chapter  4
SMU: RABBINIC TEXTS AND CONCEPTS AND POST-TALMUDIC RABBINIC THOUGHT
Pages 31

In this chapter I continue my argument for the claim that the attitude of the classical texts of Jewish tradition to the DCT/SMU issue is a complex and nuanced one. In particular, I shall argue in this chapter that analysis from the perspective of the conceptual framework developed in Chapter 1 of rabbinic and post-Talmudic sources1 that seemingly support SMU, or have been claimed in the literature to do so, yields a highly complex picture of the attitude of rabbinic and post-Talmudic thought to DCT/SMU. I shall argue, as far as some rabbinic and post-Talmudic texts are concerned, that they are neutral between all three theories: command DCT, will DCT and SMU. In the case of others, I shall maintain that texts which apparently endorse SMU, while they undoubtedly deny certain command versions of DCT, can be construed with equal plausibility as bolstering various will forms of DCT. Moreover, I shall argue that while some texts unequivocally reject certain command versions of DCT, there are other sources which probably support some will versions of DCT. All of this is in stark contrast to the views of writers such as Jacobs, Lichtenstein, Spero and Sagi who, as we saw in Chapter 2, understand rabbinic and post-Talmudic thought (and indeed Jewish tradition as a whole) clearly to support SMU. What I hope will emerge from my analysis is not only the inadequacy of the conception of rabbinic and post-Talmudic literature as unambiguously in favour of SMU, but also the conclusion that no monochromatic account of the attitude of rabbinic and post-Talmudic thought on DCT/SMU is likely to prove successful. For different relevant sources say different things (though sometimes only subtly different things) about DCT/SMU, and many of the germane texts require individual and careful examination.