We tend to talk in collectives: Hazal—hakhameinu zikhronam liverakhah, “our Sages, blessed be their memory,” “the Sages”—plural, the nevi’im, the Tannaim, the Amoraim, the Rishonim and Aharonim, but on another level we are—or should be—aware that each one of our Sages was himself a treasure-house of Torah, and had shittot and darkei limmud of his own, some of which he had in common with other members of his yeshiva or beit midrash. We are also aware of the fact that our Sages’ words were spoken with great precision and express concepts and principles that are internally consistent. We all know that the Ramban has certain shittot that differ from those of the Rambam, for example, and this is true in areas of Halakhah, Aggadah and hashqafah. The Gemara already notes that that is true of the Tannaim, and, to some extent, it does the same for the Amoraim. If we want to understand the Rambam ki-peshuto, we cannot mix the Ramban’s kabbalistic teachings with the Rambam’s Aristotelian ones….

Yaakov Elman, “Rava as Mara de-Atra in Mahoza,” Hakira 11 (Spring 2011), 59.

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