the buffyverse talmud

For a creative writing assignment for my Talmud class last semester, I was asked to write a mishnah and accompanying sugya. A mishnah refers to the smallest unit of the Mishnah, redacted in 200 CE, a part of the Talmud, and therefore in this case to a few, generally unattributed, rabbinic statements on a particular topic.

The other part of the Talmud is the gemara, the debates of the generations of rabbis subsequent to the Mishnah; the Talmud was redacted between 350 and 500 CE (depending on the edition). A sugya is a building block of gemara, a proof-based elucidation of an aspect of the mishnah.

As readers of this blog well know, I am a huge Joss Whedon fan. So for this assignment I chose Buffy the Vampire Slayer as my source text. I wrote a mishnah about the power of words in hevruta (the paired learning that takes place in the beit midrash), and then I used episodes of Buffy to write the gemara to explain that mishnah.

After I mentioned the project on Facebook, several people asked to read the finished product. So here it is. (It’s a PDF because of the formatting, which mimics a page of Talmud.)

I will note that the document will likely be nearly incomprehensible unless you know a great deal about both Buffy and Talmud. (And since I know more about Buffy than I do about Talmud, I’ll admit that Talmud studiers might find that aspect incomprehensible as well.)

For those only mildly curious, here’s the mishnah — with Hebrew “signal words” in parentheses — which contains a quote from Buffy. Who can name the episode and speaker (without Google)?

original mishnah about the power of words and hevruta study, to be elucidated by buffy the vampire slayer

original mishnah about the power of words and hevruta study, to be elucidated by buffy the vampire slayer

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