“But Me No Buts”: The Theological Debate Between the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim in Light of the Discourse-Markers Theory'

Numen 61:525-551 (2014)

Benjamin Brown
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The linguistic theory of discourse markers may often help us to decipher the roots of theological controversies in traditional cultures, where both of the parties declare loyalty to the same doctrines. According to it, if two sentences are coupled by ‘but’, the statement that comes after the ‘but’ is the one that the speaker wishes to emphasize over the one that comes before it. Examined on the theological texts of the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim, the theory is proved useful: The Hasidim place after ‘but’ the statements on the Simple Unity of God, while the Mitnagdim place there the statements on the multiplicity in which it appears in our world.
Keywords Doscourse Markers  Monism  Hasidism  Mitnagdim
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