Response to Aryeh Cohen "Notes Towards an Erotics of Martyrdom"
I would like to thank Aryeh for his reading of b. Sanh. 74a-75a. The mark of a good reading, to my mind, is that it does not merely explain a text, but suggests further creative interaction with it; and Aryeh's reading has done this for me. I will focus my remarks on the chief line to which Aryeh drew our attention (his line #25, in my translation): "so also must (s)he be slain rather than he transgress." Just as the textual crux of t/yehareg provided Aryeh with the kind of uncertainty into which a wedge that opens the text for interpretation can be fit, lines 24 and 25 both share a grammatical indeterminacy that prompts further reflection. But bear with me a moment on my way to the Sanhedrin text; as a student primarily of the Tanakh, not the Talmud, I have a biblical errand to run before I can get there.