Scholars who are engaged in any of the disciplines that require dealing with rabbinic literature are aware of the various methodological problems and obstacles facing the study of these sources. Topics such as the historical background, the dating of the various rabbinic compilations, the interrelations between the texts, the attribution of sayings to certain sages, issues of editing and textual criticism, and the question of whether there is rabbinic biography, to name just a few, are topics not only of scholarly study, but also of controversy and debate.1 One of the topics that has long involved Talmudic scholarship, and in which “great progress was made in recent years,” is the study of rabbinic narratives within the Late Antique cultural context.2 Numerous scholarly books and articles deal with the context of rabbinic literature within Jewish society or against the background of the Roman-Byzantine or Persian cultures.3 In addition...

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