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‘Make yourself into a maqom hefker’: Primary sources on open-source in Judaism (sourcesheet)

"Kanab Creek Wilderness 2" (credit: U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest and P.D. Tilman, license: CC-BY 2.0)

Kanab Creek Wilderness 2” (credit: U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest and P.D. Tilman, license: CC-BY 2.0)

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How does rabbinic Judaism value openness? What does openness mean? This sourcesheet accompanied the shiur “‘Make yourself into a Maqom Hefker’: Rabbinic Teachings on Open Source in Judaism,” a class I taught on Taz biShvat 5774 (January 16th, 2013) in partnership with the Sefaria Project for Parshat Yitro.

The shiur discussed the concept of דִּימוּס פַּרְהֶסְיַא Dimus Parrhesia (δῆμος παρρησία) as a valued ideal in Rabbinic discourse: its cameo appearance in midrashic teachings on Parshat Yitro and its relationship to other relevant ideas and attitudes in the study of Torah and the Jewish stewardship of the Commons.

דִּימוּס פַּרְהֶסְיא (dimus) – openly, from דִּימוֺסיַא (dimosia) δημόσια, translated in Latin coram publica – in the public eye, i.e. open to the public) and (gk. παρρησία, parrhesia) – boldness or freedom in speech

This sourcesheet is derived from the collection of sources gathered on the Wikipedia page, “Open Source Judaism,” where I initially presented them.

Please share this sourcesheet, improve upon it, and continue to share it. As with the wikipedia page, this sourcesheet and its translations are shared under the Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

Download Open-Source-in-Judaism-from-the-Sources-Aharon-Varady-v.0.2.pdf (PDF, 216KB)

Many thanks to Dr. Daniel Sperber for his explanation of this in correspondence. He writes, “in Mechilta to Exod. 19:2, ed. Horowitz-Rabin p.205 lines 17-18, [דִּימוּס] is short for דימוסיא found frequently in rabbinic literature. It is the Greek word δημόσια translated coram publica, in the public eye, i.e. open to the public, a meaning found in Sylloge lnscriptionum Graecum, 2nd edition, ed. Diltenberger 1888-1901, no.807, an inscription from after 138 C. E. פרהסיא is merely a gloss to דימוס to explain the word and its meaning, as noted by the editor of the Mechilta.”

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