Is the Brookings ConText Site a Talmud?

Like Lloyd Bentsen said of Dan Quayle in 1988, “I know the Talmud, I studied the Talmud, and the Brookings ConText site is no Talmud.”

The “Center for the Constitution” with the Brookings Institution presents online “James Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787″ with commentary that can be augmented by users of the site.

The publishers of the site suggest that it is a lot like the Talmud.

From the American Interest blog: “The project, which aims to surround the notes themselves with columns of explanatory information, has a fascinating inspiration, explains Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings:

There is a model for this sort of thing, but it’s not a model from the American constitutional tradition; it’s the Talmud—the multi-volume exposition of Jewish law that developed after the Romans sacked the Temple in Jerusalem. The Talmud is a series of debates—and commentaries on those debates—on a text called the Mishnah.


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