Historical Anecdotes in the Tannaitic Midrashim
This study applies form criticism to the stories of the earliest rabbinic midrashim. The results shed light on the literary personalities of the individual midrash collections and the relationships of transmission in the tradition. These stories are of particular interest from an inter-religious and comparative literary point of view because New Testament studies have often referred to certain narratives in the gospels as "midrashic." The author sets forth, in positive terms, an understanding of what functions historical anecdotes serve in the tannaitic midrashim, along with a catalogue of the rhetorical conventions used to fulfill those functions.