In this radical and exciting shiur Rabbi Triebitz discusses and develops an idea of Rabbi Professor Shaul Lieberman – the distinction between “historical truth” to “textural truth”. With this idea Rabbi Triebitz explains the incomensurability between the approach of the academics and the Rabbis.
“Historical truth” involves conjecture using textual analysis and other techniques to ascertain the text in its historical context. “Textural truth” attempts to understand how the text and later authorities understood the text. Analysis of the “Jewish tradition” – how later commentaries viewed the text.
According to Lieberman only the second form is valid. According to Rabbi Triebitz only the second is Orthodox.
Rabbi Triebitz then looks at the Baal HaMaor and Milchemes on Bava Metziah (p. 28 on the pages of the Rif) and then looks at a very interesting opinion of Rabbeinu Tam in Bava Kamma 70a.
He discusses Rambam’s cosmological proof, and compares it to Kant’s refutation of the Ontological proof and thus his refutation of the Cosmological Proof (which he claims is based upon it). Rabbi Triebitz comes up with a new reading of Rambam which is compelling and which answers Kant’s objections.
History & Development of Talmud shiur 7
Showing Continuity to the Stam
Rabbi Triebitz refutes Halivni’s claim that the stamaim lived a long time after Rav Ashi and that they didn’t understand what the Amoraim were talking about. He does this by analyzing the Gemara in Avoda Zara 71a and shows, using Ramban and other Rishonim, that Ravina begins the ‘stam’ of the gemara by asking a question directly to Rav Ashi.