Tosefta


Tosefta

The Tosefta (Aramaic: תוספתא) is a secondary compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.

Overview

In many ways, the Tosefta acts as a supplement to the Mishnah ("tosefta" means "supplement"). The Mishnah is the basic compilation of the Oral law of Judaism; it was compiled around 200 CE. The Tosefta is a Halakhic work which corresponds in structure almost exactly to the Mishnah, with the same divisions for "sedarim" ("orders") and "masekhot" ("tractates"). It is mainly written in Mishnaic Hebrew, with some Aramaic.

According to rabbinic tradition, the Mishnah was redacted by Judah haNasi in consultation with members of his yeshiva ("academy"), while the Tosefta was edited by Rabbis Chiya and Oshaiah on their own, thus the Tosefta is considered less authoritative. (Rashi in his commentary on Talmud Sanhedrin 33a).

At times, the text of the Tosefta agrees nearly verbatim with the Mishnah, sometimes,however, in some places however, significant differences exist. The Tosefta attributes laws that are anonymous in the Mishnah to named Tannaim; It also augments the Mishnah with additional glosses and discussions. The Tosefta as we have it today functions like a commentary on unquoted Mishnaic material; It offers additional aggadic and midrashic material, and it sometimes contradicts the Mishnah in the ruling of Halakha (Jewish law), or in declaring in whose name a law was given.

Origins

The traditional view is that the Tosefta should be dated to a period concurrent with or shortly after the redaction of the Mishnah. This view pre-supposes that the Tosefta was produced in order to record variant material not included in the Mishnah.

Modern scholarship can be roughly divided into two camps. Some, such as Jacob N. Epstein theorize that the Tosefta as we have it developed from a proto-Tosefta recension which formed much of the basis for later Amoraic debate. Others, such as Hanokh Albeck, theorize that the Tosefta is a later compendium of several baraitot collections which were in use during the Amoraic period.

More recent scholarship, such as that of Yaakov Elman, concludes that since the Tosefta, as we know it, must be dated linguistically as an example of Middle Hebrew 1, was most likely compiled in early amoraic times from oral transmission of baraitot. [ Yaakov Elman, "Authority & Tradition", Yeshiva Univ. Press, 1994] , "Babylonian Baraitot in Tosefta and the `Dialectology' of Middle Hebrew," Association for Jewish Studies Review 16 (1991), 1-29. Professor Shamma Friedman, has found that the Tosefta draws on relatively early tannaitic source material and that parts of the Tosefta predate the Mishnah. [S.Y. Friedman, "Le-Hithavvut Shinnuye ha-Girsaot be'Talmud ha-Bavli", Sidra 7, 1991.]

Alberdina Houtman and colleagues theorize that the Mishnah was compiled in order to establish an authoritative text on halakhic tradition. However, a more conservative party opposed the exclusion of the rest of tradition and produced the Tosefta to avoid the impression that the written Mishnah was equivalent to the entire oral Torah. The original intention was that the two texts would be viewed on equal standing, but the succinctness of the Mishnah and the power and influence of Yehuda Ha-Nassi made it more popular among most students of tradition. [Alberdina Houtman, "Mishnah and Tosefta: A Synoptic Comparison of the Tractates Berakhot", Mohr Siebeck, 1996]

Ultimately, the state of the source material is such to allow divergent opinions to exist. These opinions serve to show the difficulties in establishing a clear picture of the origins of the Tosefta.

Commentary editions

Orthodox scholars

The definitive commentary on the Tosefta is by Rabbi Yehezkel Abramsky: "Hazon Yehezkel" (24 volumes, 1925-1975 in Hebrew).

Saul Lieberman's Tosefta Kifshuta is widely considered the authoritative critical edition of the Tosefta.

Non-Orthodox scholars

The Tosefta has been translated into English by Rabbi Jacob Neusner and his students. They have also produced a commentary on Seder Zeraim.

Notes

ee also

*Oral law
*Mishnah
*Baraita
*Talmud
*Gemara
*Rabbinic literature
*Halakha

External links

* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=277&letter=T "TOSEFTA" in the Jewish Encyclopedia]

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14788a.htm Tosephta] in the Catholic Encyclopedia

* [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/f/f0.htm Full text at Mechon-Mamre]
* [http://jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/talmud/Online Treasury of Talmudic Manuscripts, Jewish National and University Library]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • TOSEFTA — (Aram. תּוֹסֶפְתָּא, Heb. תּוֹסֶפֶת), literally an additional or supplementary halakhic or aggadic tradition, i.e., one not included in the mishnah of R. judah ha nasi . Originally the term was used to designate any individual additional or… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Tosefta — Die Tosefta (aramäisch תוספתא) ist ein Kompendium der mündlichen Überlieferungen und Traditionen des Judentums aus rabbinischer Zeit. Sie stellt in vielen Fällen eine Ergänzung der Mischna, der Hauptsammlung, dar und entstand neben bzw. kurz nach …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tosefta — Supplements to the Mishna compiled с AD 300. The Tosefta consists of laws attributed to the authorities named in the Mishna and generally follows the topical program and organization of the Mishna. Both works were the effort of Jewish scholars,… …   Universalium

  • Tosefta — Tosẹfta   [hebräisch »Hinzufügung (zur Mischna)«] die, , Sammlung früher rabbinischer Traditionen, die die Mischna zum Teil ergänzen, zu ihr zum Teil aber auch im Widerspruch stehen. Wie die Mischna ist die Tosefta in sechs Ordnungen geteilt,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Tosefta — Suplementos de la Mishná compilados 300 AD. La Tosefta consiste en las leyes atribuidas a las autoridades mencionadas en la Mishná, y en general sigue el programa y la organización temáticos de esta. Ambas obras fueron el resultado de la labor de …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Tosefta — Es una de las fuentes legales de la literatura rabinica, junto a la Mishná y el Talmud. Se trata de un compendio legal, con estructura básicamente idéntica a la de la Misnah, dividida en los mismos órdenes y tratados (salvo pequeñas excepciones) …   Wikipedia Español

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  • tosefta — Aramaic for ‘addition’; consisting of commentary on the Mishnah compiled in the 3rd cent. CE …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • MISHNAH — (Heb. מִשְׁנָה). The term mishnah is used in a number of different ways (see below), but when used as a proper noun ( the Mishnah ) it designates the collection of rabbinic traditions redacted by Rabbi judah ha nasi (usually called simply Rabbi ) …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


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