Who Thinks in the Talmud?
Abstract This article traces a historical shift, and in particular its erasure from memory on the intellectual map of the West, in concepts of subjectivity across practices of rabbinic thinking in late antiquity, medieval interpretations of the Talmud, and modern talmudic scholarship. I first introduce a comparative perspective that relies on a mutual hermeneutics of philosophical and talmudic traditions. I consequently engage with Alain de Libera’s archaeological analysis of the birth of the thinking subject in medieval philosophy and theology. In this light, I analyze the role of the notion of the thinking subject in construing the Talmud from Maimonides to contemporary Talmud criticism. Finally, I explore the implications of de Libera’s program of a philosophical archaeology of the thinking subject for mapping the complex relationship of mutual presupposition and exclusion between philosophical, rhetorical, and talmudic traditions of thinking in antiquity, as manifested in the larger scope of these traditions.
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