Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Sages and Commoners in Late Antique 'Erez Israel: A Philological Inquiry into Local Traditions in Talmud Yerushalmi
Miller, Stuart S.

TŁbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006 pp. xiii + 554. Ä124.00

Description: Stuart S. Miller addresses a number of issues in the history of talmudic Palestine that are at the center of contemporary scholarly debate about the role rabbis played in society. In sharp contrast to recent claims that the rabbis were a relatively small and insular group with little influence, this book demonstrates that their movement was both more expansive and diffuse than a mere counting of named rabbis suggests. It also underscores some of the dynamics that allowed rabbinic circles to spread their teachings and to ultimately consolidate into an effective and productive movement. Many overlooked terms and passages in which rabbis and the members of their circles appear in the Talmud Yerushalmi are investigated, and special attention is given to the identity of persons who are collectively referred to after their places of residence ("Tiberians," "Sepphoreans," "Southerners," etc.) While the results confirm the insular nature of the interests of the rabbis, they also point to the definition and coherence that this insularity provided their movement. Therein lies the secret of the "success" of rabbinic Judaism, which never depended upon sheer numbers but rather on the internal strength and sense of purpose of rabbinic circles. Subjects that are considered include: rabbinic "households," the identity of the ammei ha-arez and their relationship to the rabbis, village sages and their connection to urban rabbis, and the venue of rabbinic "teachings," "instructions," "expositions," "pronouncements," and stories.

Subjects: Bible, Mishnah, Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature, Mishnah and Talmud, Literature

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBLís login procedure is now synched to SBLís. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBLís Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

Review by Joshua Schwartz
Published 1/24/2009
Citation: Joshua Schwartz, review of Stuart S. Miller, Sages and Commoners in Late Antique 'Erez Israel: A Philological Inquiry into Local Traditions in Talmud Yerushalmi, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2009).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us