Download Traditions of Controversy (Controversies, Volume 4) by Marcelo Dascal; Han-Liang Chang PDF

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By Marcelo Dascal; Han-Liang Chang

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Going the route of proposing radically alternative frameworks may force an examination of the rivals’ epistemological – or even their ideological – foundations, but that route may have to pay a high price in terms of the difficulties of winning acceptability. The history of Greek science suggests that many of those foundational disputes were dead ends, even if some were to be the occasion of revivals that were fraught with significance for later European thought. But the history of Chinese astronomy, for instance, illustrates how investigations may develop even in the absence of a concern with foundations.

BGitin 6b R. Eviatar, a certain not particularly prominent Sage, issued a legal ruling. This passage addresses the question of his authority. To establish R. Eviatar’s authority, one of the Sages discussing the matter introduces an episode in which R. Eviatar figures. The episode relates a controversy between R. Eviatar and one of his colleagues, R. Jonathan, concerning the historical facts pertaining to the biblical story of the concubine at Gibeah (Judges 19). Her master’s wrath having been incited, the concubine, described as having “played the harlot”, fled, whereupon he went after her to bring her home.

But [should you think] that just as a goad is movable, so the words of the Torah are movable, therefore Scripture says: “nails”. But [should you think] that just as a nail diminishes by being driven in, and does not increase, so too the words of the Torah diminish, and do not increase, therefore Scripture says: “well planted”; just as a plant grows and increases, so the words of the Torah grow and increase. “Masters of assemblies” refers to the scholars (talmidei hakhamim) who sit in various assemblies and apply themselves to the Torah; some deem a matter impure, others deem it pure, some prohibit, others permit, some disqualify, others declare fit.

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