So... I (Seraph) am a student of relgions in general, and Judaism in specific. I just wanted to know if anyone else has noticed a certain similarity between the way the wiki - and, in fact, all roleplaying fandom - is set up and the way the Talmud is organized.
We have the books themselves, which are kind of like the Mishnah, in that you can't really disagree with them (well, you can, but most people will acknowledge that doing so is stepping outside of what is ordinarily a boundry). Then we have the commentary by the writers of the books themselves, enshrined in the "Thus Spake" section. These writings are a little less sacrosanct than the books, but they still carry a lot of weight. They seem to parallel the stories about the lives of the Amoraim, the rabbis who wrote the Mishnah, which carry a lot of weight, but aren't really law.
Then, there's us, the fans. We're a lot like the Tannaim, the writers of the Talmud. We can't disagree with the writers/Amoraim (without stepping outside of a boundry) and our decisions are often influenced by the writer quotes/stories about the Amoraim, but we can disagree with each other, and often do, in matters of interpretation. Even the discussions of different issues in the wiki feel a lot like a page out of the Talmud, with the same kind of uncited quotation of the text (Torah or Mishnah/corebooks), quotation of other experts (fans/rabbis), and the formation of schools of thought. I feel like I could even make a page like one of the hypertext-style Talmud pages by writing a passage from the corebook and surrounding it by commentary by the writers and by differing schools of fan thought.
I know this is strange, but I noticed it, and I was wondering if anyone else had noticed this or has anything to say about it.
- Except that many of us often do disagree with the writers on a fairly regular basis... - szilard
- We do, but as I said, there seems to be a certain understanding when someone does. I mean, when someone says, "I think the writers meant this," it means something different from when they say "whatever the writers say, I'm going to do it this way." Of course, there's a lot more flexibility in gaming. The subject is a hobby, not religious doctrine. -Seraph
- Given the way some people approach this hobby, I'd say the dividing line might be thinner than one would think..... -BrilliantRain
- Honestly, given the common structure of both, I.e. core material, commentary by writers of core material, and commentary from outside experts, I'm not sure how else you'd organize it. This probably says something about human mental/cultural structure. Also, from what I know, Tannaim have better credentials(relativly speaking) than fans generally do, whereas wiki content is judged more on actually content, presentation and reputation of the writer. Intersting parallel, although I'm not sure where it goes.. -FlowsLikeBits
- It's true that the Tannaim are better qualified. I'm not sure this discussion goes anywhere. The religion major in me just thought it was interesting. -Seraph
- Well, wiki, and rpg's in general have "you can change it if you don't like" golden rule. Religions usually don't. Although that does seem strangely irelevent, since everyone knows it, it basicly get's ignored, since your basicly arguing about the interpretation of the original text, not how you would change it. -FlowsLikebits, not sure it has to go anywhere, most things on the internet don't
- One difference with between the wiki and the Talmud, we can disagree with older people. ~Dalassa