This article suggests a new reading of some traditions, sayings, and anecdotes in the Babylonian Talmud attributed to four sages who lived between the middle of the third and the beginning of the fourth century CE, arguing that they should be identified as travelers’ tales. These four sages are portrayed in our sources as travelers and transmitters of Torah knowledge who traveled between the two main centers of Torah study, in Babylonia and in the Land of Israel. By assigning to them tales drawn from the wide well of travelers’ tales, created and told on the Eastern trade routes, by the Talmudic editors, these traveling sages became a link in the wide net of transmission of travelers’ tales.
The Nehutei as Traveling Agents and Transmitters of Cultural Data between the Torah Study Centers in Babylonia and in the Land of Israel during the Third and Fourth Centuries CE
Tziona Grossmark is a professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies, Tel Hai College, Upper Galilee, Israel. She chaired the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies from 1999 to 2003, and served as dean of the faculty from 2006 to 2010. She teaches Jewish history of the Roman and Byzantine periods. Her research interests focus on daily life during the late Roman and Byzantine periods. Currently, she is focusing on daily life as represented in Talmudic literature and travelers’ stories in the Talmud. She is the author of Travelers Narratives in Rabbinic Literature: Voyages to Imaginary Realms (Edwin Mellen Press, 2010).
Tziona Grossmark; The Nehutei as Traveling Agents and Transmitters of Cultural Data between the Torah Study Centers in Babylonia and in the Land of Israel during the Third and Fourth Centuries CE. Mediterranean Studies 16 November 2015; 23 (2): 125–148. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/mediterraneanstu.23.2.0125
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