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The Realm of the Sacred, Wherein We May Not Draw an Inference from Something which Itself Has Been Inferred: A Reading of Talmud Bavli Zevachim Folio 50

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The exegesis of sacred rites in the Talmud is subject to a restriction on the iteration and composition of inference rules. In order to determine the scope and limits of that restriction, the sages of the Talmud deploy those very same inference rules. We present the remarkable features of this early use of self-reference to navigate logical constraints and uncover the hidden complexity behind the sages’ arguments. Appendix 11 contains a translation of the relevant sugya.

1Hebrew and Aramaic transliteration approximates traditional Sephardic pronunciation, which is closer to academic standard transliteration than the various Ashkenazic pronunciations, yet is legible. Specific references follow the convention of folio (number), side (a or b), number of lines from the top or (if negative) bottom of the page.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy,University of Notre Dame, IN, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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