The Tannaitic Milieu: Mishnaic and Toseftan Material in the Halakhic Midrashim

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CHAPTER THREE TANNAITIC DISPUTE FORMS

This chapter introduces a typology of forms of Tannaitic dispute that will be employed to label and characterize every dispute found in the texts to be examined in the analytic work of chapters 4 and 5and synthetic work of chapters 6 and 7. It concludes with a synoptic analysis of parallel Mishnah/Tosefta texts concerning the status of minority opinions.
Varieties of Tannaitic Dispute
My research focuses on disputes63 because they are the context in which the Mishnah and Tosefta portray the SAGES and their authority. Towner (1983, 47) described the varieties of halakhic discourse as follows.
Even though no complete catalogue of the stereotyped patterns of discourse found in early halakhic literature has been made, more than one hundred can readily be identified. These patterns are absolutely uniquitous [sic]. They cut across the literary genres of Mishnah and Midrash, as well as the entire range of subject matter with which these literatures deal. Furthermore, teachings attributed to authorities ranging in time from Hillel and Shammai down to the contemporaries of Rabbi, as well as unattributed teachings, are expressed in the same repertoire of halakhic patterns; in short, the patterns and formulae appear to have neither chronological, topical, nor individual affinities.
As a form (or collection of forms) of halakhic discourse, the halakhic dispute is pervasive in every order and tractate of the Mishnah (with the exception of tractate Avot) and the Tosefta.
A study of disputes that involve the SAGES should reveal the way the Mishnah and Tosefta construe them and their authority.
Jacob Neusner exposed the underlying dynamic of the dispute in his observation that “Nearly all disputes which dominate and characterize the rhetoric of the Mishnah derive from bringing diverse legal principles into juxtaposition and conflict” (1981, 266). This description, which applies to the Tosefta as well, seems tautological—after all, by their very nature, disputes involve juxtaposition and conflict—but his comment contains a significant insight. Neusner’s point was that the dispute is not the only possible manifestation of divergent legal principles in a system or culture. Disparate legal materials are not always brought together to highlight and explore their differences because the impetus to uncover inherent tensions in the legal system may be lacking. In tannaitic discourse, on the other hand, the presence of conflicting legal materials is pervasive.
Neusner’s observation that disputes involve both juxtaposition and conflict among diverse viewpoints highlights the two primary moves of Mishnaic and Toseftan disputes. In the tannaitic context, even the simplest juxtaposition of views, the simplest dispute form, involves some measure of conflict. On the most basic level, conflicting views are recorded. Often the conflict is unpacked to a degree, at times by the SAGES and one or individual, named sages and even over a period of several generations. Some disputes were resolved by the time of the Mishnah and Tosefta’s definitive redactions while others had not reached resolution.
Do tannaitic disputes reflect actual argumentation or have they been significantly reshaped or even constructed? Menahem Kahana (2005) carefully examined three tannaitic disputes for signs of editorial intervention. He observed that often the constituent elements of tannaitic disputes originated in other contexts and were stitched together with new redactional material, producing seams that are evident upon close analysis. Redactional activity most likely took place during the entire chain of transmission, from the inception of each piece of tradition to the agenda-driven activity of the definitive redactors.64 Kehana summarizes his research, םילוקוטורפ ןהב תוארל ןיאש דמיל תוקולחמה שולש לש הבוציע ךרדב ןויעה ירקיע לש תוינפ רסחו ילרטינ דועית אל ףא ,םימכחה ינויד לש םיקיודמו םיאלמ וא תשרופמה הערכהל ליבומכ ןתמהו אשמה לש תיתמגמ הגצה אלא ,חוכווה .וב הזומרה
This study in the way the three disputes were fashioned has taught us that we should not see in them complete and accurate minutes of the sages’ deliberations, not even a neutral and undistorted documentation of the main dispute, but an agenda-driven presentation of the give-and-take meant to lead to the explicit or implied decision (80).
It should not be concluded, however, that the Mishnah and Tosefta contain only terse, highly formulaic redactions of tannaitic disputes. At times the discourse is expansive, marked by extended reasoning (rather than terse assertions) and also true-to-life comments that do not serve a strict halakhic function. An example of this kind of dispute is found in T. Nedarim 6:5, which I quote in full.
A. A deceased childless brother’s widow awaiting levirite marriage, whether with a single levir or with two levirs—
B. R. Eliezer says, “He annuls her vows.”
C. R. Joshua says, “That is the case with one, but not with two.”
D. R. ’Aqiba says, “That is the case neither with one nor with two” [M. Nedarim
10:6A–D].
E. Said R. Eliezer, “Now in the case of a woman in whom I have no part before she enters my domain, once she enters my domain, she is wholly in my power [so that I may annul her vows], in the case of a woman in whom I have some part before she comes into my domain [in that the woman cannot marry anyone other than the levir in the event that her childless husband dies], once she enters my domain, is it not logical that she should be wholly in my power [so that I may annul her vows]?”
F. Said to him R. ’Aqiba, “No. If you have so stated matters in the case of a woman in whom I have no part before she comes into my domain, while once she enters my domain, she is wholly within my power, the fact is that, just as I have no part in her, so others have no part in her.
G. “But will you say the same of a woman in whom I have a part before she enters into my domain, and who, once she enters my domain, is wholly within my power? For just as I have a part in her, so others [= other Levirs at that point] have a part in her.”
H. Said to him R. Joshua, “Aqiba, your argument applies to a case of two levirs.
What will you reply in the case of one levir?”
I. He said to him, “Just as you have not made a distinction for us between a case in which there is a single levir and one in which there are two levirs,
J. “or in a case in which he bespoke the widow and one in which he did not bespeak the widow,
K. “so in the case of vows and oaths you should make no distinction.”
L. He said to him, “It would have been too bad for you had you been around in the time of R. Elaezar b. Arakh and given an answer of this sort!”
M. He said to R. Eliezer, “The case of an immersion pool will prove the matter as
I see it. It raises things which have become unclean from their status of uncleanness, but it does not rescue things which are clean from becoming unclean.”
N. R. Eliezer went and offered a different mode of argument, which is as follows:
“No. If in a situation in which he cannot annul his own vows once he has made them, lo, he has the power to annul his own vows before he has made them [by declaring them null in advance,] in a situation in which he may annul the vows of his wife once she has made them, is it not logical that he should be able to annul the vows of his wife before she makes them?”
O. They said to him, “Now if he is able to annul his own vows before he makes them, it is also true that if he wanted to confirm his vows [by actually making them], he also does confirm them.”
“But may he annul the vows of his wife before she actually vows? For if he wanted to confirm them [before she makes them], he has not got the power to do so.”
Even though this Toseftan passage is formulaic, each sage is permitted a broader range of expression and complexity of argument than in most tannaitic disputes. While 6:5 A.–D. (which also appears in the Mishnah), is typically brief, each sage using great economy of words to express his halakhic opinion, beginning at 6:5 E., the sages use complex arguments and banter back and forth. The comment at L. is particularly telling: “It would have been too bad for you had you been around in the time of R. Eleazer b. ‘Arakh and given an answer of this sort!” This is not an argument but a put-down. Yet R. ’Aqiba is not lured into trading barbs with R. Joshua. Instead, he addresses the halakhic issues from another angle. The entire passage shows evidence of redaction since the argument is laid out very carefully, but E.—O. is still more lifelike than the first four lines, A.–D.
It must be conceded that even the more extended and true-to-life Mishnaic or Toseftan disputes cannot be word-for-word accounts of actual disputes. Recorded tannaitic debates are normally brief summaries that communicate the essence of disputes. Opinions have been boiled down into terse assertions that are set in a formal structure. As Kahana pointed out, extraneous material has sometimes been introduced in order to further the redactors’ agenda or—in my view—to clarify the dispute. Small amounts of additional material have been authored and interpolated for the sake of clarity. The purpose and result of these interventions is a text that is concentrated (though more so in the Mishnah than in the Tosefta), teachable, and suited for memorization.
Kraemer (2006, 306) wrote that “the culture constructed by the mishnaic sages is a culture of dispute, one in which alternative opinions might be quoted, although some general rule might say that they are irrelevant in practice . . . One might even say that the lack of clear direction is consonant with the Mishnah’s intent, since rules for adjudication, even where they exist, are rarely quoted and almost never explicitly applied. It is more important for the Mishnah in such cases that the disputes be preserved. The variety of views, apparently, is meant to be studied and explored.”
Kraemer’s fundamental observation—that the tannaitic sages inherited a culture of dispute—is certainly correct. I am aware of no scholarly opinion asserting that the redactor(s) of the Mishnah originated the dispute form, though they were apparently very adept at condensing and sharpening existing disputes. The presence of disputes in every historical level of tannaitic discourse leads one to conclude that dispute forms were the characteristic way the social network of sages transmitted its disputes. As long as such altered or manufactured disputes reflected the values of the social network of sages, it is easy to imagine that they were accepted for what they are: not the ipsissima verba of rabbinic disputes but representations of much more extensive oral argumentation and amalgamations of opinions that were known in the network of sages.
Following Neusner, it is clear that halakhic disputes are the tannaitic expression of divergent legal principles in structured conflict. However other religious and legal cultures handle such conflict, the tannaitic impulse was to express conflict openly. This is the foremost reason why the Mishnah should not be considered a legal code. Although disputes precede the setting of legal norms, legal codes, at least as we know them, record law that is the product of tradition, the outcome of dispute, or the ruling of governing authorities. Disputes were the Tannaim’s way of representing their deliberations rather than a codification of norms.

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Categories of Dispute

In the remainder of this chapter, I will lay out a basic typology of tannaitic disputes that will be used in the discussion of parallel disputes in the remainder of this thesis. For this purpose, I delineate three primary varieties of dispute: (1) unresolved disputes involving named sages; (2) disputes resolved with anonymous material; and (3) disputes involving the SAGES.
(1) Unresolved Disputes Involving Named Sages (1A) Simple unresolved disputes involving named sages
These disputes are expressed as simple disagreements in the form “X says A, but Y says non-A”; reasons for the opposing opinions are not spelled out. There is no development of positions, merely the stating of opinions. No authority decides between the opinions.
M. Berakhot 2:3 C.–E.
C. If he recited [the Shema] but did not enunciate the letters—
D. R. Yose says, “He fulfilled his obligation.”
E. R. Juday says, “He did not fulfill his obligation.”
T. Berakhot 8:5 A.–B.
A. The House of Shammai say, “[The order of blessings at the conclusion of the Sabbath is] lamp, meal, spices, and havdalah.”
B. The House of Hillel say, “Lamp, spices, meal, and havdalah.”
T. Menahot 9:20 A–D
A. What is invalid in the case of the candelabrum is valid in the case of the trumpet. What is invalid in the case of the trumpet is valid in the case of the candelabrum.
B. [One made] of tin, lead, assiterum, or of metal—
C. Rabbi [Judah haNasi] declares invalid.
D. And R. Yose bar Judah declares valid.
The literary structures or contexts of these disputes do not give any indication that one opinion is privileged over another. They remain in tension. In such disputes, the authority that the individual sages exercise in judicial or teaching settings has no bearing on the ultimate disposition of the dispute. Even though a sage be of great repute as a judge or scholar, his opinion is no more authoritative than that of any other sage in the context of disputes.
(1B) Unresolved disputes involving named sages that continue for several steps
These disputes are more complex than those in the previous category; there is some give-and-
take between the individual sages. Their positions are developed more fully. Even so, no authority decides between the opinions.
M. Parah 9:4
A. He who forms the intention concerning purification water [saying he plans] to drink it—
B. R. Eliezer says, “He has rendered it unfit [by mere intent].”
C. R. Joshua says, “[He only renders it unfit] when he will turn it up [in order to actually to drink. But mere intent does not spoil the water.]”
D. Said R. Yose, “Under what circumstances? In the case of water which is not [yet] mixed.”
E. But in the case of water which is [in fact] mixed—
F. R. Eliezer says, “When he will turn it up.”
G. R. Joshua says, “When he will drink it.”
H. “And if he poured it into his throat [without actually touching the flask to his mouth], it is fit.”
T. Kelim Bava Batra 6:8
A. [A piece of cloth] less than three-by-three [hand-breadths] which one arranged to stop up a hole in a bathhouse, or to empty out a pot, or to wipe off the millstones—
B. R. Joshua says, “ ‘[If] it is kept in readiness, it is unclean,’ ” [according to] the words of R. Meir.
C. R. Judah says, “R. Eliezer says, ‘Whether it is kept in readiness or not kept in readiness, it is unclean.’”
D. “R. Joshua says, ‘Whether it is kept in readiness or not kept in readiness, it is clean.’”
E. “R. Aqiba says, ‘[If] it is kept in readiness, it is unclean, and [if] it is not kept in readiness, it is clean.’ ”
As in category 1A, there are no structural or contextual clues to tell us which opinion prevails. Even though the positions of the individual sages has been developed more fully than in category 1A, because the reasons for the opposing opinions are not spelled out, the underlying structure and the outcome remains the same: viewpoints are juxtaposed but none is privileged.
(1C) Disputes involving named sages that include supporting rationales In this category, the inclusion of supporting arguments made by individual sages exposes the underlying structure of their opinions and thus develops their positions more fully than in Type 1A and 1B disputes. No authoritative voice enters to resolve the dispute. However, in this category, some disputes are considered to be resolved if the rationale underlying a supporting argument is used to support an authoritative ruling in a similar dispute elsewhere in the tannaitic corpus.
T. Kelim Bava Metzia 8:4
E. [If the frame of the bed and the cradle] is tied with ropes and does not have legs—
F. R. Meir and R. Judah declare unclean.
G. R. Yose and R. Simeon declare clean, for one does not make use of the object itself.
In this passage, the issue is whether bed materials (the frame and cradle of the bed), that have become ritually unclean remain so under the conditions specified in D. The opinion held by both R. Meir and R. Judah—that they remain unclean—is stated without explanation.
The opinion of R. Yose and R. Simeon—that they are now ritually clean—is supported by the rationale that, under these circumstances, the remaining portions of the bed are no longer used as a bed. Taken as a singular assertion, this does not seem to be a convincing argument.
From the perspective of literary structure, the position of R. Yose and R. Simeon’s opinion and its rationale at the conclusion of the dispute gives it stronger valence lacking in the middle position of R. Meir and R. Judah’s opinion, which is also weakened by the lack of a rationale. However, taken in its broader Toseftan (and tannaitic) context, the rationale introduced by R. Yose and R. Simeon is decisive if its underlying assertion (that the item is no longer used as a bed) is true. This is because beds are included among “utensils” (םילכ), which, when no longer suitable for the use for which they were made, are not susceptible to, and do not carry, uncleanness. Such items are, in fact, no longer considered םילכ (see M. Kelim 3:3––וילעמ ילכ םשׁ לטבשׁ ינפמ: “they cancel the name ‘vessel’ from it”).
Because of the terseness of D. and E., it seems at first that this is a dispute along the lines of category 1B. However, it turns out to be an argument about the application of an accepted halakhic principle to this particular subject. Since R. Meir and R. Judah do not respond to the rationale of R. Yose and R. Simeon, the latter have won the dispute. It turns out, then, that this is not an undecided dispute, but one that only appears to be undecided when taken out of its larger context. The following dispute does remain unresolved:
M. Bava Metzia 3:7
A. He who deposits produce with his fellow –
B. lo, this one [the one who guarded the deposit, when he returns it] may exact reductions [from the owner due to natural depletion of the produce]:
C. (1) for wheat and rice, nine qabs and a half for a kor;
D. (2) for barley and durra, nine qabs to a qor;
E. (3) for spelt and linseed, three seahs to a qor.
F. All is relative to the quantity, all is relative to the time [it has been kept].
G. Said R. Yohanan b. Nuri,”But what difference [does that make] to the mice? Will they not eat [the same] whether from a large quantity or small?
H. “But he may not exact from the owner the stated reductions
I. except from a single kor alone.”
J. R. Judah says, “If it was a large volume of produce, he may not exact from the owner the stated reductions,
K. “for it increases [in bulk during storage].”
Note that when the initial opinion of a dispute is anonymous, as here, subsequent tradition assigns it to “Tanna Qamma” (“the first Tanna” in the dispute).66 Thus, tradition assigns it to an individual sage. It is reasonable to assume that opinions are sometimes passed on without attribution, the speaker’s name having been lost, or for some reason his name is not recorded. However, since most opinions are attributed to individual sages or to the SAGES, there would have to have been a strong rationale for intentionally removing a sage’s name from his opinion. It seems more likely that anonymous opinions (in contrast with anonymous glosses) represent the consensus on a particular matter. Although the opinion may have originated with a single sage, that origin plays no role in the dispute. The anonymous opinion is a baseline for the rest of the discourse.
The dispute in M. Bava Metzia 3:7 rests on the premise that the quantity of produce held by a guardian decreases over time, perhaps being eaten by rodents. The guardian pays a standard rate for the depletion, based on quantity and time. R. Yohanan maintains that quantity is irrelevant, since mice (apparently the main source of produce depletion) will eat the same amount, regardless of the quantity of produce. R. Yehudah claims that losses are not deducted because the size of a large amount of produce will increase during storage anyway.
R. Yehudah’s opinion and its underlying rationale seem weak because they rest on a possibility, rather than a probability or certainty, that the size of a large amount of produce increases during storage. Later commentators conjecture that the produce may have puffed up with moisture or been mixed with other produce, so that its precise quantity can no longer be measured (see Kehati, 1994d, Bava Metzia, 54). R. Yohanan, however, has a reasonable point: it should not be assumed that mice will eat more from a larger quantity of produce than of a small quantity.
As things stand, this dispute is unresolved. There is also nothing in the surrounding disputes that would help determine the outcome. Therefore, the anonymous opinion and R. Yohanan’s seem to stand on equal footing while R. Yehuda’s opinion awaits firm evidence that a large quantity of produce increases over time.

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(2) Disputes Resolved with Anonymous Material

A significant amount of Mishnaic and Toseftan material is not attributed to named sages or to the SAGES as a group. In the context of the sages’ social network, the insertion of such material may have been a daring move. Those who added anonymous material needed both a highly nuanced sense of what was acceptable to the network and a willingness to take the risk that newly minted material might be rejected. Thus, even though one cannot discount the presence of constructed material, the acceptance of both Mishnah and Tosefta (to differing degrees, to be sure) indicates that the halakhah of these works was not noticeably affected by the insertion of such material in their definitive redaction.67
Anonymous material is often found in blocks (e.g, M. Ketubot 1:1-5) and forms the framework of much Mishnaic and Toseftan discourse. For example, M. Yevamot, a lengthy tractate, is composed of substantial blocks of anonymous material interspersed with individual sages’ dissent or their elucidation and elaboration of the anonymous material. In the first four chapters of M. Yevamot there are 289 steps of discourse (in Neusner’s outline), only seven of which consist of individual sages’ opinions, and thirty-six are small blocks of dispute. This is by no means a scientific sampling of the Mishnah, but simply intended to show the influential role that anonymous material can play in its discourse. 68
A full chapter, M. Eruvin 1, may be taken as an example of the way anonymous material sometimes serves as the framework of tannaitic discourse. I have put the words of named sages and the SAGES in italic typeface to distinguish them from anonymous text.69
m. Eruvin 1
1.1 A. [The crossbeam above] an alley entry which is higher than twenty cubits must be diminished [in height].
R. Judah says, “It is not necessary.”
And [the alley entry] of a breadth [wider] than ten cubits must be diminished [in breadth].
And if it has the shape of a doorway, even though it is wider than ten cubits
it is not necessary to diminish it.
1:2 A. The validation of an alley entry [for carrying objects on the Sabbath], the House of Shammai say, “[It must have] a sidepost and a crossbeam.” And the House of Hillel say, “A sidepost or a crossbeam.”
R. Eliezer says, “Two sideposts.”
In the name of R. Ishmael and a certain disciple before R. Aqiba, “The house of Shammai and the House of Hillel did not dispute concerning an alley entry which is less than four cubits wide, that it [is validated] either by a sidepost or by a crossbeam.
Concerning what did they dispute?
Concerning one which is broader than four cubits, up to ten cubits.
For: The House of Shammai say,”A sidepost and a crossbeam.”
And the House of Hillel say, “A sidepost or a crossbeam.”
Said Aqiba,“Concerning both this case and that case did they dispute.”
1:3 A. The crossbeam of which they70 spoke—[it should be] wide [enough] to hold a half-brick.
And the half-brick is the half of a brick of three hand-breadths.
It is sufficient for the crossbeam to be a hand-breath wide, [enough] to hold a half-brick lengthwise.
1:4 A. It [the crossbeam] should be wide enough a half-brick, B. and strong enough to hold a half-brick.
C. R. Judah says, “[It should be] wide enough [to hold a half-brick] even though it is not sufficiently strong.
1.5 A. “[If] it was of straw or reeds, they regard it as if it were made with metal.” B. [If it was] curved, they regard it as if it were straight.
C. [If it was] round, they regard it as if it were square.
D. Whatever is three handbreadths in circumference is a handbreath in width.
1:6 A. The side-posts of which they spoke—their height must be ten handbreadths.
B. And their breadth and thickness may be in any measure at all.
C. R. Yose says, “Their breadth must be three handbreaths.”
1:7 A. With any sort of material do they make sideposts.
B. and even something which is animate.
C. And R. Yose prohibits [using an animate object].
D. And it [something animate used to cover up the entrance of a tomb] imparts uncleanness as a sealing stone.
E. But R. Meir declares it clean [when used for that purpose].
F. And they write on it writs of divorce for women.
G. And R. Yose the Galilean declares it unclean [when used for that purpose].
1:8 A. A caravan which encamped in a valley, and which [the travellers] surrounded with a fence made out of cattle yokes –
B. they carry [things] about in it
C. on condition that the fence be ten handbreaths high,
D. and there not be breaks [in the fence] larger than the built-up parts. E. Any break [in the fence] which is about ten cubits wide is permitted,
F. because it is tantamount to a doorway.
G. [But a break in the fence] which is larger than that it is? prohibited.
1.9 A. They surround [the camp] with three ropes one above the other.
B. On condition that there not be between one rope and the next [a distance of] three handbreadths.
C. The size of the ropes must be so that their thickness is more than a handbreadth.
D. so that the whole will be ten handbreadths high.
1:10 A. They surround [the camp] with reeds,
B. on condition that there not be between one reed and the next three hand-breadths [of empty space],
C.“And they spoke specifically of the case of a caravan [at rest],” the words of R. Judah.
D. And the SAGES say, “They spoke of a caravan only because of prevailing conditions.”
E. “Any partition which is not of warp and woof is no partition,” the words of R. Yose b. R. Judah.
F. And the SAGES say, “One of the two [is sufficient].”
G. Four matters did they declare exempt [from liability] in a [military] camp:
(1) They gather wood from any location.
(2) And they are exempt from the requirement of washing hands [before eating]:
(3) and from the laws concerning doubtfully tithed produce;
(4) and from the requirement to prepare an eruv [to join several tents together so that things may be carried between tents on the Sabbath].
The sages named in this passage flourished in the first three tannaitic generations. Apart from 1:2, which is a self-contained unit with both attributed and anonymous text, the elimination of words attributed to named sages (and to the SAGES) would not affect the coherence of the chapter at all. Likewise, the additional elimination of 1:2 would not affect the chapter’s coherence. Here is the way M. Eruvin reads without 1:2 and attributed opinions:
1.1 A. [The crossbeam above] an alley entry which is higher than twenty cubits must be diminished [in height].
C. And [the alley entry] of a breadth [wider] than ten cubits must be diminished [in breadth].
D. And if it has the shape of a doorway,
E. even though it is wider than ten cubits
F. it is not necessary to diminish it.
1:3 A. The crossbeam of which they spoke—[it should be] wide [enough] to hold a half-brick.
B. And the half-brick is the half of a brick of three hand-breadths.
C. It is sufficient for the crossbeam to be a hand-breath wide, [enough] to hold a half-brick lengthwise.
1:4 A. It [the crossbeam] should be wide enough a half-brick,
B. and strong enough to hold a half-brick.
1.5 A. “[If] it was of straw or reeds, they regard it as if it were made with metal.” B. [If it was] curved, they regard it as if it were straight.
C. [If it was] round, they regard it as if it were square.
D. Whatever is three handbreadths in circumference is a handbreath in width.
1:6 A. The side-posts of which they spoke—their height must be ten handbreadths.
B. And their breadth and thickness may be in any measure at all.
1:7 A. With any sort of material do they make sideposts.
B. and even something which is animate.
D. And it [something animate used to cover up the entrance of a tomb] imparts uncleanness as a sealing stone.
F. And they write on it writs of divorce for women.
1:8 A. A caravan which encamped in a valley, and which [the travellers] surrounded with a fence made out of cattle yokes –
B. they carry [things] about in it
C. on condition that the fence be ten handbreaths high,
D. and there not be breaks [in the fence] larger than the built-up parts.
E. Any break [in the fence] which is about ten cubits wide is permitted,
F. because it is tantamount to a doorway.
G. [But a break in the fence] which is larger than that it prohibited.
1.9 A. They surround [the camp] with three ropes one above the other.
B. On condition that there not be between one rope and the next [a distance of] three handbreadths.
C. The size of the ropes must be so that their thickness is more than a handbreadth.
D. so that the whole will be ten handbreadths high.
1:10 A. They surround [the camp] with reeds,
B. on condition that there not be between one reed and the next three hand-
breadths [of empty space], . . .
G. Four matters did they declare exempt [from liability] in a [military] camp:
(1) They gather wood from any location.
(2) And they are exempt from the requirement of washing hands [before eating]:
(3) and from the laws concerning doubtfully tithed produce;
(4) and from the requirement to prepare an eruv [to join several tents together so that things may be carried between tents on the Sabbath].

CONTENTS
Acknowledgements 
Introduction 
Chapter One – The Tannaitic Milieu: Mishnaic and Toseftan Material in the Halakhic Midrashim
Chapter Two – The Mishnah and Tosefta Relationship Viewed from the Talmudic Era to the Present
Chapter Three – Tannaitic Dispute Forms 
Chapter Four – Analysis of a SAGES Parallel 
Chapter Five – SAGES Parallels in Mishnah and Tosefta Seder Mo’ed 
Chapter Six – Views of the Authority of the SAGES 
Chapter Seven – The SAGES as a Literary Construct: Authority and the Role of Rational Analysis
Bibliography
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