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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 18, 2020

From Tablet to Talmud: Canonised Knowledge in Late Antiquity

  • Markham J. Geller ORCID logo EMAIL logo


The article explores whether key features of Babylonian textual standardisation may have may have influenced basic patterns of text and commentary in the Babylonian Talmud. The paper takes the view that canonicity is a complex process involving different levels of standardising texts. On the whole, canonicity preserved major texts (like Gilgamesh, the Bible, the Hippocratic Corpus), but others considered as non-canonical (or ‘outside’) could still be used for explanatory purposes. The structure of the Babylonian Talmud (Mishnah, Gemara, Tosephta-based Beraitôt) serves as a useful model for comparison with earlier cuneiform compendia.

Corresponding author: Markham J. Geller, University College London, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Gower St, London, UK; and Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, Fabeckstrasse 23-25, Berlin, Germany, E-mail:

Award Identifier / Grant number: ERC-2012-AdG. 323596–BabMed

  1. AbbreviationsBAK = H. Hunger, Babylonian-assyrian Kolophone (1968)SAA = State Archives of Assyria


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Published Online: 2020-09-18
Published in Print: 2021-06-25

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