Menachem Mendel

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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.

Niddah Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 110 111 1

Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 110-111

Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 113

Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 113

Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica  Ebr 487 1 1

Vatican Bibliotheca Apostolica Ebr 487.1

Nidah Munich 95

Munich 95

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?

2 Responses to “What’s Abba Shaul Doing There?”

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    Menachem Mendel (Michael P.):

    I think that this severah is based upon the comment on the gilayon of the Vilna Shas. The problem is that there is no textual witness for it, although that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.




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