What’s Abba Shaul Doing There?
On Niddah 38a we read the following:
אבא שאול משמיה דרב אמר
The problem is that Abba Shaul is earlier than Rav, so how can he be quoting him? A look at the manuscripts shows that there are a few variations of this chain of tradition.
Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 110-111
Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 113
Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 487.1
Vatican 110-111: אבא סילוק משמיה דרב
Vatican 113: אבא [סליק] משמ’ דרב
Vatican 487.1: אבא יוסי משמיה דרב אמ’
Munich 95: אב’ שאול או’
At the moment I am unable to access the Lieberman Database, so it there are other textual witnesses that may shed light on the situation. One possibility that I thought of, which may be totally wrong, is that one of the Amoraim referred to by “אבא” transmitted a tradition in the name of “רב”, and here we find the root “סלק” being used here as a signifier of transmission (see the entry on “סלק” in Sokoloff’s dictionary of Babylonian Aramaic). Then “אבא סילוק” somehow morphed into “אבא שאול”.
Any other suggestions?