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Stories and Parables in Rabbinic Literature

We shall commence the discussion of the stories and parables in the literature of the sages with a clarification of the fundamental characteristics of the stories. In recent years, researchers have begun to employ literary tools in order to get an idea of the quality and nature of the stories. Among other things, we shall investigate the relationship between the sages' stories and the popular short stories, their common and unique motifs, the structure of the stories, and so on. It is worth mentioning J. L. Rubenstein's book, Talmudic Stories: Narrative Art, Composition, and Culture (Baltimore1999), which demonstrates the analysis of these stories by means of the above-mentioned tools. Yona Frankel, the researcher of Talmudic stories, claimed that from the point of view of the literary definitions, the Talmudic short story comes close to the definition of the dramatic story and is not a lyrical story. Below, we shall examine what this approach can contribute with regard to understanding the Talmudic story.

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