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Benjamin Katsuf

Dr. Binyamin Katzoff
Bar-Ilan University

Head of Laboratory

Dr. Binyamin Katzoff is engaged in the research of halachic literature of the Sages and rabbinic literature from the Middle Ages. The focus of his research in recent years are various aspects of the history of the Tosefta. One of the aspects is the study of the textual traditions of the composition. In collaboration with Prof. Adiel Shermer, he received a grant from the National Science Foundation (ISF) to research the place of the Cairo genizah and book-bindings fragments in the text tradition of the Tosefta. This study led to a much more accurate understanding of the composition’s textual traditions, and revealed the eastern origins of all the main traditions we have, and the ways these traditions were handled during study and transmission in the Middle Ages.

Following this research, he and Prof. Adiel Shermer received another grant from the National Science Foundation (ISF) to produce a critical edition with introduction of Tosefta Nezikin (part B) for tractates Sanhedrin, Makkot, Shavuot, Eduyot, Avodah Zarah, and Horayot. Apart from a base text as that found in Vienna manuscript with necessary emendations, the edition will contain a comprehensive list of the parallels to the Tosefta in rabbinic literature, an apparatus for listing the textual variants to expansively present the readings found in the other textual witnesses, and a short commentary. An extensive introduction at the beginning of the edition describes the various parts of the edition and discusses certain aspects of Tosefta study. 

As part of his research on the Tosefta, Dr. Katzoff also dealt with the Tosefta's multi-step relationship to the Mishnah and parallel traditions in the Talmud, and with the methodological questions regarding the reading of the non-halachic materials in the Tosefta and their relationship to the halachic materials in the composition. In addition, Dr. Katzoff is also engaged in researching the history of Halacha and prayer during antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the learning characteristics within the rabbinic society during the medieval period, and the social networks of intellectual communities as shown by citations in the literature of Sages and medieval rabbinic literature.

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