from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Sophistry, hair-splitting, quibbling.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Among the Jews, penetrating investigation, disputation, and drawing of conclusions, esp. in Talmudic study.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Argumentation; searching debates and reasonings on Talmudic subjects among rabbinical scholars.
The Hebrew word pilpul precisely sums up the verbal gymnastics of Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, on the Three Wishes issue.
They learned how to reason by using the logical system of rabbinical debate included in the Talmud’s pages, called in Yiddish pilpul.
From the Jewish Encyclopedia, an example of pilpul:
But the Jewish tradition of pilpul can create an entire world of meaning out of a seemingly unnecessary repetition of facts; why should a capitalization choice be any different.
That very last line ought to be in red or bold or both, considering actually 100% of settlers are violent unrepentant international war criminals, many are using the settlements to take advantage of legal status for drugs and that it is illustrative of pilpul to couch wild hasbarah in objective-looking prose and oh hey there is this one other last thing one in five are run-of-the-mill crooks.
A means of reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable in Jewish law and its interpretations, pilpul has come to mean the use of increasingly fine distinctions in argument, often in casuistical fashion.
I believe that Yaffe's vanishingly-fine distinction would qualify as a good example of Talmudic pilpul.
I did, indeed, write that Talmudic scholars were more aggressive in their pilpul than scientists, but it is Dorn, not I, who regards that as "singing the praises" of the former.
Before we quite knew what we were doing, we were adding our own arguments, our own objections, our own hair-splitting distinctions and twists of logic, the so-called pilpul.
His method is that of the talmudic _pilpul_,  transplanted upon the soil of
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