El pilpul o cómo "condimentar" el estudio del Talmud
El siguiente fragmento de vídeo, extraído del documental Historia del Talmud de Pierre Henri Salfati, nos ilustra grosso modo en qué consiste este sutil método de análisis.
Description of Method
The essential characteristic of pilpul is that it leads to a clear comprehension of the subject under discussion by penetrating into its essence and by adopting clear distinctions and a strict differentiation of the concepts. By this method a sentence or maxim is carefully studied, the various concepts which it includes are exactly determined, and all the possible consequences to be deduced from it are carefully investigated. The sentence is then examined in its relation to some other sentence harmonizing with it, the investigation being directed toward determining whether the agreement appearing on a superficial contemplation of them continues to be manifest when all the possible consequences and deductions are drawn from each one of them; for if contradictory deductions follow from the two apparently agreeing sentences, then this apparent agreement is not an agreement in fact. Again, if two sentences apparently contradict each other, the pilpulistic method seeks to ascertain whether this seeming contradiction may not be removed by a more careful definition and a more exact limitation of the concepts connected with the respective sentences. If two contiguous sentences or maxims apparently imply the same thing, this method endeavors to decide whether the second sentence is really a repetition of the first and could have been omitted, or whether by a more subtle differentiation of the concepts a different shade of meaning may be discovered between them. Similarly if a regulation is mentioned in connection with two parallel cases, this methoddetermines whether it might not have been concluded from the similarity of the cases itself that the regulation applying to the one applied to the other also, and why it was necessary to repeat explicitly the same regulation.
The pilpulistic method, however, is not satisfied with merely attaining the object of its investigation. After having reached the desired result in one way, it inquires whether the same result might not have been attained in another, so that, if the first method of procedure should be eventually refuted, another method and another proof for the result attained may be forthcoming.