Do ubiquitous modes of thought (types of analysis, types of argumentation) pervade the entire corpus of the Rabbinic writings of late antiquity and impart coherence to those diverse documents? Here are the results of a systematic probe of representative Halakhic and Aggadic documents in search of the answer to that question. The result is limited but one-sided: the answer is yes, they do. The inquiry proves urgent, because the bases for supposing the Rabbinic documents coalesce have diminished, and the differences between and among the respective documents have made their mark. The book asks whether, however diverse, all of the documents conform to a single, determinate program of  analysis and  argumentation. Do they raise in common a set of questions that are ubiquitous, and do they pursue a uniform inquiry, whatever the data subject to study? Further, does a single protocol of argumentation dictate the means by which analytical propositions are advanced and tested? If they do, then Rabbinic Judaism finds coherence in shared intellectual traits. These, then, would serve to define the foundations for the construction of all components into the Rabbinic system and structure.
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard. He also is a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, and Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England.
Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 A Preliminary Probe: Types of Analysis in Tractate Moed Qatan: Moed Qatan, Chapter One; Moed Qatan, Chapter Two Chapter 4 A Secondary Probe: Types of Analysis in Select Tractates: Qiddushin, Abodah Zarah: Qiddushin; Abodah Zarah Chapter 5 Types of Analysis in Selected Midrash Compilations: Genesis Rabbah; Leviticus Rabbah; Sifre to Numbers Chapter 6 A Preliminary Probe: Types of Argumentation in Tractate Moed Qatan: Moed Qatan Chapter One; Moed Qatan Chapter Two Chapter 7 A Secondary Probe: Types of Argumentation in Select Tractates: Qiddushin, Abodah Zarah: Qiddushin; Abodah Zarah; Dialectical versus Non-Dialectical Arguments Chapter 8 Types of Argument, Authentic and Inauthentic, in Midrash-Compilations: Genesis Rabbah; Leviticus Rabbah; Sifre to Numbers