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“To make tešuḇā“ ( לעשות תשובה ): “Turning” in Tannaitic Literature

The paper intends to investigate the notion of tešuḇā (“turning”[?] “repentance”[?]) in Tannaitic literature, the earliest layer of Rabbinic sources. Redacted across the 3rd Century C. E., these texts convey views and beliefs contemporary to those of Early Christianity. A reference to them is therefore essential to fully understand the developments of both Christian and Jewish ideas in the beginning of the so-called “parting of the ways”.

The aim of the paper is describing the Tannaitic notion of tešuḇā from a philological point of view, i.e. analysing the occurrences of the term in the texts and trying to find an answer to the following questions: What do the sages mean with tešuḇā? Does it imply a spiritual transformation? A conversion? To what extent? Special attention will be paid to the Tannaitic reception of the biblical idea of “turning” (if there is any) and to its developments in Tannaitic literature.

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