Pirkei Avot, Chapters of the Fathers, itself consists of five distinct chapters. There is a very clear order to the maxims of Pirkei Avot that appear in the first two chapters, which follow the sayings of the Fathers, organized on a chronological basis, more or less. The last (fifth) chapter of Pirkei Avot is a collection of enumerations, sayings or maxims, which provide a numerical listing or otherwise reference numbers, organized in descending order. These general organizational themes apply to the respective sections of ARNA as well, with additional enumerations which supplement those contained in Pirkei Avot in the latter chapters of Avot de Rabbi Nathan .Throughout, ARNA seems to be elaborating on an earlier text of Pirkei Avot. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to extract that Ur-text which served as the basis for the author(s) of ARNA, and examine it for insights into Pirkei Avot itself.
Boylan, S. (2016). Hidden in plain sight: An Ur-text of Pirkei Avot derived from Avot de Rabbi Nathan (ARN). Poster presented at the 2016 Touro College Research Day, New York, NY.