10 January 2006

Finishing Up An Article

Although, as mentioned previously, I composed my Talmudic Sleep Ethics article already, this evening, I spent/am spending some further time on adjusting a part or two of the paper. Although I really ought to comb it over a few more times, I really should resubmit it (I had submitted it previously, but I was allowed to work it over a little further), as the initial deadline has passed. (If you would like to submit an article for consideration for Milin Havivin, you can e-mail it to milinhavivin@gmail.com.) Anyways, I thought I would post my first footnote (a note on the title, FYI), as it is semi-introductory, as well as a little bit of a critique of my (now published!) Biblical Sleep Ethic paper, albeit a restrained critique of my earlier work.

As to titling this paper with the word “ethics,” rather than “ethic,” I am pointing to the multiple perspectives among the sages regarding the approach for one to sleep, as there is a span of several centuries among the sages and somewhat of a lack of uniformity among them about how to sleep, as “we should not expect to find in the literature of Rabbinic Judaism one single all-encompassing, comprehensive, systematic scheme in these matters. After all, ‘the Rabbis’ consisted of very many individual personages whose lives spanned hundreds of years and who lived in two greatly disparate geographical areas, Israel and Babylon” (Chaim Milikowsky, “Trajectories of Return, Restoration and Redemption in Rabbinic Judaism: Elijah, the Messiah, the War of Gog and the World To Come,” in Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives, ed. James M. Scott [Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2001], p. 265). Nevertheless, there is somewhat of a historical canonization of earlier statements which get adopted over time in terms of developing a common sleep ethic.

For a look at Biblical sleep ethics, the reader may refer to my “In Your Lying Down and In Your Rising Up: A Biblical Sleep Ethic,” Jewish Bible Quarterly 34:1 (January–March 2006), pp. 47-50. While it is not a critical approach towards the subject, nor does it distinguish between the various works and their authors as to their individual views upon the matter, it does serve to give one a basic understanding of Biblical sleep ethics. However, inasmuch as the rabbis look toward the Bible for their approach to living a Jewish life, they really only draw from a few verses (Deut. 6:7 and 11:19, and Ps. 4:5 and 149:6) about how to go about sleep.

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