Logic in the Torah

A Thematic Compilation by Avi Sion

Blog posts : "a fortiori"

3. Qal vaChomer


1.   Background

Jewish logic has long used and explicitly recognized a form of argument called qal vachomer (meaning, lenient and stringent). According to Genesis Rabbah (92:7, Parashat Miqets), an authoritative Midrashic work, there are ten samples of such of argument in the Tanakh: o…

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5. The Language of Biblical A Fortiori


In this essay, my purpose is to analyze the language actually used in Biblical a fortiori statements. An empirical study, without preconceptions.



A Biblical a fortiori argument, as we saw, usually consists of two more or less explicit sentences, one of which is the…

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6. Miriam’s A Fortiori Argument


The a fortiori argument made by Miriam, the sister of Moses, in Numbers 12:14-15, plays an important role in rabbinical discussions relating to such arguments, notably in the Gemara (the commentary on the Mishna). For this reason, I have had to analyze it in considerable detail.


1. …

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7. Louis Jacobs’ Contribution


Rabbinic Thought in the Talmud (2005), by Louis Jacobs, contains an essay devoted to “The Qal Va-Homer Argument in the Old Testament”[1]. We shall here analyze the contributions made in this late essay of his (Jacobs z”l passed away in 2006). Having [before I came across this essay in …

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8. A Fortiori Discourse in the Jewish Bible


Some 18 years after I published Judaic Logic, I returned to the subject of a fortiori argument in the Tanakh in A Fortiori Logic, and in this context discovered many additional instances.


1.   Introduction and summary

There are at least 46 instances of a fortiori discourse in …

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9. A Fortiori Arguments in the Christian Bible


1.   Disclaimer

In this chapter, I am called upon for the sake of comprehensiveness to comment on some of the a fortiori discourse found in Christian literature, especially the Gospels. I must stress that I do not intend the following treatment to be exhaustive. I am merely breaking gr…

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