Wednesday, December 13, 2006

JEWISH STUDIES, AN INTERNET JOURNAL has just published another article (vol. 5):
Ronit Shoshany, "Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai in the Cave and Elijah in the Wilderness: A Comparison between Talmudic and Biblical Narratives"


Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai is described in talmudic and midrashic sources, for the most part, as a righteous scholar and wonder-worker. The Babylonian version of the cave narrative (Shabbat 33b–34a), however, offers a more critical portrayal. This paper presents an analysis of the talmudic cave narrative and compares it with the Elijah biblical narrative in I Kings 19. There the prophet behaves like a zealot, abandoning his community and entering the wilderness due to his disappointment with human nature. Despite finding some individuals who are faithful to God, Elijah remains critical of his entire people. The central argument of this paper is that the Babylonian redactor fashioned the cave narrative as an analogy to the biblical narrative, with changes appropriate to the different time period and plot.
You can download it in PDF or Word format here.

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