A. A cow which drank purification-water, and which one slaughtered within twenty-four hours—
B. This was a case, and R. Yose the Galilean did declare it clean, and R. Aqiba did declare it unclean.
C. R. Tarfon supported R. Yose the Galilean. R. Simeon ben Nanos supported R. Aqiba.
D. R. Simeon b. Nanos dismissed [the arguments of] R. Tarfon. R. Yose the Galilean dismissed [the arguments of] R. Simeon b. Nanos.
E. R. Aqiba dismissed [the arguments of] R. Yose the Galilean.
F. After a time, he [Yose] found an answer for him [Aqiba].
G. He said to him, "Am I able to reverse myself?"
H. He said to him, "Not anyone [may reverse himself], but you [may do so], for you are Yose the Galilean."
I. [He said to him,] "I shall say to you: Lo, Scripture states, 'And they shall be kept for the congregation of the people of Israel for the water for impurity' (Num. 19:9). J. "Just so long as they are kept, lo, they are water for impurity—but not after a cow has drunk them." K. This was a case, and thirty-two elders voted in Lud and declared it clean. L. At that time R. Tarfon recited this verse:
M. 'I saw the ram goring westward and northward and southward, and all the animals were unable to stand against it, and none afforded protection from its power, and it did just as it liked and grew great' (Dan. 8:4)— N. "[This is] R. Aqiba.
O. " 'As I was considering, behold, a he-goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. R " 'He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the river, and he ran at him in his mighty wrath. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns'—this is R. Aqiba and R. Simeon b. Nanos.
Q. " 'And the ram had no power to stand before him'—this is R. Aqiba. R. " 'But he cast him down to the ground and trampled upon him'—this is
R. Yose the Galilean. S. " 'And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power'— these are the thirty-two elders who voted in Lud and declared it clean.'"
I cite the passage here only to underline the contrast between the usage at hand and the one we shall find in the late fourth- or early fifth-century composition. Without seeing the foregoing treatment of the vision at hand, we shall hardly realize how vast a shift is about to take place.
Since, in a moment, we shall take up later fourth- or early fifth-century writings, when Rome had turned definitively Christian, we do well to ask the Tosefta to tell us how it chooses to speak of Christianity. The contrast to Christians' view of themselves as the new Israel proves striking. Here too the topic (if it is present at all) turns out to deal with a trivial heresy, and not with a world-historical social entity, a fact that in a moment will strike us as significant. We have no firm date for the Tosefta, so we do not know for whom the document speaks. Still, we note that to the first-century authority, Tarfon is attributed the angry observation that there were people around who knew the truth of the Torah but rejected it:
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