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Our Objective

The Tasks

Assessing the task that lies before us in explicating the Babylonian Talmud, it appears to us that the tools most likely to assist us in penetrating to the clear, original meanings of the sources are to be found primarily among the methods and approaches of the outstanding scholars of academic Jewish studies of the past two centuries. Those scholars established new criteria and set new and powerful goals regarding the study of Talmudic literature, often carrying on lines of inquiry first suggested by pre-modern sages but notable for their fruitful innovativeness. These methods have drawn upon a vast array of academic disciplines—history, philology, and many more. The tools have been prepared with painstaking care and precision, to be applied to Talmudic sources in order to yield new understandings and insights and broaden our knowledge. This approach is entirely compatible with the traditional commentaries to the Talmud, even as it is able to recognize and appreciate its own promise of delivering to us fine “old wine in new bottles.”

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