02 November 2006

My First Attempt at a Critical Text

My first attempt at a critical text: a small סוגיא (section) of Niddah 67b. Since I did not provide a translation there in that MS Word file, I will translate the section into English (as opposed to Slotski's Vilna printed edition-based translation) here.
Rav Idi, son of Avin, established in Narash to immerse on the eighth day, because of lions [being around at night].
Rav Aha, son of Ya'akov, [established the same] in Fafunia, because of robbers/thieves [at night time].
Rav Yehudah [established the same] in Pumbedisa, because of the cold [nights].
Rava [established the same] in Mehoza, because of the closing of the gates [at nighttime].
Rav Papa said to Rava: Since, nowadays, all of them are considered to be possible zavos, let them immerse themselves in the day.
He said to him: Because of Rabbi Shime'on, as it is taught....


Anonymous said...

Are you saying that as a rabbinical student, you are learning your first piece of Gemara on your own???

Anonymous said...

no what he is saying that this is his first attempt at a critical analysis; manuscript comparison. learn to read something carefully before jumping to conclusions.

jl said...

Manuscript comparison is insufficient (especially for niddah where there is no diqduqe soferim). You have to go through all of the rishonim and establish who had what girsa. especially important are alfasi and behag, among others. E.g. see niddah 66a and this different spellings of the placename where R. Judah ha-Nasi's taqqanah was made. Medieval midrashic compilations citing niddah texts are also very important - pirke rabbenu ha-qadosh in its various recensions comes to mind for niddah ch. 2 - as well as checking all of the parallel gemarot and all of the girsaot there. E.g. the gemara in Bekorot parallel to 67a top. More important than assembling all of the different girsaot is determining who had what reading (if not apparent from their commentary) and trying to find out WHERE certain girsaot were prevalent. e.g. did spanish rishonim had one text, while germans had another... Also, was there one text in one locale or were many texts floating around (as was often the case in medieval rhineland).Just collecting random different girsaot does not require any skill and does not a critical text make, though it is a partial first step. good luck.

Drew_Kaplan said...

I'm pretty surprised that the 1st anonymous said what he or she said, but we'll just ignore that, as the latter anonymous has responded.
It's pretty clear that, notwithstanding various girsaos in the Vilna printed edition of Rif's commentary, as well as other rishonim who had this or that girsa, Rabbi did what he did in the fields (along with a number of other things, as pointed out to me by Shai Secunda in his upcoming doctoral dissertation).
Nevertheless, I thank you for your comments, as it is true, it is important to check the various editions of the rishonim, etc. and, where available, parallel sugyas (although for this text, there is none).
Also, I just wanted to point out it's also important to check to see if one place in the gemarra is the original text (the locus classicus of it) and another is just quoting it, etc.