In this book, Lynn Kaye examines how rabbis of late antiquity thought about time through their legal reasoning and storytelling, and what these insights mean for thinking about time today. Providing close readings of legal and narrative texts in the Babylonian Talmud, she compares temporal ideas with related concepts in ancient and modern philosophical texts and in religious traditions from late antique Mesopotamia. Kaye demonstrates that temporal flexibility in the Babylonian Talmud is a means of exploring and resolving legal uncertainties, as well as a tool to tell stories that convey ideas effectively and dramatically. Her book, the first on time in the Talmud, makes accessible complex legal texts and philosophical ideas. It also connects the literature of late antique Judaism with broader theological and philosophical debates about time.
Time in the Babylonian Talmud: Natural and Imaged Times in Jewish Law and Narrative
Lynn Kaye’s Time in the Babylonian Talmud explores the complex concepts of time as seen by the rabbis of late antiquity. It is an important work in that it is the first book length study of time in the Talmud. Kaye delves into the details of time through an examination of narrative tradition, legal tradition, and homiletical interpretation. She adroitly and comprehensively moves beyond the question of whether there was a concept of time in the Babylonian Talmud to explore the philosophy of time and its articulation in a modern construct. Kaye’s work makes the world of time and its philosophical basis accessible to a wide audience.
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