud written down? (5) What is the sequence of the Saboraim (Ponderers, successors of the Amorain) and Geonim?

These questions were no doubt prompted by the conflict between Karaism and Rabbinism. The attack made by the Karaites on the authenticity of the oral tradition had caused doubts even among the faithful adherents of traditional Judaism. Sherira, in his answer, revealed an intimate acquaintance with the matter and drew up a remarkably precise account of the development of Talmudic tradition from the earliest days. Thus, what was intended as a Responsum to a single community became a message to all future

-116-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Treasury of Jewish Letters: Letters from the Famous and the Humble - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 328

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.