Digitized Babylonian Talmud Textual Variants and Mobile App Launched

Published: 
May 29, 2016

Source: Jerusalem Post

 

An online, digitized repository of the entire Babylonian Talmud called Hachi Garsinan has recently been launched in what its developers have described as a revolution for Talmud study. Uniquely, the project includes all known textual variants of the Babylonian Talmud and allows researchers, scholars and students to easily compare the different texts side by side, as well as highlighting the differences between each version. The name, Hachi Garsinan, is an Aramaic term used by the medieval Talmudic scholar Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, known as Rashi, to indicate that there existed an alternative version of the Talmudic text which made more sense contextually than the standard wording.

The Hachi Garsinan Project aims to display all variant-readings of any given portion of the Talmud Bavli, according to the following criteria:

  • Upon completion, the project will encompass all Talmud Bavli "text-witnesses": Genizah fragments, manuscripts, early printings, binding fragments and other fragments found in public libraries and private collections all over the world. The list of text-witnesses from the Genizah and manuscripts is based on "The Talmudic Manuscripts Treasure" (5772) by Prof. Yaakov Sussman, and the list of early printings included in this project was conducted according to the steering committee's recommendations.
  • The current version (2.1) includes all early printings, about nineteen manuscripts and all Genizah fragments.
  • The "Hachi Garsinan" site is meant to serve the wide range of all Bavli learners and researchers: from academic researchers, through Yeshiva communities and Torah students, to Daf Yomi learners, as well as the layman reviewing the site occasionally.
  • The site contains high quality digital images of all original text-witnesses, accompanied by precise transcriptions of the text in the image.
  • The variant-readings in the site can be displayed in four different modes: synopsis in columns, synopsis in rows in a classic format or in a format defined by the user, and "synopsis for the learner" that features the accepted edition with alerts to significant changes in wording. These displays allow the user to choose which variants to highlight and which to omit, while emphasizing the differences between the text-witnesses (especially in comparison with the Vilna edition), using advanced visual methods that will help the user complete his quest quickly and efficiently.
  • The site also integrates additional functions, including full text search on all Bavli text-witnesses; save, copy and print options, personal workspace, etc.

Hachi Garsinan, a project of the Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society of Toronto, is free to use, although it requires registration, and is also available through a mobile app, and along with the digitized text it includes high resolution images of hand-written Talmudic manuscripts from 150 libraries, collections and archives around the world.

Updated: Aug. 23, 2016
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