Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search by multiple inventory points or book comparison
Full Inventory point list:
 
45 books found
 
     
Mishnah (Mishnah as a whole) (Researcher: Alexander Samely):
Note: The profile for this book is under construction.
Selected Inventory point(s):
1.1 [For Mishnah Tamid only: The text refers to itself as verbal entity (with implied or explicit boundaries).]

Full profile (Bibliography at the bottom):
1.1 [For Mishnah Tamid only: The text refers to itself as verbal entity (with implied or explicit boundaries).]

1.1.1 [For Mishnah Tamid only: The text refers to itself using a genre term, speech act term, verb or other term implying verbal constitution:]

1.1.2 [For Mishnah Tamid only: The text speaks of itself as dealing with an overall theme (subject matter) or purpose, or as consisting of coordinated parts making a whole.]

1.1.5 Important text witnesses attest to a heading which is not integrated with the body of the text or with any introductory frame, implying one or more of the kinds of information under 1.1.1–4: On the page before the text of the first Tractate begins, ms. Parma Biblioteca Palatina, 3173 (de Rossi 138) has a heading (in a different hand from the main text, it seems) that mentions the title of the whole: "This is the Mishnah of six orders..." (זאת המשנה מששה סדרים ...); the text-preceding page in ms. Kaufmann has (in a different hand from the beginning of Berakhot): "Mishnayot of six orders" (משניות שתא סדרי), partly in Aramaic. On the page where the text itself begins, manuscripts Kaufmann and Parma have no heading, but start immediately with "From what time..." (mBer 1:1). Genizah Fragment Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, TS , TS E2.4, has a heading on the same page as the beginning of mBer which reads (next to a scribal formula of beginning): "First order zera'im [Bera]khot first chapter", in Aramaic. At the end of Uqtsin, Kaufmann has numerical information on chapter numbers in the Order Toharot (named), and speaks of the end of "The six orders of the Mishnah" (שיתא סיד(ר)י משנה, in Aramaic). Ms. Parma has the numerical information, and mentions the name of the Tractate Uqtsin and that of the others in the order Toharot (so named), but no title of the larger work. For the role of "orders" in the title, and the age of titles of individual Tractates, see Stemberger, Introduction, pp. 118–9.

1.2 [For Mishnah Sanhedrin only: The text presents its internal sequence of sentences (or larger parts) as mirroring the objective relationships of components in the projected world (an objective order), or projects its subject matter as self-limiting (5.3.). See further under 5.2 here and the Profile of mSan.]

1.4 The text signals its parts or boundaries only by implicit contrast or by some other implicit signal (1.1./2 do not apply):

1.4.1 A contrasting theme appears at the beginning or at what turns out to be a boundary/end point in the text: while the Tractates in the first Order are mostly concerned with norms arising from agricultural practice, the Order begins with a Tractate on liturgical matters, Berakhot (dealing with the the Shema', the Eighteen Benedictions, meal benedictions, including those linked to consuming produce, and occasional benedictions). In other words, the Tractate's positioning may give it a vaguely ‘introductory’ function. (While this sequence is well attested, it should be noted that the Tractate is found at the end of Order Mo’ed, after Mo’ed Qatan, in manuscript Munich of the Babylonian Talmud.) The final Tractate of the final Order in the conventional sequence, Mishnah Uqtsin, ends, like a number of other individual Tractates within the Mishnah (see individual Profiles under 1.4.1), with a contrasting thematic unit which is not normative, and which involves a comforting prediction of the future, stressing the importance of "peace" (shalom). This provides a fairly obvious closure to the Tractate itself, but could also, albeit more ambiguously, be meant to be an implicit end-signal for the whole of the Mishnah. If so, it is comparatively weak, because it is very brief and thus has no real textual weight at the end of the massive entity that is the Mishnah. This in particular if one compares it with the possible opening signal, constituted by the placement of a whole Tractate, Berakhot. It may be worth noting here that mAvot, a wholly exceptional Tractate by virtue of its theme, may have marked in some transmission branches the end-point of either those Tractates that were studied in the Talmud academies as containing workable norms (if its original position is at the end of the fourth Order), or of the Mishnah as a whole in a sequence of Orders where Neziqin came last (see Stemberger, Introduction, p. 120; 118 f.). In such a constellation, mAvot would have produced a formal 1.4.1 counterpart to mBerakhot.

1.4.2 A sentence/small unit with a contrasting form from those used in the co-text appears at the beginning or at what turns out to be a boundary/end point in the text: a number of Mishnah Tractates, including the final one mUqtsin 3:12, end with an explicit biblical quotation combined with a comment (a midrashic unit), thus creating a tacit contrast with the foregoing. As with respect to the preceding point, it is perfectly possible that mUqtsin is here merely a representative of a trend for individual Tractates, rather than meant to provide a contrast on the level of the Mishnah as a whole. An explanation of all all midrashic units at the end of Mishnah Tractates is found in Samely, Database, search term "tractate-final" under "formal features". A list of all Tractates in this Database which have the feature 1.4.2 will be found by using "Book list with given Inventory point".

1.5 The text presents a certain homogeneousness of form and/or contents, without claiming or projecting boundedness, and without being unified by a poetic or rhetorical form (i.e. 1.1, 1.2. and form-bounding points under 3 do not apply).

1.5.1 Across almost all Tractates: There is a limited inventory of small forms which recur in a linear juxtaposition of units (5.8): this applies in that the juxtaposition of frequently occurring smaller units whose formal features are defined under 8 characterizes all Tractates to some extent. There are some qualifications to this. Thus Mishnah Avot lacks conditional statements whose apodoses contain strictly legal (or "halakhic") descriptors or sanctions, which is otherwise a ubiquitous format (8.1.1) and often uses imperative verb forms (in quoted speech) which are otherwise extremely rare in the Mishnah; and Mishnah Qinnim only contains very few quotations of speakers (8.1.6) while this is otherwise a standard component of all Tractates.

1.5.2 Across almost all Tractates: The ways in which smaller units hang together or follow on from each other (section 9) are repeated again and again: this is true in the sense that mere juxtaposition, which is the hallmark of all Tractates, is complemented by thematic and other means of organization which are shared among varying groups of Tractates. Some of the literary structures defined under 9 are found in two-thirds of the Tractates, others only in a handful.

1.5.3 The themes which are verbalized together within the text are projected as interrelated objectively, albeit not in their textual sequence: this point almost, but not quite, applies to the whole of the Mishnah. This is because the statements and quotations in Mishnah Avot are almost exclusively concerned with topics that, while impinging to some extent on the motivations for and meta-theory of norm-regulated behaviour, or on judges' behaviour, are not presented as carrying legal sanctions or descriptors. Rather, this subject matter is presented as up to the individual shaping her or his life, in a manner related to earlier 'wisdom' texts. As for the rest of the Tractates, the homogeneity of themes between them is emphasized by the conventional arrangement of Tractates into Orders. Even if all titles referring to Orders were to be stripped out, these would emerge, to some extent (exceptions concern in particular mBer in Zeraim and the mNed and mNaz in Nashim, as well as mAvot whereever it would be placed, found in Nezikin; see Stemberger, Introduction, pp. 119–21), from the thematic "clustering" itself (not dissimilar to the category used in 9.4.1 for text parts). In other words, the sequence of Tractates in the compound Mishnah provides for thematic "concentrations" which accentuate the relationship between the themes of certain Tractates, without thereby obscuring the thematic homogeneity of all Tractates except mAvot. Concerning the sequence of Orders with the Mishnah, which apparently also took some time to firm up, see Stemberger, Introduction, pp. 118–9.

1.6 The approximate word count or other indication of comparative size is: according to the Academy of the Hebrew Language website (Ma'agarim; http://hebrew-treasures.huji.ac.il/), the Mishnah consists of 188,483 words (see also, G. Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch, 9th edn. [Munich: Beck, 2011], p. 169).

1.7 The text’s Inventory profile should be seen in the light of the following further information on completeness, thematic progression, aesthetic effects, etc.: The Mishnah is transmitted in most sources as consisting of 63 Tractates. These Tractates clearly have a measure of independent textual existence, and are presented with their own Profiles each in this Database. There is much thematic overlap and relationship of individual thematic units or clusters between pairs or groups of Tractates and it is arguable that re-ordering the Tractates for thematic relationship could be produce closer thematic continuity between them than their current order (which is basically in descending size within six larger groupings, the so-called Orders). However, as it is, the Mishnah as consisting of these 63 Tractates in this order is clearly a compound of independent part-texts, juxtaposing them with no verbal matter that would connect them or introduce them, and thus would create a higher level of textual order. The part-texts so juxtaposed are in most cases the Tractates in their received shape (although in some cases arguably even smaller units constitute part-texts also, although there is no evidence of their independen transmission away from the Tractate of which they are now part, e.g., mKel chapter 1). This Profile is a description of the compound "Mishnah", and the points under 10.1 are devoted to spelling out its nature in as a compound. Please note that many Profiles of individual Tractates will contain an "overview of parts" either under 1.7 or formatted in the bibliographical section.

Top of the Page

2.1 The information conveyed in the text defines the perspective of the governing voice in the following way:

2.1.1 [The text does not thematize how the governing voice comes to know the text’s contents (or its right to command obedience from the addressee), but suggests that its knowledge (or authority) is unlimited: might apply to mAvot; see point 2.1.2.]

2.1.1.2 All Tractates: The text is not narrative but the governing voice refers to utterances on the basis of unexplained knowledge of speech events of diverse periods and places: the Tractates (= part-texts) of whose juxtaposition the Mishnah consists (see 10.1) often cite rabbinic speakers of different times and places as if without any mediating source of knowledge. At the same time, the topics of the governing voice (and the quoted speakers) are at least in principle subjected to discussion.

2.1.2 All Tractates except Avot: The governing voice thematizes how it comes to know the text’s contents or its right to command obedience from the text’s addressee. Its perspective is presented as limited, referring either to evidence, or to personal experience (mere human knowledge).

2.1.2.1 All Tractates except Avot: The governing voice presents or discusses norms whose commanding force is unlimited, but speaks from a perspective clearly distinguished from that of the ultimate law-giver.

2.1.2.3 [The governing voice suggests its information or advice is based on his or her own experiences, or on other knowledge filtered by reflections on personal experience: this does not apply to Mishnah part-texts, with the possible exception that the governing voice of mAvot assumes such an attitude (the quoted Rabbis in mAvot certainly appear to do so), rather than an attitude of unlimited knowledge, in mAvot 5:1–19.]

2.1.7 For all Tractates: The governing voice (whether first or third person) is anonymous, that is, is not presented as tied to a specific personal identity (or to personhood in general).

2.1.8 For all Tractates except for Orlah, Ta'anit, Avot and Tamid: The governing voice speaks at no point in the first person (except for any 2.2.4.3) and all persons/objects are mentioned from a third-person perspective. See these individual Profiles for details.

2.2 [Only for Tractates Orlah, Ta'anit, Avot and Tamid: A first-person voice imposes its perspective on all (or almost all) knowledge or norms conveyed in the text. See these individual Profiles for details.]

2.2.4.3 The first person is used but represents a generic “I” (“we”) of discourse and discussion, not the projection of a specific persona: there are some generic and normative usages of the first person which fall into this category, e.g., mBQ 1:2 and mBM 1:7 but they are extremely rare and not connected to dialectical exchanges (along the lines of, I might say... you say...); see also mSot 9:15. Otherwise the first person only appears in quoted speech.

2.4 The governing voice defines a horizon of knowledge as shared with the projected addressee by taking for granted the following linguistic usages or references (in selection): for a fuller sampling of proper names and related expressions, see Profiles of individual Mishnah Tractates.

2.4.1 Persons or unique objects referred to by proper name or by technical expression:

2.4.1.1 for persons mentioned or presented in narrative usage; as characters; or topics, for example: this is rare. Occasionally biblical characters are mentioned; most other persons mentioned as object of brief narratives (see 8.3.1) are given the honorific "Rabbi" or are presented, as in mAvot 1–2, as standing in a chronological relationship and interaction with "Rabbis". Occasionally non-biblical characters who are not Rabbis are also mentioned, e.g. the Hasmoneans and Greek Kings in mMid 1:6; Jehodia the High Priest in mSheq 6:6; Agrippa the King in mSot 7:8, Vespasian and Titus in mSot 9:14; Nittai of Tekoa in mHal 4:10 and Ben Antigonus and Ariston in mHal 4:11; mention "Hadrianic" shards in mAZ 2:3; in mNaz 5:4 Nahum the Mede, Queen Helena, Miriam of Palmyra (in ma’asim); Ben Qatin (mTam 1:4; 3:8); Gabini the herald (mTam 3:8); and Ben Arza (mTam 7:3), and various priestly persons and families in mYoma (see Profile); Shim’on ben Shetach in mSan 6:4), and Antigonos of Sokho and others in mAvot 1.

2.4.1.2 for persons quoted with direct speech in a non-narrative co-text, for example: there is pervasive mention of persons usually given the honorific "Rabbi" as speakers of quoted utterances relevant to a particular theme at a particular occasion.

2.4.1.3 for Gods/mythical figures/supernatural beings, etc., for example: There are extremely few passages where the governing voice refers directly to God in any manner, rather than use passive or impersonal constructions; one of them is mSot 1:7 where "ha-maqom" ("the place") is used twice (Kaufmann text also); another mSan 6:4 where the term "name" (ha-shem) appears to be used to refer to God (rather than to his name which happens later in the same sentence, where "name of heaven" is mentioned). There are some ambiguities of where quoted speech ends, so arguably (but unlikely) the term also occurs in the governing voice in mPes 10:5. Examples from quoted speech include "ha-qadosh baruch hu'" (the Holy One, Blessed be He) in quoted speech in the closing passage of mMak 3:16 (manuscripts Kaufmann and Parma: = mSan 14:19, and using "Maqom barukh hu'"; also in mMid 5:4); "The One Who dwells in this House" (mMid 2:2); and very likely, ha-maqom ("the place") in mPes 10:5 (see above). The expression "the name", short for "name of God", occurs in mMeg 4:3 and mTam 7:2 in the governing voice, and ascribed as "some say" in mTam 3:8; "Holy One" mNed 3:11 (perhaps in the governing voice); for envisaged formulae of oaths, several names for God are mentioned in mShevu 4:13, including letter combinations used as abbreviations. Aphrodite and Mercurius are mentioned in mAZ; the expression "bat qol" is used for words heard without verifiable speaker (but not a divine voice) in mYev 16:6.

2.4.1.4 for locations, for example: the frequency with which place names are mentioned varies from Tractate to Tractate. The places include biblically known locations, but also terms for geographical regions inside and outside Palestine in the period of early rabbinic Judaism. For illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.1.4, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.4.1.5 for times or calendar dates (specific to a language or culture), for example: the names of Jewish months and festival days occur occasionally or promiently, depending on the themes addressed by a Tractate; week days are occasionally referred to by ordinal number (e.g., mMeg 1:2); a number of non-Jewish festivals, such as Calends, Saturnalia, Empire Day and Coronation Day of Kings, are mentioned in Mishnah Avodah Zarah. For illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.1.5, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.4.1.6 for documents, texts, books, etc. (identified through being referred to or quoted), for example: quotations from various parts of the Hebrew Bible are found in many Tractates (see Samely, Rabbinic Interpretation). There are also occasional references by name to books of the Hebrew Bible, "Torah" (where it refers to the text, rather than something more abstract), sections within the Pentateuch (e.g. a cluster of them in mMeg 4), of generically "holy writings" (kitvey ha-qodesh). There is tacit overlap with - not an acknowledged quotation from - Ben Sira (Sirach 7:17) in mAvot 4:5 (in quoted speech). Other texts mentioned include "the Mishnah" in mQid 1:10, where the co-text references to Scripture on the one hand, and "derekh erets" (something like "etiquette", proper manners) on the other make it ambiguous whether or not a fixed document is referred to; "First Mishnah" (mishnah ri'shonah), e.g. mEduy 7:2; "Megillat Ta'anit" is mentioned in mTaan 2:8 and its formulae for forbidding fasting and mourning are quoted, and perhaps "the books of Homer" (ספרי המירם, in ms. Kaufmann סיפרי מירון) are mentioned in quoted speech in mYad 4:6. Parts of the liturgy referred to by name such as the Shema' and "the Tefillah" (lit. "prayer") in mBer, Ge'ullah in mPes 10:6, and others (including Hallel as liturgically performed section of biblical text, mPes 9:3); legal documents like bill of divorce and marriage contract are routinely mentinoned and occasionally quoted in particular Tractates (e.g. mYev 15:3 in quoted speech). A golden tablet presented to the Temple by Queen Helena of Adiabene containing the section of Scripture relating to the suspected adulteress (Num. 5:11-31) is mentioned in mYom 3:10. For illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.1.6, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.4.3 The text as a whole routinely employs the following language(s), knowledge of which is taken for granted: Mishnaic Hebrew.

2.4.3.1 Additional language(s) taken for granted in quoted speech or certain parts of the text are: very rarely Aramaic terms, as in mAvot 1:13, 4:5 (quoting Hillel) and 5:23 (quoting Ben He He), mParah 3:9, or Aramaic forms, as in mQid 4:1, are taken for granted. Biblical Hebrew expressive use formulations or quotations occur in the text (although biblical citations that are the object of interpretations are precisely not taken for granted), see 8.1.4. and 8.1.4.1.

2.4.4 Special linguistic usages occur pervasively or prominently:

2.4.4.1 Technical expressions for a particular subject matter: this is pervasive in practically all Tractates concerned largely with normative matters (that is, excepting mAvot), where the technical meaning of crucial terms is mostly taken for granted. For illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.4.1, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.4.4.2 Technical expressions for presenting disputes/dialectic exchanges: there is a stereotypical, but largely rudimenatary and self-explanatory, vocabulary for presenting disputes. There is practically no occurrence of dialectical terms as such, although there are technical terms for types of arguments, in particular the a fortiori inference (see 8.1.9). For illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.4.2, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.4.4.3 Technical expressions for the meta-linguistic presentation of another text (see 6.9.4): there is stereotypical, but largely self-explanatory vocabulary for presenting several hundred explicit quotations from Scripture, mostly "as it is said" (shene'emar). For some illustrations of slightly more elaborate introductions, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.4.3, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.4.4.5 Other special linguistic usages: the use of indicative verb forms and the absence of modal auxiliaries expressing obligation or permission is a key feature of the way the Mishnah conveys normative contents in all Tractates except mAvot. In particular, it is common for the protasis and apodosis of conditional norms (8.1.1) to be expressed by the past tense or by a present participle. In other words, despite the majority of the Mishnah's verbal matter having what is sometimes referred to as deontic modality, expressing obligations and permissions incumbent on the projected addressee, the use of forms of the imperative, future, or modal auxiliaries is practically absent (although the the verb חיב, "liable", occurs often in apodoses). One of the very rare exceptions is found in mPes 4:1, with some texts presenting the same sentence also at 4:3 (cp. some texts of mAZ 1:6). See e.g. Sharvit, "The Tense System". This use of indicative forms is manifest both in the statements presented in the governing voice and in statements ascribed to rabbinic speakers as utterances. By contrast, the quoted utterances which make up the bulk of mAvot in the first four chapters show regular use of imperatives and other indications of obligation and permission, but precisely not for topics that carry normative sanctions or classification. Another feature of the Mishnaic language concern the occasionally quite substantial (if still sparse) occurrence of unexplained terms with recognizably Greek origin (some also Latin). This depends at least partly on the relation of a Tractate's subject matter to Graeco-Roman material culture or religious practices.

2.4.5 The meaning of some linguistic usage or reference is addressed explicitly, marking it as not being part of the shared horizon of knowledge: this is a regular but overall quite rare occurrence, mostly to do with legal terms whose precise boundaries are probed (e.g. mMeg 1:3), sometimes to do with a biblical quotation also containing the term (see 8.2.3). A number of personages are also introduced explicitly. For illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.4.5, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.5 The text contains deictic or other expressions referring to the governing voice’s time or place, or place it after/before some key event:

2.5.1 as part of the words of the governing voice: the destruction of the Temple (by context sometimes clearly recognizable as Second Temple) is referred to as a given in a number of passages (mBek 4:1 and 9:1; the concluding first-person sentences in mTaan 4:8 and mTam 7:2), although not that many; mEduy 2:1 mentions "In the days of the priests"; A passage considered, partly for that reason and its unusual format, as secondary in mSot 9:15 mentions the death of several Rabbis quoted, including Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi (traditionally the compiler of the Mishnah). A passage in mHal 2:1 uses "here" and "there" apparently (to judge from the co-text) to refer to the Land of Israel by "here". For more illustrations, see individual Tractate Profiles or select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 2.5.1, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence.

2.5.2 as part of the words of a quoted character, but with probable implications also for the governing voice: this appears to be even rarer than 2.5.1. In mMQ 3:6 R. Eliezer is quoted as mentioning the destruction of the Temple; mYad 3:5 has R. Shimon b. Azzai mention the day R. Eleazar b. Azaryah was appointed to the Academy.

2.6 [The text presents itself as speaking to certain persons, groups or entities, explicitly projecting a certain image of its addressee: this practically only occurs in some of the Tractates in which one can find a first-person voice (see 2.1.8). Also Mishnah Avot, whose governing voice in ch. 5 appears to make some assumptions as to shared values, etc. with the projected addressee.]

2.6.2 [The projected addressee is characterized as having a certain moral or epistemic stance, or as standing in contrast to another group’s moral or epistemic stance: this appears to be the case only in mAvot ch. 5.]

2.6.3 [The governing voice uses verbs of epistemic or moral exhortation or employs focus markers: while this does not apply to the governing voice of any Tractate, it is noteworthy that many of the utterances ascribed to named Rabbis in mAvot chs. 1–4 exemplify such a stance.]

2.6.5 [The governing voice employs exclamatory or declamatory modes of speech (cf. 8.1.13): this applies to some of the Tractates with a first-person voice which end with a wish-sentence or prayer, such as mTaan 4:8 (see 2.1.8).]

2.7 The epistemic stance, knowledge horizon, moral stance and identity of the governing voice, and of the projected addressee, do not become thematic in the text.

Top of the Page

5.2 [Mishnah Sanhedrin only: The sequence of themes in the discursive or descriptive text suggests an objective order constituted in dividing a larger topic by a constant principle (or set of principles) of subordination/coordination: it is arguable that this point applies to mSan, see that Tractate's Profil.]

5.2.1 [Mishnah Sanhedrin only: This suggestion includes all substantive parts of the text (other than any frames), or deviations are made explicit. See 5.2.]

5.5 [For a number of Tractates only: The text’s sequence of sub-topics (discursive or narrative) mirrors a temporal or spatial order, but without narrative emplotment between the sub-topics. Or it mirrors the sequence of units of meaning in another text (from single words to whole books), while not reproducing the relationships between those parts, not using quotations from it as lemmatic progression (i.e., no 6.1), and not creating narrative emplotment.]

5.5.1 [For mAvot, arguably mNazir: This order includes all parts of the text (excepting any frames), as follows: the names of the quoted speakers are given in a largely chronological order which is emphasized as such at least in chapters 1 and 2, with some exceptions and ignoring the fact that ch. 5 is largely anonymous.]

5.5.2 [Only for mPesahim, mYoma, mTa'anit, mSotah, mSanhedrin, mTamid, mMiddot and mParah: This order defines only a continuous substantial part of the text, as follows: ]

5.5.2.1 [Only for mPesahim, mYoma, mTa'anit, mSotah, mSanhedrin, mTamid, mMiddot and mParah: A temporal order provides the sequence for a continuous text part thematizing norms or normative information. This may also apply to mSheqalim. See individual Profiles for details.]

5.5.2.1.1 [Only for mPesahim, mYoma, mTa'anit, mSotah, mSanhedrin, mTamid, mMiddot and mParah: Additionally, the temporal order corresponds to a sequence of actions which is in itself, as a sequence, normative. This may also apply to mSheqalim.]

5.5.2.3 [Only for mYoma and mMiddot: A spatial or geographical order provides the sequence for the text’s themes (including any normative themes) in a continuous part of the text; arguably this also applies to a stretch of text in mTamid and mParah. See individual Profiles for details.]

5.5.2.3.1 [Only for mYoma and mMiddot: Additionally, the themes so ordered are distinguished from one another by spatial or geographic expressions.]

5.7 Almost all Mishnah Tractates (except mSanhedrin and mTamid): Adjacent text parts constituting themes are merely juxtaposed or weakly conjoined, while there is no indication of an overall objective relationship (so no 5.6, 5.2.1, 5.3.1, 5.4.1 or 5.5.1.1–3). *52 15/09/12

5.7.1 [Many Mishnah Tractates: Some measure of objective interrelatedness of all/almost all themes in the text is capable of expression by way of a summarizing term or phrase not noticeably more general than the text’s own words when speaking about its themes. (*20 on 15/09/12)]

5.7.2 [Most Mishnah Tractates: Some measure of objective interrelatedness of all/almost all themes in the text is capable of expression, but only through use of a summarizing term or phrase noticeably more general than the text’s own words when speaking about its themes. (*29 15/09/12)]

5.7.4 [Applies to six Tractates only (mBava Qamma, Shevuot, Uqtsin, Peah, Ma'aserot, Qinnim): There is an enumeration of topics at the beginning of the text which relates to the thematic units constituting the bulk of the text as follows:]

5.7.4.1 [Mishnah Peah only: One of the enumerated topics corresponds to a possible summary theme of the bulk of the text (cp. 5.7.1/2), so that there is a single step “down” in generality from the enumeration to the rest of the text.]

5.7.4.2 [Mishnah Bava Qamma and Mishnah Shevu'ot only: The enumerated topics distinguish themes that could work as sub-divisions of the contents of the bulk of the text (cp. 5.7/2), but no structuring of the text into these sub-divisions is found.]

5.7.5 [Tractates mHagigah, mSotah, mEduyot, mBekhorot only: There is no objective interrelatedness of all/almost all themes in the text capable of expression in such a way that the summarizing term or phrase would still be reasonably related in generality to the text’s own words, or capable of distinguishing this text from other texts, quite different in contents and form.]

5.8 For all Tractates holds: The bulk of the text consists of small forms and patterns drawn from a limited set of formats for thematic articulation or for discussion (further section 8).

5.9 The text’s governing voice projects the accuracy or validity of its statements as:

5.9.2 All Mishnah Tractates: Admitting discussion or disagreement, or the need for argument and evidence in principle. An exception could be mAvot 5, but even that includes alternative opinions (mAvot 5:6) and even an explicit praise of controversy (mAvot 5:17); another passage addressing the reason why controversies are transmitted (presumably in the Mishnah itself) is mEd 1:4–5; both passages treat the disputes between Hillel and Shammai as paradigmatic.

5.9.3 [Only mPesahim and mBetsah: Pervasively in need of support by arguments, or open to discussion.]

5.9.4 The following argument types occur:

5.9.4.1 About half of the Tractates: Conceptual arguments as well as arguments from the quoted wording of another text (not necessarily in equal measure).

5.9.4.2 About half the Tractates: Predominantly or exclusively conceptual arguments (e.g. inferences, analogies, or references to evidence).

5.9.4.3 [Predominantly or exclusively arguments from the quoted wording of another text (e.g. paraphrases, interpretation units, proof-texts): this arguably applies to Mishnah Bekhorot.]

5.10 The governing voice ascribes statements about the text’s thematic substance pervasively or prominently to speaker characters as utterances.

5.10.1 Isolated utterances (or dialogues) are presented without a unifying emplotment, but tacitly presuppose a unified grid of story/history.

5.10.1.1 The persons, groups or generic figures indicated as speakers tend to be only minimally identified or contextualized.

5.10.2 The text’s governing voice presents the speech of characters mostly in the exclusive function of disagreeing/agreeing with, or providing the reason for, a statement expressed by that governing voice.

5.12 [Mishnah Ta'anit only: The text thematizes the meaning of historical or narrative events and summarizes, alludes to or refers to events as evidence, but does not create sustained emplotment (contrast 4.7).]

Top of the Page

7.1 Narrative or thematic correspondences, or overlap of specific wording, occur between a non-biblical text and one or more biblical texts in a manner that is prominent or pervasive.

7.1.3 There is prominent use of explicit quotations of biblical wording, whether in non-narrative or in narrative (but not in biblical commentary, for which see section 6). The Mishnaic Tractates appear to respond to or draw on biblical information and biblical wording in varying degrees, partly depending on their normative topic. There are some 600 explicit quotations from Scripture found in the Mishnah, whose hermeneutic style is very similar to that found in Palestinian works of Midrash edited in the immediately following rabbinic periods (see Samely, Rabbinic Interpretation; and Samely, Database of Midrashic Units in the Mishnah). Often their function is that of an argument or warrant for a normative or other position. In a number of cases, the midrashic format appears also where the normative theme of the Tractate is abandoned for a narrative or eschatological theme, in particular in the final units of a Tractate (see 1.4.1 in individual Tractate Profiles). Not every Tractate contains Scriptural quotations, however. Thus while the discourse in mBetsah has multiple historical and cultural cconnections to a number of biblical norms, including Ex. 12:16 and other commandments regarding work on festival days, as well as to a larger context of a discourse on biblical norms, this finds almost no expression on the surface: there is only one tacit use of a relevant biblical expression (8.1.4.1, from Ex. 12:16), while there are no explicit biblical quotations. But as a rule biblical passages will be quoted on certain occasions in Mishnaic Tractates. It is noteworthy, however, that this will often not produce the most "basic" information from Scripture, nor necessarily involve the most "central" biblical norm on which the Tractate's discourse may be seen to depend. This is in keeping with the fact that most Tractates do not tend to start out from "basics" or spell out their most fundamental principles and assumptions.

7.1.4 The text shares features of language with the Hebrew Bible, or exhibits tacit overlap with specific biblical wording, whether narrative or not:

7.1.4.2 The text contains prominently, but not necessarily frequently, the wording of specific biblical passages such as whole sentences or unique biblical phrases, used in a tacit manner: this occurs in a number of Tractates. See also 8.1.4.1.

7.1.5 [For the quoted maxims of Mishnah Avot 1-4 only: The projected persona of the governing voice of the text, whether a narrative or not, is also known from a biblical text, or the governing voice assumes an epistemic stance similar to that of a biblical text. ]

7.1.5.3 [For the quoted maxims of Mishnah Avot 1-4 only: The epistemic stance of the governing voice (narrative or not, first person or not) can be interpreted as falling into the same generic category as one of the following stances also adopted in biblical texts:]

7.1.5.3.4 [For the quoted maxims of Mishnah Avot 1-4 only: The conveyance of wisdom on the basis of personal experience or learning, as in Proverbs, Qohelet.]

7.1.8 The non-narrative text pervasively or prominently presupposes the narrative fabric of biblical events/reported speech, beyond the contents of any specific biblical wording it may quote: occasionally biblical proof-texts in Mishnaic Tractates require further knowledge of biblical text or narrative in order to work. In at least one case the narrative context is used as a counter-argument against an interpretation (mSan 2:3).

7.1.8.1 The text presupposing biblical narrative fabric has a thematic structure of discourse or description.

7.2 Narrative or thematic correspondences, or overlap of specific wording, occur between the non-biblical text under discussion and other non-biblical texts in a manner that is prominent or pervasive: a considerable number of statements found in Tractates of the Mishnah (whether anonymous or attributed to a speaker) are also found in other texts of rabbinic literature, usually dated later than the Mishnah itself. These are sometimes marked as quotations from somewhere (not necessarily the Mishnah), by formulae such as "from here they have said:... [here follows a Mishnaic quotation]" when a work of Midrash or other work speaks about a biblical quotation, or "We have learned there: ..." (the Gemara quoting a Mishnaic statement not currently constituting the Mishnaic lemma). In other cases, in particular in the Tosefta, the overlap with Mishnaic statements is mostly tacit but on a very large scale.

7.2.4 The wording or specific theme of self-contained thematic units is occasionally identical to those of another non-biblical text (or part-text), without being marked as quotations from that other text (does not apply if 7.2.6, 7.2.8 or 7.2.9 applies; not applied to Mishnah/Tosefta Tractates): excepting the relationship to Tosefta Tractates (which is more substantial, see below), this point applies to most works of the rabbinic corpus, which will contain one or many thematic units also found in the Mishnah, or quoted in such a way that the priority of a Mishnah-like text or of some tradition is acknowledged. See Ulmer, "The Mishnah".

7.2.4.1 Such overlapping units are found in text types which differ from each other in their thematic arrangement: works of exegetical Midrash such as Sifra, as well as explicit Mishnah commentary, such as the two Talmuds (outside the lemmatic sequence), rabbinic homilies.

7.2.4.2 It is common for such overlapping units to be marked as the speech of a character or as anonymous quoted speech in one or both of the non-biblical texts.

7.2.4.3 Such self-contained overlapping units occur within what is, by other structural signals, manifestly the same text: across different Mishnaic Tractates there are a number of unacknowledged repetitions of the same or very similar thematic unit, e.g. mMeg 1:5 = mBetsah 5:2.

7.2.6 There is extensive tacit overlap with the wording of a non-biblical partner text, whether in narrative or in non-narrative texts: this is a common occurrence with respect to Tosefta Tractates of the same name. See individual Profiles for details.

7.2.6.1 The text presents statements as anonymous which are also anonymous in a partner text.

7.2.6.3 The text presents statements as anonymous which are assigned to a character in a partner text: : a substantial number of anonymous Mishnaic statements are found assigned to a rabbinic speaker in the relevant Tosefta Tractate. This includes occasional passages in which the traditionally accepted compiler of Mishnah, R. Yehudah Ha-Nasi, whose persona is supposed to be projected by the anonymous voice (i.e. also the governing voice), will be specifically credited as a speaker of an overlapping statement in Tosefta.

7.2.8 The range of themes in the non-narrative text is wholly or nearly contained within the specific range of themes found also in another non-biblical text: it is common for the range themes of a Mishnah Tractate to be entirely contained within the range of themes touched upon by the corresponding Tosefta Tracate, while the Tosefta Tractate may or may not also contain further themes not presented in the Mishnah Tractate. For details, search the Database by "Book list with given Inventory point" for 7.2.8.

7.2.9 The sequence of themes in (at least) substantial parts of the non-narrative text is tacitly isomorphic with the sequence of themes in another non-biblical text: this applies to many Mishnah-Tosefta Tractates.

7.2.9.1 Shared themes occur largely or entirely in the same sequence, albeit separated by other themes: this is common in the comparison of Mishnah with corresponding Tosefta Tractates, and the case of mNazir can serve as an illustration: Most micro-topics which occur in both mNaz and tNaz are found approximately in same sequence (with extra text), although there are exceptions (e.g. topics similar to mNaz 7:2 and 6:9 occurring in tNaz 2:14 in a setting which is otherwise isomorphic with mNaz 3–4). Themes which are immediately adjacent in mNaz and which also appear in tNaz tend to be separated from each other in tNaz (by further information of the same type, or by supporting evidence); although in one case an extended piece known from mNaz is “uninterrupted” by further formulations in tNaz (tNaz 5:3–4 corresponding to mNaz 8:1). Apart from different sentences surrounding tNaz statements which overlap with mNaz, a number of individual statements in mNaz occur prefixed or supplemented with extra words in tNaz.

7.2.9.2 Characteristic thematic or formal groupings of sentences (e.g. 9.3, 9.4, 9.4.4/5) occur approximately at the “same” point (as defined, for example, in relation to neighbouring groupings) in the other non-biblical text: this applies to a considerable number of Mishnah Tractates in comparison with the corresponding Tosefta Tractate.

Top of the Page

8.1 Standard forms or contents formulated in set phrases, set sentence formats, or clauses in a standard syntactic connection. (It is to be noted that the frequencies here indicated are based on comparative impressions formed by the researchers of the Profiles of individual Mishnah Tractates and not on precise statistics.)

8.1.1 Conditional norm or hypothetical legal case: this format is frequent to pervasive for most Tractates, but proportionally less common in others (e.g. mTamid, mMiddot, mTevul Yom); and perhaps even more common in mQin than in most others. If by norms are meant statements mentioning legal sanctions, mAvot does not have this feature.

8.1.2 Unconditional norm: frequent in some Tractates, and occasional in some others. For a comparison of the individual Tractate Profiles in this regard, select Database search option "Book list with given Inventory point" for point 8.1.2, as all Mishnah Tractates will be together in the alphabetical sequence. See also 8.1.2 for mAvot.

8.1.3 Sentence with theme anticipated to the beginning and repeated in a pronoun or by ellipsis: this occurs in most Tractates as an occasional or rare form; it occurs with higher frequency in mSan (combined with 9.3).

8.1.4 Unit of a biblical quotation together with a hermeneutically dependent formulation; midrashic unit: most Tractates have at least one or two of these, with some only having one in the end-position (constituting also feature 1.4.2), but on the whole the proportion of text devoted to midrashic units is small, with mBer, mSot and mMak appearing to have a higher proportion. The Mishnah overall has in the region of 600 explicit interpretation units. For literature see 7.1.3.

8.1.4.1 The expressive use of unmarked biblical wording whose function in the text’s discourse is enhanced or achieved by it being recognised as coming from a Scripture: at least half the Tractates have this feature, albeit only occasionally or rarely.

8.1.6 Speech report: this is a frequent occurrence in most Tractates; mQin is unusual in only having three speech reports. See 5.10.

8.1.6.1 The reported speech is elliptic and depends on surrounding text not marked as reported speech: this happens occasionally in about 25 Tractates.

8.1.7 Sentence referring to a behaviour or norm as customary, using the term minhag, its verbal root or a clearly similar term: this is rare, happening once or twice in a handful of Tractates. For a full list of Tractates (although not of occurrences within them),search the Database using the "Book list with given Inventory point" for 8.1.7.

8.1.8 Reason clause: the frequency of this ranges from once or twice to frequent according to Tractate, but most Tractate appear to have some.

8.1.9 The a fortiori argument: more than 20 Tractates have usually one or two occurrences of this inference, usually within quoted speech. For a full list of Tractates (although not of occurrences within them), search this Database using the "Book list with given Inventory point" for 8.1.9; see also Samely, Database of Midrashic Units in the Mishnah, search for A4.1 and A4.2 under "Code" (for hermeneutic technique).

8.1.10 List sentence enumerating items by words or phrases: all Tractates appear to contain at least some occurrences of lists of this kind.

8.1.11 List enumerating items by whole sentences/interpretation units: a substantial number of Tractates have this phenomenon.

8.1.12 Explicit claim that in a particular formulation other information in the immediate co-text is being summarized or generalized: a majority of Tractates have at least one occurrence of this feature, but within most it is rare.

8.1.13 Declamatory sentence, confession, proclamation or affirmation: mTamid 7:3 only.

8.1.14 Prayer, doxology, valediction or blessing: five Tractates arguably contain this feature, mostly at the end, and in at least two cases clearly within quoted speech: mTa'anit, mSotah, mAvot, mTamid and mMiddot.

8.1.15 Wish sentence: see 8.1.14.

8.1.16 Descriptive sentence of a static (ocular) structure or "scientific" descriptive sentence: this is very rare, but mSan, mTamid and mMiddot contain examples of this.

8.1.17 Report sentence of a singular event in the past which is not part of a narrative unit, nor of a mashal: around 10 Tractates contain examples of this, usually only one or two per Tractate.

8.1.18 Sentence making a prediction of a future event: mSan, mAvot and mEduyot appear to be the only Tractates which contain such predictions, in each case only one or two of them.

8.1.19 Prediction of reward or punishment of behaviour in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: mPeah, mSotah, mQid and mAvot have, usually very brief, passages of this kind, with the exception of the concluding passage in mSotah, which is comparatively extensive; mSan 10:1 (properly a case of 8.1.18) is also similar.

8.1.20 Recommendation of a particular behaviour or statement of an ideal type of person in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: this is a prominent part of mAvot (mostly in quoted speech), but otherwise it is rare. Statements in mPeah 8:9, mPes 4:5, mHag 2:1 and mQid 4:14 are clear cases, and Some of the concluding paragraphs listed in Profiles under 1.4.1 could also be considered to be related to this point.

8.1.21 Statement describing a reality (nature, creation, human nature) in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: prominent in mAvot, otherwise very rare (e.g. mMid 3:8).

8.1.22 Statement praising Torah in a “wisdom” or similar formulation: very prominent in mAvot (mostly in quoted speech, in particular chapters 2–4), otherwise rare (e.g. mQid 4:14).

8.2 Non-narrative small literary forms that impose on their components a standard functional relationship to each other, while grammar and syntax may vary:

8.2.1 Dispute unit: occasional to frequent in all Tractates except mAvot and mQin; particularly prominent in mBetsah.

8.2.2 Self-contained question-answer unit in anonymous discourse: almost all Tractate have this feature occasionally or rarely. (*Among the exceptions are mAvot, mQin, mPeah.)

8.2.3 Self-contained question-answer unit in discourse concerning the meaning of an earlier word/words in the same text: occasional in most Tractates.

8.2.3.1 [Self-contained question-answer unit which, since there is tacit overlap with a partner text (7.2), may relate to the meaning of a statement found in a partner text (and is, in the text under consideration, only found in the question itself): there are two doubtful cases of this in relation to the corresponding Tosefta Tractate; otherwise this point is only found with Tosefta Tractates.]

8.2.4 A clause or phrase which links two statements/themes explicitly as being similar: about 15 Tractates have a single or a few examples of this feature.

8.2.5 The summary exposition, in a number of sentences, of theological ideas: there seems to be only one potential occurrence of this, the concluding passage of mYoma in mYoma 8:9.

8.3 Forms with internal emplotment relationships, or character-centred small literary forms or motifs: (for a discussion of Mishnaic narrative, see Simon-Shoshan, Stories of the Law)

8.3.1 A ma'aseh or pared-down narrative of a unique event with normative-probative function: about half of the Tractates have one or more units of this kind.

8.3.2 A mashal or other minimal (two-stage) narrative employed to model the emplotment of a biblical or other event: only mAvot and mNid appear to have occurrences of this.

8.3.3 A narrative unit which is not integrated into a larger chronological framework constituted by the co-text: this is very rare, and only occurs in a handful of Tractates.

8.3.5 A narrative unit incorporating direct speech/dialogue devoted to an explicit hermeneutic engagement with quotations from the base text or some other text: this is very rare, occurring only in mTa'anit, mAZ and mYad.

Top of the Page

9.1 An extended portion or substantial proportion of the thematic text (or thematic part of a non-thematic text) projects its selection and sequence of themes as mirroring an objective order in the projected world, by one of the following means: this applies to about 20 Mishnaic Tractates, but often only for quite short stretches of text.

9.1.1 By dividing a larger topic by a constant principle (or set of principles) of subordination/coordination: c. 10 Tractates have usually short stretches which appear to be organized in this way.

9.1.3 By progressing from the more general to the more specific, or vice versa if accompanied by explanation: there is an arguable case of this in the relationship between mBetsah 1 and 2. Otherwise it is absent from the Mishnah or extremely rare, for any substantial amount of text.

9.1.4 By mirroring a temporal or spatial order, or the order of units of meaning in a pre-existing text: a number of Tractates have parts that are organized according to these principles. For details, see under 5.5.2 and the Profiles of individual Tractates.

9.2 In one or more extended passages, making up a substantial portion of the text, a series of situations is created from one hypothetical legal situation, by modifying/adding one situational feature at a time: more than 20 Tractates have one or more passages organized in this manner. Even where it occurs it tends to be rare, except in mQin where it is common.

9.2.1 Two distinct parameters of the situation are paired with their opposites or negations, to produce a series of four situations: a handful of Tractates have passages which have this feature.

9.3 An extended passage consists in the elaboration one by one of the items of an initial list, making each list item the topic of one or more sentences, usually re-introduced by quoting the item or by a question: this applies to about ten Tractates, with mSan and mSot containing comparatively long stretches of text connected in this manner.

9.4 For an extended passage there is a juxtaposition of thematic units (sentences or groups of sentences) capable of being interpreted in the following manner: at least half the Tractates have structures that meet one of the following definitions:

9.4.1 As thematic cluster: the sentence themes of an extended passage have a stronger homogeneity/family resemblance with each other than with the preceding or succeeding co-text, but there is no clear beginning or cut-off point: this applies to around 40 Tractates; not among them are mSot, mSan, mAvot and mQin which are distinct in having some prominent other features listed above under 9.1, 9.2 or 9.3; or in the case of mAvot, arguably 5.1.

9.4.2 As contrastive thematic block: the text juxtaposes two extended thematic blocks tacitly projecting a contrast and/or analogy between them: some passages of this kind are found in at least five Tractates.

9.4.3 Repetitions as markers of architecture: there is a repetition of words marking out as coordinated passages that deal with contrastive sub-topics of the same superordinate theme, usually unnamed: some five Tractates have passages of this kind.

9.4.4 In an extended passage, thematic homogeneousness is created by recurrence of the same reason clause appended to norms which are adjacent or close to each other in the text: this is found only in mParah 8:2–7, with the repeated clause introduced by הרי.

9.4.5 In an extended passage, thematic homogeneousness is created by recurrence of the same normative predicate or apodosis in hypothetical legal cases which are adjacent or close to each other in the text: three Tractates have passages structured in this manner.

9.6 An extended portion or substantial proportion of the text continuously explicates local thematic transitions, by means of:

9.6.1 Use of conjunctions: this is very rare, and not used to produce truly large stretches of text, but occurs at least once, in mGit 3:1 (using יתר מכן).

9.6.2 Use of announcement of themes for text parts, full-sentence headings or summaries: structures which can be interpreted in this manner occur very occasionally, and are noted for mShevu'ot, mEduyot and mParah. But see also point 9.6.5 which identifies a related feature.

9.6.4 Use of discourse deixis (e.g., “below”, “following”) which indicate parts, or of cross-references: rare, and noted for passages in mRosh Hashanah, mTa'anit and mGittin.

9.6.6 Use of questions to articulate parts within a passage or functioning as headings: this happens in a number of Tractates and is the most widespread device for managing thematic stretches of text among the 9.6 features. For the text organizing use of questions in the Mishnah more generally, see Shasha, Questions.

9.8 The text has a tendency to juxtapose immediately thematic units which fulfill the same literary, evidential, hermeneutic or narrative function, without explicitly integrating them with each other: this is very rare, occurring only in three Tractates. Examples include mNed 3:11 where several statements allocated to named rabbis open with the formula "Great is circumcision" and the last of these statements is introduced by "davar acher".

9.8.1 There is more than one quotation-comment unit or midrashic unit for the same lemma: this appears to occur only once, at mMak 1:9 (with davar acher).

9.8.6 There is more than one reason clause supporting a statement: Mishnah Avodah Zarah 3:4 (with davar acher).

9.8.13 There is some acknowledgement of the equivalence/alternative status of adjacent thematic units under 9.8.1-12 (see above for details).

9.9 There are passages of three or more successive thematic units whose relationship is defined as follows: There is a clear thematic continuity or development between the first thematic unit and the following one; these two are followed by a third thematic unit (or further units) which is on a different topic, but shares with only the second unit some extra-thematic feature. This occurs, usually only once, in approximately 20 Tractates, as follows:

9.9.1 The second unit has a formal pattern which may then continue for one or more new, subsequent themes: this is the most common constellation, found in about ten Tractates; mSotah (which is also a case of 5.7.5) is conspicuous in having several occurrences of it within the same Tractate.

9.9.2 The second unit has a quoted character named also as the speaker for one or more new, subsequent themes: at least five Tractates have this structure.

9.9.3 The second unit mentions a type of object which is then treated with respect to a new thematic framework (or frameworks) in subsequent sentence(s): mBetsah 2:9 and mUqtsin 3:10 appear to be the only examples of this.

9.9.4 The second unit has a reason clause which is then used for one or more further thematic units(s) concerning a different halakhic topic/different halakhic topics: mNazir, mNiddah and mTevul Yom have this structure.

9.11 For the Orders within the Mishnah: An extended part of the thematic text (or a part-text in the sense of section 10) is structured by an extra-thematic principle of order, as follows: if each Order except Zeraim is considered on its own, it is manifest that, at least to some extent, the size of Tractates (measured in chapter numbers) in descending order determines the sequence of Tractates, as captured by 9.11.6. Considering one particular Tractate, mAvot, two aspects of the current point are relevant to consider. Firstly, the largely chronological sequence of its quoted voices could be considered to be extra-thematic, which case 9.11.1 would apply. However, this is doubtful, as the temporal relationship between the speakers (their "before and after") is clearly to some extent part of the topic of the Tractate, and thus is rather classified as a 5.5.. Secondly, in some parts of mAvot, numbers are used to create sequences. See below 9.11.8.

9.11.1 [The implied chronology of speaker characters: see explanation in 9.11.]

9.11.6 The increasing or decreasing size of part-texts: this applies to Orders within the Mishnah. See above 9.11 and the discussion in Stemberger, Introduction, pp. 119–21.

9.11.8 The ascending or descending quantitative value of numbers provides the sequence for themes in part of the text, with or without any explicit mention of numbers: the descending order of cardinal numbers ten, seven and four are used to organize the sequence of groups of thematic units in mAvot 5. The first six mishnaiot are based on number ten; mAvot 5:7-8 on number seven; and mAvot 5:10-15 on number four.

9.12 The earliest manuscript tradition has sub-headings which are incomplete sentences interrupting the flow of complete sentences and which have no subordinating function (contrast with 9.13): mss. Kaufmann and others, as well as the printed editions, usually have words or phrases which indicate the name of Tracates within the Mishnah, or separate the flow of text into Tractate units by some other means. The Orders can also be indicated, in particular in mss. Kaufmann and Parma. Furthermore, within Tractates, the text witnesses have divisions into chapters and further into numbers for smaller units (not necessarily in Genizah fragments).

9.12.1 This division involves the use of meta-textual terms: seder or sidra' ("order") is used for Orders, which sometimes can take the place of the first Tractate's name in an Order (thus ms. Kaufmann uses as the heading for mShab: "seder mo'ed", but the first Tractate's name is mentioned for Order Nashim) and sometimes the Order's name in combination with an ordinal number (e.g. ms. Parma at the beginning of mYev "third" Order, in Aramaic; similar Genizah Fragment Cambridge University Library, TS , TS E2.4 for mBer); massekhet or massekhta' ("Tractate") is used with Tractate names (see 1.1.5 for the individual Tractate Profiles and Stemberger, Introduction, pp. 119); pirqa' or pereq are used regularly for chapter divisions; occasionally, the usually abbreviated terms "halakhah" and "hilkheta'" (Aramaic for halakhah) accompany the numbered sub-divisions of chapters, nowadays called "mishnah" (the actual division sizes and numberings vary in the transmission).

9.12.2 This terminology is supplemented by the use of sequential numbering, or there is numbering of text sections which are not named at all: the chapter is subdivided by the occurrence of numbers (Hebrew letters used as numbers) apparently in most manuscripts (not in some Genizah fragments), sometimes together with short vacats. Sometimes the chapter number is written out as an Aramaic ordinal (e.g. "first chapter" Genizah Fragment Cambridge University Library, TS , TS E2.4 containing the beginning of mBer.

Top of the Page

10.1 The text consists of the juxtaposition of large constituent part-texts, each of which has its own thematic, lemmatic, or narrative structure (e.g. for thematic part-texts, one of 1.1–3, 5.2–6, or 5.7.1–2 apply): Tractate boundaries tend to re-emerge as thematic boundaries in a sequential reading of Mishnah as a continuum, although there are some ambiguities (see below). This means that Mishnah consists of a certain number (not necessarily 63) of independent part-texts tacitly juxtaposed. No verbal matter occurs that does not belong to one of the part-texts, and could therefore belong exclusively to the level ‘Mishnah’. Within the compound, there are certain thematic clusters of part-texts (largely the known ‘Orders’)

10.1.1 The part-texts are of the same kind, i.e., all narrative, all thematic or all lemmatic: the part-texts are all thematic, coming under section 5.

10.1.1.2 The part-texts juxtaposed are all thematic-discursive or thematic-descriptive, dealing with substantially diverse kinds of subject matter: Mishnah is substantially diverse because of the presence of mAvot and mMiddot, whose subject matter differs in kind from that of the other Mishnaic part-texts, namely religious obligation, permission, and normative status. Tractate Avot deals with values and ideals that are different in nature from normative obligations, prohibitions, and permissions, while mMiddot is dominated by static descriptions of the physical set-up of the Temple. Although that set-up is likely to have tacit normative implications, the statements of that Tractate are mostly not concerned with actions, not even actions of the past (as mYoma, mTamid), and are not generalized for normative use. If one reads the compound Mishnah in its transmitted sequence, then arguably the following articulation of part-texts into thematic groups emerges: (1) mBerakhot, (2) mPeah to mḤallah, (3) mShabbat to mḤagigah, (4) mYevamot-mKetubbot, (5) mNedarim-mNazir, (6) mSotah to mQiddushin, (7) mBava Qamma to mShevu’ot, (8) mEduyot, (9) mAvodah Zarah, (10) mAvot, (11) mHorayot, (12) mZevaḥim to mTamid, (13) mMiddot, (14) mQinnim, (15) mKelim to mUqtsin. These groupings do not coincide with the transmitted boundaries of Orders. Nevertheless, Orders can be understood as being based primarily on such thematic groupings, together with some pragmatic grouping decisions (and perhaps an implicit demarcation of the beginning by mBerakhot, see 1.4.1). The last Order, Toharot, is in fact identical with grouping 15 above. Orders emerge from a sequential reading of the part-texts as areas of higher thematic homogeneity, somewhat similar to the phenomenon of a thematic cluster defined in 9.4.1 on a smaller scale. Orders considered as approximate thematic groupings mostly also have their own secondary principle of internal arrangement (namely descending Tractate size by chapter numbers). If one were to interpret the Orders as compounds of thematic part-texts, and Mishnah overall as a compound of compounds, Mishnah would still also have single part-texts alongside Orders (namely numbers 1, 8, 9, 10 and 11 above). That the sequencing by Tractate size only works for thematically defined groups, not across the whole of Mishnah, shows it to be a second-rank principle of order; but it still means that, within Orders. thematic closeness does not produce sequential closeness. Thematically close Tractates can be separated from each other within the Order unless they are also neighbouring in size. Even where neighbouring Tractates are close to each other in theme (in the same Order), they cannot usually be read as continuous treatments of one larger theme (see 10.1.1.5).

10.1.1.2.1 Their sequential relationship suggests that they complement each other, at least weakly: on the possible ‘introductory’ function of mBerakhot, see 1.4.1. Otherwise the part-texts in Mishnah can, but need not, be understood as complementing each other in the treatment of some larger topic. But it is in the nature of 10.1 compounds (which have no feature 1.1) that that larger topic is unnamed and its existence remains unclaimed. Later rabbinic works (Talmuds) definitely see the Mishnah Tractates as complementing each other or forming a new text (see e.g. yGit 8:12 49d50–68). Yet the Talmuds do not ratify such putative unity on the level of the compound by providing commentary to all Tractates. For the transmitted presentation of Mishnah’s totality see 1.1.5 and 9.12.

10.1.1.5 There are significant ambiguities as to where one part-text ends and the next begins (in their textual sequence): if one reads neighbouring Tractates continuously (ignoring all marks of division or headings), most of them emerge through substantial or radical thematic breaks as separate part-texts. This also goes for the alternative positioning of some Tractates attested in the transmission. Often immediately, and in other cases with hindsight (having read on in the new Tractate), it is manifest that a whole new set of thematic connections has begun at the border point. Such a thematic separation does not emerge in the transition from mBava Qamma to mBava Metsi’a (transmitted originally as part of one Tractate); but it does in the transition from mSanhedrin to mMakkot (transmitted as a unity e.g. in ms. Kaufmann). See on the transmission evidence, Epstein, Mavo, pp. 982 f.; Profiles of mSanhedrin (point 1.7), mMakkot, and yMakkot (points 1.1.5).

10.1.5 There is important transmission evidence indicating that the sequencing or division of part-texts within the overall aggregate varied: for variations in the sequencing of Tractates, in particular where their chapter numbers are the same, see Epstein, Mavo, pp. 985–93; Stemberger, Introduction, 119–21).

Top of the Page

11.1 The non-narrative text projects its thematic concern as being mainly one or more of the following:

11.1.3 Law, commandments or norms of behaviour: this is a dominant concern in all Tractates except mMiddot and mAvot.

11.1.6 Reports of the speech of named characters: this is a secondary, but clearly pervasive concern in all Tractates except mQinnim, and particularly prominent in mEduyot and mAvot.

Top of the Page

Bibliography:

Editions

Ch. Albeck (ed.), Shishah Sidrey Mishnah, commentary by Ch. Albeck, vocalization by Ch. Yalon, 6 vols. (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: Bialik Institute and Dvir, 1959); G. Beer and D. O. Holtzmann (chief eds., later succeeded by K. H. Rengstorf and L. Rost), Die Mischna: Text, Übersetzung und ausführliche Erklärung mit eingehenden geschichtlichen und sprachlichen Einleitungen und kritischen Anhänge(Giessen: A. Töpelmann, 1912-1935, Berlin 1956-); Online Treasury of Talmudic Manuscripts, Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem (http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/talmud/); Bar-Ilan Responsa Project (Bar-Ilan University); M. Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishnah: Mishnah im peyrush Rabbeynu Mosheh ben Maimon, trans. from the Arabic by Y. Qafih (3 vols., Jerusalem: Mossad Ha-Rav Kook, 1967); I. Yeivin (ed.), A Collection of Mishnaic Genizah Fragments with Babylonian Vocalization; With Description of the Manuscripts and Indices (Heb., Jerusalem: Makor, 1974).

Facsimiles, online manuscripts: G. Beer, Faksimile-Ausgabe des Mischnacodex Kaufmann A 50, mit Genehmigung der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Budapest (The Hague, 1930; repr. Jerusalem, 1968); http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/talmud/mishna/selectmi.asp (accessed 11 Sept 2012); Jewish Theological Seminary Manuscript R1622.1: http://jts-ms-r1622-1.org/index.html, a manuscript fragment containing parts of Sheqalim, Sukkah, Betsa, Rosh Ha-Shanah, Ketubbot, Nedarim (complete) and Gittin (accessed 21 May 2015).

Traditional texts: Vilna Edition (New York, 1953). Available online (http://hebrewbooks.org)

Online text: For example: Mechon Mamre (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/h/h0.htm);Kodesh Snunit (http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/h/h0.htm)

Translations:

H. Danby, The Mishnah,trans. from the Hebrew with introduction and brief explanatory notes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933); J. Neusner, The Mishnah. A New Translation (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988); P. Kehati, The Mishnah (21 vols., Jerusalem: Eliner Library Dept. for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora of the World Zionist Organization, 1994); D. Correns, Die Mischna ins Deutsche übertragen, mit einer Einleitung und Anmerkungen (Wiesbaden: Marix Verlag, 2005); Giessen (see above under Editions); P. Blackman, Mishnayoth (6 vols., London: Mishna Press Ltd., 1951); Artscroll Mishnah Series. A New Translation with a Commentary Yad Avraham Anthologized from Talmudic Sources and Classic Commentators. Includes the Complete Hebrew Text of the Commentary of Ovadiah Bertinoro (61 vols., New York: Mesorah Publications, 1979); Assemblea dei Rabbini d'Italia, Mishnà (Roma: Lamed, Lulav e Morashà, 2000– ); La Michna (Paris: Editions du temps présent, 1968-).

Selected Studies:

J. N. Epstein, Introduction to the Mishnaic Text, 3rd edn. (Heb.; 2 vols.; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2000; first edition: Jerusalem: J. N. Epstein, 1948); J. N. Epstein, Mevo'ot le-Sifrut ha-Tannaim (Heb., Jerusalem: Magnes, 1957), J. Neusner, A History of the Mishnaic Law of Purities, 22 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1974-1977); J. Neusner, A History of the Mishnaic Law of Holy Things , 6 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1978–1979); J. Neusner, A History of the Mishnaic Law of Women, 5 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1979–1980); J. Neusner, A History of the Mishnaic Law of Appointed Times , 5 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1981–1982); J. Neusner, A History of the Mishnaic Law of Damages , 5 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1982); Y. Elman, "Order, Sequence and Selection: The Mishnah's Anthological Choices", D. Stern (ed.), The Anthology in Jewish Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 53–80; D. W. Halivni, Midrash, Mishnah, and Gemara (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1986); Ch. Albeck, Einführung in the Mishna (Berlin, New York: de Gruyter, 1971); Ch. Albeck, Mavo La-Mishnah (Heb., Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik,1966); D. Zlotnick, The Iron Pillar Mishnah. Redaction, Form, and Intent (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute,1988); A. Tropper, "The State of Mishnah Studies", P. Alexander and M. Goodman (eds.), Rabbinic Texts and the History of Late-Roman Palestine (London: Oxford University Press and the British Academy, 2010), 91–115; A. Goldberg, "The Mishnah: A Study Book of Halakhah", S. Safrai (ed.), The Literature of the Sages. Part One (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), pp. 211–51; M. Krupp, "Manuscripts of the Mishnah", S. Safrai (ed.), The Literature of the Sages. Part One (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), pp. 252–62; A. Samely, "From Case to Case: Notes on the Discourse Logic of the Mishnah’, in G. R. Hawting, J. A. Mojaddedi and A. Samely (eds.), Studies in Islamic and Middle Eastern Texts and Traditions in Memory of Norman Calder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 233–70; A. Samely, Forms of Rabbinic Literature and Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash , 2nd edn., trans. M. Bockmuehl (Edimburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1996); A. Walfish, "The Literary Method of Redaction in Mishnah based on Tractate Rosh Hashanah" (Heb., PhD dissertation, Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 2001); G. Stemberger, Einleitung in Talmud und Midrasch , 9th edn. (Munich: Beck, 2011); A. Samely, Rabbinic Interpretation of Scripture in the Mishnah (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); A. Samely, Database of Midrashic Units in the Mishnah (http://mishnah.llc.manchester.ac.uk/home.aspx , 2003) (accessed 16/09/2012); M. Simon-Shoshan, Stories of the Law. Narrative Discourse and the Construction of Authority in the Mishnah (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); S. Sharvit, "The Tense System in the Language of the Mishnah" [Heb.], in G. B. Sarfatti, P. Artzi, J. C. Greenfield, and M. Z. Kaddari (eds.), Studies in Hebrew and Semitic Languages Dedicated to the Memory of Prof. E. Y. Kutscher (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press, 1980), pp. 110–25; R(uth) Shasha, "Discourse Functions of Questions in the Mishnah" (PhD Thesis, Manchester University, 2004); R. Ulmer, ‘The Mishnah in the Later Midrashim’, in A. J. Avery-Peck and J. Neusner (eds.), The Mishnah in Contemporary Perspective. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Part 1 Ancient Near East, 65 (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 193-233; ; R. Bernasconi, 'Cases of Linguistic Incompleteness in the Tosefta’, Journal of Jewish Studies, 64 (2013), pp. 45-63; R. Brody, Mishnah and Tosefta Studies (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2014).

We are grateful to Dr Ruth Shasha for her assistance with aspects of this Profile.

Please note that many Profiles of individual Tractates will contain an "overview of parts" either under 1.7 or formatted in the bibliographical section.

For point 12.1: Sampling of genre labels applied to the text in secondary literature: the understanding of Mishnah has been fruitfully complicated in recent research by gender studies, the investigation of ideology, and of the link between law and narrative, leading to a dearth of attempts to summarize its genre by one label; in earlier scholarship, three descriptions competed with each other, each treating the compound as a text sui generis, and as: (a) an academically oriented collection of legal sources, (b) a teaching manual, or (c) a law code or canon (see the summary in Stemberger, Introduction, pp. 135–9).From Case to Case: Notes on the Discourse Logic of the Mishnah’, in G. R. Hawting, J. A. Mojaddedi and A. Samely (eds.), Rabbinic Texts and the History of Late-Roman Palestine

Top of the Page