The decisions underlying halakhic teachings and case stories may have once been applied to specific legal situations. But the abbreviated and stylized versions which we find in rabbinic documents will have been devised for the specific purpose of transmission within rabbinic circles. In this form, they would not have been recited before the general public. In their concise form, they are often only understandable within a specific halakhic context and require a large amount of biblical and halakhic knowledge in order to be intelligible. They clearly point to a scholarly context with regard to their formulation and circulation.

Catherine Hezser, “Form-Criticism of Rabbinic Literature”, in The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature, eds. Reimund Bieringer, Florentino García Martinez, Dider Pollefeyt and Peter J. Tomson (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2010), 108.

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