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Tractate Berakoth, by , by A. Lukyn Williams, [1921], at


The relation of the two documents here translated, the Berakoth of the Mishna and the Berakoth of the Tosephta (properly Tosephatha, "Additions") is part of the larger and more difficult question, the relation of the Mishna and the Tosephta in general. It has been the subject of a good deal of discussion, and requires a much more minute investigation than the present writer has been able to make, and much wider knowledge than he possesses, to justify his giving an independent verdict.

The chief theories (besides the very complicated

p. xv

theory of Lauterbach in the Jewish Encyclopedia (s.v. Tosephta) based on the supposition that R. Aqiba made two summaries of the Oral Law, one ultimately called Mishna, the other Tosephta), are as follows:

i. The Tosephta is the Mishna expounded in the Palestinian Gemara ("the Jerusalem Talmud"), our Mishna having arisen later in Babylon. 1

ii. The Tosephta represents for the most part those portions of R. Meir's "Mishna," which were afterwards cut out, and now preserved with some alterations and additions. 2

iii. Our Mishna was written essentially as it now is about 200 A.D. by R. Judah, who made use of previous collections of oral teaching, especially one formed by R. Meir (c. 150 A.D.), on the basis of R. Aqiba's collection (c. 130 A.D.). The Tosephta presupposes our Mishna and elucidates it, and was written not long after it.

The present writer believes that the last theory holds good for Berakoth3

While the Tosephta of this Tract again and again presupposes our present Mishna, e.g. I. 2

p. xvi

(p. 4), I. 5 (p. 8), II. 8 (p. 18 sq.), II. 11 (p. 22), III. 1 (pp. 28 sq.), and continually gives fresh examples of the application of its principles (occasionally of great importance, e.g. pp. 57 sqq., p. 61) or fills up some of the discussions, it never adduces matter contradictory to it, or diverges from its system. Its arrangement, to be sure, often differs in the order of its details, but the Tosephta seems to have been much less used than the Mishna, and the. Mishna may well have undergone some polishing before receiving its present shape.

It will be seen that in this volume an endeavour has been made so to arrange the Tosephta that each portion of it shall correspond, as far as possible, with each Mishna. A. Schwarz in his volume cited above (p. xv, note 2) recognized the importance of this being attempted if the relation of the two documents was to be thoroughly understood, and he investigated that relation minutely for the treatises Sabbath and Erubin, drawing up tables which showed the resultant rearrangement of the Tosephta, and printing a new text. Unfortunately he did not do this for Berakoth. The present writer has therefore been obliged to be content with what he is well aware is only a rough and very tentative arrangement.


xv:1 Zuckermandel, e.g. Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Halachakritik, ii. 48.

xv:2 "dass die Tosifta in ihrem weitaus grössten Theile nichts Anderes, als Elemente aus der Mischnasammlung R. Meir's enthalte" (A Schwarz, Die Tosifta des Tra tats Sabbath in ihrem Verhältnisse zur Mischna, 1879. 541.

xv:3 Consult Strack, pp. 19, 93, and also his article in the Theologisches Literaturblatt, 1912, p. 482.

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